As soon as the 3.1 Phillip Lim embellished sweaters hit stores a few weeks ago, they were added to my wish list -- until I saw the price tag. This season it seems like every designer has their own version of a boxy top covered in gems and beading, but none of them come cheap. As I examined one of the gorgeous sweaters at a boutique last week I realized how easy (and cost-effective) it would be to DIY one of spring's hottest trends.
After a little planning and a few trips to my local craft store, I had all the materials necessary to make my own embellished sweater. Since I didn't have an old top laying around, I made a quick trip to the sale section at my local H&M for a black sweater.
Click through the slideshow below to see the steps required to make your very own embellished sweater. There are two different ways to go about this DIY depending on your skill set and how much time you want to invest. Happy DIY-ing!
Before: Plain Black Sweater
Find a plain sweater. Pullovers work better than cardigans as there is more surface area to embellish. H&M sweater (<a href="http://www.forever21.com/Product/Product.aspx?BR=f21&Category=sweater&ProductID=2017307388&VariantID=&utm_source=affiliatetraction&utm_medium=cj&cj_webid=2178999&cj_affname=ShopStyle.com&utm_campaign=1909792&cj_linkd=10931225&cj_sid=629360279">similar one found here</a>)
The Supplies: Option 1
Regardless of your preferred method, you'll need beads. Choose a variety of shapes and colors to create texture and more visual interest (<a href="http://www.bluestreakbeads.co.uk/ecom-prodshow/AS-SpaceBox.html">similar one found here</a>). If you prefer to glue your beads onto your garment rather than sew them on (this is the easier and faster method), you will need fabric glue. Make sure that the glue is properly adhesive and will hold the embellishments permanently . Also, it is important that the glue dries clear (<a href="http://www.joann.com/aleene-s-jewel-it-washable-glue-2-ounce/prd27429/">similar glue found here</a>).
The Supplies: Option 2
If you have a little more time on your hands (and a little more patience) you can sew the individual beads onto your sweater. In this case you'll need thread (pick thread that is the same color as your sweater so it isn't visible) and a needle (pick a very thin needle so small beads will be able to slide down the needle onto the thread).
Lay your beads onto a white piece of paper to experiment with spacing and layout. Doing this ahead of time will make it easier to place them onto the garment once you are ready to start embellishing.
If you are going to sew the beads onto the sweater, thread your needle. Make sure your thread is no longer than the length of your arm so it is less likely to tangle. Tie a series of knots at the end of the thread to ensure it is secure. To begin, thread your needle from the inside of the sweater. Once the needle has poked through to the front of the garment, place between one to three beads onto the needle head.
Once you've added a few beads, pull the needle up until they reach the bottom of the thread. Then place the needle back into the garment and loop it around as you did the first time.
Continue with this method until you have achieved your desired shape.
This is what it looks like after all the beads have been sewn into place. When you are finished, tie a few knots into the thread on the inside of the sweater to secure the beads.
If you wish to glue your beads onto the sweater place a small of amount of glue onto the garment.
Place the beads onto the sweater. To put single beads onto the sweater use a toothpick and apply the glue directly to the bead for a cleaner look.
Here you can see the comparison between the embellishments that were sewn (on the left), and those that were glued (on the right). The end result is fairly similar, though it is easier to get more precision with the sewing method.
Keep placing beads around the garment until you are satisfied with the appearance.
After: The Embellished Sweater
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