Tutorial: Dandelion Tee

dandelion tee

Gods, it’s been so long since I did a tutorial that I had to look at old posts to see how to structure it. Anyway, I’ve been missing my graphic tees lately – both my whale tee and my feather tee are so worn out that I’ve passed them to my niece as nightshirts – so when I saw this dandelion print tee, I immediately knew I wanted to make my own.

dandelion tee tutorial

What You Need:
– A white or light-colored tee
– Fabric markers (I used two, one big, one with a finer tip)
– A piece of cardboard or magazines


1. Put the cardboard or magazines into your shirt so that it lies flat and the marker doesn’t bleed into the back.

dandelion sketchdandelion tee tutorial

2. Start drawing. Begin with the stem of the dandelion, then sketch out the stalk of the seeds, both around the dandelion clock and scattered across the shirt. I don’t draw (I wouldn’t say I can’t draw, but I’m not good), so I actually did a few sketches on paper, to get the feel of it first.

For me the hardest part to get right is actually the fluff of the seeds (Wikipedia tells me it’s called the “pappus”). I used the big marker for the stem and the stalks, then used the fine-tipped one to draw the fluff. I’m not quite happy with the shape (it doesn’t look as full as the inspiration piece), but don’t worry about being exact.

Stretch the fabric to ensure smooth lines. It still puckered a bit for me, but this actually created an almost watercolor look that I liked.

dandelion tee tutorialdandelion tee tutorial

3. Add a few seed pods here and there, and you’re done! Let the shirt dry completely, and remember to wash it inside out from now on.

dandelion tee

I’m A T-Rex!

t-rex sweater tutorial by 14 shades of grey

I’m not big on trend, but one of the trends I’m sorry I miss this fall/winter is the animal graphic sweater. I mean, I’m a cat lady, it’s pretty much required that I have something like this in my closet, right? But, since it doesn’t seem like that trend has trickled down to Vietnam just yet, I’m going to make my own.

I decided to go with a silhouette instead of a full-color image because it’s less kitschy and well, it’s just easier that way.

t-rex sweater tutorial by 14 shades of grey

What You Need:
– An old sweater (the baggier the better, I found, since it adds to the whole retro vibe)
– Scrap fabric (solid color is fine, but I like the look of a printed silhouette)
– Marker (fabric or permanent, it doesn’t matter) or chalk, scissors, fray check (optional)
– Pins, needle and thread

t-rex sweater tutorial by 14 shades of grey

1. Print out your image. It took me a while to choose what animal I wanted, but in the end I was inspired by this shirt to pick a T-Rex. Who doesn’t want a T-Rex sweater?

2. Trace it on your fabric (I thought about adding an eye to it, but then decided not to because it looked a bit goofy.)

3. Cut the image out (I also added some fray check to the edge to keep it from fraying.) Pin that sucker to your sweater. You don’t want it to move around while you’re sewing!

4. Stitch. I used a basic straight stitch but a blanket stitch would look good too.

And you’re done!

t-rex sweater by 14 shades of grey

Express Tutorial: Lace-Trimmed Shirt

With the time difference between Vietnam and the US, where most of our Style Imitating Art participants are, I decided it would be easier for me to put the SIA post up by Tuesday morning (US time) instead of Monday evening, plus it’ll give you more time to submit your look too. So in the meantime, here’s a quick tutorial to open our week with:


What You Need:
– A shirt, sweater, or cardigan
– Lace trim
– Thread and needle, scissors

1. Cut the lace and pin it on where you want it. I put mine of the sleeve.

2. Stitch it down. Make sure the stitches don’t show, by keeping the stitches on the outside short and the stitches on inside longer.

3. I left the edges around the sleeves’ hems and the neckline open, but you can stitch it down for a more finished look. And you’re done. Easy peasy.

I was inspired to make this after seeing this on Lisa Hannigan:


Pretty, right? I don’t have any wide lace inset like that though, so mine ended up looking more like this Jason Wu sweater (which I’m OK with) but once I find a wider trim I’ll recreate Lisa’s shirt too.

Tutorial: Doily Pockets

Another ridiculously easy DIY/refashion. I pinned this picture ages ago, but it’s not until now that I got around to doing it.

What You Need:
– An old cardigan
– Two lace or crocheted doilies (I got mine from Joann, the smallest size.) Or you can do just one.
– Pins, needle & thread


1. Button your cardigan to make sure it lay flat. Put the doilies on where you want the pockets to be.

2. Pin the doilies onto the cardigan.

3. Stitch the doilies down, following the edges (I just used a simple straight stitch.) Remember to leave the top open.

And you’re done! Told you, ridiculously easy.

Tutorial: Cap-toe Ballet Flats

Cap-toe flats are all the rage this season, and I thought it would be fun to make my own. I hate to call this a tutorial because it’s ridiculously easy, but well… I don’t know what else to call it.

What You Need:
– A pair of plain flats
– Paint the color of your choice, paint brush
– Masking tape, plastic wrap/bag


1. Clean your flats. It works best if they don’t have any design around the toes (mine have little bows, but they’re easy to tape back.)

2. Tape off the toes with masking tape. If you’re using spray paint like I did, wrap the shoes in plastic. If you’re just painting it with a regular brush, there’s no need, but it might be a good idea to wrap them up just the same to avoid any splashing.

3. Paint away. Give them several coats, let dry, then peel off the tape, and you’re done!

Variation: Try colored tape instead of paint! Simply wrap the tape around the toes and trim off the excess. That way, you can change it up, and still have a pair of plain flats when you want.

Tutorial: Updating Your Graphic Tee

I’m still sick, so no outfit post today. Instead I have for you guys a quick tutorial on a graphic tee update – I came up with the idea because I have a bunch of old graphic tees that fit me well, but I don’t care for their “graphic” parts. The prints are too heavy to be painted over, so here’s what I did.

What You Need:
– An old graphic tee
– Scrap fabric
– Marker, scissors, needle and thread


1. Choose a shape that can cover the graphic part of your T-shirt. Sketch it out using the marker.

2. Cut a piece of fabric big enough for the shape. Turn the shirt inside out and pin the fabric (right side down) to the front.

3. Sew the fabric onto the shirt, following the shape you’ve sketched. I just hand-sewed it with a simple straight stitch.

4. Cut out the shape (make a snip at the center and work your way to the edges.) Trim off the excess fabric on the other side. And you’re done!

I feel like this is a belated Valentine tutorial, what with the pink heart and all, but I just picked it because it’s simple and I could freestyle it. You can choose whatever design you want, as long as it’s solid and big enough (I found this dinosaur tee that is pretty awesome.) Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go curl up with some tea and a box of tissue.

A Bookworm’s Christmas Tree

I usually don’t do Christmas decorations, because I didn’t grow up with it as a family tradition, being Vietnamese and all. This year, however, all the other Christmas stuff around the blogosphere has gotten me all inspired, and when I saw this picture, I knew I found my tree. So I emptied out about a third of my bookshelf (or a forth, I don’t know. All I know is that that stack barely made a dent in the amount of books I have) and stacked them in a pinwheel design. I wanted to put the HP books on top, but they’re too thick, so my Neil Gaiman collection got the honor instead.

If that looks a little too labor-intensive for you, above is a smaller version that you can do with 3-4 paperbacks and about 10 hardcovers. It’s inspired by this photo. I should have gotten a piece of cardboard to support the pages of the first book to stop them from drooping down, but… oh well.

Here’s how I made the bow topper:

What You Need:
– Newspaper (the link above calls for an old book, but I absolutely hate any kind of craft projects that call for destroying books. Unless you’re Andy Dufresne trying to hide a rock hammer in the Bible.)
– Scissors, stapler, glues

1. Cut 5 to 6 strips of newspaper at 8″ long and 3/4″ wide. Twist and fold two ends of the strip in the middle to create loops at both ends.

2. Staple the ends down. Repeat.

3. Glue three of the loops together.

4. Add the other two on top, to form a bow.

Put the bow on top of your tree with a little piece of tape, and you’ll have a tree that screams “I’m a bookworm!”

The lights are my roommate’s. I refused to spend any money on this