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FREE Book Look :: The Book of Doing

The Book of Doing

What a fun book to kick off our “Book Look” reviews and FREE giveaways here on DIYStyle! At first glance I thought “The Book of Doing” was a book for kids (see what I know!), but written by Advertising Age publisher Allison Arden–hence it is mostly for us grown ups. Subtitled–Everyday activities to unlock your creativity and joy….this is a book that gives all of us the permission to get messy, experience something new, and ultimately get your creative juices flowing. :)

Allison is one who experienced the lack of “doing” firsthand as she works in a fast paced, tech field, publishing the 80 year old powerhouse of a magazine that professionals in the Ad and Marketing areas look to. So these days, with 2 children in tow, she learned how getting crafty and giving yourself permission to try new things REALLY enriched her life (most of us sewers and crafters already know how this works right??—-actually wrong!!).

Filled with ideas of things to try out, this book is a kind of kick-start workbook rather than a high level read-and-digest manual. Starting off the adventure into creativity are the 18 “Laws of Doing”. Kind of a mantra for the whole book’s direction, these simple but profound words to live your creative life by are certainly worth repeating to yourself on a regualr basis. I think we all sometimes forget how the little things turn into BIG things, no matter what the direction and journey.

This workbook for creativity includes exercises like Imitate a Cocktail or Mocktail, and Spend an Hour Looking at the Stars and Learning the Constellations. As connected as we are to the tech world thru our tv, computers, phones, facebook, and tons of social media; Allison proposes for us to stash the “red bouncing ball” that is always vying for our attention and just DO. A simple message, a really cute book, and a creative movement we should all be involved in!

The Book of Doing, by Allison Arden, available from Penguin books gets a thumbs up “Like” from us. Check it out and let us know what you think. And “Like” our page at DIYStyle on Facebook and leave us your comments there for a chance to win YOUR copy of The Book of Doing! One facebook post-ee will receive a copy directly from the nice folks at Penguin.

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So You Wanna Be A Designer

So You Wanna Be a Designer


I wanted all of our DIYStyle fans to know about this really cool new internet show. Right now I am on my way to Chicago, as a finalist to interview for the So You Wanna Be a Designer internet reality show, sponsored by Kenmore (Sears)! Last week I got a call from a casting agency telling me about this show that Sears was doing, and they were looking for designers just like me. So, I made it through the first round and now here I am, trekking to Chicago with some of my garments, portfolio and sewing kit in tow. They were really interested in what I have done with DIYStyle and now my new swimwear line Allyce King Swim. How cool is this?!

The whole thing gets going later this month, with the challenges streaming live from Kenmore Live Studios. Yes, sounds like you get to watch us in action (is that good or bad?). Sounds really cool, and the audience (that’s YOU) gets to weigh in on everyones creations and vote for their fav designer. Winner gets $20K to start their line (of course that’s what got my attention from the start!) and a new Kenmore washer and dryer.

So, think positive thoughts for me today when I get to show off my designs and skills for the judges and casting agency. Only 6 get chosen for the show. Keeping my fingers crossed! And if I’m in I need my DIYStyle fashionista’s and Creative Chicks to vote for me. I will let you know how it all turns out. :)

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THE Fashion Competition and Fashion Business Weekend

Competition Flyer Front Cover

We love fashion! And we love independent fashion designers, especially their talent and tenacity–working hard to make it it the fashion business. So, when the opportunity arose to produce an event that supports young designers, we jumped at the chance. Mark your calendars for April 7-9, 2011. THE Fashion Competition and Fashion Business Weekend will come to St. Louis, courtesy of our event sponsor, Lumiere Place, a premier venue in downtown St. Louis.

Lumiere Place

THE Fashion Competition and Fashion Business Weekend is a 3-day event, focusing on independent fashion designers, helping them to succeed. It includes THE Fashion Competition open to Junior and Senior fashion design students at colleges and universities all over the US, as well as independent fashion business seminars, a fashion industry mixer for students, designers, educators, and media, and 3 fashion shows. The fashion shows include THE Fashion Competition finals show on Friday, April 8th, LAUNCH showcasing 6 emerging designers, and the St. Louis Independent Fashion Designers to take place on Saturday, April 9th.

Fashion Business seminars are focused on helping independent fashion designers develop and grow their business. Topics include How to Start a Fashion Business, Copyright and Trademark, Costing, Branding, and  more.

Attention college professors: Drop us a note and we will add your school to our weekly email blast, updating you and your students on our growing prize list, the fashion business seminars and presenters, etc. Contact for more information on how your school and students can be represented.

Watch our new website THE Fashion Competition. This is event is a benefit for the Fashion Collective-St. Louis, independent fashion designers living, working, designing and selling in the metro area, and (coming soon) the St. Louis Fashion Incubator. We look forward to seeing you “under the Arch” in St. Louis! 

Some of our generous Sponsors:


PGM Pro logo 

Downtown Partnership logo

Coats and Clark logo



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Project Runway::Cover Girl

Project Runway designers in the sewing room

Heidi Klum is the quintessential cover girl model. So when the cover of Marie Claire was offered up for the win on last week’s challenge on PR, and Heidi as the model for their expertly designed creation, you can just guess how the scramble to win this coveted prize ensued. The designers put their thoughts into sketches, but something got lost in the translation for several of these guys. A cover look needs to be outstanding design-wise, color-wise, and truely unique. I can’t believe how may looks were created in this challenge with muted or even flesh like tones. Blech.

Some looks were awesome….

Ben sewing a favorite design

Ben’s fun colorblocked dress

and some others not so much.

Anna’s separates-losing look

And they sewed away, winner or not.

Auffed and The Win

But I was pleaseantly surprised at the outcome……from the king of glitz and glam himself!

Anthony’s Blue Dress won the cover of Marie Claire!

Anthony, with his pageant ways found a way to tone down the glitz a bit and drape this incredible design. This will definitely make a stand out cover. Can’t wait to see this issue hit the newstands in a few weeks.

So what will happen this week? And who in our blog contest is still in the running? Check in later for the scoop. And thanks again to our friends at Brother for their cool behind the scenes pics!

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Project Runway 7::New York, New York!

Sewing Lab :: Project Runway Season 7


Sew it begins again. But this time in fashion mecca…..New York City. Even the opening episode of the beloved show felt so right…something about having this show/competition set in LA was just not the same. Maybe I’m just too attached to NY for my own reasons, but from what I have read and heard, most of you are with me. Any how, I can’t wait to park in front of the TV each week seeing what drama ensues, and who is left in the designer pool. So, here’s my first challenge for all of you DIYStyle & Project Runway fans (there will be more to “challenges” come as the season rolls on!).

Who is your winning designer of choice?

Post your choice here on THIS blog entry, and each week we’ll see who is still in the running, both on PR and in our little game here. You MUST post to this blog entry with your designer pick before the next episode airs this Thursday night–January 21st. Anyone who guessed correctly and still has their designer in the running at week 7 (there should be about 6 designers left at that point by my calculations!) will receive a free gift from DIYStyle (and courtesy of our great sponsors). We have assorted goodies in our stash including snips, patterns, thread, fasteners and more. Really this guessing game is just for fun………..but it doesn’t hurt to get a little gift for being right……..and bragging rights to boot!

As last season, each week I’ll get a few behind the scenes pics from our friends at Brother. I’ll post them, and see if we can guess who WON’T be in the pics the next week!

Emilio working on his design

Seth Aaron sewing dress bodice

Oh, my choice for PR season 7 winner……….it’s really hard for me to choose between Emilio (especially since he won the first challenge with that intricate woven design on the bodice of his dress) and Seth Aaron (LOVED his first dress for this challenge….just edgy enough to get head turning attention).  I think my pick is going to have be Seth. I really think he has the attitude and skills to continuously pull out a win each week. And I can see his designs immediately gracing the pages and racks of the likes of Anthropologie. Isn’t saleability one of the number one keys to being a great designer? Guess we’ll have to wait to see! Are you with me? 

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Prom Memories: Create Your Own and Win!

Allyce Senior prom

It seems like only yesterday that Allyce went to her Senior Prom. She designed and sewed her own dress, and entered it into a Prom contest and was chosen as one of the winners that year. That was probably her first extensive sewing experience, and helped to cement her career choice and course of study for college. It was made entirely from silk charmuese, with three different colors/layer for the skirt portion (incidently Allyce used charmuese for LOTS of her design projects at Stephens!).

Coincidently, we just found out about a Prom Contest that is bring run by Jo-Anns Fabrics and Crafts. This is actually the same contest that Allyce had entered! Here’s the scoop:

The Sew Jo-Ann Prom Contest is open to high school students who create and sew their own prom gowns. After you have worn your unique creation to Prom, submit two photos of you in your gown, along with the entry form and Jo-Ann register receipt that shows the purchase of your fabric. Entries must be postmarked by June 30, 2009.

You can win some fab prizes, including CASH!, a new sewing machine, dress form, or serger. Judging is based on workmanship, originality and level of detail. And, if you need some help getting started, check out your local Jo-Anns store for a Prom Workshop near you. For more info on the contest go to

Allyce has some great memories from her senior prom………go “Design It Yourself” and make yours a prom to remember!

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DIYStyle Happy New Year!

Our TGIF Gifts contest has come to an end, and so has 2008. It has been an incredible year for the Creative Chicks of DIYStyle (and our resident male, Matt our video producer). We want to wish all of our DIYStyle followers Happy Holidays and especially a creative and style filled Happy New Year. :)

And it’s time to announce our final winner in the TGIF Gifts contest. The lucky winner is……..Helen! Thanks for your comment about how you started sewing……..sounds like many of us learned to sew making doll and Barbie clothes. Your Sulky package will be sent soon. A big thank you to all who entered. We loved reading your posts, and will definitely use your ideas in planning our shows for 2009.

We have some new things to reveal in 2009 at DIYStyle, and to keep on top of our latest antics, you can subscribe to the RSS feeds for both the vodcasts and blogs. And……..there are several new DIYStyle patterns from McCall’s coming in the New Year too………we’ll give you the scoop on that very soon (a new design goes on sale in January……whoo hoo)!


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TGIF Gifts Contest:: Our Christmas Week Gift and Winner Announced

DIYStyle TGIF Gifts Contest

Hi All!

So, who won the Clover Gift basket???? The goodies go to Angie. Congrats :) Thanks for your nice comments about DIYStyle, and the tip about using leftover wrapping paper to make pattern alterations–great idea!

And the winner of the “DIYStyle Tips” and the felting tools set goes to…….Cheryl. Your tip about making gathers easier (who hasn’t had the dreaded broken gathering threads to contend with?!), by stitching over a heavier thread or yarn like crochet cotton. Cheryl we love your tip!! Watch for Cheryl’s tip to be a segment on our next season of DIYStyle!!

And now, our final gift in the TGIF Gifts contest is from one of our very favorite sponsors, Sulky. Actually Sulky was the very FIRST sponsor we had at DIYStyle……they believed in our idea from the start (Thank you so much Jason and Fred!). So be sure to thank them for helping make DIYStyle possible (and for making such great products too!).

Here’s the gift(s):

We start off with a Sulky Stabilizer assortment starter pack. You know how we’re always talking about using stabilizers on DIYStyle, now here’s your chance to try out each and every one that Sulky makes……..

Sulky Stabilizer Sampler

Then, they add their book “Sulky Secrets to Successful Stabilizing” to show you how to use several of their original and popular stabilizers, as well as some neat projects to boot.

Stabilizer Book

And, added to the gifted loot, Sulky added their latest supplement book (this has info about their brand new stabilizers in it too) “Supplement to Sulky’s Secrets to Successful Stabilizing”. So together, with the book above, you’ll be armed with all the info you need to know about how to keep stitches from puckering, decorative stitches made perfect, embroidery, embellishment tricks, and SEW much more!

Supplement Book

And as if that was not enough, they threw in a can of their super popular spray adhesive, KK2000. This stuff is fantastic for temporarily holding anything in place while you stitch, hooping towels and loose items for embroidery, and it does not make your fabric stiff (it disappears in 24-36 hours!) like some other temporary spray adhesives.


So, the winner of this week’s bag-o-xmas sewing goods will have quite the loot to get stitching on some new stuff in the new year. With that, we decided that we’d still love to hear your comments about what you would like to see on DIYStyle (give us your sewing how-to wish list!), and in addition (this should be fun!) we’d really like to know how you learned to sew in the first place. Just kind of short and sweet, something nice for all of us to read—each of us has a story to tell and this would be a perfect time to share and reminisce!

Happy Holidays everyone. All of us at DIYStyle are truely thankful for having such a great group of sewing friends and followers this past year. Keep up with DIYStyle………there is lots more to come………..and please pass the word to all of your sewing and sewing wannabe friends about joining the DIYStyle community. The more the merrier!!


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TGIF Gifts Contest:: Our Fourth Gift and Winner Announced

So who won all the loot from our 3rd TGIF Gifts post (in case you forgot it was a copy of My Style, My Place and a set of the DIYStyle patterns)? We had some great posts, but only one gets away with the gifts…………..Pamela you are our lucky winner! You’ll get a note from us soon asking where to send all of your lovely goodies. Congrats!

And, I’m sure you are wondering what is up next?! Let’s see, behind door (or should I say gift box) #4 is a basket chock full of wonderful tools and notions from Clover! This basket includes Clover’s neat felting tools & supplies PLUS some Pom-Pom makers to try out too. This gift basket of Clover Notions goodies is worth over $200!!

Clover Goodies Basket!

So, we’re ramping up the “entry” stakes a bit too! We still want you to post your comments to this blog post, about what you would like to see on DIYStyle, AND we’re also asking you to leave us your favorite quick sewing tip as well. We’ll still randomly pick the winner (so if you are a sewing newbie and tipless, that’s OK–you still get a chance to win the gift basket), but, we’ll also vote on which tip submitted is the best of the bunch, and feature it in an upcoming episode of DIYStyle. And we’ll even mention the Creative Chickie who submitted the winning tip on the show! The tip winner also gets a prize too, a set of Clover felting tools.

Get your comments (and tips) in……….somebody’s gonna get lucky!


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TGIF Gifts Contest::Our Third Gift and Winner Announced!

DIYStyle TGIF Gifts Contest

It’s time for us to reveal our TGIF Gifts lucky winner of the Dual Duty XP thread pack. Congrats to Kati, your present will be on it’s way to you pronto! And thanks for leaving us that nice comment about DIYStyle :)

Our next TGIF Gift is not one…………but two gifts!! Allyce is gifting a copy of her very own My Style, My Place book. It’s full of super easy fashion and home dec projects (kinda like we do on DIYStyle!!), just in time for your to create your own gifts for the holidays. AND…….we’re adding a full set of DIYStyle patterns (Lingerie, Coats, Dress and Tops) as the bonus gift! Yes, 4 patterns and the book. What a treat for one lucky Creative Chick.

My Style, My Place cover 


M5651  M5662

M5705  M5714

Be sure to leave us your thoughts about what you want to see on DIYStyle on this blog as your contest entry. We love hearing what sewing techniques you need to learn, and what kinds of projects you would like to see on our vodcasts. So, get writing…… could be our next winner!


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DIYStyle TGIF Gifts Contest::New Gift & Winner Announced!!

DIYStyle TGIF Gifts Contest

The winner of last Friday’s TGIF Gifts contest, and the Anna Maria Horner book “Seams to Me” is………Tah Dah……..Rebecca!! Congrats Rebecca, your book will soon be on it’s way. :)

Here’s the next sewing “present” in the DIYStyle TGIF Gifts contest! We believe you can never have enough thread, especially when it’s the fantastic Dual Duty XP variety. Coats and Clark sent us this nifty zip pack full of their most popular colors, 18 spools in all!

Post your comments to this blog entry to win the thread pack (even if you commented last week, you’ll need to do so again this week to win)……..keep those suggestions coming! You just might “gift yourself”!

Dual Duty XP Thread Pack

Remember, we post a new TGIF Gift each Friday until Christmas (and pull the lucky winner that following Thursday night, when that week’s contest closes). And, we might even throw in a few extra prizes as the weeks go on to “sweeten the deal”. If you have any question on how this contest works, check out our original blog post on November 21st. 

Good luck, and keep watching the blog…………there are more great TGIF Gifts coming!!!


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TGIF Gifts :: New DIYStyle Contest!

DIYStyle TGIF Gifts Contest

We’ve been getting in lots of great crafty/sewing loot around the DIYStyle digs, and now seems like a good time to start giving it away! It’s our “TGIF Gifts” contest. So, give a sewing gift to yourself this season–you know you deserve it!

Here’s how it works:

> Every Friday we’ll post a new blog entry, announcing that week’s TGIF Gift.

> To enter, leave us a comment on that blog post, telling us a project, garment, or technique you’d like to see demonstrated on DIYStyle. We’d love to get a peek at your wish list!

> The following Thursday, a winner will be randomly chosen from the entries. We’ll post the winner’s name in a post that night (and drop the winner an email, too).

A new blog post with a new gift will go up each Friday until Christmas. That’s 5 chances to win.

Note: One blog comment per TGIF Gifts post, please.

Here’s today’s TGIF Gift goodie:

A copy of the BRAND NEW
Anna Maria Horner book “Seams to Me”!

Seams to Me

Anna did a wonderful interview with DIYStyle, be sure to catch the vodcast if you haven’t yet. This is a really cool book, chock full of great projects and full-size printed patterns.

OK, get those entries (comments) coming…and good luck!


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My Style, My Machine WINNERS

If you are wondering … just who won the very first DIYStyle contest, the “My Style, My Machine” Giveaway!? We’re so happy to announce the names of the three lucky Creative Chicks that nabbed the loot. And by the way…. stay tuned to, as we have more stuff to give away, and we’ll have lots of cool ways to win it!

The Sulky Thread Assortment of 84 metallic thread spools goes to Jessica Summers of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jessica is a part-time model, and about her sewing, says this: “I think the best quote comes from my boyfriend; he walked into my room, saw the dress I was working on on the dress form, and said, ‘Wow, it’s like…a real dress.’ Ha!” Classic. Well, now you can add a little metallic shimmer to that dress, and I wonder what he’ll say!

Amy Butler’s Fabric Assortment goes to Bridget Cook of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Already a big fan, “Amy Butler’s designs are so awesome!” she emailed when she found out she’d won. But the timing couldn’t be better, as “I have been going nuts about handbags. I am one of these people who always carries the same bag everywhere and now I have several in production so I can “wear” a bag with each outfit.” I think people around town may soon spot Bridget with an Amy Butler-style handbag, don’t you? She’s pictured above with daughter Syd–who also likes to sew.

And the GRAND PRIZE of a Baby Lock Creative Pro Sewing Machine goes to Brittany Osmulski of Peoria, Illinois. Congratulations!! We were dying to ask, how does DIYStyle play in Peoria? “I love to watch Allyce and Melissa on the DIYStyle vodcasts!” Brittany says. “They always have creative ideas on new projects and they make it so easy for the viewer. DIY has given me some great ideas.” Awwww! Sew on with your new machine, Brittany, and we hope you’ll send us some pix of things you make with it.

Thanks to EVERYONE who entered, and for taking the time to give us some terrific feedback in the survey you filled out. (At least one of our winners entered the contest almost every day that it was running! That is determination!) We always love to get ideas for things/people/places you’d like to see on the vodcast.

Watch for another contest … coming soon!


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