Off The Shelf: DIY Wardrobe Embellishments

For our “ReFresh” theme this month, we’ll soon be writing about our clothing exchange party, which we’ve decided to host as a way to creatively refresh all of our wardrobes.  We’ll share ideas for taking a gently used garment and either fixing up whatever’s gone wrong with it or adding an embellishment to give it a second life.   For inspiration, we’ve looked to the following books written by fabric genies…those magical people who have put a modern, highly fashionable twist on the time-honored art of changing up a bunch of old stuff and making it look like a million bucks.

Custom Couture: 32 Easy Ways to Transform Your Wardrobe With Needle and Thread by Helene Le Berre

To my eyes, the projects in this book would help you create a DIY Anthropologie inspired wardrobe, which has my heart all aflutter!  Ms. Le Berre shows you how to add all of the little details that make a piece of clothing go from nice to WOW.  She also offers some creative twists on refreshing a piece.  For instance, my faves are outlining an entire raincoat with contrasting trim or taking the sleeves off of a sweater and replacing them with poufs of patterned fabric.  I’m drooling all over the photos and itching to cut up a pair of chinos and see if I can turn them into a beaded evening gown or something.  I’m in love with this book!  




Embroidered Effects: Projects and Patterns to Inspire Your Stitching by Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching

For those of you who don’t know Jenny Hart’s work, she’s brought embroidery out of grandma’s closet, dusted it off and given it her signature modern aesthetic.  This book includes a lot of practical information to get you started as well as instructions on a variety of stitches.  While it’s not only about updating your wardrobe, we’ve included it here because of the chapter she’s written on how to embellish clothes with embroidery.  My favorite is probably the design of a tattooed heart on the sleeve of a shirt, right where a real tattoo would be on your arm.   Very cheeky!  

Chic on a Shoestring: Simple to Sew Vintage Style Accessories by Mary Jane Baxter

Mary Jane Baxter has written one of those books you want to mark with a thousand sticky notes, putting them everywhere you see another idea you can’t wait to try.   What I love about this book is the breadth of projects she covers, using all kinds of materials.  She uses buttons, fabric, beads, felt, even pantyhose to create fantastic embellishments.  And she goes from head to toe, showing us how to update hats, tops, skirts, belts, bags, and shoes.  This book has my pulse racing because I can’t slow down enough to even decide which project I’ll do first!  




200 Crochet Flowers, Embellishments and Trims: Contemporary Designs for Embellishing All of Your Accessories by Claire Crompton

This one is fairly straightforward: a wonderful beginner’s intro to crochet, focused on small embellishments for clothing.  I especially love the trims Claire Crompton is teaching us.  I want to make a whole slew of them for the bottoms of all of my skirts!  









I hope you are inspired to pick up one of these beautiful books and try out a new project.  You’ll feel immensely proud of yourself as you walk down the street and strangers stop to ask where you got your wardrobe!  

xoxo Zandra