DIY statement neckpiece/harness

I’ve been mentioning lately how taken I am with shouder harnesses and neckpieces, as well as the tribal trend. I’ve seen a few harnesses that are basically statement neckpieces with strapping, that are DIYable.

Some inspiration came from Sass & Bide – but so much beading!
Then there’s the ones from Metallic Dreamer – these are definitely DIYable
What they are, basically, is a centrepiece shape that is embellished with metallic beading or feathers, say, and with straps coming out from it to tie around your body.  I had a look around my craft supplies and accessories and came up with an idea.
Here is my DIY Harness
a sneak peek of which you see here, with one of my own crazy tribal hats
What you need

* A centre shape – I used one of those bib necklaces that have been around a lot this season, in felt, with the beading already on it. Mine came from Primark in the UK last year, but I’ve seen similar ones in Sportsgirl here in Australia.

* Feathers to surround the shape, to give it oomph and lend a tribal feel.  There are some great ones available here at, although I got my spotted feathers from the US, at Decorating Studio.  Or you could use some other type of trim, such as pleated ribbon, lace…or even pompoms!
* Something to attach the harness to your body. It could be ribbon, cord, chain, leather thonging or whatever, but I chose to use that metallic-looking sheet of beading I bought in Japan.

* Needle and thread (or glue)

What to do
* Choose your centre shape.
* Get your feathers, preferably already attached to ribbon to make them easier to sew on. Measure around your shape to see how long you need to cut the feathered trim, and then cut a little more (just in case).
* Sew the feathered trim to the back of the shape. You could glue it, but sewing is more permanent. You’ll find you have to gather the ribbon a litle as you sew, if you are making it fit around curves, as I am here (this is the back view).
And here’s a close-up to show the slight gathering
 * Check your finished shape from the front to see if you’re happy with it. It may need another row of feathers or trim to fill it out.
* Decide how long you want the harness centrepiece to hang down. Measure your cord or ribbon accordingly, looping it around your neck, or allowing enough to tie behind your neck. In my case, I cut the strip of metallic beading from the sheet.
* Double-check the length is right, then sew it to the shape.
* Then measure around your back, for the length of the piece of ribbon that ties around your body. Sew this on either side of the shape.
* Voila! Your harness is ready.
* Now you just have to look for items in your wardrobe that it would work with.
   I tried it with this ikat inspired dress and fur
and then with my Sass & Bide dress, and Lucette harness (and military cap!)
Actually that look was a bit busy, but I’ll be trying out more in weeks to come.
I hope I’ve shown how easy it is…anyone else going to try their own version?

DIY Headband Modelled by moi

A YouTube friend commented that I didn’t model my headband after I made it the other day (and others suggested I should have used my husband as model!)

So, here is me modelling it; I went for an elegant look to complement the beading.

And utilising the strong afternoon light
How ’bout a serious look, showing the ruffled cuffs of my blouse?  And if you look to the right, there’s our super huge pleco with his fin up.
The necklace is gorgeous too, isn’t it? It’s from Joshua & Sean, in Newtown.
And the crown motif on its own

DIY post – Embellished Headband with EGL Crown motif

People always comment on my new crown headband from Omotesando Hills – and I always remember the day I bought it, as I ran into Adam Lambert shortly after!  The headband is from new store Miss Me   – see my next post for the lowdown. 

I thought I’d try my hand at making something similar – and on doing a video blogpost for the first time. Without further ado, here is my EGL Crown Embellished headband.

DIY embellished EGL crown headband

Hope you found it interesting (or at least skipped through the bits you didn’t need explained). As time-consuming as it was, it has now made me keen to do more (shorter) DIYs and other Vblog posts.

The videoblogs will become more polished and better edited, as I get more used to the editing software. It’s cool to learn new stuff though, and I want to learn more! More millinery ones in store, like DIY cocktail hats coming soon….

FYI, shortly after posting this, I learned of a blogger who is a graduate of St Martins, Little Fille, who is creating a different headband every day for 30 days. She’s currently on Day 15. See her “30 Days of Headbands” at her blog, or check out the little fille shop where she sells them.

DIY military cap

I thought I’d do a nifty DIY for those who, like me, love the military look. I really like those little military caps, but don’t have great sewing skills to make one from scratch. So, I decided to transform an ordinary straw cowboy hat I had lying around, into THIS:

The hat before I started – it was a cheap nasty one from Target.  We’re just going to use the top of the hat and discard the brim.

What you need:
a hat, ruler and pencil, scissors, grosgrain ribbon, paint and glue.
Optional extras: hat elastic, brooch or other embellishment to decorate the hat.
Step 1. Measure your hat across the top…
…and down the side
Decide how deep you want the cap (that is, how high it’s going to sit on your head).
Step 2. Go round the hat and mark in pencil where you’re going to cut it. You want it slightly longer in the front so you get that point (otherwise it will just look like a Fez – fine if you’re in Morocco, but not the look we’re going for here!) It should look something like this:
The hat from the side. See it’s a slightly diagonal line. You may want to mark a couple of different lines, if you’re not sure what depth you want the hat to be.
Step 3. Now it’s time to cut it with some sharp scissors. If in doubt, make it higher than you think you may need it, put it on your head to see what it looks like, and cut more away if need be.
The hat when cut.
If you have a dummy head, or a willing friend to model it, put the cap on to see if it’s the height you want it.

I didn’t like the ‘pinches’ either side of the crown, as they are just too cowboy for my taste, so I decided to get rid of them by steaming the cap. This isn’t too scary, and doesn’t require special equipment, trust me!
Step 4. Bring a pot of water to the boil, preferably with a lid with a small steam hole in it. Otherwise, just put the lid on the pot at a bit of an angle, so some steam can escape from the side.
Step 5. Roll a small towel into a sausage shape and place inside the cap.  This is to keep the shape of the cap. The steam is going to get rid of the pinches.
Step 6. Bring the cap to the steam hole in the saucepan lid, keeping your hand away from the hole. Ok, maybe this is a little scary. Make sure you don’t burn yourself.
Steam until the indents are sufficiently lessened, and put the cap somewhere sunny to dry (as it will be a little moist from the steam). Leave the towel in while the cap dries.
Step 7. I sprayed my hat with black paint – you may want another colour. Either take it out somewhere airy like a balcony to spray it with paint, or you could brush the paint on. I found enamel paint in a spray can adhered better to the straw. Ordinary school paints may just be absorbed. Again, allow to dry.
Now to finish off that nasty raw edge!
Step 8. Measure round the edge of the cap, and cut a piece of grosgrain ribbon slightly longer.  We’re going to glue it around the edge, with half the width of the ribbon either side. I folded the ribbon over first and creased it with my fingers, to help me keep it even as I glued.
Step 9. Glue the ribbon round the edge of the cap – don’t use too much or it will get messy, and spoil the finish. You could sew it instead of gluing – but that’s a lot of work!
Step 10. The cap may just sit fine by itself, but if you want to make sure it stays on your head, you could attach some hat elastic. Measure yourself ear to ear, cut the elastic, thread the elastic through the basketweave of the straw either side of the cap, and knot it on the inside.
Step 11. If you want to further embellish the hat as I did, grab a brooch or similar and pin through the hat.  I bought the skull cameo and metal backing from ebay and glued them together myself. The beauty of brooches is that you can change them to go with different outfits.
And Voila!
The military/geek look in action.
Patent corset: Deadlygirlz aka DGFH7
PVC tie: Gothic Doll tie from Refuse To Be Usual, ebay
I will be doing a DIY on a similar gothic lolita tie a little down the track. The dread/cyberlox wig in the first pic was also made by me. I may post a DIY if anyone is interested 🙂