Embellish Yourself in 2015
by Rima Greer
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we’re in a resurgence of embellishment! All your favorite new clothes are drowning in trim, embroidery, beads, fringe, and ribbons. This is great fun, not only because they look fabulous but because you can take the art of embellishment into your own hands so easily. You don’t have to spend a fortune on that beaded tee. Do it yourself, have some creative fun, and look even more fabulous. There’s no reason you can’t take that plain tee you got at Target and spend an evening making it something special that expresses your personality. What’s more, all the resources you need can be found locally, which is always a good thing.
Here are a bunch of ideas for taking a lackluster wardrobe and making it your artistic statement.
There’s nothing easier than adding beads or sequins. It’s a relaxing, almost zen activity. Pick up some beads from our friends at Talisman Beads and make that plain tee or dress sparkle! Do a complex design, or just scatter them at random. This works great with buttons too. You know that box of left over buttons gathering dust in your closet? Sew them all over the yoke of your fave top and it’ll look like a brand new designer shirt that you paid too much money for. Or get a bucket of pony beads, cut strips on the sleeves and hem of that old tee shirt, and tie some pony beads on your fringe.
You don’t need a $3000 embroidery machine to embellish your clothing. Hand embroidery has a tradition thousands of years old, and continues today. Use anything from sewing thread to floss, pearl cotton, silk thread, yarn, or even ribbons. Stock up on embroidery threads at Origin Design Lab or Eureka Fabrics.
There are a million amazing trims out there. You can find tons of them at Eureka Fabrics and Origin Design Lab. And remember, you can always make your own trim by bias cutting fabric. Bias strips make great trim! Or cut your fabric on the grain, and fringe the edges. Works great with leather too. You can use (or make!) wool felt, or knit, or crochet your trim. While you’re at Eureka Fabrics, check out Yarn (next door) and North Coast Knittery (across the street) for some great embellishment ideas.
Your painting options are endless. You can choose from watercolor types like Dye-Na-Flow, metallics like Lumiere (available at EF and ODL), or try pastel-type paints like Shiva Sticks from Ellis Art & Engineering. There are even puffy dimensional fabric paints. You can find those (and some of the others) at Art Center in Arcata. Try painting freehand, or pick up some art stamps at Scrappers Edge. Or try some stencils. Want to make your own stencil designs? Ellis has blank stencil sheets.
Of course, you can mix all of these embellishment techniques for a fabulous effect. Found a cool trim? Add some beads. Paint it gold. Surround it with ribbon embroidery or silk threads. Crochet an edge on it. The trick is not to be shy about it. Just dive in and go for it! On the other hand, if you feel like you need some guidance, most of these local shops also offer classes that can inspire you and teach you techniques that you will find useful.