Sprinkled among all my workplace chatter, I like to flex my creative muscles and toss in a DIY project here and there. In many cases, I aim to make them work appropriate projects, but occasionally I just can’t help myself when I see a fun, casual creation that captures my heart. Without further ado, I share a summary of my projects to date as well as a little background about my skills to put all these projects in context. 

My DIY Diaries

With all these quick fixes and refashions you’re inspired to try, don’t forget to stop by the Corporate Chic on the Cheap Series and the Remix It Up Series for more great ways to creatively stretch your closet and save yourself some cash. 

My DIY Inspiration Vaults

DIY Features

General DIY Tips and Tricks
Sewing: Rotary Blade and Cutting Mat

Although these can be somewhat pricey, they are well worth the investment. I completed a few projects without them and found my projects turned out much better (and with less wasted time and fabric) after purchasing these tools. If you intend to wear any of the clothes that you sew, these will make a big difference in loving your finished product. 

I purchased these items from JoAnn’s and used a 40% off coupon for each of them. The rotary blades started around $20 – $25 (before coupons) and the cutting mats cost about $50 (before coupons), though plenty of options abound at higher price points if you desire to invest in them. At this point, I don’t know the difference between lower and higher end products, so you’ll have to find a more dedicated sewing blog to hash out that decision. 

Sewing: Working With Knits

Such a great, friendly fabric to wear because it’s uber comfortable and doesn’t easily wrinkle, but it can be a pain to sew. A few tips:

  • Use a ballpoint needle and be sure it’s new or almost new ~ This needle is a bit finer than a universal needle and slips through a knit fabric better. Larger and/or older needs more often get caught in the knit fabric (I learned the hard way!). You shouldn’t need a stretch needle for most knits (as far as I’ve learned to date); those are for really stretch fabrics like spandex.
  • Proceed with caution when selecting fabric if you aren’t planning to include a lining. I’ve found many knits to be more transparent than initially expected when I examined them at the fabric store. 
  • Use a stretch stitch (if your machine has one) and don’t pull the fabric through the machine [via Crazy Little Projects] – stop over for lots more advice from a much better seamstress than me.
  • Knits don’t fray, so you can leave edges unfinished if you like the look. Randomly Happy Blog can share more about this as well as using a zigzag stitch instead of a straight stitch. I used a straight stitch on my DIY maxi and it seemed to work alright, but I only had a few really simple seams. And I did leave the bottom hem of my maxi skirt unfinished.

A Seamstress In Training

I don’t have phenomenal sewing skills, beginner at best. But I do have a sewing machine and a few basic tools to make very simple quick fixes and refashions to bring new life to a garment that may have otherwise been tossed out and, on rare occasions, make something from scratch. Even if you’re a novice in the sewing world, consider learning just a thing or two (if you have any interest). Not only will you exercise your creative genius but you’ll help the environment if you’re reusing pieces already in your closet and, on almost all occasions, be saving yourself a few bucks, to say the least. 

I share with you several DIY projects I have completed. I provide tutorials for some but direct you to other, much more eloquent and beautiful tutorials, where relevant (and where I just copied verbatim their awesome directions). At the very least, I strive to show through my projects that a few skills can go a long way in making the most of what you already own. 

I can’t stress enough that I have truly the most basic of sewing skills. I have received a few pieces of advice from my mother, an average seamstress, and my grandmother, a seasoned pro. For the most part, however, I have just stumbled through making my best guesses and Googling a few tips here and there (thank you You Tube). Tutorials abound for everything! So have no fear, dive in and give it a try. Especially if you’re attempting a quick fix or refashion, the alternative will likely be to toss the item. So why not mock it up to see if you can make it work before giving up on it. You’ve got nothing to lose!

A Jewelry (Con)Artist

I have never taken any formal training with respect to making jewelry. Similar to my sewing prowess, I have taught myself some simple jewelry making techniques by browsing Internet tutorials, taking a class or two at a local jewelry store, and fighting a healthy number of battles with trial and error, more trial and error, and ultimately, success.