Monday, March 19, 2012

DIY Tutorial: Large Faux Leather Clutch/Laptop Case

DIY Clutch/Laptop Case

So, it's been a while since I've been able to get a blog post up! I've been busy with school and then was on Spring Break, and just never got around to getting this one up, although I've had the actual clutch done for weeks. The inspiration for this idea came from Pinterest (of course), I had seen SwellMayde's DIY envelope clutch and started looking around for other DIY clutch ideas.  I came across a video on YouTube called: DIY Clutch American Apparel Leather Pouch, and I decided I loved the idea and was going to try and do it myself.  Overall, this was not a difficult project, although I made a couple mistakes that made it a little more annoying, luckily you all will not make those same mistakes if you attempt this at home since you all have a warning from me!

1/3 of a yard of vinyl or faux leather material (I got mine from Hancock in the scrap fabric section so it was like $1.60 for all of it!)
A 16 inch zipper (I did a separating zipper only because I liked the chunky gold look of it, you can pick any one you like.  It was $5, but they were 50% off that day, so $2.50!)
A sewing machine, with a durable needle (vinyl is a thick fabric to sew through)
Super glue

I got the dimensions from the YouTube video, but it wasn't extremely helpful on much else. Hopefully this tutorial is a bit more clear. So, to start off, you want to cut two rectangles of 16 by 12 inches from the vinyl.  I really didn't measure very carefully, all I had laying around was a tape measurer and I didn't mark it or anything.  I just did the best I could with what I had and tried to make the edges straight (it really doesn't have to be perfect).

I chose a tan vinyl with a tan and gold zipper.
The next thing you have to do it pin and sew the zipper on correctly.  I haven't sewn a zipper in a longgggg time, so this took me a minute to figure out. Basically, you have to pin the zipper in a way that would seem upside down.  You pin it downward, on the right side of the fabric.  It's hard to explain, but hopefully the pictures help. Also, I did not have a zipper foot to sew this on, it would be easier to do with one, but I didn't have one available to me, so I used the basic one on any sewing machine.

Pin the zipper downward, so when it's facing the
correct way, it is somewhat hidden

When you pull the zipper up after it is sewn,
 it should look like this. When both sides
are connected it then sits correctly!
When both sides are sewn they should lay like this
next to each other.  You then are able to zip them
back together to make sure it looks correct.

The zipper is honestly the hardest part of this whole project just because it takes some figuring out to get it right.  I hope those pictures help, if not- just play around with it until you get it the way you want it to look when the clutch is closed.

Next you have to sew up the other three sides when the clutch is inside out.  This is really simple and you want to leave about half an inch of space between where the zipper is and where you stop sewing.  I would sew about half an inch in on the sides as well, I may have done a little bit more than this and cut off the excess because I had actually measured it a little bit bigger than 16" by 12".

I had to cut off the excess on the bottom after I sewed
the pieces together.
Next you just want to clip the corners so when it turns right-side out, the corners are able to push through and create an L shape.

Cut as close to the stitches as possible.
At this point you can turn the clutch inside out and make sure the zipper is closing correctly.  When I turned mine out I was unhappy with how the zipper was sitting.  I guess I left too big of a gap from the side seams to the actual zipper, so it looked unfinished to me.  I thought this would be easy to fix with some fabric glue, so I put a lot in the cracks and ghetto-rigged some pins to make it stay in place overnight.  It looked like this when I went to bed:

What a disaster! haha
Anyway, needless to say- this did not work in any way.  Turns out the fabric glue was not good for vinyl so when I took the pins out the next day, it pulled right apart.  I was stuck peeling out all the rubbery glue.  I found a bottle of Krazy glue super glue, and read on the back that it works well on vinyl.  I finally found a solution.  I put the super glue where the fabric glue had been and it sealed it really well.  It's been weeks, and it still is holding up!

At this point, you're ready to use your clutch!  I wanted to use it and have it kind of fold over to create a slouchy look, but the vinyl I had purchased was almost too thick for that (if you want to be able to do that get something that is meant to be a faux leather).  I then realized this pouch was the perfect size for my MacBook pro.  I am able to fit my computer and charger and other things in this case perfectly.  I have been using it constantly, and I think it looks so sleek. The best part is, I spent like $4 on the whole project, and it really does look 'expensive'.  Here are some pictures of how it turned out, sorry they're not that great, I just felt so goofy modeling it :)

The 'slouchy' clutch look, with just my
keys, phone and other things from
 my purse inside.
More structured looking with my
laptop in it.

Fits my MacBook Pro and charger perfectly :)
Hope that you like this and are will to give it a try! I love it and now carry this with me to class and when I go out of town instead of my bulkier Betsey Johnson case. I also used what was left of the vinyl and tried to make a quick envelope clutch as well, and I am in the process of painting that now.  If it turns out cute, be on the lookout for another clutch tutorial.  If not, I just won't mention it again, haha. I hope to get another blog up in the next week to week and a half, so stay tuned!



Saturday, March 3, 2012

DIY Tutorial: Tiered Lace Shorts from Men's Boxers

For the past couple of months, I have been lusting after a pair of lace shorts:

I pin them on Pinterest all of the time, and I've looked on tons of websites- but I really couldn't find any that I loved, and if I did find a pair, the price was a bit ridiculous.  So I thought, why not make them?? It could be a fun project and it couldn't be that hard, right? Wrong. My friend Beth did this DIY with me, and we struggled and cursed and screamed our way through it.  I am going to be honest- this was the hardest DIY project I've ever done.  And I have done hundreds.  But if you love lace like me and are dedicated and patient, then stay tuned to find out how to create your very own pair of tiered lace shorts.

What you need:
a pair of white or cream shorts (I used white men's cotton boxers, my first big mistake)
lace, lace, and more lace. (I ended up using at least 14 yards!!)
a sewing machine (or fabric glue)
a seam ripper

I would have loved to find a pair of white or cream dress shorts with a side zipper for this project, but I had no luck.  So I decided to go with a pair of men's boxers that I found for $4 at Target.  I thought this would be easy, because I could just slip the elastic waist on.  However, I recommend not using a short with any stretchiness, because when you sew the lace on it is not stretchy and it makes it hard to get them over your hips.  When I figured this out, it was already too late.  Anyway, if you do choose boxers, you are going to have to alter the length most likely.  So, I hemmed the legs of the shorts and also rolled the elastic waist down one time to shorten the length of the crotch, and sewed along that line.

Double roll the shorts from the inside and pin down, then sew around to hem.

Remove the tag, and pin down this waist band from the inside.
Then sew around to shorten crotch length

 After you do this, remove the button (using a seam ripper) from the flap on the front, and sew that flap closed. Your shorts should now look a little bit more like women's shorts.
After alterations
Now comes the fun part (and by fun, I mean HARD.)  We bought our lace from Hancock fabrics by the spool.  The lace by the yard was much more expensive. I bought 4 spools of different kinds of lace first, about 8 yards worth, and that got me about halfway up the shorts.  I had to go back out and get 3 more spools- thank goodness it was 30% off so it was only 84 cents per spool!  The skinnier the lace, the more layers you will need. My lace was skinnier than Beth's and I ended up needing a ton more than she did.

At first we tried to glue the lace to the shorts with "Ok to wash" glue that we found at Hancock Fabrics.   It is possible to use this for the shorts, I just don't recommend it. We thought this would be easier since we had seen other tutorials using it, but it was a disaster.  You have to wait for the glue to get tacky, then it gets everywhere and sticks to your fingers when you try to put it on the shorts and it's just a mess.  After we fussed with this on the first layer for an hour or so, we decided to try our luck with the sewing machine.  

Placing the layers is all your own preference, you choose what layer looks best on the bottom and then on top of that, etc etc.  You have to pin one layer at a time, and I would recommend starting from the bottom up. I would pin the lace all the way around, and then make the cut to make sure the length was correct.  You also have to be very careful when pinning the layers to not pull the lace super tight, because this makes the shorts bunch up and become tight when put on.  I learned this the hard way and had to seam-rip the entire third layer and start over- and it seriously took FOREVER.
           You want the first tier to be the lace you like the best, because
 it hangs over your hem 
Pinning the first layer off of the leg of the shorts is
crucial to get right, so take your time.

After you get the first row done that goes around the whole body of the shorts and isn't on the actual short leg, it starts to get a little easier. (Not by much, but you just get the hang of it).  Continue to layer the lace in the fashion that you like to create the look you want, until you reach the top (this takes a lot of time, and a lot of patience).  I wouldn't recommend sewing on the actual elastic band because then it will no longer be stretchy, and they will be really difficult to get on and off.  To get to this point I had 8 layers on the front, and 9 layers on the back.  (That's a lot of pinning and sewing!)
They are quite pretty: reminds me of bloomers or a lace petticoat

At this point, I had to try them on.  I'm not going to lie- I wasn't completely thrilled with the results.  Because the lace we bought was already gathered at the top, it made the lace lay more 'poofy' than I would have preferred. So when I tried them on I felt a bit like I had a fancy lace diaper on.

Please ignore my tie dye shirt that I was working in :)
 I realized it might help if I sewed down the seams on the sides to help hold the lace in place and calm down the 'poofiness'.  I pinned down the seams and sewed a straight line.  Thank goodness, this helped a little.

Pin down the sides to make sure it gives the effect you want
...then sew that line when you're happy with it.
I thought about sewing seams down the front and the back too, to minimize the poof even more- but as of now I have decided against it. I still think they're a little too 'fru fru' but with how much work I put into them, I have to love them. With the right styling they make a super cute outfit!

The lace and the shorts together were about $11.  I spent $3.50 on fabric glue that I didn't end up using.  I already had all the other materials, so they really weren't too expensive to make. Anyway,  here's the finished product, I hope you all like them and maybe want to give them a try!

Finished product up close!
A cute way to style lace shorts:
A blazer, neutral top, and neutral heels!