How to make a quilted coat

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Everything you need to know to make a quilted coat

Now, I knew I couldn’t make it on my own because I’m very much a novice seamstress and didn’t want this to be “lessons from a fool”, so I reached out to one of my favorite local sewing inspiration sources, Romy-Krystal Cutler of Sew Like Romy, to make it happen. Romy has a knack for knowing the latest and greatest trends and making them her own. I’ve been following her for awhile because she does such a great job. And guess what?! She does it during nap time! Romy will be giving us an expert’s tips on how to get the best results.

Fiskars new sewing tools

We are big fans of Fiskars for all sorts of paper crafts and DIY tools, so we were thrilled to learn that they had a new line of sewing tools too. We got our hands on their classic rotary cutter, and their comfort grip rotary cutter, along with their new Sewing Essentials Set, which includes their classic orange handle scissors (a classic), thread snips, which came in handy for this coat, acrylic ruler, measuring tape, and sewing gauge for accurate measurements, and a seam ripper. It’s so helpful to feel prepared! As nerdy as it sounds, I’m pretty stoked to add the sewing gauge to my arsenal for Paul’s hems!

They also equipped us with seamstress scissors, which cut like BUTTAH! And please note: no one better use them for paper! Do I feel like my mother OR WHAT?!

How to make a quilted coat

Romy did an amazingly thorough job with this tutorial. Let’s go!

How to find awesome vintage quilts:

I scoured Etsy, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace for vintage quilts that I loved. If you know the style of quilt pattern, search that term, or search “antique quilt” or “vintage quilt”. You could also search “quilt topper” only as there might be more available there. 

Materials:

See above

Buzzwords:

  • Bias Tape/Binding: Narrow strips of fabric cut on the bias used to finish edges. Can be bought premade.
  • Heavy Duty Snaps: These are to close your coat. They come in two options — Sew-in and heavy duty hardware. The heavy duty requires extra tools to secure them in place.
  • Thread Snips: Small, sharp scissors for precision cutting loose threads.
  • Muslin: Plain weave cotton fabric, usually sheer. Used for toiles.
  • Toile: A test version of a garment in cheap fabric.
  • Grade: Trimming your seam allowance to a smaller width.

Preparation:

Not all quilts are the same. Be sure to check that your quilt will fulfill your warmth needs. For this particular coat there was no batting and the back was muslin. If you find yourself in the same position first head down to Tips and Tricks.

Selecting your size. Consulting the finished measurements and comparing these to an existing coat in your wardrobe is a good place to start. If you want to be extra cautious, a toile is an even better place to begin.

Read your patterns instructions and gather all your supplies.

Instructions:

  1. Measure yourself and determine which size of your chosen pattern you are going to use.
  2. Prepare your coat pattern pieces and cut them out with paper scissors.
  3. Lay out your quilt, pin down the pattern pieces, and cut out all pieces for your coat using your fabric scissors. Refer to the cutting layout of your pattern to ensure you have it right before you cut!
  4. Follow the coat patterns sewing instructions.
  5. When the pattern states to finish or serge the seam you will be using bias tape to finish the edges.
  6. For the inside seams: Sew the bias to one edge of the seam, fold over. Grade ¼” (cut down) the other seam and then pull over the edge with the bias to one side and sew down.

7. Follow the pattern instructions to bind the edges of the coat.

8. Lucky last part: Attach your sew in snaps to the front.

9. Do a happy dance and enjoy your new coat!

Tips and Tricks to make a quilted coat

Pro Tip 1:

The top design of a quilt can come just by itself (commonly called a quilt top). They’re usually cheaper since they weren’t made into a formal quilt. The one used on this project was such a case. To get it ready to turn into a coat the steps are simple, the “fabric sandwich.” To complete this you will need to buy backing fabric and batting. Once you have those on hand you create the layer sandwich: Quilt top on top, batting in the middle and the backing fabric on bottom. Once that’s together secure with safety pins throughout to keep the layers from moving. Using a walking foot and quilting thread, you’re then ready to quilt the pieces together. Best part: the design is entirely up to you so the sky’s the limit.

Pro Tip 2:

Reversible coats are not only super functional but so fun! Bias tape is your best friend here. Finish one edge with bias tape and fold over the edge. Grade ¼” (cut down) the other edge of the seam and then pull over the edge with the bias tape and sew down. Presto reversible! Just be mindful of your pocket placement and snaps if you decide to do this!

Pro Tip 3:

Hand sewing can seem never ending but it’s made a lot easier and faster with beeswax. This helps strengthen and stabilize the thread and prevent tangling and shedding. A great investment for the long run with any hand sewing.

Pro Tip 4:

Try on your coat before you add your snaps/buttons. The placement of these on patterns are recommendations but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will suit your body. Try it on and mark where you want your snaps for the best fit.

Thank you, Romy for your expertise. I hope you all have a good experience making your quilted coat! Please show us the results with #LarsMakes! 

This post is sponsored by Fiskars. Thank you to our brands who allow us to make beautiful, original content for you! 

Casetify Phone Case: Honest Review (Updated)

horizontal casetify full shot

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Honest review of Casetify phone case

Last fall, we launched our new collection of phone cases! And just a few weeks ago, we launched our second round of cases, BLOOM, complete with a whole host of new floral designs. We were thrilled with the way the aesthetic elements of the cases turned out. Such fun color combos and patterns–I mean, what more could you ask for in a phone case? Well, durability and good protection for your phone. But there was no way to know just how good these phone cases would be until we tried them out. We’re still in the middle of it, but we want to give you some honest feedback about these Casetify phone cases and if they truly do what phone cases are supposed to do: protect your phone and look good at the same time.

Update:

Since last fall, we’ve had some time to get to know our Casetify cases. We want to be honest with you about the pros and cons of the cases so you’re not unpleasantly surprised by some details. So. The following reviews are from the team at The House that Lars Built. They’re complete with our customized experiences; our journeys with our individual cases. Hopefully this information can shed some light on these cases that we love to look at and also want to be able to keep for a while.

Hailey’s honest Casetify review:

How long have you had your Casetify phone case?

I’ve had my current case since our collection of phone cases was launched. But I’ve used Casetify for years!

What’s your honest opinion? How is your case holding up?

I have cracked every phone I’ve ever owned so I was a little skeptical that a non-bulky case would actually protect it. But boy has Casetify delivered! I’ve used Casetify cases for years and I’m never going back. I love that I can always find way cute designs on Casetify, too.

Brittany’s honest Casetify review:

How long have you had your Casetify phone case?

I’ve had my current one (this one with a yellow edge) since our collection came out, but I’ve been using a Casetify case for a few years now.

What’s your honest opinion? How is your case holding up?

Prior to my Casetify case I had a case that just did the job–it wasn’t cute! I had dropped my phone enough times and cracked the screen that I didn’t want to risk it anymore. I got a translucent yellow Casetify case a few years ago and loved the look because my phone was also yellow so it was MAJOR yellow vibes–my favorite vibes of all the vibes.

The case is strong without feeling like a barricade and cute so it checks off all my boxes. I put a screen protector on the glass itself because I always seem to defy all odds with cracking the screen and that’s done a great job too. (I use this one if you’re interested).

I actually chose two cases from our collection because I couldn’t decide and I switch them out. I use this pink/red colorblock one (I chose the translucent neon yellow rim) with our blue socket and this folk floral one with translucent yellow rim with this green flower socket.

Compostable

One reason I really really love Casetify is because their cases are compostable. They use their own material that is made from plants and bamboo and each one is compostable and biodegradable. They break down into carbon dioxide, water, and other naturally occurring minerals–no toxins left. SUPER into that.

brittany with two cases

Jane’s honest review of Casetify phone cases:

How long have you had your Casetify phone case?

I’ve had my case since September 2021. It’s been a game changer for me!

What’s your honest opinion? How is your case holding up?

I’m obsessed with so many designs from our new collection with Casetify. But I narrowed them down to the Pink & Red Checkers with a blue outline. This is my first time using Casetify. I love that you can customize the case and that they have a variety of materials you can choose from, especially if you are environmentally friendly.

I’ve used other brands before and they have been durable, but heavier and chunkier for my hands. My Casetify case is super sturdy and lightweight! Of course, we all drop our phones and every time I’ve done that my phone is perfectly fine with no cracks in the screen or dents in the phone. I worry less about keeping my phone looking brand new and safe. My only complaint is a small chip in my most recent case, but it still protects my phone perfectly.

I’ve also noticed that Casetify cases can be a bit slippery. Sometimes when I set my phone on the magnetic holder in my car it slides around a bit. But I do love how easy it is to slide into my pocket.

Carrie’s honest review of Casetify phone cases:

How long have you had your Casetify phone case?

Since October 2021.

What’s your honest opinion? How is your case holding up?

I’m not exaggerating when I say it still looks brand new. I’ve dropped it a few times already but can’t see scuff marks yet, and it protected my phone from any cracks, even without a screen protector. I’ve had so many issues with past phone cases getting dirty, ripping, and just looking pretty sad in general. My previous phone case before Casetify was a minimal, red one (I thought it would show the dirt less than clear or white), but it quickly started to look dirty from rubbing against the inside of my pockets and bags. With this new Casetify case, I don’t see any discoloration after 7 months, even though the border is clear. Very happy with it!

Oh, I also love that it’s so smooth and wipes off easily. Much better than some silicone cases I’ve had which attract dust and lint from my pockets like crazy. I’ve never had a problem with lint clinging to my Casetify phone case as long as I’ve had it!

Casetify cases

Sophie’s Casetify Honest Review

How long have you had your Casetify phone case?

I’ve had my phone case for about 3 weeks.

What’s your honest opinion? How is your case holding up?

Wow I love my new phone case. After three weeks it’s still just the best case I’ve put on my phone EVER! The case is so durable and cute, so it’s the perfect combo.

Our Takeaway: Pros and Cons

Based on our current experience using Casetify phone cases, we have been pleasantly surprised by how durable they are, not to mention some of the cutest phone cases we’ve ever seen.

We’ve broken the reviews down into a list of pros and cons for you to analyze all in one place:

Pros

  • Cute designs
  • Lots of customizable options
  • Compostable
  • Durable and long-lasting compared to other phone cases we’ve tried
  • Even as it yellows with time, stays sturdy
  • maintains color well without rubbing off

Cons

  • A little slippery for car magnet holders
  • Some complain that the clear border yellows over time (but this takes at least a year or more to start happening)
  • The occasional chip or dent can happen, but that’s rare
  • A little stiff and hard to put on/take off your phone
  • Can be a bit on the pricey side ($40-$80, as opposed to the $10-$30 range you’ll find on Amazon).

Overall:

Casetify cases are some of the most durable and long-lasting cases we’ve tried. No phone case is invincible, but these ones last as long as you need them to before you start to want a new phone anyway. In addition, they do an excellent job at protecting your phone while still being minimal and not overly bulky. They can be a bit stiff to take on and off, but that’s because they’re more durable than your average minimal case. And they do slip beautifully into pockets and purses without getting stuck or attracting lint. And in addition to how wonderfully long-lasting and durable they are, they are by far some of the best looking phone cases we’ve seen (We might be a little biased on this one, ha)!

One additional note: we’ve had a few people complain about the higher price of Casetify’s phone cases. As mentioned above, the cases range from $40-$80 most of the time, depending on phone model and customization options. This can be a deal breaker for some, but we find it relevant to remember that durability and price usually go hand in hand. By paying a bit more for your phone case, you’re also paying for a biodegradable, durable phone case that will last and protect your phone well over time.

That said, this Casetify collection has our stamp of approval and you can rest easy adding it to your cart. Here’s the link to our Casetify collection.

brittany holding caseretro floral case

More Inspiration

Loved this review and want to see more Casetify content? Step right this way. Here’s the post where we launched our original collection, and here’s BLOOM, with some lifestyle photos and style inspo. We’ve also done a lot of DIY’s inspired by the collection! See our retro florals backdrop and tablescape, nesting Easter eggs, and painted mini pumpkins.

(Fall)ing in Love With Quilt Coats

Cottagecore and Quilt Coats

You’ve probably heard of cottagecore by now. It’s one of my favorite fashion trends, characterized by outfits I’m pretty sure Laura Ingalls Wilder used to wear (and let’s be clear, that is a very good thing.) Have you noticed lots of gingham, ruffled sleeves, and dresses that look an awful lot like nightgowns? That’s cottagecore, and one of my favorite parts of the trend is the resurrection of quilted coats.

I wrote about my love for quilted coats and I am so happy to find out the rest of the fashion world is finally giving this coat style the day in the sun it deserves!

It’s coat season

I don’t know about you, but I could use some extra padding for this year! It doesn’t hurt that quilt coats are warm and cozy, too, which we all need as we head into a much colder season.

Keep reading to see my favorite quilted coats available now. I think you’ll be surprised how this trend can find a place in any wardrobe, trust me 😉

And don’t forget to check out some of the most iconic quilters around, the Gee’s Bend Quilt Group. You can read more about these artists here.

What is a quilt jacket

 

Some of my favorite quilt coats

Quilt jackets are not required to look frumpy or inspired by your grandma’s bedroom. Even high fashion brands are embracing this current trend because nothing is quite as timeless as an actual nod to the good old days, spun in a modern new way. My original fan girl post about quilted coats back in 2016 was inspired by more minimal looks. Whether you want ultimate fall vibes – imagine being able to literally bring your favorite cozy quilt with you everywhere you go – or a more minimal take on the quilted jacket, explore the links below. Or test out the perfect way to dip your toes in the water of this trend, quilted face masks! Are you kidding me?! We are constantly on the hunt for cute face masks and these quilted ones might be my favorite yet.

All I am saying is, cue the apple cider and the pumpkin patch photoshoots, my quilt coat and I are ready for you!

 

Quilted jacket brands to have on your radar

Sea

One of my favorite parts of the quilt coat trend is that these coats look like…well, a quilt your grandma made and lovingly put on your bed. Instead of the classic white background, I love how they made the pattern and colors pop on this dark fabric instead. And don’t limit yourself to just quilt coats – Sea provides this bold pattern in multiple shapes and looks! 

And I don’t just love Sea for their quilted clothing, you have to check out their peter pan collars and dip-dyed ombre skirts too.

Farewell Frances

I first highlighted this brand in our post all about cute face masks. Guess what?! They also do coats! (For adults AND kids.) Send in your own quilt for them to “coat-ify,” or choose from their lovely selection. Doesn’t it just make you want to sip some lemonade out on the prairie?

Farm Down the Lane

The name of this Etsy shop tells you all you need to know about the adorable quilted items she sells.

Natalie Ebaugh 

Natalie’s sense of color and the way she mixes patterns in her quilted coats is truly inspirational. If you want to feel like you’re wearing a work of art, check out her shop.

Stitched and Found

The bright colors and designs of these quilts remind us of Alma Thomas, one of the artists in our Great Artists! Course.

3WomenCo

Though a little different than quilted coats, this brand uses vintage textiles to make sustainable clothing. I never would’ve thought a flour sack could look this good!

Stag Provisions

These quilted jeans are an example of visible mending, a beautiful way to re-purpose old clothing you might have otherwise thrown out. 

Psychic Outlaw

My favorite part of this shop is all the amazing quilts customers send in, which the company then turns into plush coats. Check out their Instagram to see all the past quilt coats they’ve made. They also make dresses out of vintage bandanas!

Haptics Lab

These coats sell out fast, and I can see why! They sell quilt quilt jackets for kids, too, plus patterns if you’re in the mood to DIY your own coat. 

Carleen

This brand carries the perfect blend of classic quilt jackets with zero frump.

More unique quilted items I am obsessed with

Want to start quilting?

I don’t know about you but all this talk about quilt jackets is making me want to try it out myself? It’s reminding me of a couple quilt inspired projects from Lars days past (see below!)

To get started quilting, our posts about hobbies to try when you are feeling uninspired includes sewing supplies and some great books about quilting!

Moodboard image sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

To cut or not to cut: Quilted Coats

In an effort to understand both sides more fully, I proposed the question to our Instagram community this past weekend and you guys certainly had your opinions (you can read all about it here), which has definitely helped inform my own thoughts so thank you!

Now, a few prefaces. I have a pretty good knack for seeing both sides to most issues and this is no exception. Hopefully I can bring both sides fairly to light. Additionally, some might be surprised that this is even an issue as I was at first. But, I’ve come to learn that the quilting community is passionate and loyal so I understand where most of them are coming from.

Should you cut up quilts to make a coat

With all that said, the comment I’m directly responding to is one from our How to Make a Quilted Coat post:

“Great tutorial–for demolishing an heirloom work of art. I’m ashamed of you and all the other “entrepreneurs” who ravish our quilt heritage.”

Some pretty strong language, and there were others in the Instagram posts with similar thoughts. So, let’s get to it!

My love affair with quilts

I first fell in love with the notion of quilted coats when I spotted this coat on Pinterest years ago (I don’t know the source but would love to know if anyone knows!):

Isn’t it exquisite? I love everything about it! The pattern, the colors, the scarf, the feeling. It’s cozy with its nod to quilt, but in a fashion way. I searched for ages for something similar to no avail, because they weren’t in style quite yet. I even contemplated making one myself, but it would have been a steep learning curve and a time commitment that I didn’t want to make. I looked into having someone make one for me or finding one similar from Etsy or eBay. I even found a company who makes quilts (don’t remember the name) from your own fabric. Ultimately, it was turning into a much bigger time suck to making it happen than I wanted to commit.

The trendy coat quilt

Finally, Gorman came out with a patchwork quilted coat a few years ago that mimicked the vibe I was going for, but they had made a design and printed it onto fabric. I don’t have a picture of me wearing it but I found this lovely lady here in the exact coat. I still have it and wear it ALL the time. In fact, they came out with a subsequent style and I bought that too and wear it ALL the time as well. In fact, they’ve been my pregnancy coats both times.

You can imagine when I started seeing makers and small companies coming out with quilt coats I went GA GA. FINALLY! Now, they weren’t necessarily marked at a price point that I wanted to commit to, though I understand why it is set that way. You can read about some of my favorites here (and I think there’s more by now!).

DIY Quilted Coat

We connected with one of our favorite clients (thank you Fiskars!) who come on board and I knew it was time to show people how to make a quilt coat of their own by someone who actually knew how to sew, Romy-Krystal Cutler of Sew Like. To me, it was important that we did it correctly by hiring someone who knows what they were doing versus us buying such a beautiful quilt and wreaking havoc on it. And she did a tremendously beautiful job!

My relationship to history

As I mentioned in the Instagram post, I studied art history and almost went into historic preservation. I have a deep love of old things and history. I even worked for an architect who worked with National Geographic whose mission was to preserve culture. With that in mind, part of the way that we celebrate art movements and culture is by bringing them to light and being inspired by them through our work. It’s a great talking point and remembrance of eras that might have been forgotten. Taking something that is old and making it modern is one of my favorite ways to keep history alive. And that’s how I feel about repurposing quilts into fashion.

Real Talk

Real talk, how many of us display our grandmother’s quilts? Or are they tucked away in a cupboard somewhere? How many of us plan on displaying them at some point? Or are they an heirloom that gets passed down from one cupboard to another? While this is a fine way to preserve an heirloom, I find that keeping it visible is an active way to celebrate our heritage. I’ve always loved the artful combined with the practical so turning the quilt into something that will be used is my ideal method of celebration and preservation.

Quilted coat
Photo by HoneyBea Design Hive

You wouldn’t believe the comments I get when I wear this coat out (I mean, it’s quite limited as I don’t get out much right now). “Did you make that?” or “is that your grandmother’s?”. The questions create such beautiful conversation starters and I find that I encounter kindred spirits wherever I go. In my opinion, much better than storing it in a keepsake box that I open infrequently.

Arts vs. Crafts

In graduate school, I took a class at the Smithsonian on crafts vs. arts. Are crafts considered art? Ultimately, I learned, it depends on who you are talking to. I believe that is the case here. In this case, are quilts art? Not all, I would say. Certainly, some are. I think you could talk with any quilt maker and they would tell you that not all of their work would be considered art. There are probably some quilt makers who don’t consider their work art at all.

Our regional art museum, Springville Museum of Art, has an annual quilt show that is well attended and looked forward to. You wouldn’t believe the amazing quilts that are shown. They’re incredible. And while I would consider some art, you might talk with some fine artists who wouldn’t. It all depends on who you talk to.

What’s the intent?

quilted coat
Photo by Psychic Outlaw

It’s the same with anything else old. In the practice of historic preservation for houses the argument is always–is this house/building worth preserving? Oftentimes it comes down to intent, design, and materials. Not all were intended to last. Especially those made with poor quality materials or tools.

Fashion as art

So, if quilts indeed are considered art, what about fashion? Certainly, some fashion is art. Look at haute couture. It can be breathtaking. On the other hand, I wouldn’t say my COVID/postpartum look is art. AT ALL. But quilts AS fashion? Again, it ALL depends! I would like to say that sometimes I treat my fashion choices as art–I love mixing colors and patterns and expressing myself in that way. Hence, when I see quilts as an art form AND fashion as an art form, the two together are magic.

Fast Fashion vs. Slow Fashion

One argument I saw a few times over was calling out fast fashion for being part of the problem. Is it? I kind of suspect it’s not as it would take A LOT of work for fast fashion companies to 1) gather all the quilts and 2) design to each unique quilt. It would require a new pattern each time and that’s not a good use of their time. It would be much more efficient to create their own fabric. The textile industry is one of the most harmful to the environment (I’ve heard is the second most polluting industry) so creating fabrics is not optimal. I’m going to venture to say, and this is just a guess, that it’s small companies who see the the repurposing of quilts as an art form and have a reverence for them. They probably wouldn’t spend their time scouring markets for quilts if they didn’t love them.

What to do with the scraps?

I saved onto the quilt pieces that from the coat I had made and we recently repurposed them into a sleeping mask and I’ll be making a face mask soon. There are so many things to make with fabric scraps and we’ll be sharing more of them soon.

Prices go up and resources become scarce

Now, of course it’s a bummer that when I go and look for quilts on eBay that the prices are much higher than they would have been just a year or so ago. These small companies are no doubt trying to get their hands on whatever they can. That doesn’t feel good, but perhaps we could also ask–who is selling these quilts? And why are they selling them?

Quilts as heirlooms

A lot of people mentioned quilts as family heirlooms. Much like the argument of whether quilting is an art form, I think it all depends on who made it and their intention. If a quilter makes hundreds of quilts in their life, is each one considered an heirloom? Is it possible or necessary to treat each one with reverence? I’m going to guess that the quilter had ones that they preferred over others. It’s the nature of creating.

I have a friend who quilts as a hobby. She literally has hundreds of quilts that she’s given away and my son was the lucky recipient of one of those. He received it as a baby gift when he was born. I will keep it forever because she is a dear friend. Perhaps he will give it to his child one day. And now that I think of it, it would be quite cool to turn it into a kid’s jacket so that he would be cozy in the winter. In this instance, it’s a matter of if I want to use it as a quilt for warmth in a bed or warmth against the elements. To me, both are important and show reverence.

When it goes out of trend

Sadly, we all know that when something becomes a trend it will eventually become untrendy. It’s the nature of the beast. I’m sure some people will want to get rid of their quilted coats and when they do, please offer it to me first! I will take each one! And you know what, there are other people who will love them and the cycle will continue. That’s assuming that we all sell or donate our used goods.

Quilts that are imperfect

Many people also mentioned that the quilts that they use for cutting up are ones that had deteriorated in some form. How wonderful that instead of going to a landfill, the quilt could have a second life.

Photo by Carleen

On that note, think of how fabric is first created and intended. It’s designed to be cut up in one way or another. Is the designer of that fabric sad about that? I doubt it because they know the outcome. Perhaps we just need to get more comfortable with the idea that repurposing can be a good thing? Just a thought.

History of the Quilt

One of my favorite arguments on the Instagram thread was bringing to light the history of the quilt. Quilts came to be when scraps were left over from making clothes and turned into a useful blanket. A ha! It all comes full circle. Clearly, I wouldn’t turn every quilt into a piece of clothing.

What have I learned in contemplating both sides of the story? Well, 1) there’s always going to be someone who doesn’t agree with you and you know what? We have to be fine with that (unless it’s harmful!). Hopefully, we can express ourselves without feeling the need to tear each other down. I feel like if we’ve learned anything in the past year it’s that we need to do better at communicating with respect.

I absolutely CHERISH the quilt coat that Romy made me. I have worn it nearly every day since I received it. It’s beautiful and cozy and perfect. Quilts have a such an amazing ability to communicate exuberance and joy all while telling a story. And if they are used on the bed or the body, I feel like we should make the decision thoughtfully.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave me a comment!

If you liked this, you might be interested in

Quilted Coats we love
The NY Times article about quilted coats

In The Mood For: Iris Apfel

We are such big fans of Iris we have this print of her by Rosie Harbottle in our shop! Rosie is a UK based illustrator with a passion for travel and culture, has a knack for prints and textiles, which made her the perfect person to illustrate Iris Apfel. Last June, we read Accidental Icon, a collection of Iris’ musings, for our book club! If you are new to the eclectic and patterned-filled world that is Iris Apfel’s, we recommend starting with this post about her here, and grabbing your own copy of Accidental Icon! It’s a very entertaining read, packed full of photos that will make you want to avoid anything that is a bore and live like Iris does!

Decorate like Iris

“I am inspired by everything around me…I’m just inspired by being alive and breathing and meeting people and talking to people and doing things and absorbing what’s happening. I think if more people did that, there would be better fashion. “

Iris Apfel is iconic for her fashion sense, but her taste spills over to her interior design in abundance. With references to 18th century France and Italy, vintage monkey sculptures everywhere you look, hand-painted chinoiserie patterns, and bold prints that somehow just work, Iris Apfel’s homes are strong evidence that self-expression is the way to go!

Dress like Iris

“You have to look in the mirror and see yourself. If it feels good, then I know it’s for me. I don’t dress to be stared at, I dress for myself.”

Below you will find chunky acetate chain necklaces (an absolute Iris staple) paired with patterned blazers, hot pink head wraps, and thrifted finds but with a wink in Gucci’s direction. If anything we just said feels overwhelming, don’t worry, take a note from Iris’ playbook and start wherever feels right. But trust us, you’ll be surprised how good an eyebrow-raising day of fashion can feel.

 

“There’s no how-to road map to style. It’s about self expression and, above all, attitude.”

DIY Tie Dye Bandana for The Fourth of July

What your tie dye bandana says about you

While current events can impose a sense of despair, making something tangible helps me feel better. And by making this Fourth of July themed tie dye bandana, I found a way I could remember and honor the American ideological roots of independence, freedom, liberty, equality, which I still believe in and have hope in.

Part of the fun with making something yourself is that because you choose each element of the project, you can put own emotion and meaning into things. Something as simple as a piece of tie dye can be a powerful tool. 

Making a craft with my own two hands is grounding, and it helps me remember that I can be independent and make my own choices. Using the red, white, and blue tri-color combo has its own importance too. It has been a symbol of liberty since the 16th century! No matter your country of origin, those are ideals resonate deep. 

DIY Bleach Tie Dye Bandana

Supplies:

 

Steps:

To mix the dye, mix hot water a tiny bit of dish soap and a couple teaspoons of salt. Add add your dye color. Test color with a paper towel to make sure you have your desired shade.

Put the bananas under cold water.

For the twisted look (1), wrap the bandana around a pole (we used a broomstick) and then wrap twine around it then scrunch the bandana together. The more scrunched it is the less dye will show through.

For the square look (2), accordion fold the bandana one one and then the other way, alternating directions. Place two pieces of plastic or wood blocks on each side and add rubber bands to keep it in place.  The more rubber bands you use the the less the dye will show through.

For the circle look (3), Accordion fold in one direction and add rubber bands on alternating sides

For the scrunched look (4), scrunch it up and add rubber bands! Super simple.

Leave them wrapped with rubber-bands few hours for the dye to set. Then rinse and wash. Enjoy your new tie dye bandana!

You can also use dark colored bandanas and bleach instead of dye to achieve a similar look!

10 ways to wear a bandana

We love things that feel homemade and whimsical with a touch of vintage-flair. It should come as no surprise to you that we love tie dyed bandanas! In case all you can picture when you hear the word “bandana” is a cowboy, I’ll brainstorm some cute styling ideas for ya.

As a headband

Lay out the bandana flat and fold in two opposite corners to the center. Then choose one side you’ve just folded, and continue to fold in 2-inch wide segments until you get to  the other side. Bring the two pointy ends together in a knot around your head with the knot on top of your head or hidden under your hair. 

10 ways to wear your tie dye bandana

Pony Up

Tie your hair up into a ponytail first, then tie the bandana around your ponytail holder. If you like a more relaxed, romantic pony, use the bandana as the hair tie and let some pieces of hair fall out of the tie dye bandana. Tres chic!

10 ways to wear your tie dye bandana

PanAm Stewardess Style

This one is swoon-worthy. I love the vintage flight attendant uniforms, and the neckerchief is what really makes it for me. Using a tie dye bandana as the scarf makes the whole look more casual and wearable. Fold the scarf into a long strip (like you would for a headband) and tie it around your neck loose or taught. Let the tails hang out and you’ll have mastered the “I tried, but not too hard” look. 

10 ways to wear your tie dye bandana

Bag accessory

I love to tie a scarf onto the base of a purse strap. It’s an easy way to accessorize without putting on anything extra! If your outfit for going to the grocery store feels a little bleak, knot your bandana onto your bag for an instant color-infusion. 

Dutch Milkmaid style

This is currently the trendiest way to wear your bandana. Fold it in half into a triangle and tie it at the base of your neck under all of your hair.

10 ways to wear your tie dye bandana

Cowgirl Face Mask

This method is becoming super trendy right now as it is a DIY face mask that requires no sewing!! (I just heard a crowd of people in my mind, cheering). Since Western wear is trending again, feel free to go full-cowgirl and tie it around your face in the classic style. 

10 ways to wear your tie dye bandana

Surgical-style Face Mask

If you want to put in a bit more effort (still no sewing), try this method!

Lay out your square, freshly tie dyed bandana flat. Fold in the top and bottom edges till they meet in the center. Next, Flip the cloth over so the opening is in the back. Repeat the same fold again, bringing the top and bottom edges into the center. Flip the fabric over again. Place loose hair ties or ribbons on the left and right sides of the fabric, segmenting it into thirds. Fold both side towards the center with the fold at about where the hair tie is. Fold the left side at the hair tie towards the center and tuck the left end into the opening on the right end to secure it. Place the elastics over your ears with the folded-in side on your face. The layers act as a filter, and the folds make it super easy to wear while talking, etc. 

Scout Style

Lay out the bandana flat and fold in two opposite corners to the center. Tie the bandana around your neck with the point in the back.

10 ways to wear your tie dye bandana

Around a belt loop

If your outfit could use a little more style, add a bandana around your pant belt loop! It immediately levels up a classic tee and jeans. 

10 ways to wear your tie dye bandana

Full head wrap

Be bold enough to wear your bandana in this fun style. And a pro tip: it nicely covers up your unwashed social distancing hair 😉 

10 ways to wear your tie dye bandana

*** Tips: press the folds at each stage and use a stiffer fabric for stability. Adjust the thickness of the wrap/folds to facilitate ease.  

Other tie dye things we love!

 

Easy Halloween Ideas From Our Shop

My Ideal Halloween

My ideal Halloween is playfully spooky, crafty, and (above all) easy, and there’s no such thing as too many easy Halloween ideas. If you’re looking for a fun, simple way to celebrate the season without turning your home into a Spirit Halloween storefront, read on for easy Halloween ideas!

Easy Halloween Decorations

This Haunted House makes a perfect Halloween centerpiece and conversation starter. You’ll make it from recycled cardboard boxes, which is a win for Planet Earth, and it’s beautiful enough to come back year after year, which is a win for you! Check out our blog post on it here.

Cardboard Haunted House for recycled holiday decor

Garlands are another classic when it comes to Halloween decor. Try this fun new Halloween garland featuring the Halloween shapes you’ve been missing. If you love the spooky aspect of Halloween, check out this Vampire Teeth Garland. It’s creepy without being too macabre, and oh so easy.

DIY vampire teeth garland

Another slightly spooky and impeccably easy decor idea is this wooden transfer plaque template! I’m all for riding the line between pretty and creepy at Halloween, and these really fit the bill. Find the tutorial here.

wooden cross sections of branches with spiders and bugs transferred onto them hanging from maroon ribbons.

This painted pumpkin face template makes for such a fun, easy DIY! Give your porch some whimsy this Halloween by painting these sweet characters on your pumpkins. Read the tutorial here and get painting!

painted pastel pumpkin faces against a pink background

How many times can you say “pretty paper pumpkin project?” Whatever your answer, you should check out this template for rainbow paper pumpkins, along with this tutorial blog post. These make a beautiful, refined, seasonal table setting, they’ll look great for all of Autumn, not jus Halloween. A Thanksgiving comeback, anyone?

orange, gold, and yellow paper pumpkins on a table setting.

If you’re in a pinch and looking for quick decorations, don’t forget this post about last minute Halloween decor!

Easy Halloween Costume Ideas

There’s something to be said for a super intricate, detailed costume for sure. But even if you don’t have the time and energy to become a perfectly accurate storm trooper, dressing up doesn’t have to be out of your reach. Lots of our costume templates just require some simple clothing, some paper, and a prop or two. No professional costuming degree necessary!

Our Ruth Bader Ginsberg collar is maybe our simplest costume for adults. Just cut it out (a cricut or other cutting machine is helpful here), put it over a dark dress, and pull your hair back. Voilà! You’re ready to advocate for your sisters.

A white paper lace collar on a black background.

If you’ve been a Lars reader for more than about a minute you’ll know that I love flowers. So of course I wanted to dress up as a bouquet! Ha! Practice making some paper flowers for this Sweet Pea Paper Flower Bouquet costume (and read the tutorial here).

Brittany wearing a bouquet costume with paper flowers and a white paper wrapper against a green backdrop

Group costumes are always so fun, so pair your bouquet costume with greenhouse garb for a friend! This greenhouse costume uses cardboard and iron-on flowers, and is sure to turn heads. You can find the tutorial here. Speaking of group costumes, you really don’t want to miss our Andy Warhol Campbell’s soup can team costumes, or our Wild Things costumes. They’re some of my favorites, and they’re great for any size group!

a white woman with brown hair wears a green dress with iron on flowers, a greenhouse hat, and yellow clogs. She's holding flowers and a watering can.

Family Costume

Another cute Halloween costume for a pair of friends would be our beehive and picnic costumes. Both use an iron-on technique to make easy halloween costumes that are as cute as a bug. Find the tutorials here.

Brittany wears a gingham red dress with ants ironed onto it and holds a rattan picnic bag. a white woman wearing a yellow dress with iron-on bees, black gloves, a bee headband, and black shoes stands in front of a blue background.

This constellation costume with iron-on stars is absolutely dazzling. Honestly, you might as well break it out all year round because it’s that beautiful.

a blonde woman wearing an off-the-shoulder black jumpsuit with silvers stars all over it, sparkly makeup, and a spangled headband against a periwinkle background

For a subtle Halloween look, just print off our Pumpkin Crown and wear warm autumn tones.

Printable Pumpkin Crown

Easy Halloween Costumes for Kids

Brand new this year are our classic Halloween costumes for kids! We give you options for a witch, bat, and pumpkin. Not only are they simple to make in a pinch, they’re adorable and you’ll be glad you tried them out. One of our most glamorous costumes with templates in the shop is our sun, cloud and rainbow set. This makes a great baby and mom costume, because you can add sun rays to a baby bonnet. I love how our model matched the baby’s outfit to her sling! With this costume you can invest as much or as little as you want. Just want the Sun and Rainbow headpiece? No problem. What about the Cloud Bag and Cloud Earrings? Done. Just want a sunny baby bonnet pattern? Your wish is our command. Make the costume just how you like it with this tutorial.

Rainbow costumeRainbow and sun mommy and me costume

This Giving Tree costume is another easy Halloween idea that you could make in a flash. And who doesn’t want to reference a classic children’s book in their costume? Find the tutorial here.

A mom wearing a green outfit with leaves and holding a felt apple bag stands next to her child in red overalls. They're dressed as the Giving Tree.

If you have a gaggle of children to costume, consider our Three Blind Mice baby costume pattern or our Crayon Hat template. Both are simple to put together and oh so sweet. For more kids costume ideas, see this post!

3 blind mice diy costume for kidsFour kids wearing crayon halloween costumes in orange, red, blue, and green.

Halloween Party Supplies

Even though gathering in big groups for Halloween parties is starting to look less and less likely (again 😔), you can still throw a Halloween party for your family, roommates, or pod! This Halloween Party Suite includes printable invitations, placemats, party tags, and place cards. Talk about easy Halloween ideas!

Halloween themed place cards.

Paper party goods with a halloween theme on a black background. They're orange, yellow, black, white, navy, and peach.

And for a party favor, try these printable poppers or printable Halloween candy gift boxes.

Halloween party poppersPrintable Halloween Candy Gift Box

These Halloween coupons make a fun halloween activity for your family. They’re a great way for parents to get their kids to relinquish some candy in return for fun activities.

halloween coupons in pink, red, blue, and black.

These illustrated Halloween cards are another great party favor because you can attach them to treat bags, trade them, send them as cards, or just hang them up.

Printable Halloween Cards

If your party is more freaky than funky, you might like this elegant invitation and Halloween dinner menu.

black and white illustrated halloween party invitation in a black decorative hadn surrounded by foliage and fruitsBlack and floral printable halloween menu

Party Food

Real talk here: what’s a party without cake? Use these printables and templates to make your Halloween cake extra fancy. The Spooky Town printable cake topper set is quaint and just a bit creepy, while this Black Birds cake topper is decidedly Hitchcock-approved. Red velvet cake makes it even more dramatic!

a colorful, cute printable cake topper set on a cake."The Birds" Cake Topper

If your fall party isn’t so Halloween-specific (or even if it is!) this Fall Leaf cake topper will add elegance and fun to the celebration.

DIY fall leaf cake topper

More Inspiration

Looking for more cards, costumes, and decor? Search for Halloween on our blog! You’ll be blown away by the years of great, easy Halloween ideas and DIYs. If you’re interested in many of these ideas (who wouldn’t be!?), you can check out our E-Book, The Halloween that Lars Made. It’s a one-stop shop for easy Halloween ideas, DIYs, and projects. Also, for more festive ideas check out this post on how to get into the Halloween spirit this year!

When Life Hands You Lemons care package and tablescape with Spoonflower

My favorite Mother’s Day inspired Spoonflower patterns

I spent a good amount of time going through the Spoonflower Marketplace, which is thousands and thousands of independent artists and great designs. Yes, it took awhile, but I came upon some really beautiful options and had a hard time narrowing it down. I saved my favorites in this collection on their site.

Which ones are your favorites???

There are a lot of good ones, right?! I was going for a springy, floraly vibe that also felt refined and could be used throughout the year. Here were some alternative options I was eyeing:

Citrus fabric tablecloth with Spoonflower

Ultimately, I ended up going for this Multi Citrus Grove Toile by Danika Herrick. It has the right touch of deGournay with its chinoiserie feel. Plus, I always love some good citrus–it makes everything feel instantly refreshing.blue and orange table ideaCustom Home Decor Options

Perhaps you remember when I redid my bedroom in all Spoonflower? Right–so not only can you order fabric by the yard, but you can order things for your home to be made in the fabric of your choice and it’s all sewn right here in the United States. For my bedroom it was the wallpaper, duvet, pillow cases, curtains, and this time around I ordered a tablecloth for the Party-For-Mom that I will be throwing. I paired it with this Indian print inspired marigold print by Andrea Lauren because I loved the contrast of the yellow to the blue in the main selection and decided to use them for the cloth napkins.Indian block print napkins

Visualizing the process

What I find useful in their new home decor option is the ability to see them on a variety of products. You can do that by selecting Home Decor in the “Also available in” section to view all of the different home decor products and then it automatically shows you how it will look.

And the marigold:

Because of that, I was able to visualize what it would really be like. And it was going to be GOOD!

Pattern on pattern advice:

Pairing a pattern on pattern can be tricky, but there are a few ways to make sure it works:

  1. Identify the colors of the palette. The first pattern I worked with has a lot going on but I drew out the main colors: blue, yellow, orange, and green.
  2. Along the same lines, draw out the colors that you’d like to highlight more. If there’s a color in the fabric that you don’t necessarily love, don’t highlight it! On the flipside, if you like a color more than another, bring that color out more.
  3. The two fabrics should be of different scale. The first pattern has a very large scale so I knew I needed to go smaller on the second.blue and orange table idea

Citrus tablescape

To go with our Mother’s Day party, we created a centerpiece of citrus–grapefruit, lemons, and oranges, to sit atop the tablecloth. We matched with with some yellow plates, blue bowls, and goblets to tie it in with our beautiful fabric. Plus the pretty chargers that add some depth. And a dash of flowers to keep it fresh!

Mother’s Day Care Packages

Because we are keeping friends and family at arm’s length right now, we have been brainstorming DIY ideas of how to share uplifting moments with our loved ones near and far. We decided to make a tote from Spoonflower’s Linen Cotton Canvas –it’s the perfect thing to fill up with goodies and send along to someone who needed a dose of joy. A handpicked, handmade gift for someone you love can be the best surprise!oranges table idea

To match the amazing fabric, we made our gift bag lemon themed! You know, the classic, “When life gives you lemons”. With everything life is throwing at us lately, let’s just say we have been making A LOT of metaphorical lemonade. We filled our gift bag with lots of lemon themed hand soap, lotion, candles, and more. Everything our loved ones need to make this extra hand washing fun!

When Life Hands you Lemons Care Package

Additionally, I wanted to create a care package to send along to my mom as Mother’s Day approaches. Social distancing could have interrupted the celebration of such a special holiday, but instead it turned into something that lets us show our love for our mothers in a new way. After turning the beautiful fabric from Spoonflower into a tote (the tutorial is now available in the Lars shop!), I wanted to fill it with goodies that were fun and practical. So, candy was a must (der!), as well as hand sanitizer and other necessities. Paul and Jasper joined in as well to create a tote-turned-gift-basket for Paul’s mom too to send to her in Denmark.

Follow these simple steps to make your own gift tote bag:

DIY Tote bag

(inspired by the famous Baggu tote!))

Materials:

Instructions:

Step 1: Print off our tote bag template found here

Step 2: Cut your bag pieces out of the fabric using the pattern, making sure to note which part of the fabric you want to highlight on your bag and which direction it will face when complete

Step 3: Starting with the main bag piece — face right sides together

Step 4: Sew the sides with a single stitch (and finish off the edges with a zag zag stitch if desired)

Step 5: Pull the edges of the notched part of the cut fabric, on the bottom of the bag, together to form the flat bottom of the bag. Sew a single stitch straight across these edges you have pulled together

Step 6: Turn your main bag piece right side out to prep for future steps. Now to move on to the handle straps!

Step 7: Take one of the cut handle strap pieces and fold the long edges in a quarter of an inch. Use your fingernail to crease the canvas fabric fold well.

Step 8: Once both long sides are creased, fold the entire strap in half so both folded edges meet

Step 9: Pin and sew a single stitch down both long sides of the strap. This will flatten the strap and make both edges look the same.

Step 10: Repeat steps 7-9 for the second handle strap. Next for the shoulder strap!

Step 11: Repeat steps 7-9 for the shoulder strap — to repeat, crease in the long sides a quarter of an inch, then fold the entire strap in half so both folded edges meet. Sew a single stitch down both long edges of the shoulder strap.

Step 12: Now you will attach all straps to the main bag piece — to do this, make sure your bag piece turned right side out

Step 13: Position the handle straps in the center on the bag opening, on either side, facing down towards the bottom of the bag with the short edges aligned with the top opening edge of the bag. Pin them in place and sew them on.

Step 14: Attach an end of the shoulder strap piece to both edges of the bag, with the strap facing down just like you did with the handle straps, and sew them in place.

Step 15: All straps should now be sewn on the outside of the bag, facing downwards, so they when folded up inside the bag to face up the seam will not show. You are almost done!

Step 16: Take your facing pieces, on both pieces, crease one long edge in a quarter of an inch.

Step 17:  Face both pieces right side together and sew both short edges

Step 18: Place the sewn facing pieces around the opening of the bag, over the edge of all the straps. Make sure the creased edge is facing down and the un-creased edge is aligned with the top opening edge of the bag.

Step 19: Sew a single stitch around the top opening edge of the bag, attached the facing pieces to the bag

Step 20: Turn the facing piece to the inside of the bag, making the straps fold upwards and the seams will all be hidden inside

Step 21: Turn the bag back inside out for the final step – Sew around the bottom creased edge of the facing pieces to keep that inside edge from fraying.

Step 22: Your bag is finished! Turn it back right side out to admire your work!

Send a Mother’s Day care package

What a wonderful way to send love when you can’t visit in person! Plus, who doesn’t love surprise presents in the mail? We think that, in lieu of a visit, sending gifts for Mother’s Day can be the next best thing! orange and yellow tableorange tablescape

Mother's Day table ideaDIY Baggu bag templatehow to sew a baggu toteWe’d love to see your Mother’s Day party-for-ones or care packages. Tag us with #LarsLovesMamas so we can see them! 

Discount for Lars readers

Lars readers can get 15% off with code LARSTABLE15 for all Table Linens and Tea Towels.

This post is sponsored by Spoonflower, who we love for their many home decor and fabric options. We love working with sponsors who allow us to create awesome new content for you!

DIY Statement Headbands Inspired by Amanda Gorman

Statement headbands have been trending over the past few years and they are here to stay for 2021, thanks to Amanda Gorman! We’ve seen a resurgence of headband designs made with velvet and satin, embellished with pearls, rhinestones, and beads. They almost resemble Renaissance and medieval headwear that adorned the hair like a tangible halo glow. On Inauguration Day, Amanda Gorman glowed as she read her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” and her red headband simply accentuated her shine. Gorman’s “fiery red” headband by Prada quickly sold out since her speech, so we wanted to recreate the look by making our own headbands.

How to Make Your Own Statement Headbands

Supplies:

Plain 1.5 inch wide headbands (without teeth), 1/4 yard upholstery foam (½ inch thick), a permanent marker, scissors, a glue gun and glue, 1/3 yard fabric, a satin ribbon to finish.

Amanda Gorman headband DIY

Puffy Amanda Gorman Headband:

  1. With your permanent marker, trace the outline of your headband onto the foam. Cut it out outside the lines, giving about half an inch of ease on each end (as the foam bends it scrunches up a bit and loses some length). If you want your headband to be extra tall, cut two foam shapes.
  2. Making sure the foam and the headband are centered, glue the foam to the top of the headband. It’s easiest to keep it centered  if you start with the two ends, then glue the top and sides.
  3. If you are making yours extra tall, glue another layer of foam on top 
  4. Trim the foam to create a smooth silhouette. It’s especially helpful to trim down the foam by the ends of the headband so that it tapers. Take your time on this step.
  5. Cut an oval of fabric 24 inches long and six inches wide. 
  6. Center the headband on the fabric and wrap the fabric up and over the foam. Glue the fabric to the underside of the headband. Repeat on the other side. It’s best if you keep the glue on the center of the underside of the headband so that it can be covered with the ribbon later. If you have excess fabric, trim it off. 
  7. Work your way around the headband, smoothing out big wrinkles along the way. 
  8. Trim the excess fabric from the end of the headband, leaving about an inch. Fold it under the bottom and secure with glue. 
  9. To finish your headband, cut a length of ribbon long enough to run the entirety of the inside of the headband with about an inch to spare. Glue the ribbon to the underside of the headband, covering any raw edges. Fold the end of the ribbon under to create a clean edge and secure with glue. Where the headband tapers fold both sides of the ribbon under so that the ribbon doesn’t extend beyond the sides of the headband. Glue down and repeat on the other side. 

Amanda Gorman headband DIY

Braided Headband:

  1. Cover the headband in fabric. To do this, cut a three inch wide strip of fabric just longer than the headband is. Center the headband on the fabric and glue it down so that it covers the top, and fold the ends under the headband. Secure with hot glue and press down to avoid pesky bumps. Trim away excess fabric. 
  2. Cut three four-inch-wide strips of fabric and fold them over so that they form a hollow tube. Dot hot glue along the side of each and secure the fabric tubes. 
  3. Stack the three tubes and glue them together. Loosely braid the three strands together, taking care to keep the glued seam down. It can help to tape the strands to a table here. Secure the end of the braid with hot glue so that it doesn’t unravel.
  4. Starting in the middle of the braid, attach it to the top of the headband, with a dot of hot glue. Plump up the braid as desired and glue the braid down across the length of the headband. We pulled the braid a little bit tighter at the ends so that it would have more dimension at the top and taper at the sides. Trim any excess braid where the headband stops and add a dot of hot glue to the strands to keep them from unraveling.
  5. To finish your headband, cut a length of ribbon long enough to run the entirety of the inside of the headband with a few inches to spare. Glue the ribbon to the underside of the headband, covering any raw edges. Starting on one side, trim the ribbon so it extends just beyond the end of the headband and fold it up over the bottom. Secure it with glue. Cut a three inch piece of ribbon and glue it to the inside bottom of the headband. Fold and glue the end of the ribbon to create a clean edge, and wrap it around the base. Secure with glue and repeat on the other side. 

Knotted headband:

  1. Cover the headband in fabric. To do this, cut a three inch wide strip of fabric just longer than the headband is. Center the headband on the fabric and glue it down so that it covers the top, and fold the ends under the headband. Secure with hot glue and press down to avoid pesky bumps. Trim away excess fabric. Cut the fabric so that it ends right where the headband ends.
  2. Cover the raw edges of the fabric with a strip of ribbon. Cut a length of ribbon long enough to run the entirety of the length of the headband and glue it down, covering any raw edges. Don’t worry about the ends of the headband; we will finish those later. 
  3. Cut a strip of fabric six inches wide and about 30 inches long. Fold it over so that it forms a hollow tube. Dot hot glue along the side and secure the fabric tube. 
  4. Tie a loose knot in the center of the fabric tube. Make sure that the seam side isn’t up in the knot or on the top of the strips coming off the knot on either side. 
  5. With a dot of hot glue, secure the knot. Use another dot of glue to adhere the knot to the top of the headband. 
  6. With the seams down, glue the strips of fabric to the headband. Fold up the ends and fold in the sides, and wrap these around the bottom of the headband. Secure with hot glue.

As Amanda Gorman stated within the last lines of “The Hill We Climb,” may we be brave enough to be the light, in our country and our world.

We want to see how your style your Amanda Gorman headband! Tag us on instagram so we can see your iconic looks. 

Amanda Gorman headband DIY

Becoming Arounna Khounnoraj

Arounna Khounnoraj is a Canadian artist and maker working in Toronto where she immigrated with her family from Laos at the age of four. While her education includes a master’s degree in fine arts in sculpture and ceramics, it was through subsequent residencies that she found her current focus in fibre arts. In 2002 she started bookhou, a multi-disciplinary studio with her husband John Booth, where Arounna explores screen printing and a variety of textile techniques such as embroidery and punch needle. She creates objects such as bags, home goods and textile art. 

In recent years Arounna work has created a social media sensation. From wall art to cushions and bags, her punch needle pieces highlight her botanical and abstract designs and her sense of colour have brought a modern, new life to an old technique.

She is the author of Punch Needle: Master the Art of Punch Needling Accessories for You and Your Home, which was published in April 2019. In 2020 she released a book on Visible Mending and she is currently working on her third book based on Embroidery.

A group of punch needled surfaces and artworks leaned against a white wall.

Becoming Arounna Khounnoraj

What do you consider yourself? Example: Artist, designer, illustrator, maker, business person, educator, etc.?

It’s hard to choose just one, I consider myself an artist first but being self employed I really rely on my self taught business skills and what I try to do with my writing and social media is to share with my followers the different ways I work and techniques they can apply to their own work.

Where did you grow up? Were there aspects of your childhood that have influenced what you do now?

I was born in Vientiane Laos, but came to Toronto, Canada with my family when I was four. Growing up in Toronto was a major influence. Even though I lived downtown in a very urban setting, Toronto is, nevertheless, a city of neighbourhoods that are very eclectic and diverse so I experienced a variety of cultures. It’s also a city with pockets of nature and I think that all combined, an environment like that helped me create work that is also eclectic but with an emphasis on natural things.

Of course family life was also influential. As immigrants we lived modestly and made much of what we needed and used. Food, clothing, repairing things ourselves when they are broken helped create a definite DIY mindset that has always stayed with me.

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger?

I grew up in a household with makers, not necessarily artists but definitely makers – using our hands. So, I don’t think it ever occurred to me to be anything else but a maker too.  I have always made things with my hands and it brought me the most joy so it only seemed natural to go to art school and follow a path of making art.

What sparked your interest in mending? 

When I was younger I would mend my clothes whether they needed it or not so I had some experience. But more recently, mending just kind of happened since it is really just an extension of the kind of hand work and stitch work that I was already doing. Studio work for me has always been about trying new things and new techniques, whether it was patchwork, appliqué or decorative stitching, it was already part of my studio practice. Having a family and kids especially, certainly gave me a new application for these activities. 

But also, I‘ve always been the kind of person who not only believes in an economy of means, but I hate to waste materials, both in my own studio and in life in general. So reuse, and by extension mending, is a  natural part of how I work. 

Arounna and her daughter in a light-filled living space.

What are three words to describe your style?

Natural, simple, organic

What is your educational background and how has it shaped or changed your current career

I started with a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Ontario College of Art and then Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, then finished with a Masters from University of Waterloo. 

School has been very influential in shaping my current path. I worked in a variety of media, ceramics, multimedia sculpture and fibre arts, while at school and it is certainly there that I found the artistic interests and methodologies that continue to define my work. Jumping ahead a number of years when I started to make utilitarian work, especially products, I found that those disciplines and ways of working in a studio continued. I’ve always thought of our workplace as an art studio, a multidisciplinary space where artistic interests and vision could be applied to everyday things. Working with materials, details of design, surface decoration and use is not that far from what I was concerned with at school.

Have you ever made a big career switch? If so, what prompted that? Are there aspects of a prior career that you incorporate into what you do now? 

Not really, I’ve always been making things one way or another and finding a way to market them. The only real switch was from working in a studio art practice that entailed singular installation work in sculpture, to production work with textiles and printing.  That happened in a rather unplanned way with a residency that I accepted in a textile studio and simply being open to spending some time trying something different.  After I finished, I continued to work on smaller, more personal fabric based items concentrating on drawing and printing as forms of surface design. Although, differences aside, I think both have a lot in common in terms of artistic vision, and by the things that inform them – natural imagery, organic forms and belief in the handmade. 

What inspired you to become a textile artist?

A layout of craft supplies, punch needle projects, and art.

More than anything else, working with fabric was always an activity that I enjoyed and was always around me. I always had a connection to it, starting when I was young. As I grew older it became an even more important activity. I became aware that working with fabric was more than a personal activity. The very idea of sewing, or stitchwork is so related to the concept of women’s work and domestic work. I was always inspired by the ideas, the techniques,  and the continuity of the work as tradition. Seeing the work of others who take an idea and pass it on as something wonderful and beautiful is amazing, and being a part of that is inspiring.

What is one piece of work that you are especially proud of and why?

If I have to pick one, I suppose the piece(s) I’m most proud of in recent years are a series of little stools that John and I made together. He designed the wood stool specifically to fit a punch needle seat. We had always talked about collaborating on such a piece and it was great to see it happen.

Where do you find inspiration for new creations? 

I’m not sure I look for inspiration for new pieces. The possibilities for what I’m already inspired to do seems endless. I think every maker or artist becomes aware of different possibilities they could explore in their work. So, perhaps just new applications and working at larger scales. 

a patchwork project bag made by Arounna Khounnoraj

How do you make social connections in the creative realm?

Working in the studio on your own work is quite often so focused, and busy, that it’s sometimes hard to connect to other makers in real time. But having spent as much time at craft shows as I have, I’ve been able to meet a wide range of artists and makers that I find time to connect with, creating a soundboard for each other.

In addition, through social media I’ve been able to connect with so many people all over the world who work in similar activities as I am, or simply enjoy what I do. Social media has allowed me to connect with teaching opportunities, collaborations with others and enjoy the work of others.

How has social media influenced your work?

I cannot tell you how important social media is. It really works in partnership with other aspects of business and studio work. Most importantly it helps tell the story of who you are and what you do. And when it comes down to it,  to make connections, the narrative is really important.

Social media and studio work are definitely connected, but it is more than just documentation. I spend a fair amount of time creating work and instructional content not just for web sales but specifically for social media. Sometimes too much time. In the end, I can’t say that my work in terms of design has changed in response to social media, but it certainly has changed the way I work, and the success of a product.

What artists and creatives do you look up to, both historical and present?

When I just started our business I was still in art school mode, and I was looking at artists like Louise Bourgeois and Kiki Smith. But I remember seeing the show of makers from Gees Bend at the Whitney around 2002, and I was blown away. There are a number of people and studios I am fond of now like Mina Perhonen.

A collection of patchwork blocks made by Arounna Khounnoraj

What books, movies, shows, or music are making you excited these days?

I sometimes watch TV and movies when sewing, just something to have in the background. I’m fond of British Crime dramas and anything post apocalypse.

What is a piece of advice that you have carried with you and who is it from?

One piece of advice that I always try to remember is that if I like my work, I know that someone else will like it too. I think it’s a variation on trusting yourself regardless of how things are initially received, or how fast or slow work progresses. Trust yourself, trust your direction, just work hard at making the most of it. Not sure who sent that my way. 

What is your workspace like? Has it changed at all since the beginning of the pandemic last year? 

We were fortunate enough to buy a storefront that had a small shop in the front and a small studio in the back and our home above. Over the years we renovated and expanded to include a sewing area where my mother and I have machines; a small shipping area, and studio space – printing and cutting table. There is also a quieter, more private studio space on the second floor for when I feel like stepping away from production. 

Since the pandemic, only family members are with me, and the showroom space has turned over to more work/organization space (and plants). It’s definitely quieter, but we’ve tried to maintain a degree of normalcy. 

A patchwork blanket made of indigo squares in various shades.

How do your surroundings influence your work?

There are a couple of things that influence my work. Firstly, having a diverse series of spaces that are specific to each task allows me to work efficiently, and gives me enough space to work at anything that comes to mind. Secondly, I live upstairs, so I don’t have to leave to work. Some might see this as potentially burdensome, but with young kids it was great, and it lets me be connected to work whenever I want, which I find both convenient and liberating actually, since I love to work.

Describe some habits that keep you motivated and productive. How do you climb out of a creative slump?

I have a tendency to be a little impatient, but in a good way. Not sure if that’s a habit, but it means that if something is on my mind, if I have something to do or a design that needs development, I’ll just do it. I don’t like leaving things lingering, I’d rather finish things or make decisions as soon as I can. It means that things are always moving along, and seeing work in its final form, especially when I’m excited and happy about it, is really motivating. 

I also make sure that every day I have time to sit back and draw, whether analogue or on an iPad. I find it relaxing actually. Letting your mind just go, focusing on nothing else just for a little while can be very helpful to keep you in your groove, and suggest new ideas. As long as you have work on the table, there is always something to do.

What is a typical day like for you? 

Depending on the day, after the kids are off to school, or virtual school, I usually do emails first thing. We do shipping two days out of the week so that pretty much structures our day for us. If it’s a non shipping day I’ll make lists of any orders. If anything needs to be made we’ll start that, otherwise I’ll either cut or print fabric or both for my mother who does a lot of the sewing, so we always have stock, as much as we can. Afternoons tend to be working on social media posts or photography, taking advantage of the afternoon light. Shipping days are similar except with a lot of packaging. When it’s not too busy I fit non production work in, working on new projects and finally, at the end of the day, a little drawing. 

What is one skill you wished you learned when you were younger?

My mum is a wonderful cook and I really wish I took more interest when I was younger to be as accomplished as her. The problem is that she was always happy cooking for us and I was happy letting her.

Someone stands on a bench holding a white punch needle blanket above their head. The punch needled parts are in lots of colors and look like confetti dots sprinkled throughout the blanket's surface.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to self-teach a new hobby or skill?

My advice would be to not hold yourself back. Try everything even if it’s for one time only.  You will never know how it could add or change the way you work and it might enhance it for the better. Don’t feel you have to be an expert in one thing and only have to do that one thing forever. These days there is so much access to online help, courses and many great kits available.

Nobody likes to talk about it, but can you share any advice regarding financing your business?

Our business was financed by our part time jobs when we were starting.  Don’t worry if you have to have a job in order to finance your business, as you figure it out you will be less dependent. I would try to focus on not growing too fast, to really understand the work that you want to make and understand your audience. Knowing these two things are actually the most important business decisions you can make. If there’s equipment or material that you need that you can’t afford, think about renting it or borrowing from someone who does. If there is something that you can’t do right now, then try it a different way. The important thing is to work, try new things, but keep working.  When we started we did every craft show that we could. Some good, some not so good. But even a little income was good. Same for online. Be patient and learn to trust yourself, (and it is something we have to learn). Eventually you will find a rhythm and your income will start increasing. 

Is there anything more you would like to “become?” 

In terms of both inspiration and work, one of the defining aspects of my work has been its relationship to nature, working organically, and specifically, my love for botanical imagery. I have always been interested in plants and I think if I wasn’t making, I would like to learn more about botany.  I think somehow cataloging  them by painting/drawing or by photographing them.

floral punch needle pillow in warm oranges, pinks, yellows, and greens.

What do you hope to accomplish within the next 10 years?

My 10 year goal is to try to move away from the constraints of production work and focus more on designing, perhaps working with other studios in creating my work.  For the work I do myself, I would like to do larger, more art based pieces that would allow me to slow down, focus, and really delve into a project.

 

A Fall Movie List & Cozy Pajamas

Now that it’s starting to cool down outside and the days are getting shorter, it’s the perfect time to snuggle up in cozy pajamas and watch a movie. The Lars team put our heads together to come up with a great fall movie list, with options ranging from cozy to creepy.

Depending on your mood, you can find a something sentimental and sweet or creepy, all of which are perfect for chilly nights and changing leaves.

But first, find your new favorite fall pajamas!

My Favorite Fall Pajamas

A strict dress code of cozy pajamas for movie nights is non-negotiable, if you ask me. As a kid, my siblings and I always had to get into jammies before we started a movie. Now I realize that there was a great reason for that rule–my parents didn’t want to have to wrangle any kids into pajamas late at night when everyone was extra sleepy!

Still, I’m a firm believer that pajamas are vital to any good movie night. The snugglier the better! I’m a sucker for matching pajamas, so you’ll see some sets that are available in kid and adult sizes, which is an added bonus! Here are my favorite fall pajamas:

For Kids

For Grown Ups

If you’re looking for more of my favorite cozy clothes, check out this loungewear in all colors of the rainbow, my favorite everyday leisurewear, and these cloud-like pajamas!

Fall and Halloween Movie List

There are so many great fall and Halloween movies, so something from these lists is sure to strike your fancy! Still, not all of them are family-friendly or for everyone, so use your judgement to find something you’ll feel great about watching. And we won’t tell if you hide beneath the blankets during the scary scenes. 😉

Cozy

  • It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
  • Coco
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • the Harry Potter movies
  • Little Women
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • You’ve Got Mail
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Dan in Real Life
  • the Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Dead Poet’s Society
  • Legally Blonde

Creepy/Halloween Themed

  • Halloweentown
  • Casper the Friendly Ghost
  • Hotel Trannsylvania
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman (which may have given a team member nightmares)
  • Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Goosebumps movies
  • The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (which may have made another team member afraid of the piano as a kid)
  • Watcher in the Woods
  • Hocus Pocus
  • Ghostbusters
  • The Addams Family
  • Twitches
  • ET
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • A Ghost Story
  • Edward Scissorhands
  • Knives Out
  • Heathers
  • Coraline
  • A Quiet Place
  • Nosferatu
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
  • Beetlejuice
  • Jane Eyre
  • The Crooked House
  • Ophelia

Found a new favorite fall movie? Tell us which one, and let us know what your favorite flicks are!

DIY Quilted Face Mask

As you know, I’m a big fan of quilted everything. It was only a matter of time before I made a quilted face mask. As much as we all hoped that we wouldn’t even be considering COVID-19 anymore by now, the reality is that it’s still very much an issue. I know that lots of people are in a stage of the pandemic where we just don’t know what to do with ourselves anymore, but I have a proposition: When in doubt, CRAFT IT OUT! I’m facing my pandemic blues by making myself a stylish new quilted face mask.

Brittany puts on a quilted face mask while wearing a matching quilted coat.Closeup of Brittany wearing her quilted coat and face mask.

My Quilted Journey

If you’ve been following me for a while, you may be familiar with my quilted coat saga. I’ve loved all things quilted for a long time, after all!

Brittany puts on a quilted face mask while wearing a matching quilted coat.

To make a long story short, I lusted after quilted coats for years and years. Then, last year, I finally bit the bullet and hired Romy-Krystal Cutler of Sew Like Romy to make me a quilted jacket. She did an incredible job and helped us put together a tutorial, so now you can make your own, too! (Check out Romy’s interview and follow her on Instagram @sewlike to keep up with all her fantastic makes. She truly astounds me at every turn!)

Brittany wears a pink and neutral quilted coat in front of a white house with green grass.

After Romy finished the coat, she left some of the quilt top unused. I knew I wanted to keep it to use later, so I tucked it away for while. I used a little bit of the leftover quilt for a sleep mask shortly after I had Felix, then I set it aside again.

Brittany sits on a bed wearing blue pajamas and a pink and white quilted eye mask around her neck.

Something I love about quilting culture is the way that quilters use all the little pieces of fabric, then keep reusing them again and again when they repurpose the quilt into clothing. In keeping with that tradition, I’m using the quilt top again to make a face mask!

Brittany wearing a matching face mask and quilted coat.

I’ll never get tired of quilted!

“But Brittany, you already made that sleeping mask and you made a coat out of masks in April! Aren’t you tired of this yet?” Ohohoho, no. I’ll never get tired of quilted things! The irony isn’t lost on me that after making a quilted coat out of mask, now I’ve made a face mask out of the same quilt that I used for a coat. It’s something of a tongue twister, I know, and at this point Mother Goose could write a nursery rhyme about all my quilt, coat, and mask escapades. But we’re going with it.

a face mask, eye mask, and matching quilted coat on a blue background.a face mask, eye mask, and matching quilted coat on a blue background.

Make Your Own DIY Quilted Face Mask

Materials

You’ll need about 8 square inches of quilt top or patchwork fabric, backing fabric, 20 inches of 1/4″ elastic, matching thread, fusible interfacing, 4 small beads, a sewing machine, an iron, and an ironing board.

Instructions

Prepare your materials
  1. Cut 8 inch squares out of your quit, your backing fabric, and your fusible interfacing.
  2. Iron your fusible interfacing to the back of your backing fabric.
  3. Cut the elastic into 2 10 inch strips.
  4. String two beads onto the middle of one of the elastic strips. Then pass one end of the elastic back through the second bead. This makes your mask adjustable. Repeat with the other piece of elastic.

Mask Construction
  1. Pin the elastic to the right side of the backing fabric, making sure that the elastic isn’t twisted.
  2. With the front side of the quilt down, pin the quilt fabric to the backing fabric and elastic. Pin the whole fabric sandwich together.
  3. Starting on a side just above the bottom elastic, sew most of the way around the perimeter of the fabric and elastic sandwich. Leave a gap at the end.
  4. Turn the mask right side out through the gap you just left. Use a pencil or skewer to push out the corners and iron it flat.

step by step photos of sewing a quilted face mask

Finishing up
  1. Sew the gap shut.
  2. If you like, you can topstitch the mask pieces together along the patchwork lines.
  3. Fold three pleats into each side of the mask and secure with a pin.
  4. Stitch back and forth along each pleated side.
  5. Voilà! You finished your mask. Make sure to wear it covering your nose and mouth!

step by step photos of sewing and finishing a quilted face mask

More Mask Fashion

For more face mask inspiration, check out Our Favorite Face Masks for 2021, another face mask tutorial, and Halloween costumes incorporating face masks!