Category Archives: talents

DIY Wedding Dress

Back in April I had the great privilege of making a wedding dress for a good friend of mine. I hadn’t made a wedding dress since I worked in the costume department during my college years (so needless to say I was a bit rusty), but I had a friend in need and so I set out to make the dress she had been envisioning for the last year. Truthfully, my friend had been very wise and had picked out and ordered her dress a year before the wedding. However, when the dress arrived a mere 3 weeks before the wedding it wasn’t right. From the fabric, to the design, all the way to the size the dress was wrong. Panicked and overwhelmed with the final weeks of wedding planning she had resigned herself to buying a simple cocktail dress at a department store to get married in…but for me that simply wouldn’t do! So one duct tape manikin, 6 yards of dupioni silk, and 72 pearl buttons later I was helping her into her dress for the wedding. AND I am happy to report she was happy with the final product! Here is a quick breakdown (in pictures) of how I made her dress in 3 weeks (while still working my normal job, cleaning my house, and attending pre-wedding / bachelorette functions etc 🙂

First we bought a long night shirt and a roll of duct tape and I made a duct tape manikin of my friend. (By doing this I was able to make the dress to fit her perfectly from the start. We didn’t have time for extra alterations later.

 Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Next I created the general shape of the dress with a basic white satin (this will become the under slip and guide for the rest of the dress). My friend wanted a deep sweetheart neck line, low back and mermaid fit through the hips…so I pinned and created seams accordingly. (I also added corseting style boning and cups at this point so my fiend wouldn’t have to worry about an uncomfortable strapless bra. This dress was made to stay up throughout the ceremony and party without any unsightly tugging or adjusting!)

Created with Nokia Smart Cam Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Always make sure you look at the dress from every angle ensuring you have extra fabric for finishing seams and zippers later!Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Next I began laying the Dupioni silk over the top of the Satin under dress. Achieving the right look with ruching or folds can be difficult. If you are going to attempt this type of project take as much time as you need at this point and get the fabric to lay properly. Pin and re-pin as necessary without getting discouraged. Trust me it’s worth it in the end to do it right at this point 🙂

Created with Nokia Smart Cam Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Once I had the front pinned I began working on the back. To some degree the back of the dress can be more difficult than the front as a result of the zipper. For this dress I started by creating the folds on one side of the zipper and then moved to the other side working to ensure everything would match up perfectly once the dress was zipped.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Next I closed all of the seams (which can be tricky keeping all of your ornate folds in place properly and the only piece of advice I can give is lots of pins and lots of patience!)

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Next (and I’m sorry I don’t have pictures of this part) turn your new lovely dress inside out and sew the top of the under dress to the actual wedding dress and then turn right side out again. This will create an invisible hem at the bust line and a clean finish to the whole dress effectively hiding all of your seams (the seams of the dress face the seams of the under dress so you can’t see the seams at all). Once this is complete ensure the bust line is laying properly and make any adjustments necessary to ensure it won’t bubble or pucker.

 Created with Nokia Smart Cam Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Finally insert zipper using the invisible zipper method, attach buttons down the back of the dress covering the zipper (if desired), add any details such as rhinestones or feathers you wish to have, and hem the bottom (You will need your lovely bride to be in her wedding shoes of choice for this last measurement). Vowalla one wedding dress custom made and ready to wear.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam(I also added a bustle to the back of this dress so she could dance the night away without worrying about people stepping on the train.)

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Filed under Budget, Crafts and Gifts, DIY, Education, talents

The Rainbow Loom Craze

Well, Santa and grandparents both brought my girls various kinds of looms for Christmas. I was amazed at how inept I am at following basic instructions, but once we got it, my girls haven’t stopped.

My tips are to watch YouTube tutorials and my mom had the brilliant but simple hack of sorting colors in muffin tins.

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Filed under Children, Crafts and Gifts, talents, Uncategorized

DIY Weeping Angel Wings

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I looked everywhere for cheap wings to spray paint gray.  The cheapest I could find that weren’t fairy wings were $50.

I have four kids that need wings.  There’s no way in heck I’m paying $200 for one part of a Halloween costume!

Sooooooo–I sat and stared at my Costco Milk box and took out my roll of Duct Tape:

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I drew an outline of a wing, free-handed.  Then cut it out.

I chose the handle of the box to be where it was originally so I could fashion straps easier.

I ended up taping over them anyway though.Image

I toyed for a while between having a solid piece with the handle holes for straps, or

what I actually did, which was to keep the natural bend in the box so the wings moved and

would work better through doors and such.

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Then I began with the Duct Tape.  I started with the middle.

After stabilizing the two pieces together, I began with the actual wings,

choosing which side looked the best facing out.  I really

wanted to support the middle to avoid ripping with the kids’ wear and tear.

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After doing one long strip up and over the wing and down again, I lined up the strips and

carefully pressed them together, using my hands to get a nice groove around the curve of a “feather”.
ImageImage Then I cut just outside of the groove.

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It continued on like this until the wings were covered.

Then I begs making small-ish strips with the ends folded over for feathers.

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Place folded end downward where you want a feather and carefully cut out the

shape of a feather.  Repeat until it looks right to you.

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Voila!  Now for the straps.

I made two strips of tape folded over itself.

Make sure it can go over their shoulders.

Adhere to the inside of the wings and stabilize the straps.

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Filed under Budget, Children, Crafts and Gifts, DIY, Family, Halloween, Holidays, Motherhood, talents

One very cheap and easy Halloween decorating idea

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One thing I like to do every holiday is paint the windows.  It razor blades right off and is a very frugal way of being festive.  I use tempera paint and free hand it, but you could use a stencil as well.  It takes little to no time at all and adds some flair.

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Filed under Crafts and Gifts, Halloween, Holidays, talents