Saturday, May 14, 2011

trying it DIY style

I apologize for not updating these past few days.  My boss decided to take a pleasure trip to his native India, so my work load has gotten bigger due to the fact that I have to supervise a great deal of what goes on with his businesses for him and constantly report back to him so he can make the final decisions.  Ah, to have the responsibility without the power...

On the upside, I get a major kick out of seeing "India" pop up when I receive incoming calls from my boss.

Amy over at The Ultimate Goth Guide recently wrote a post encouraging people to DIY with alternative clothing despite how much you may be afraid of screwing up your DIY attempt.

I am not really a DIY savvy person, although I will admit that my hand sewing skills are rather decent.  Currently I am sewing underarm pads to the inside of a white cardigan to prevent the yellow stains that commonly pop up on the armpit area of my white tops when I sweat.  I can mend clothes so even the largest tear isn't that noticeable, which happened with a good deal of the clothing I bought from Ann Taylor last year while I was working there- turns out the quality of the material was particularly bad last year, and more than one article of clothing has ripped or fallen apart in odd places.  Being the poor executive assistant and office manager that I am, I can't afford to buy new clothes so I've worked for hours fixing clothes with pretty satisfying results.

I have attempted to use sewing machines, but I was only really successful at that in my high school home economics class.  Every at-home experiment with making clothes on my mom's sewing machine has usually failed in the form of ripped up material and tangled bobbins.  Of course, I blame the machine.

In other words, I can do somewhat significant patch jobs and add-ons, but making an entire piece of clothing from scratch is probably beyond my abilities at this point.

But I digress.  To get to my point...

A few weeks ago my boyfriend, who used to paint lead and plastic miniatures for a living and still does it on the side, presented me with some mechanical gear-looking bases for some Victorian sci-fi miniatures that he never got around to assembling and painting.  He thought I could use them for something "steampunk:"

Well, my inventory of personal steampunk clothing is actually one outfit.  I own several neo-Victorian pieces that I don't really consider to be steampunk by themselves, but could easily be with some very creative additions and alterations.  I don't want to ruin these pieces, however, by slapping on some gears and clockwork and calling them steampunk.  I decided to bide my time and wait for a new piece of clothing to come my way as my own blank canvas for a steampunk creation.

It came to me last week, as I was searching the racks of a vintage and second-hand store in Columbia, SC- a maroon vest from H&M.


I'm not exactly sure what I will do with the vest yet, but the possibilities are so much fun to think about.  I haven't decided if I want the vest to have a military, adventuress, or mechanical look.  Also, I need to find a bottom half and a shirt to go underneath it before I start putting metal things all over the vest.  But it's a start.


  1. Ooh, I am jealous! I love pretty vests. Maybe you could use the gears as buttons?

  2. Really unhelpful but well-meant suggestion: put keys on it! I love things with pretty dangly keys on. If it was dangling from the pocket, it would at least look as though it might be functional or serve a purpose.

  3. @ Becky- I love the idea of using the gears as buttons! It would be a great way to use them as they're just about the perfect size for it.

    I've also been debating just using them to make earrings too. Hmm... matching earrings and buttons?

    @ ultimategothguide- I love keys! That would be a great idea. There was actually a big bag of skeleton keys in my grandfather's workshop, but the last time I looked for them I couldn't find them. That would be perfect for such a vest, although it would make it rather heavy too... I love the idea. Thank you so much for recommending it!