When I was in Florida for Christmas and New Year's, my mom, sister and I went shopping. I had been so focussed on Christmas that I hadn't gotten a New Years Eve dress. I found one I kind of liked at Macy's for $17! I figured I would just alter it to make it less frumpy and a little more fun. A really easy fix for a lot of frumpy dresses is just shortening the hem! I also took off this cheesy sparky attachment at the neckline and re-shaped it. All in all, it maybe took me an hour. Mind you, if I had known I was getting proposed to, I would have put a little more effort and probably spent more than $17 haha. If you are more busty, I recommend belting the dress to give it more shape. I originally did that but my brother's girlfriend suggested leaving it as a sheath dress so I decided to go for it. I was crazy comfortable the whole night!
I took off the sparkly thing:
And decided to shape the neckline into a 'V'.
Done! Easy peasy!
The company I work for does an annual Ugly Sweater Day. I've been a sleigh and a snow globe before (see the tutorial for the snow globe sweater here). This year, I was a Christmas tree and I decided to go all out and spray paint my hair green. Carpe Diem, right? I definitely felt like a crazy person walking down the street and standing on the subway but I had fun being silly. Since I did the front and back of the sweater I was trying not to rest my back against my chair at work because it would flatten the branches but my back was killing me by the afternoon so I had to re-fluff the back since I almost completely flattened it. I also had 2 battery packs for lights. I turned them off during down time because the stupid batteries were the most expensive part of this sweater. Anyway, if you ever want to dress up like a Christmas tree, here is how I did it:
-A dark green sweater - I got mine at Burlington. It had this weird detachable cowl neck so I made some alterations and attached it so my neck would be covered. The sweater I found had a hairy texture too which was perfect. Honestly, I don't know what you would use it for besides an ugly sweater.
-Faux pine garland from Michaels. I used 2 and cut each on 4 pieces.
-NEEDLE AND THREAD (preferably extra thick thread)
-Lights with a battery pack - I used 2. The batteries were the most expensive part so be ready. These battery packs needed 2 C batteries and the 4 batteries cost me almost $20. Whatever, I wanted lights.
-Decorations. I went to a dollar store and got pine cones, silver garland and assorted Christmas balls. I also got cute candy canes at Michaels
-Ribbon for the tree topper
-Fishing wire in case you need to hang anything that doesn't already have a loop.
-If you want to also do the Christmas Tree thing to your hair like I did you will also need hair spray (I needed 2 cans), those clear small elastics for your hair, a hot glue gun, thick wire and thin wire. I just used the wire form last year's Snow Globe sweater.
I first played around with how I wanted to attach the pine garland. I decided I would cut it into 4 pieces. 2 slightly longer for the sides and 2 slightly shorter for the middle.
Now hand stitch the garland to the sweater. I had extra thick thread but if you only have regular thread, make sure to double or quadruple up! This may seem difficult but it's really easy because you do not have to be exact or neat because you can't see it (as long as you use dark colored thread). All you have to do is first attach the tread to the sweater by knotting 3 times. Then just lay the garland down and start looping around it and through the sweater. I went from the top to the bottom. REPEAT ON THE BACK.
I had a little bit extra left at the bottom so I cut it off with pliers and used this pieces to cover up some bald spots I had in the middle.
The sweater I got had a loose knit so I was able to hide one battery pack inside by the neck and pull the lights through the sweater to the outside. This way, I had one battery pack in my bra and one in my pocket (I didn't have to hide the bottom one because it ended discreetly anyway).
Now the fun part - decorate! I did the garland and lights first and then just started hanging ornaments wherever I wanted.
Then I made a wire frame for my hair. I cut the thick wire into several different-sized pieces keeping in mind that the middle of each piece would be resting on my head. This way, your head will keep the wire up instead of having many separate pieces that will just droop down. Then I used thin wire to attach the middle of all the pieces together. The wire still moved around a lot and felt loose so I used hot glue to stabilize it a bit.
I then made a simple bow to go on top of my head. Here is a good tutorial on how to do it. It is very easy. Just loop and twist so the pretty side of the ribbon is always facing out. The hardest part was waking up early to twist my hair around the wire. Then I had to wake my boyfriend up to spray it but he was a good sport. The result turned out fun!
It did take me 45 minuted to undo my hair and wash out the green and it was still knotted mess and I had to cut a few knots out. But I had fun so it was worth it!
Have fun with your ugly/tacky sweater!
Pencil skirts are a staple in my wardrobe - I love them. I wanted a velvet skirt that was below the knee length (because it's freezing outside) so I decided to make one. This is a super simple skirt that anyone who owns a sewing machine can make!
First, take your necessary measurements: waist, hip, waist-to-knee height and waist-to-hem height. For the waist, choose where you want your skirt to sit. This will be the edge of the body of the skirt - the waistband will be added above this. The hip is the widest part of your butt. Measure waist to knee so you know where to taper your pattern and then decide what length you want your skirt to be.
Now get your supplies ready. I got 1 1/4 yards of 60" wide (STRETCHY) fabric, some thread and 1" wide elastic.
Now make your pattern. Since this is for a stretchy fabric, I subtracted 1" from the total measurements.
Follow the below steps:
Voila! Your very own pencil skirt!
New York City has a great garment district but it is confusing to figure our where to get what. While I haven't been to every possible shop, here are some places I have found helpful:
There are tons of small specializes fabric places in the Garment District but very few that have numerous types of fabrics in one place. Mood, surprisingly, has the best prices in my opinion but I also visit Elegant Fabrics if I can't find what I need at Mood. Mood is a little bit hard to find because it is on the 3rd floor of a nice, plain building that does not have a sign outside (you can find it by locating the door marked with the building number - 225). If budget is not an issue and you're just looking for the best quality, B&J Fabrics has some really amazing fabrics. B&J is also upstairs in a building so make sure to look up.
Sewing Machine Parts/Repair
I lost my buttonhole presser foot and this place (City Sewing Machine Corporation II) had one for about $5. They have a lot of different parts for sewing machines and they also do sewing machine repair.
If there is no Joanns in your vicinity or if you have something extra special in mind, The City Quilter on 25th between 6th and 7th is a great go-to. Keep in mind that the prices start at about $10/yd and the minimums are 1/8 of a yard but the quality and patterns are great.
Pacific Trimming has a really big selection of trims of all shapes and sizes. It is a great place to look for accessories to your sewing projects. they also have embroidery floss (the thread you also use for cross-stitching - you just use 2 of the 6 threads at a time), which I had difficulty finding. Although the new Michaels on 22nd street is a game changer. They also have buttons but so do a ton of other shops in this area.
East Coast Trimming is also a good spot. It is significantly smaller than Pacific Trimming but it has more unique items usually. For Example, I got silver leather trim here when I was making a Freddie Mercury Jacket costume for my dad. They also have foam cups for set-in bras here but you have to ask for them.
The biggest store for trims is M&J Trimming and that one is good for ribbon, trims and appliqués. They also have buttons and crystals and such. Usually a good place to start because it has the most times in one place.
Close to M&J Trimming is Joyce Trimming. They have really nice buttons here but they're not cheap. They also have ribbon and trims.
You can get thread at several places but Sil Thead has the biggest selections. They also have a ton of zippers in all different colors and uses. On the off chance you are looking for shoulder pads, this place has the best and cheapest - just $2 a set, any kind! Beat that, Joanns.
Grommets (and Buttons)
3G Trimming has a huge selection of grommets and buttons. No further description is necessary.
Anything for Bedazzling/feathers
Hai's Trimming Inc. has all the sparkle and feathers you could ever want. Seriously, this shop is bejewel and sparkle crazy. They have a big selection, too.
I hope you have found these hints useful.
About the Author
Born and raised in the Netherlands, I now work as a designer in NYC. I love trying new things, candy and the color orange. In this blog, I will post about things I've learned and things I love. Veel plezier!