Before we get started, let me explain to you that I have zero formal training in making shit. I own a decent set of jewelry pliers and a basic White sewing machine that I got for Christmas when I was 8. I don’t know many technical/correct terms, I learn from YouTube or my mom (a creative goddess with little patience), and most of my unplanned, chaotic processes would probably give anyone who actually knows what they’re doing a headache. The way I make shit usually always follows the same pattern: 1) I see something I like online/at a store 2) I look at the price 3) I cry 4) I congratulate myself on having expensive taste 5) I take my broke ass over to Joann Fabrics or Michael’s because if I cant afford the actual product then I sure as shit can’t afford materials from those nice (expensive) boutique craft stores 6) I spend an unreasonable amount of time coming up with a half-baked plan, completely scrapping that plan, fucking everything up, tearing shit apart, rethinking the whole thing, deciding I don’t even really like what I’m trying to make anymore, making more trips to the store because my poor planning translates to not buying enough of whatever I need, sweating, pushing my cat off everything, and 7) I finish, finally, and proceed to be completely turned off by any kind of creative venture for the next 2-3 months.
I figured it would make sense for my first DIY post to be a collection of shit I’ve already made, so you can judge me as either credible or just another asshole who should stick to using my hands for prayer. And if you’re thinking, “is this all just an excuse for her to take poorly-posed, poorly-lighted pictures of herself?”
All Saints Replication
So my mom used to watch Burn Notice and I was never really into it but I’d watch with her because I didn’t have a lot of friends and what else even is there to watch on TV. Then one day I saw the beautiful rebel gun-slinging-yet-fashionable supporting character Fiona wearing this white bustled dress that I like, needed to own that very second. I am not a dress girl. I don’t like the constant possibility of it flying up and revealing my old free Victoria Secret underwear that I should have thrown away probably 6 months ago because the elastic is so threadbare it’s insulting. Girly shit in general tends to make me bleed from my eyes but something about that dress ignited a fire from deep within my female consumer nucleus. I performed some high-quality Google searches and eventually discovered that the dress was the All Saints brand Melody dress. And of course, by the time I did this search, 1 minute after seeing it on TV, I learned the dress was discontinued and not available anywhere on the internet, except from two sellers on Ebay who both wanted $350 for it. ALL THE CLOTHES I OWN COMBINED AREN’T EVEN WORTH THAT.
^^^ the real dress as featured in the show
I made the base bodice and skirt for my version of the dress by using an actual sewing pattern from Vogue, which is something I almost never do because I don’t understand any of the directions. Sewing patterns are written in the most vague English possible, and they use terms I’ve never seen before and include pictures that don’t match what I feel like those words should be saying. My mom helped me out a lot on this one, and even she struggled. When I got to the bustled front part that makes the dress look so cool, I was on my own. I figured it out using a square overlay and 2 drawstrings that are knotted and don’t fully pull together, therefore creating the layered effect. I added this into the back as well, but prefer to leave them down because I loved the short-in-front long-in-back trend and I think it looks better that way in general. I bought men’s suspenders from J.C. Penny for the straps and added the embellished belt for some fucking PIZZAZZ.
High Neck Sleeveless Top
I like to pretend that I’m above falling for trendy fashion but in reality i love a lot of that shit. These particular shirts are great because the short sleeves make them casual but the high neck makes them formal enough to put under a jacket and go out for the night to one of those bars where you want to show up looking put-together but know that by the end your makeup is going to be melting and you’ll have somehow lost your socks and Becky is crying again and that guy Bortley who gave you his number 3 months ago is suddenly a lot hotter now that you’re thinking about it and the Uber driver won’t be able to find your address on Apple Maps because somehow his location got set to Oregon and you’re no where near fucking Oregon but this will take 10 whole minutes to get figured out and you needed to apply another layer of deodorant 2 hours ago but of course you forgot to bring some and overall you look like a dump truck because it’s 3am and tequila doesn’t love you back but shit, at least your top is still FINE AS FUCK. Overall versatility 10/10. Easy project with 3 total pieces: front, back, collar.
Lace Up Crop Top
Lucky for me, I’ve been the same size of “skinny bitch with wide swimmer shoulders, no hips, long torso and boobs that are not the same size” for years now. Once I went through the trouble of figuring out all my measurements and made an easily-modifiable bodice pattern on newspaper, I can now pound out shit like this in about 20 minutes. Also I realize that the photos make it look like 2 totally different colors but that’s what filters do and that’s why you shouldn’t trust technology.
Bat Wing Top?
I’m not really sure what these are technically called, but they’re a great use of those flowy fabrics that seem really great at the store but you don’t wear skirts and the word “maxi dress” freaks you out so you don’t know what you can do with it. Pattern is super easy–as you can see when laid out it looks like the dried skin of a psychedelic flying squirrel AKA basically just a fitted box with arm and head holes. Make sure you use a GOD DAMN JERSEY-KNIT NEEDLE IN YOUR MACHINE or else hemming this pretty fabric turns into a test of patience proctored by Satan the man himself 🙂
A good pair of non-sweatpant joggers looks great on just about anyone, WOMEN INCLUDED. So I don’t know why they’re almost exclusively made for men. They’re a great way to put your converse to use in the colder, pants months without looking like a shameful throwback to the bygone days of mid 2000s Emo fashion (RIP). I’d never made pants before (or since) so it was quite the learning experience, which basically means I spent a lot of time sitting at my machine in my underwear because measurements are hard. Thank You shirt, while one of my most prized possessions, is not something I made.
90s Patchwork Shorts
I didn’t make the actual shorts–those are thrifted Topshop Moto acid-wash shorts I got for $3 at Goodwill. I sewed on patches of white denim to the front and back pockets and then used fine-tip fabric markers to draw on random designs I felt fit the trash 1990s handmade aesthetic.
Windows 95 Shirt
While the fabric markers were out, I figured why not.
TV Test Bars Quilt
Because, if I’m going to do something as grandmotherly as quilt-making, it has to be something just absurd and ironic enough to fit my personality. Who wouldn’t love to sleep beneath the nostalgic, subliminal warmth of obsolete analog telecommunication?
Leather strips are expensive and honestly I could have saved myself a lot of trouble (and in this case $$$) by just buying one of these from Forever 21. But i made it, so I bask in the misguided feeling of being better than the people who went out and spent their lazy money.
Another installment in my H O E Kollektion is these rad detachable pleather leggings that, if i’m being totally honest, I was inspired to make while playing the Sims. The only time I’ve worn them was when my boyfriend and I went with his badass biker/photographer mother to the Sturgis motorcycle rally in South Dakota–a place I absolutely did not belong at but it totally looked like I did.
300 Spartan Helmet
When I get into something, i tend to really get into it. I went through a huge 300 phase which ultimately resulted in my devotion to studying Herodotus and the Persian Wars in college. Feel free to ask for the entire generational lineage of Phraortes, because I understand it’s something you need to know RIGHT FUCKING NOW. Lessons learned: Mod Podge does. not. dry. in. Midwestern. summer. humidity.
Magnum Opus, 1998, crayon on computer paper. Frame made by artist.
At three years old, the artist composed this masterpiece using only a Crayola 12 pack and computer paper, creating an affecting image that is both playful and dramatic. The deconstructionist, semi-abstract work features a depiction of the artist’s mother (pink figure) enjoying a day at the beach while stating, in explicit text, “it is a good day at the bec…” We are left with no closure to this statement, due, perhaps, to the boundaries of the paper and perhaps more so to the constrictions of human language itself. The image is haunting, no sun shines on this beach scene, the robin’s egg blue water rises dangerously close to the cautionary orange beach towel, and several baskets containing unidentified items loom threateningly to the left side–this asymmetry working to elicit an emotional response from an otherwise emotionless landscape. No discussion of this piece would be complete without directing attention to the frame, which was constructed using a cardboard base and sea shells from a plastic bag found in the garage. Considering this, viewers are thus persuaded to contemplate the interconnected, organic nature of both art and death.