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Project Runway 6::Behind the Sewing Machines::9.10.09

Project Runway Sewing Room Entrance

I actually got to watch this week’s episode last night! After a LONG day running around NY, Allyce and I were exhausted and fell into bed pretty late (by my standards anyway). Too cool that I could still watch this episode….the time change (CST to EST) helped immensely to be able to catch this weeks antics. BTW, New York is SO cool (despite the rain). We are here at the beginning of Fashion Week, and there is definitely a building of anticipation as the shows really fall into full swing today and the rest of the weekend into next. We’ll be backstage and watching Nicole Miller this afternoon and evening and try to catch a couple more shows if we can this afternoon. Then it’s onto Alice + Olivia tonight. Need to eat my Wheaties to keep up the pace (gives new meaning for running in heels)!

Back to this week’s PR episode. Not anywhere near as much drama as last week, but the designers did pull out some neat looks for their models. The challenge of designing something their models could wear to an industry soiree was a great idea, kind of turning the tables on who was making the design choices.

Logan and Ramon sewing their Blue creations at the Brother sewing machines!

Logan’s creation was dubbed “the smurf” dress (I think he said that, not Tim!) during his critique. I did think the idea of doubling the lace on the top to mute the flower pattern was a pretty good trick, even though it did turn out a little heavy. Neat fashion design tip though to tuck away for a future DIYStyle project. Ra’mon is working on the “flower” that topped his dress. I think this is kind of an “old” 80′s Oscar look, but the judges seemed to like it.

Althea working on the sheer top that captured her win.

Althea’s stitching the sheer that became that tank top. Evidently the judges loved this, since she was crowned the winner of this challenge. It was cool, but I don’t think it was THAT unusual. I really thought the dress Epperson created was the best for getting attention at the model party that they attended. Those strips pieced on the sheer stretch was pretty awesome.

Althea’s winning look Episode 4

Ra’mons strip pieced sheer dress

Allyce and I were somewhat amazed at the judges comments and how harsh they were on some of the designers. And our friend Qristyl was “out” for her black cocktail dress, that got some nasty review. We thought the dress was cute, but not enough to make her model stand out at the important industry event. Boo-hoo……….we still think you are great Qristyl!

Keep watching for our posts from behind the sewing machines, with a little help from our friends at Brother!

 ****And, stay tuned for more posts from NY Fashion Week!!!! Hoping we don’t get too drenched.

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Serena and Jenny and Blair…OH MY!


Gossip Girl has become the absolute go-to show for the latest fashion tips and trends. So much, that designer Anna Sui has decided to create a line inspired completely by the show to sell at Target stores nationwide. There has been so much speculation whether or not this line is going to be pulled or not. Rumors were swirling that Target execs weren’t keen on the idea of supporting a line which is inspired by characters who are into drugs, sex and partying. BUT, after all of this “gossip,” Anna Sui and Target spokespeople have given official word that it will INDEED be hitting stores on September 13th. No word on whether the garments will actually appear on the characters of the show. I could care less if the collection was featured on the show! The clothes are to die for either way.

I’ve looked through all of the pieces and I can’t pick just one favorite. Whether it’s Blair, Serena, Jenny or Vanessa; I love them ALL! I’m so happy someone thought to do this line, especially at a store like Target! Here’s a little peek…


I also found this flyer on the CW‘s website. So if you live in New York, you can be one of the lucky ones to see the collection EARLY!


That’s all for now! XOXO

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Project Runway 6::Behind the Sewing Machines::9.3.09

Project Runway Sewing Room Entrance

Did you watch last night? What drama! We were waiting for Qristyl and Epperson to start duking it out any minute…….you know they say oil and water do not mix–same thing goes with two seasoned designers who have strong personalities. I’m so glad Qristyl hung in there, but barely by a thread (we’re still rooting for you girl). Talk about a nail biter. If those sewing room walls could talk……….I can only imagine what happened off camera. And then Ra’mon and Mitchell. What exactly happened there? I about fell out of my chair when they were announced as the winners of this surf look and avante garde challenge. Then Mitchell was out (he really needed to go last week) even after their team won the challenge.

Ra’mons dress

Speaking of the Project Runway sewing room, DO WE HAVE A SURPRISE FOR YOU (yes I know I am shouting…..I’m just excited!)! Sometimes it’s really nice to have friends in high places as the saying goes. Our “little birde” has access to EXCLUSIVE pics taken in the sewing room, so you can see some of the contestants designs (and maybe antics) in progress EACH and EVERY week! So, DIYStyle talked them into giving us first dibs (some arm twisting may have been involved). You get to see them here FIRST each Friday, after the episode airs on Thursday. The new blog thread will be PR Behind the Sewing Machines. So let your fashion friends in on our coup, and start dishing with us and them as the weeks snip away until the winner is chosen. Here’s our first batch!

Christopher at the serger

Christopher hard at work at the Project Runway serger

Ra’mon sewing the sheer dress

Runway fashion sewn by Ra’mon that captured the win!

Louise sewing zipper trimmed bodice

My personal favorite design from last nights show. Louise sewing on the bodice of the dress that resulted in this beautiful avant-garde fashion look!

Avant-garde zipper dress

By now I’m sure you have figured out who our inside buddies are……Brother of course! As the official licensee of the sewing machines for PR, they have the inside scoop. Way cool :)

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Project Runway Season 6: Get Your Sew On!!!

It’s FINALLY here! That much anticipated season of Project Runway that almost wasn’t. Unless you have been under a rock, and don’t follow fashion, Project Runway has moved from Bravo to Lifetime after several months of duking it out between the networks. But as they say, good things come to those who wait……….and tonight the Season 6 premieres!!!

 I am a long time Project Runway fan, as are most of the Creative Chicks here at DIYStyle. And now we have even one more reason to anticipate and watch each episode as the challenge unfolds. We will be rooting for one of the contestants, a former St. Louisan AND a Stephens College fashion design alum (that’s Allyce’s alma mater too)! Qristyl Frazier is THE designer we will be on the edge of our seats cheering for…………….you go girl!

I had the pleasure of meeting Qristyl yesterday when she was here in STL, and she is a savvy, super likeable and uber talented designer. It’s so fun for us to have one of the designers on the show we can directly relate to, and follow through all of the (sometimes unreasonable) design challenges that are dolled out to them. I know what you’re thinking, NO she could not divuldge any secrets! You’ll just have to watch the show each week to see what happens. You can be sure we will. We’ll also plan to meet up with Qrystal on her next trip in, and interview her for DIYStyle. Stay posted.

Brother USA is one of our sponsors for DIYStyle, and you can be sure the designers will all be watching that clock in the workroom that bears their logo as well as using all of their sewing machines that outfit their space. We are so thrilled to have them as part of what we do at DIYStyle and their connection to Project Runway. One of my very favorite models we use on the vodcasts is the Project Runway LB6770, a sewing and embroidery machine that comes with it’s own rolling case branded with the Project Runway logo (It’s really cool……….we take them everywhere for our DIYStyle events and parties!)

So, it’s definitely time to “get your sew on”, whether spurred on by the inspiration of Project Runway, or one of the affordable and fantastic Project Runway sewing machines from Brother USA.  Let us know what you are creating. We love to see!

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Web Trendy: Plaid. You Either Love It or Hate It.


It’s almost that time of year! School is starting again. And you know what that means…back-to-school SHOPPING! Now, even though I am a 22 year old senior in college, I probably shouldn’t be getting this excited about school shopping. But, I am. For me, school shopping for college is WAY more fun because I can actually shop for clothes! I don’t have to wear a private school uniform anyyyyy longer. :) Unfortunately, I hate to say it, but I really am missing my plaid skirt. But I am in luck! Plaid is BACK and bigger than ever. I have been seeing it absolutely EVERYWHERE. Whether you want to prep it up or grunge it down, either way will work!

Plaid has been popular for the majority of the summer. Paired with a great pair of distressed jeans, it can be a great go-to outfit. Just take a peek through your boyfriend’s closet for some inspiration and maybe borrow a shirt or two! He’ll never know. Whether it’s a boyish fit or a more feminine fit, you’ll definitely look cool and casual. Heritage1981 and Forever 21 have both of these styles in tons of options.


Gossip Girl has always been known for showing the classy, more sophisticated way to wear plaid on the characters of the show; very school-girl chic. The trend will definitely be moving on into the Fall. YAY! The Twilight inspired line from Nordstrom featured on InStyle’s website shows an amazingly hot plaid jacket that is PERFECT for this season. It’s also EXTREMELY affordable! I’m loving it for sure.

Target and Anna Sui are working together to create a Gossip Girl inspired line that will be available in stores and online on September 13th. I don’t know about all you other fashionistas but I’m counting down the days on my calendar! NY Mag has released the look book here. The plaid ensemble below is inspired by Serena’s chic style. How fabulous is it?! Be on the lookout for this line because it is going to fly off the racks.


All of this chit-chat about plaid has really given me the urge to dig out my school uniform! I’m off!

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Allyce King Designs: Feathers and Leather

Pink Feather Dress

When I first began to design my senior collection almost a year ago today, I never would have dreamed that it would have turned out the way it did. Before I even began to put pencil to the paper I thought about what I like to design. I love designing and sewing swim wear as well as weekend wear outfits. I knew almost immediately that I wanted to design resort wear. I researched trend reports for the next year and envisioned my collection to be very girly and almost whimsical. With general ideas in my head, I headed to New York City’s garment district to find the fabric to match my vision. My fiancé and I had spent two whole days searching for something that would inspire my designs. At this little hole in the wall store, there it was, hanging in the window. This gorgeous piece of dusty pink tulle with embroidery and hand sewn black and copper feathers on it. It came in a five-yard panel and it started as the base of my entire collection. Immediately I pictured it as skirt on a cocktail dress. After that we visited Mood Fabrics and I was lucky enough to find a crock embossed leather skin that was the exact shade of dusty pink and copper finish to match the tulle and feather piece.

That was my jumping off point. That night I started sketching many possibilities that could come from this combo. As part of our class assignment, we were to sketch many many designs for each garment you were to create. The professor then eliminates the sketches til you have just a five for each garment. Then those are fully rendered in a fashion illustration and matching flats. The critic chose this sketch below for me to create. In just a short seven weeks everything was patterned and fitted in muslin.

Feather Mood Board

This garment was one of my last to pattern. I made all of my muslins out of tulle and pleather vinyl. For this garment I had a total of six fittings. I had first patterned this design with bust and waist darts but changed it to princess seams soon after the second fitting. It fit the bust much better this way and eliminated some of the bulk in the leather. My model Katie was great. She came in so many times so that I could fit her and make quick changes on the muslin and pattern.

When it came to sewing the leather, it was definitely a challenge. I had never worked with real leather before and it handles differently then pleather. After making this garment and other pieces with leather I learned what tools, techniques, and finishing worked best. I will talk about these tools and show you the techniques and finishings I used in an upcoming vodcast. This pic above is Katie on the runway at our Stephens College annual student fashion show…….she looked fabulous!

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Web Trendy

Shopping online has always been one of my guilty pleasures. I’m usually just browsing, but if I find a good sale I won’t pass it up. Browsing different websites is also a great way to find out what the growing trends are for the season.

Forever 21 is one of my favorite stores that tends to knock-off some higher end looks. There is actually a link on their site to a page that gives you the option to shop by trend. Also, don’t forget to check out their fairly new couture line titled Twelve by Twelve. This top below is fabulous with a pair of leggings and it’s only $36.00!

When I’m feeling eclectic and in the mood for something “urban” I’ll stop by They have a great sale selection on the site. The top below is very L.A. I could definitely see Nicole Richie walking down Robertson Blvd. in this tank, paired with some denim cut-offs. And the best part about it, you ask? It’s only $10.00!!! Can’t beat it.

One of my favorite lines of clothing is Free People. The look of their clothing is so care free. It’s simple but they find a way to make everything look very put-together. I love,love, love going on their website and checking out the new looks tab at the top of the page. It gives me great inspiration for looks I can put together with garments that I may already have in my closet.

I hope you enjoy these sites!

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iTunes Spotlight: DIYStyle!

DIYStyle has been featured as a Podcast Spotlight on an iTunes e-mail blast! The e-mail entitled, “Podcast Spotlight: DIY,” features video podcasts that teach subscribers various ways to DIY. We are very excited to be included. DIYStyle is on the rise and we couldn’t be more happy about it! Thanks for being one of our fans!

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It all started when I was cleaning out my sewing room. The stuff was too good to toss in the trash! I started thinking…maybe I could get a little cash for the items. The resale shop was not interested, so, I had heard about “eBay”, an online site for the selling and buying of just about anything. And I mean ANYTHING!

I hooked up my account and went to work. It was easy, trust me, I am not a computer guru by any stretch of the imagination. The site leads you through the set up, step by step. Once my account was in place, I started taking photos of fabric, patterns, books; you name it and listed each of their wonderful and valuable attributes. Five days later I was raking in the dollars from the items that I had sold. I was pumped!

Photo + Description = DOLLARS…for the things I didn’t even want anymore. So now I continue to clean and search for items to “list”. My family members are a little worried that if they sit still too long I may list them on eBay! Ummm, no I really wouldn’t! But, I have really made some progress to a more organized nest with the benefit of a little extra cash.

The only thing you must watch out for is when doing research for selling items…you may be “seduced” in to buying an item or two or three. But, the deals can be great! The other great benefit is when I’m looking for a unique item or one that may be older and no longer available…eBay can be a great resource. In fact, that happened recently, I wanted leopard look spandex for some lingerie, at the store the fabric can run upwards of $18.00 a yard! On eBay I was able to score 10 yards for $24.00. You read that right…$24.00!!! Granted, I will have leopard panties for the next 50 years!

Excuse me I gotta go, I have an eBay listing I need to post! And so do you!


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Threads Up….Tale of Two Purses

The great thing about sewing is that you can, as they say on American Idol, “make it your own”. In the denim purse , an old pair of jeans, Coats Jeans Zippers and Coats Jeans thread created the look. But change the fabric to a fantastic Amy Butler print and solid, coordinating colors of Coats All-purpose zippers and Dual Duty XP Multi-color threads and you have a total makeover! This purse is a free download, just in time for your summer travels!

CS0058 Zippity Purse

Thread color depends on the look you are after-and there are so many options-342 of them in Dual Duty XP alone!! Choose a bright color for contrast. Or select a heavy thread like Dual Duty XP Heavy or Coats Jeans thread for bold, prominent stitching. Working with a print? Select a color closest to the predominant color. For solids, a slightly darker shade blends best, because it will appear a little lighter when sewn in. 

So, break out that favorite pattern and sew it up again. This time you can whip it up oh so much faster, and get set for summer with some wonderful print fabrics.

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DIYStyle Workshop: It’s Finally Here!

Grab your most stylish girlfriends and bring them with you to the fabulous DIYStyle Workshop! Our Workshop is a new, fun and exciting way to get together with friends and try something different.  Whether it’s a fashion, home decor or simple crafting project, the Creative Chicks can help with it all.

The DIYStyle Workshop will offer many events and classes including Girls Night Out, Panty Party, open sewing times and even private lessons.  We welcome all types of sewers, whether you have little or lots of sewing experience.  You will not be let down by the unique and trendy projects that we will feature!

Check out the Workshop section of our website to get more information!  If you are interested and have more questions or would like to register for a class please call us at 636.925.1829

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Avant Cirque

Allyce Market Day

“Market Day at Stephens”

Boy has this been a long semester!! Graduation is finally over (YEAH!!!!), and it’s been so crazy busy I have not had a moment to slow down at all. Just to give you a quick update of my last semester at Stephens College, from January to March I was working on five ensembles of my senior collection. It consisted of 11 garments total! I worked with a lot of fabrics and trims that I had never worked with before, including LOTS of feathers. Senior collection is all about getting the most experience you can out if it, so crazy me choose a ton of different fabrics. All together I worked with swim lycra, bamboo knit, stretch linen, embroidered tulle, leather, stretch charmeuse, silk charmeuse, china silk, and silk chiffon. We worked on fitting a lot of our garments last semester in muslin but it’s not always exactly the same result when you get into the final fabric, so I also worked on fitting these garments so they looked perfect. Our entire senior collection was turned in seven weeks after we started, and immediately after we began our portfolio’s and a computer aided manufacturing class. I have learned quite a bit in computer patternmaking, and hope to be able to continue this after my training here at school. We began to learn this program sophomore year but this was a more intense seven weeks of it.

April 4th was Jury of Selection, where all of my garments were judged by industry professionals from companies like Abercrombie & Fitch and BCBG. This day decided what got into the Stephens fashion show. Then (finally!) on April 18th we had our Annual Stephens College Designer Fashion Show “Avant Cirque”. The show had a high fashion circus theme, and opened with a choreographed high wire type act—it really was very cool. I was juried in to show three ensembles from my senior collection (you’ll get to see which ones soon), my wool tailored coat and dress, and my rejectamenta (the poker card dress).

 Avant Cirque Opening Act 1   Avant Cirque Opening Act 2

Avant Cirque Opening Act

 Rejectamenta Group   Poker “Breast Cancer Awareness” Dress   Poker Dress Back 

Rejectamenta “Poker Card Dress” for Breast Cancer Awareness

Allyce Coat     Allyce Coat & Dress    Allyce Dress for Coat

Tailored Coat and Dress

And……April 18th will always be the best day ever because not only did I get to display all of a years hard work to 1,200 people but……… my boyfriend PROPOSED to me that morning before the fashion show! I was so surprised, and I did say YES!

Even with all this going on somehow I have managed to keep up with work at McCalls. There are more cool, fun patterns on the way. I look back at this year in awe and do not have a clue how it got all done! In my next post I will show you the garments I had in the show one at a time with my sketches, so keep a look out for them coming soon!


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DIYStyle Dress: Fun in the Sun!

M 5881 DIYStyle Sundress

Need a dress in a hurry? A new DIYStyle pattern is fresh out from McCall’s! M5881 is a super easy sundress, with several views to create your own design-it-yourself style. Stitch one up in a fun cotton summer print for a picnic or barbecue, or choose a solid silk or stretch sateen for that special dinner, wedding or evening event. This is one of those patterns you will be sure to use over and over again…..each time you make it up you will have a completely different look……and it’s SO easy to sew!

When you’re done with your creation, send us your pics of your completed dress at and we’ll post them here on DIYStyle! The first 5 Creative Chicks to send in pics of their M5881 DIYStyle dress will recieve a free DIYStyle pattern of their choice! What are you waiting for…….that cute new dress is right around the corner!!! 

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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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Senior Collection: Country Lust!

Country Lust Mood Board

While I was working on completing my tailored coat and dress, I was also designing my senior collection, sourcing fabrics, writing my brand business plan, creating my mood board, and customer board. In addition to actually designing the collection we work on the business angle too. We had to completely map out our new fashion design company & brand. This included writing a 50 page business plan detailing market research, designing our brand logos and hang tags, as well as our plans for the company. We also had establish a theme for our collection and do a lot of trend research. My company name is “A King Designs” (a play on my name) and the theme for my collection is ”Country Lust”. Here’s the introduction to my collection: For Spring 2009 season “A King Designs” is presenting a collection of Country Lust garments that is inspired by elements of nature including feathers, butterflies, natural wooden buttons, and leather accents. The collection will include several knit garments as well as woven garments including silks and sheers. Country Lust color palette consists of rose pinks, vivid violets, copper, gold, baby blue, chocolate browns, and white. “A King Designs” will be producing garments that are free flowing and comfortable. These garments are fit for a vacation free from constraints.

A King Design Logo

I found a lot of my fabrics for my senior collection in NYC when I was there visiting McCalls, so I was lucky enough to be able to focus on my sketches and boards in this initial process. When I started designing I had to focus on what market I was designing for. “A King Designs” is a young designer, resort wear company. We design for a woman 20-30 years old who has upper class income. Our products are designed for the customer who is looking for trendy clothing to wear in resort destinations such as the Hamptons and Nantucket. Our customer is a woman who wants to be noticed and her style to shine through her clothing. “A King Designs” clothing is rich in texture as well as constructed from quality fabrics, for the customer who is concerned with detail.

For my senior collection I decided that I wanted to make two swimsuits with cover ups, two dresses, and two weekend wear outfits. We created our portfolio of designs and an amazing critic came in and choose what we were going to make for our collection sketches. Now I’m in full swing, completing all the patterns for the designs, and next semester all of these will come to life (after TONS of sewing!). Stay tuned for my next blog to see what my designs are!

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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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