Category: DIY & Crafting

How to Upcycle Leggings with a DIY

So I wear leggings a lot. Like, a lot. I’ve often thought “I hope my readers don’t notice how often I’m wearing leggings in all these outfit posts.” Whether it’s regular black leggings, LuLaRoe leggings, or even Lisa Frank leggings, my drawers are full of them all the time. If not, the laundry situation is seriously dire. One thing is sure though: leggings do not last forever. As any avid leggings wearer knows all too well, they get baggy, thin, ripped and unwearable. There are things you can do to delay this such as line drying, but eventually your relationship with your dear wardrobe stable will come to its inevitable end. Or will it?

Since I care so much about the environment, I like to avoid tossing things mindlessly in the trash. Since you’re reading this, I bet you do too.

If they’re truly beyond any hope, I cut them into squares and upcycle leggings into rags. The soft cotton is ideal for cleaning. If they’re kind of still good, you can patch them using old sweaters or sock cuffs, as in this tutorial:
Upcycled LeggingsThis upcycling project is inspired by a pair of boutique leggings first worn in the New Year Style Guide. I realized these unique, comfy, cuffed leggings could be easily recreated as a DIY upcycled leggings project. Here is the original pair:

DIY cuffed leggingsThe cuff part can easily be made out of the sleeves of old sweaters, or old decorative crew or knee socks. You’ll need a coordinating pair of leggings to sew the cuff to.

For a sewing project, it was pretty easy! I don’t consider myself a confident sewer (I gave up trying to get the machine properly threaded for my Princess Anna costume and ended up hand stitching practically everything) but this was totally doable.

DIY cuffed leggings How to Upcycle Socks as Legging Cuffs

Step 1: Cut the arms off the sweater or the foot of the sock. Up to 12 inches is a good length for a cuff. You should now have two tubes of fabric which will become the cuffs of your upcycled leggings.

Step 2: Slide the tube onto the ankles of the leggings. Fold down the edges if needed and pin to secure.

Step 3: Hand or machine sew both the top and bottom edge, securing the upcycled cuff to the leggings. Wear them with flats or ankle boots to show off the cute cuff of your new upcycled leggings!

Full price, the boutique leggings were $36. Congratulations, you’ve just made a pair for the cost of a basic pair of leggings, plus created a new use for an unwanted garment that might have ended up in a landfill. Not to mention this is a totally exclusive item that no one else will have!

Here’s what they look like on.

DIY legging cuffsFor more reading, here are more of my favorite ways to reuse old items. And read my upcycled corkboard tutorial here.

Do you upcycle leggings? What do you do with them? I’d love to know in the comments!

Frozen Princess Anna Costume

Frozen Princess Anna Costume

I worked too hard on this not to share it! This is my Frozen Princess Anna costume, AKA the culmination of hours and hours of hand stitching and multiple trips to the fabric store.

The dog was supposed to be Sven but he ate his reindeer antlers so that’s not actually happening.

Anna Costume

I’m especially proud of the applique, which is made from felt, and the cape. The skirt and vest are actually upcycled from old garments that were cut down and re-sewn. The vest was a 3/4 sleeve shirt I no longer wore, so I cut off the sleeves and those became the boot spats. Everything else was made from materials I already had, so I only had to buy the shirt, the gold trim and the felt!

Princess anna costume Halloween 2014

Did you make or buy your Halloween costume this year?

Adding Swarovski Crystals the Right Way

Add sparkle with Swarovski crystals

I had a weekend of back-to-back feisanna, or Irish dance competitions. It was a fun, tiring and rewarding weekend. I’m excited to share my newest creation, which is these bedazzled hardshoe buckles. Irish dancers LOVE adding crystals to things. Crowns, buckles, even dresses are littered with jewels. I’m thrilled I finished the project (a win in itself) and figured out how to jewel Irish dance buckles successfully. I started decorating the buckles for Irish fair in August, but my experiment with using super glue didn’t go well. So in preparation for the weekend I finally succumbed to using the adhesive E6000 for the first time, thanks to my dance classmate who gave me a leftover tube of it.

Selecting the right adhesive

Here’s what I learned about how to Swarovski (yes I just made that into a verb) your own apparel. I mentioned my first attempt involved superglue. Turns out that’s a huge mistake–cyanoacrylate becomes brittle after time and movement can pop embellishments right off! Lesson learned. Unfortunately the alternative, E6000, is pretty toxic stuff. The Material Safety Data Sheet (MDSM) is available online if you want to know the details, but basically when using it you want to 1) use it as infrequently as you can, 2) wear gloves, 3) be in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside if possible.

How to DIY Swarovski BucklesI used a toothpick to apply a bit of glue to the location of where I wanted the crystal, then used the same toothpick to pick up the crystal from the back and place it on the buckle. It was tedious, time-consuming and full of fumes, but it was so worth it to have fully blinged buckles. Since buying the buckles, crystals and glue adds up, choosing the DIY route doesn’t really save any money. But it does allow for customizing a look that’s not otherwise available (I used half clear Swarovski stones and half Aurora Borealis). Dance trends and fashions are changing all the time and fully crystalled buckles are more on trend, so I might add more crystals later. But for now, I’m satisfied!

What adhesives have been successful for your DIY projects? I’d love to hear advice from other crafters about tips and tricks for successful embellishing!

DIY Patriotic Hair Bows

DIY Patriotic Hair bows

Red, White & Bows

Happy birthday America! (Well, not quite, but I’m posting this a little early so you’ll have time to make and wear these.) This holiday calls for something decorative, preppy and Red, White & Blue. I searched everywhere last 4th for a patriotic hair bow and could not find one.  I was forced to take matters into my own crafty hands and teach myself how to make them. I learned that it’s very easy, as long as you find adorable ribbon and have access to hot glue. I’ve noticed more patriotic bows for sale this year, but making them yourself is a fun, inexpensive option. All you need is ribbon, hot glue, scissors and a hair clip. Here are some very basic instructions for making a hair bow.

How to: DIY Patriotic Hair Bows

1. Cut a length of ribbon twice as long as the length you want your bow. Where do you find stars and stripes ribbon, you may ask? I found mine at my local fabric store–they’re sure to have some this time of year. Ribbon two or three inches wide is best. I used wired ribbon, but that’s optional.

2. Fold the length of ribbon in half by holding the ends together to make a circle and flattening the circle so the ends are in the middle and in the back. Now wrap a smaller piece of ribbon around the center to make the “knot.”  Hot glue the center piece down. So you can see there is no tying happening with this bow–you’re faking it with two pieces of ribbon and some well-placed hot glue.

3. Glue the hair clip to the back. I use a plain bobby pin for mine, but depending on your hair’s density and texture you might need a different kind of clip.

You can also make these bows for your furry friends too. I slid the bow onto the pup’s collar and he looked positively dapper.

Matching girl & dog bowsDogs want to be patriotic too!

Always supervise your pet when he has a bow on, just in case. Perry recommends bows for special occasions only, not everyday wear.

Furry friend patriotic bowYay hairbows. Yay Liberty.

In too much of a hurry to DIY? Get some last minute accessories like these:

Suit & Tie Card Craft for Father’s Day

DIY Suit Father's Day CardThis is the perfect card for my dad, who wears suits and ties almost all the time. But even if the man you’re honoring this Father’s Day isn’t much of a suit guy, you can’t deny that this is a cute card idea and he’ll totally love it anyway.

This card looks hard to make. And it kind of was. But if you break it down, it’s really just cutting and pasting shapes. You could make this card with a lot of measuring and it would probably turn out really good. I’m not the measuring type of crafter (or baker…or cook…) so I used eyeballing and estimating instead of measuring. You pick what works best for you!

P.S. I didn’t invent this design. I sort of lifted the idea from a Papyrus card I saw in Target last year. There are also cards like these aplenty on Etsy if you’re not into DIY.

How to make your own Father’s Day suit and tie card, step by step

You’ll need card stock and scrapbook paper, fabric (optional), scissors and glue, buttons (optional) and a ruler (optional).

First, fold cardstock into a card shape.

Then, choose your suit paper and cut a square the size of the card. I chose a striped scrapbook paper that was double sided, so I could use it for the lapels too.

card tutorial step 1Cut a V shape out of the top of the suit paper.

This step is important! The layers matter. Don’t glue down the suit yet!

First, glue down a square of your shirt paper. It doesn’t need to cover the whole card.

Now, glue down the bottom half of the suit, leaving the top half unglued.

Card tutorial step 2Cut a thin rectangle for the tie. I used fabric for this but paper works just as well and is easier to manage. Glue the tie down to the shirt.

Cut a square for the knot of the tie. Glue down.

Finish gluing the suit down.

Now, cut the lapels. They are skinny triangle shape. Glue them down.

Glue real buttons on or draw buttons if you prefer.

Add a pocket and pocket square if you like!

Super simplified directions:

To recap, or if you skimmed the detailed directions, here is the order to glue things down (learned the hard way):

1. Shirt square, 2. bottom of the jacket, 3. Tie bottom, 4. tie knot, 5. top of jacket, 6. lapels, 7. pocket square, 8. pocket, 9. buttons

You’re done–now for the heartfelt message inside! Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, step dads, grandfathers and father figures out there.