knock-offs and designer impostors

Good LAWD does anyone remember those awful Designer Impostor deodorant body sprays? Those were all the rage in my middle school back in the day. After gym class, the ladies locker-room ALWAYS reeked of a funk, Vanilla Fields, and wanna-be Tommy Girl perfume medley.

But actually that outdated subject brings me to this bag. I’m sure it’s official – American Apparel hates me. I knocked off their medium leather carry-all pouch too. I picked up a plum faux snake-skin-like fabric from JoAnn to make this simple clutch.

Check out the simple tutorial on Style Scrapbook’s blog to make your own. I added a lining on the inside to make it extra fancy.

In my defense, technically AA is knocking off the ‘pencil bag’. Right?

think big print

So this was my outfit to the Texas Style Council Conference in Austin (sans black heels and black cropped leggings).
Black jersey-knit diy circle scarf (made with 1.5 yards fabric) + Project Runway Simplicity pattern #2622

You may recognize Mood Fabrics if you’ve ever tuned into any season of Project Runway. It’s their go-to fabric store for the projects they make on the show. In both sewing classes I’ve ever taken in the fashion program, BOTH times I had a class fabric twin. I vowed to never again purchase fabric local again for a competition or major class project. A couple of months ago I decided to browse Mood Fabrics online, and I fell in love with this jersey fabric and I ordered a swatch. I’m definitely going for bold colors and big print this summer!

A few things about ordering fabric swatches:

  • If you ever order fabric online ALWAYS order a swatch first!! If you are like me and just have a basic knowledge of fabrics and types, ordering a swatch lets you get an idea of fabric thickness, how it feels, and color.

  • Just as when deciding on a shade of lipstick or a paint color for a room, make sure to put the swatch against your skin in indoor lighting and outdoor lighting to see how and if it works with your skin-tone.

  • Pictures are provided for you online, but the colors you see on your screen may be very different from what you get.

  • If ordering a printed fabric, most online fabric retailers will take a photo of the fabric with a quarter on it. This gives you a better idea of what size your graphic print will be as compared to something you already know the size of (ex. a coin). But remember, this just gives you an idea what you are getting. Paying 75 cents for a swatch now can save you hefty bucks later.

Needless to say, I was happy with it. I ordered 1.5 yards to make a bright and summer lovin’ tunic.

Next project is a high waisted skirt…….I think (?)

Texas Style Council Conference wrap-up

It was a great day in Austin, TX. Unfortunately, my visit was really brief, but within those few short hours I learned a lot, stuffed my face, and mingled with some great people.

The panel I attended was on the subject of careers and how you can use your blog as a ‘Careers and Sales Springboard’. I was really interested to find that most of the women on the panel didn’t have a fashion and/or business background – they simply had a passion for something and carried through with the hard work required to make it happen. ALL of these women are successful, and each have devised their own unique niche within the realms of fashion, community, and technology.

I highlighted a few things that these ladies had to share regarding their ventures and how they got started in the process:

“[We are] helping people identify their talent and bringing that talent to life, and when we started there was no business plan for ‘Blogger Talent Management Agency’. We were the only ones that were soley and only dedicated to bloggers….We believe in bloggers. We believe that media is changing, that bloggers are the new influencers, and that you have a real value that all brands are really trying to tap into and figuring out how to not sell yourself short.” – Kendra, Digital Brand Architects

“So just diving into [StoreEnvy], I learned so much about it. There are so many fabulous resources out there and shop owners and designers who would love to give you advice on even the most rudimentary things that you have no idea how to work with.” – Janette, StoreEnvy

“Find people that you like what they’re doing and reach out to them because even people that are important and high-up want to help because a lot of times they got to where they were because someone helped them. Tell people what you are doing. Don’t be afraid that they are going to steal your idea. People won’t know how to help you if they don’t know what you’re up to. Don’t be precious about your idea and tell EVERYONE about it.” – Brooke,

“I did study business undergrad, but they don’t really teach you anything about business, in MY experience. But I always wanted to work in fashion and I’ve always worked in the digital space….I wanted to work in fashion, but I didn’t want to start from the bottom again because I already had a career. I wanted to bring my skills to the table and figure out what the Vintage community really needed.” – Pamela, Market Publique

“I got to a juncture where it was like, ‘Ok, do I want to keep going up this ladder of designing clothes for different [fashion] houses, or do I just want to do my own thing and see where it takes me?’….The fashion world is really suffering right now and really changing, and it’s harder and harder for designers to make a living for themselves and build businesses in the economy we live in right now so the most exciting things that are happening in fashion, in my opinion, are happening online.” – Kelly, The Glamourai

“‘If you want to be successful, be a platform for other people to succeed.’ Make sure they can get something that satisfies their needs or their vanity, which is really important….Our largest portion of the site is conversational advertising; it’s engagement.” – Nora, BurdaStyle

Besides the opportunity to meet folks that I read and admire online, one of the biggest motivations for attending TXSCC was the DIY presence (Etsy, BurdaStyle). Nora, co-founder of BurdaStyle, was my favorite panelist, and it was a pleasure to meet her and her Marketing and Partnership Director, Carol. I’ve been a member of BurdaStyle myself for a little over a year now, and it is a great community for hobby sewers, designers, and anyone wanting to learn how to sew or just simply have an interest and want to see others’ projects.

This video is from a year ago, and since then, the BurdaStyle community has just reached 500,000 members. I highly recommend you join too!

Indiana was co-organizer of the Texas Style Council Conference, and her blog is one of my faves. So in saying that, did I even say ‘hi’ and introduce myself? No. But did I take creep-o photos of her like a stalker? *sigh* Yes.

But I seriously thought her boots were killer!

Other highlights included:

  • Meeting Kendi (of Kendi Everyday) and her talented photographer husband, Bryan. These kids are every bit as adorable in person as they are in the above shot, courtesy of Nathan Russell Photography. They held a crash course in Beginning Photography and it was, well frankly, awesome. Kendi is a hoot, and Bryan is like the sensei of photography. They.Rock. It also didn’t hurt that all of the food and drank was in our room.
  • Meeting fellow bloggers Reiko of God’s Favorite Shoes and Chastity of The Curvy Girl’s Guide to Style. REALLY cool ladies, both with great style and to-die-for hair!

And last but not least, here’s a blurry sneak peek of the tunic I wore to TXSCC made from fabric I ordered online from Mood Fabrics. As always, more soon!

diy circle scarf tutorial

The DIY Circle Scarf tutorial vid is finally up! As promised, I want to teach you everything you need to know to make your own. You will need to know:

What is a selvage edge
The right and wrong side of the fabric
What is a seam allowance
How to sew the slip stitch

For those that will be sewing the entire project by hand:

How to thread your needle
How to sew the running stitch or back stitch

A few things worth mentioning:

  • For mine, I used 2 yards of fabric. (I highly recommend this especially if you’re using a non-stretchy fabric and to double-wrap it comfortably around your neck.)

  • If you are hand sewing your scarf as a beginner, just know that you will have to re-thread your needle several times since you are working with a lot of fabric – this is normal. When you are close to running out of thread on your needle, simply knot-off, re-thread your needle, and continue where you left off.

  • New sewers: 45″ is an common fabric bolt width and you won’t have any trouble finding it. My fabric was originally 58″ in width and I cut it down when I got home. When shopping for your fabric, don’t hesitate to ask any of the ladies at the fabric cutting counter if you need help. That’s why they are there!

  • If you decide to use a jersey or another stretchy type of fabric, definitely use the back stitch if sewing by hand. The overlapping stitches not only provide strength, but it adds flexibility when the fabric is stretched during use. If you are using a sewing machine, be sure to stretch the fabric slightly as you sew. This also ensures that you don’t start popping stitches if you stretch your scarf a lot during use.

  • Some fabrics (like most jersey) don’t have an obvious right and wrong side. If thats the case, just designate one side as right and the other as wrong.

  • If you are curious, I used non-stretchy rayon fabric for my circle scarf.

Alright kids. So that should be it! If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or shoot me a message. And if you make one of these for yourself, please do send me a link!! I’d love to see it :)

i look so mean in photos

I am often later told that upon first sight I look stuck-up or snobbish. I tend to look this way when I don’t smile. It’s not true!! I’m just generally quiet at first, but I promise I’m a really nice gal. That’s a definite heads up to the other bloggers I’ll be meeting in Austin this weekend!! *Excited*

Anyway, be prepared that the first DIY tutorial is coming soon! I have created a video to show you step by step how to make the above circle or infinity scarf (very similar to the American Apparel circle scarf). You can check out their website for more styling ideas.

This is a perfect scarf for any season, and it’s a great accessory for travel as it can also be used as a light shawl and tunic top. The best part about making your own is you can choose your own fabric! The fabric I chose is kinda grandma-like, but I would say it’s definitely one of a kind. I digs it.

The tutorial is very appropriate for beginners! If you don’t have a sewing machine, I have included how-to videos on the Sewing 101 page of the hand-stitching techniques you will need to learn to make the scarf. That means you only need a needle and a spool of thread.

So no worries :)