Blogger Highlight: Chic Steals

Carly of Chic Steals is one of our DIY idols – she’s great at recreating trendy pieces without the huge price tag! We adored her creations when she was our Blogger of the Month in October, so we wanted to catch up with Carly and snag a few more DIY tips. We chatted about everything from peplums to power tools – see the interview below!
How did you get started as a blogger and a DIYer?

I’ve always been making things; even from the age of 3 or so I loved working with my hands to create something tangible.  I loved crafting in all its forms, and that coupled with a lack of money made me turn to creating my own clothes and accessories during my teens.  Making pretty things helps me relax; the patience and concentration required turn it into a zen-like experience for me.  After I closed down my short-lived clothing and jewelry line in 2007, I wanted to stay connected to the world of fashion, and offered to write blog articles for the Editor of  She taught me so much about blogging and audience engagement, and I found I really enjoyed being able to share my ideas and creations with a larger audience.  I started Chic Steals as a place just to house all the articles I wrote for FashionTribes, but after awhile I started to add more original content and blog about the projects I was making…and I found that people liked it…so I kept going!  It’s now been just over 4 years since I founded my blog and it’s opened so many doors and connected me to so many people in ways that I could never have imagined!

Where do you find inspiration for your DIYs?

Many of my DIY’s are from runway collections, or of things I’ve seen for sale in stores or online, as well as items featured in magazines.  This gives me a good idea of what is popular now, or what will be popular soon, so I figure there would be interest in making your own version!

Which of your DIY projects is your favorite?
Probably my Christian Louboutin for Rodarte Super-Spiked Heels…they took me a very long time to make and it was the first time I’ve actually sewn a pair of shoes on my sewing machine…I was really proud of the end result and even now people email me asking me to make them a pair!!  (I don’t do commissions on projects like these which are essentially knock-offs; original designs and projects I’ve created I gladly make for others upon request!)

Have you noticed any upcoming DIY trends?

DIY peplums (both attached to clothing and removable) are currently very popular, as is neon accessories and clothing.  DIY’ers are using tons of neon spray paint to give their accessories a new life, as well as sparkly Mod Podge to add a little bling to shoes and bags.  Cut-outs, fringe and tassels, and clear and translucent plastic are also making the rounds recently.  And using power tools (drills and cutting attachments) for DIY’s, as well as old-school macrame, are also currently trending.

What advice would you give to DIY beginners?

Try everything and don’t give up!  Seriously, you never know what techniques or materials might strike your fancy, so it’s a good idea to dabble and try different things.  And don’t be discouraged by projects that go awry…I’ve had soooo many DIY fails but each time I learn something more, and am able to apply that knowledge to the next project.  And most importantly, have fun!

What are your must-have DIY supplies?

All manner of studs and spikes – I love adding a little edge to projects!  High-quality sew-on rhinestones in settings…they’re extremely hard-to-find pre-set and those little metal rims make all the difference between a project that looks homemade and a project that looks high-fashion.  Finally, pretty trims (like chiffon with beading, or lace with ribbon through it) can easily dress up any piece of clothing or accessory and give it a look that’s all your own – so I love working with it!

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