Tag Archives: accessories

American Craft Favorites: 2

26 Feb

Nichole Deponte‘s work is not for shrinking violets. She makes statement piece accessories from men’s neckties–are they scarves? Are they necklaces? I’m not sure, but they wrap around your neck, and they’re beautiful.

It’s funny, because the first thing I thought of when I saw Deponte’s work was this pin, that I’d pinned on Pinterest:

It showed how a simple necktie could be turned into a feminine, ruffled, neck piece. And yet, what I love most about Deponte’s “Lilian Asterfield” line is that although it stems from a common cultural meme, it takes the common idea and pushes it further than anyone else has done and does it elegantly and with great workmanship. Again, there’s that push-pull relationship of competing thoughts: “It’s just neckties, you can do this yourself” and then, as you peer closer and see what’s really going on, there, “No, way, look what she’s done with those neckties!”
The more you look, the more you see.

I’ve done work with upcycled men’s neckties, myself (more on that later) and again, Deponte’s art stood out to me because it was not easily duplicated. For starters, she uses really nice ties. They’re good quality, and she uses a lot of them: one ruffled neck piece might have three ties in it, but when they’re all the same color, you don’t notice at first. And then she puts them together. I’m sure it’s fun to fold and ruffle ties, but I also know from looking that it’s going to take a lot of time before I  could ever “fold and ruffle” to the extent that she has. So many quirky variations! And then on top of that, she adds bits of lace and buttons and other embellishments, and they’re all sewn together quite well. These ties are flashy and fun, but they’re also well-made down to the details.

I think this product line is a good illustration of how, as crafters, we often have a choice: we can wrap our arms tightly around our ideas defensively and say “I thought of this, first!” or, like Deponte, we can rework ideas, improve upon them, and get so deeply rooted into the artistry of it that we run, leaping and skipping ahead of the pack, making with pleasure and wild abandon until what we’ve created has value far beyond that of the original idea.  She hasn’t “inspired” me to make a tie scarf, myself, or copy her idea (no, I want one of hers, preferably one of the striped ones that look so very modern-Downton Abbey) but Deponte has inspired me to look farther than just follow-the-directions when I see an intriguing idea, lying around.

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Fun Fashion Accessories

31 Jan

Here’s something I’ve never thought of wearing before: Spats!

These are from Lux Legs, and I know they’re a little “out there”. But in my opinion, there’s a lot to like. The whole idea of spats is retro and/or steampunk, but I think some of these choices transcend that costume character and could be worn as a fun fashion element away from the theme park or con. I also like the way they change the silhouette of a shoe, and give the impression of ankle, calf, or knee-high boots, but without the investment or commitment of boots.  I wonder if spats wouldn’t be a fun sewing project, to play with this line and shape on legwear.

Bag Challenge: the Strategy

22 Dec

I decided to try corduroy, for the fabric of my handbag. That makes it very wintery, and I’ll want to do another one by springtime, but that’s fine with me–I’m feeling rather wintery right now.

My local fabric source did not have much in the way of wide wale corduroy.  No buttered-toffee color, no caramel, no gold, not even a mustard.

There was some rust-colored fine wale, however, a color I can enjoy.  For my pattern, I decided to try out one of the bag variations in the Burda Style Sewing Handbook. I bought this when it first came out, but I haven’t tried making anything from it, yet. I’m not used to the make-your-own-pattern Burda experience, so I’ll let you know how that goes.
This is how my concept looks, right now:I’ll post more when I’ve got more!

First Challenge: a new bag

19 Dec

My handbag is wearing out. I’ve dragged it around with me every day for more than a year, and the handles are wearing thin, as is the spot where each handle attaches to the bag. I’m a bag-as-big-as-a-tote kind of girl–I need a bag big enough to live out of, and I only change out bags for special occasions.  So I need a good, go-to kind of a handbag, on the large side.

It occurs to me that I could just go buy a bag, and claim my little project hasn’t officially started yet…but what would be the fun in that? Sure, making my own handbag isn’t as easy as, say, an A-line skirt…but I have tons of A-line skirts, and this whole deal is about finding my real necessities, so a handbag actually seems an appropriate place to start.  Also, I realize my specific needs in a bag are probably just as easy to fulfill, hand-making it, as they would be, trying to find something ready-made (that I can still afford.)

What I require in a bag:

-Versatile for everyday wear

-Sturdy, but not heavy or stiff

-Easy-access pockets for essential at-the-ready items like phone and keys and subway pass

-Long enough handles to sling over my shoulder and leave my hands free, even while wearing my winter coat

-It has to have at least one smooth side, the side against my body. Zippers and details (even seams) often rub and wear on more delicate clothing, over time.

And on top of all this, I’d like it in some fun color, not a print, but not boring. Some small bit of color that goes with many of the colors frequently found in my general wardrobe palette.  I’m thinking maybe mustard, or gold, or a caramel-toffee kind of color.
While most bags I choose tend to be leather-look, I think a sturdy fabric will be fine for a home sewn purse, as long as it’s heavy enough to be sturdy, with just a bit of slouch, some relaxed shape without looking…too hand sewn. Maybe lightweight canvas, upholstery fabric, or a wide-waled corduroy.

I’m off to find the perfect bag…

Starting off easy: DIY fabric-covered bangle bracelets

18 Dec

I love bright,  chunky bangles in all different sizes and materials. Recently I’ve been giving some of my old ones a makeover by covering them in fabric.  I see lots of online tutorials about wrapping bangles in strips of fabric, but I thought I’d post my version, which doesn’t leave raw edges visible.

You need:

-plain bangles to cover. I used thrifted metal and plastic ones, but since I’ve covered all my old ones, for this batch I used wooden blanks from DIY bangles. The advantage of these is that they come in different sizes, both circumference and thickness, so it’s easier to fit those with small or larger hands.

-scraps of fabric. I like to use up my most obnoxious ones: faux fur, upholstery velvet, anything with texture and color.

-sewing machine (optional) and needle and thread.

-hot glue (optional)

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