DIY: Hearts For Hens

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Blouse: Dorothy Perkins

Skirt: DIY

Shoes: Chie Mihara

You’re not imagining things – I’ll actually still be in NYC the day this post goes live, helping The Sophisticate celebrate an O-birthday – but I scheduled this to drop on the 13th of April, because I wanted to wish my baby sister a very happy and exciting Hen’s Day.

Hope you’ve had an amazing day, my darling girl, and I hope you’re enjoying the skirt!

This is a skirt ESPECIALLY made for celebrating love in, and I gave it to Mae to wear on her hen’s day (or not!) but first I took some photos in it so I could share it with you, dear readers, as it’s such a fun and easy DIY project.

I’ve had my eye on this fabulous flocked-heart netting since first spotting it in Spotlight, but it wasn’t until I found the wide red elastic that I decided to put my dream for the fabric into action and have a go at making a kind of Queen-of-Hearts-Tutu.

The instructions are pretty obvious.

To start with you’ll need a couple of metres each of the overlay fabric, an underskirt fabric, a wide strip of elastic suitable as a waistband, and thread to match.DSCF0999

Lay the fabric out and cut a pair of rectangles from each fabric, making them wide enough to fit round your body (with a bit extra for gathering) and as long as you want your skirt to be. Your top layer should be considerably wider than your underneath layer, and remember: the wider the rectangle, the fuller the skirt. So as you can see, the white underskirt will be much less full that the tulle overlay.

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For your waistband, take the elastic, and wrap it around your waist. I usually make it snug, but not too stretched, so it doesn’t cut in uncomfortably. Mark where the seam will be.

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Sew the waistband up with a sturdy satin stitch, so that it sits flat on both sides.

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Now thread your machine with the thread to match your underlay skirt, and sew the side seams (the short sides) together to made a big circle.

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To make the gathers, baste two lines of stitching close to one another along the waistline…DSCF1009

… then using four anchoring points – the two side seams, and the centre front & centre back – pin the underskirt to the waistband at regular intervals. This helps you guide the gathering.DSCF1010

Draw a loose threads from each line of the basting stitches, and begin pulling the fabric along them. This will create the gathers.DSCF1011

Keep pulling, until your skirt matches your waistband, then check to make sure your gathers are evenly spaced between each quadrant.

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Then, you do exactly the same steps with your overskirt. Sew the side seams together,DSCF1013

do the basting stitches for the gathering,DSCF1014_2

then gather the overlay skirt until it matches the underskirt (matching the side seams together again, for tidiness-sake)

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To keep the two layers of skirt together, stitch along the waist attaching the underskirt to the overlay with a zig-zig stitch. You can then trim the excess fabric off at the top, but be careful not to accidentally snip into the zig-zag stitching.

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Now, using many, many, many pins attach the waistband to the skirt(s) matching the centre back to the seam at the back of the waistband.

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And sew the waistband to the skirt, using a long zig-zag stitch, so that the elastic waistband can still be stretched.

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Once you’ve hemmed your skirt (if you use netting or tulle you will probably only have to do the underskirt, you don’t have to hem netting, you just just cut it to length) your new skirt is ready.

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If you don’t have a beautiful and much loved little sister with an upcoming hens day to share it with, too bad, you’ll have to keep it yourself.

DIY: Life Savers

Dress: Virtu

Shoes: Wittner

Necklace: DIY

I’m madly trying to pack for The Sophisticate and my departure to Japan tomorrow morning. I’m a terrible packer – trying to put together good-looking outfits WITH my entire wardrobe is hard enough, trying to put together good-looking outfits in ADVANCE with only a select amount of my wardrobe is even harder. Throw one of the classiest cities in the world into the mix, and I’m in a complete flap.

It doesn’t help that the bloody dress that I ordered in August for the wedding STILL HASN’T ARRIVED, which means I’ve had to figure out something to wear appropriate for a traditional Japanese winter wedding WHILST IN AUSTRALIA IN THE MIDDLE OF SUMMER.

Not.

Happy.

Sigh, anyway, I promised you all a tutorial on how to make the bead necklace from yesterday, so here we go! (Good thing it’s an easy one!)

Step 1: Buy some modelling clay (I like FIMO best) in an assortment of shades. You can mush them together to make new colours – like mixing paint – so in the future I’d go with the primary colours: Red, Blue, Yellow, and some White, and take it from there. You’ll also need some leather thong, a thick needle or thin screwdriver, and – if you want – a clasp.

Step 2: Cut some equal cubes of the modelling clay – this will ensure your beads are all roughly the same size. Remember when you’re mushing two cubes together to make a new colour that you will end up with two beads, and so on.

Step 3: Trying to keep your hands clean, and your surface grit free; start rolling the cubes between your palms until you’ve got a little sphere. If your hands start getting warm, and the clay starts to get sticky pop the bead in the freezer for a moment while you go wash your hands under cold water.

Step 4: Pinch the sphere between your thumb and your finger and gently squeeze it into a lozenge shape, then pierce through with your needle or screwdriver (or nail, or toothpick, or other pointy instrument)

Step 4. cont: I would push the screwdriver through until I felt a little bump on the other side, the I’d flip the bed around and push the screwdriver through to complete the hole. That way it was nice and rounded on both sides.

Step 5: Reshape the bead as needed, then put it on a tray to be baked. Rinse & repeat. I think every modelling clay has it’s own baking instructions, so follow that!

Step 6: Sit down with all your colours and choose a selection that you think works well together.

Step 7: Thread them on to the leather thong

Step 8: Finally either tie off the thong, or attach your clasp, and voila!

Quick and easy! And cheap: FIMO costs about $5 a packet in Australia, and the leather an clasps shouldn’t be more than a dollar or so either.