Illustration by Mia Hovila

DIY or Don’t

By Katie Naphas /// Features Editor

Just when it started to seem like spring might be on the way, we got shoved all the way back into sweater weather. Wearing sweaters (in cold weather) is universally acknowledged as a great thing, but there’s a way to make the experience even better: spruce it up. Add a phrase or a design to your sweater and it’s like you’re wearing something completely new. Do it with sequins and you’re sure to stand out.

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The way to start this project is literally by owning a sweater. That’s the first step. If you don’t happen to have one, there are thrift shops all over Portland with the express purpose to alleviate that need. And roommates. Definitely ask permission first, but literally just obtain a sweater.

Next, you’re going to need a roll of single-strand sequins, fabric glue, a fabric marker, a needle and some thread that more or less matches the color of your sequins. My sweater of choice was black, so choosing a sequin color was a little bit limited, but JoAnn’s had a roll that reminded me of “The Rainbow Fish,” so I embraced it. After or before you get your supplies, you’re going to need to find a font. There are many, many sites that offer you free downloads for personal projects, so it shouldn’t be a problem to find something that suits the look you’re going for (I went with this font).

Here comes the fun part: choose a phrase or word and print it out. I chose a phrase close to my heart, clearly, and decided to commemorate it on my sweater. Cut the letters out carefully so you’re left with essentially a stencil of your word(s). If you’re intense, you can use an X-Acto knife to cut out the centers of letters. I didn’t and chose to wing it, more or less, knowing essentially what the letters were supposed to look like. Once you have your stencil, you can use your fabric marker (get one that’s washable) to trace out the letters. I don’t recommend doing this on a black sweater, unless you’re very comfortable with not having a traced-out version of your words first.

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After that (or, on dark colors, instead of that), start to carefully cover the letters with your glue. Take your strand of sequins once you’ve done that and lay them out over the glue so that they a) cover where you’ve glued and b) spell out whatever you’ve got going on. Double up or adjust according to whether it’s looking how you want and once that’s all dry, sew every few sequins into place to make sure the design will stay.

Finally, once everything’s set and ready to go, you should wash your sweater to get extra glue off. Ultimately, you should end up with an easy way to reutilize your fave sweaters and stay cozy at the same time. Happy crafting!

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