Archive for November, 2013

November 20, 2013

Leopard Print Elastic Waist Dress

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As promised in my LA Fashion District video, here is the dress I made from the fabrics I bought. I love the leopard print on turquoise. Such a pretty color that I thought would go lovely in a simple cut with an elastic waist.

This fabric was a dream to work with. It’s knit with a silky flow to it but not difficult or frustrating at all. I remember my first experience sewing with knits…it did not end well at all. I’m so glad that I don’t have those problems anymore.Image

Anyway the dress is so comfortable that as soon as I was done making it, I slapped on a belt, some leggings, and hit the city. Or more like the library to get some work done. 🙂 Hope you guys like it! If you want to make your own, watch the tutorial and send me some pictures so I can sing your praises!

November 18, 2013

Our Hybrid Clothing Kickstarter Project is Live!


 

After weeks of hard work, we’ve finally launched our Kickstarter project! We’re so excited to finally get our ideas out there and start sharing our views on eco-friendly fashion. Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website providing millions of users to support independent businesses and project creators as they try to achieve their dream. Bumbling Panda is one of these businesses!

For years, we’ve been wanting to launch an exclusive line made with hybrid clothing, but lack of funds has prevented us from being able to achieve this. We searched for funding resources but couldn’t decide on which one was right for us. That was when we came across Kickstarter and fell in love with its focus on community and collaboration. Because at its core, Bumbling Panda depends much of its success on the readers, video-watchers, subscribers, and DIY-ers who have watched our tutorials throughout the years and inspired us to continue creating hybrid clothing. Kickstarter was perfect for our hybrid clothing project because not only do we want to provide eco-friendly products and reduce the world’s population, we also want to spread awareness of how much pollution is caused by discarded clothing. Finally, we want to show the world that they can be fashionable while also dressing responsibly!

So if you have a chance, it would be really great if you could check out our Bumbling Panda Kickstarter page here. We would really appreciate it if you could pledge. Every little bit counts! We’ve been working hard on the prizes and gifts that will be available for our supporters. Donating isn’t the only way that you can help us. If you’re short on funds or just want to lend us an extra hand, link or share the Kickstarter page on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. and we’ll add you to our contributors’ list as well!

We’re so excited as we embark on this new phase of our journey and so glad that we’re able to share it with all of you. Thanks for the support! Keep checking back with us for updates on our fundraising and other DIY projects.

November 16, 2013

How to Get the Best Deals at the LA Fashion District

Today I’m going taking you guys with me as I visit the famous LA Fashion District, find the best deals on fabric, and brave my way through Santee Alley. Check out the video where I talk about my trip and show you guys around!

The LA Fashion district is a huge, popular area in downtown Los Angeles that is most famous for the good deals on fabrics and all things sewing, fashion, and…pretty much anything. It’s like a giant swap meet, basically. My favorite part about coming to the LA Fashion District is, of course, the fabric. Seriously. Fabric. More fabric. Mountains of fabric. Look at me climbing the mountain of fabric. Look at this girl climbing the mountain of fabric. Look at this boy falling off the mountain of fabric.

But that’s not the only thing it’s famous for. There are tons of retail and wholesale shops, not to mention the flower district and the suuuper popular Santee Alley.

After all the times I’ve visited the fashion district, I’m still amazed by all the awesomeness that makes up these 100 blocks. Going here can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you want to find the best deals. Not to mention that it can get a little crowded, noisy, aggressive, and just overwhelming in general. So I’m going to give you some tips for visiting the District if you plan on making the trek out here one of these days.

Number one: Travel light and keep your hands free.

I’m one of those people who like to carry my life in my purse. I always have to have my phone, wallet, keys, my Kindle in case I get bored, an extra book in case my Kindle battery dies, a notebook in case I’m struck with genius and have to write an idea down. But the fashion district is not the right place for this. You’re going to be doing a lot of shopping, and here, that means using your hands to look through fabric, sewing notions, exchanging cash, and more. So the best thing is to carry only your necessities with you and keep your hands free. Maybe switch to a cross over bag for the day, or somehow fit everything you need in your pockets.

Number two: Wear the right shoes and dress comfortably.

You’re going to be walking. A lot. The fashion district is made up of one hundred blocks, and you’re going to want to hit most of the stores, sometimes more than once, if you want to make the best deals. You’ll also be dodging people and cars, and hey, maybe you’ll make like me and climb a mountain of fabric. I made it through the day in flip flops, but I would recommend tennis shoes or comfortable flats.

Number three: Always have cash.

It’s rare that the stores here will accept credit cards, so you’ll need some cash on you. The good thing is that the fabric you’ll find is cheap. Like a dollar to three dollars a yard cheap. So you won’t need to carry that much change on you, but prepare to do some quick cash exchanges.

Number four: Driving and parking

Good luck. Just kidding. So the LA fashion district’s website gives some very awesome directions here depending what freeway you’re taking, and I’ll link it down below. You should also print out the map they provide because it’ll be extremely helpful when you’re navigating the stores on foot. You can access the district from the 10, 101, 110, and even the 710 freeways. The district is located between seventh and Venice Blvd, and Broadway and Stanford. When you’re anywhere in Downtown, you’re going to have a tough time finding parking, but I would suggest finding a lot with a flat rate as opposed to getting a meter, especially if you plan on staying for more than an hour or two.

Number Five: Use public transportation if you live in the area.

I used to live in downtown, but recently moved to the Long Beach area. Getting to LA is a lot easier using public transportation than driving, believe me. From Long Beach, I take the Blue Line, exit 7th and Metro station, and then hop on a bus on 7th street to Wall, which is where I spent most of my time today. You can also access the district through the Red Line and get off at 7th and Metro also.

Number Six: Browse before you buy.

Before I make a purchase, I check out almost all the shops to find the best deal. Most of the time, these stores are selling the same items, and it’s just a matter of finding the right price. Also, keep in mind that the inventory here moves quickly, so that means if you love it, buy it, cause it might not be there the next time you come back.

Number Seven: Keep tabs on restrooms.

When you’re in downtown, this will always be an issue. There are not many public restrooms and some shops will let you use theirs if you buy something. If you find a restroom, remember where it is because it might be the only place you’ll be able to go.

Number Eight: Stay hydrated.

Keep a bottle of water on you because you’ll be doing a lot of walking and it might get hot. If you forget, no worries. There will be street vendors on every corner where you can grab a drink–and maybe one of those delicious hot dogs too.

Number Nine: No dressing rooms.

If you’re here to shop for clothes, remember that there are no dressing rooms. Wear tank tops or something fitting if you insist on trying on clothes before you buy, otherwise, it’ll be a hit or miss. On that note, keep in mind that all sales here are final, so make sure you won’t be strapped down with buyer’s remorse.

Number Ten: Business hours are from 10 to 5.

If you go at any other time, it’ll be completely dead. The best time to go is in the morning when they just open. It will still be cool out, you’ll find the best deals, and the crowds won’t be so bad yet.

Number Eleven: If you’re a reseller, bring your permit.

There are a lot of wholesale merchants here, so if you have a seller’s permit, don’t forget to bring a copy of your license. You can set up accounts with wholesalers to save on costs. Also, keep in mind that some shops are only open to wholesale shoppers. The owners will usually put up signs on the shops, so pay attention.

Number Twelve: Bartering

I have to admit that this may not be my forte. I don’t like bargaining and I’m kind of a pushover, plus everything here is already so cheap. But if you’re really good at this, you should give it a try, especially if you are making a relatively large purchase, the owners will be more willing to give you a better deal.

Those are my tips for shopping at the LA Fashion District. What about you guys? Have you ever been to this area? If you have any tips on how to shop here, leave them in the comments!

November 7, 2013

Two-Toned Infinity Scarf Upcycled from T-Shirt and Dress

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After months of avoidance, I’ve finally jumped on the infinity scarf bandwagon! And I’m glad I did because I’m loving the way my two-toned infinity scarf turned out.

Whenever I can, I try to salvage old materials from my thrift shop haul, so I grabbed a t-shirt made out of a rayon jersey material and an old dress that looked like it was made from a chiffon fabric. Both were very silky and lovely to work with. The chiffon especially surprised me with because I’ve had pretty bad experiences with chiffon before and I didn’t want to repeat the disasters with this project. But what’s so great about infinity scarves is that they’re incredibly easy to make and fashionably versatile!

Here are the dress and t-shirt that I upcycled to make the scarves:

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I didn’t like the original dress and couldn’t think of how I could have hemmed, elastic-ed, or sleeved it in order to make it look better. I did love the actual fabric though so I thought why not turn it into a scarf? Look at the pretty.

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Anyway, I followed Secret Life of a BioNerd’s tutorial on how to make an infinity scarf. I cut and sewed and scrapped together pieces until I had the correct measurements. Love how it turned out! It’s really warm and the material is light and soft, perfect for California’s version of winter!

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November 6, 2013

Bumbling Panda T-Shirt Designs

OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG! Our t-shirt designs are done and almost ready to be sent off into the t-shirt world! I’m so excited about these and couldn’t wait to share them! (All props go to my husband, Alex, of course, he came up with the concept for all these amazing t-shirts.)

Our first design features the Bumbling Panda logo. I really love these, but I’m biased here since it has our cute little bumbling panda himself being all awkward and stuff. I remember the day I first drafted up that little guy. Had no idea he would stumble so far, but here we are! So exciting. 🙂

Bumbling Panda Logo T-shirt

These Panda Eyes t-shirts are so simple and so adorable! I love the minimalist design. We’ll have these t-shirts printed on white and black at first and maybe move onto more colors in the future.

Panda Eyes T-Shirt

This has got to be my favorite of all the new t-shirts. Pandas…ninjas…Panda ninjas who endorse recycling. Come on. What’s not to love? (The back says “Recycle or Die” in Japanese.)
Recycle Or Die T-Shirts

What do you think of these new t-shirt designs? Which one is your favorite? Let me know if you like them and if you have any suggestions or feedback. 🙂

November 5, 2013

Update on Our Customized Tags

Woohoo! Some great news–our customized tag designs are finito-ed! Here is a sneaky sneak at one:

Customized Tags

We pretty much kept to the original design with a few tweaks here and there, and we’re so excited about the little stories behind each piece of hybrid clothing. If you don’t know what hybrid clothing is, shame on you! Just kidding. Basically, hybrid clothing is Bumbling Panda’s term for designs made with upcycled materials that may be mixed with new materials…thus, the term “hybrid.”

We thought it would be cool to include a customized tag which each of our product to let customers know where the item came from and what it was made of so everyone will know how they’re giving back to the environment. What do you think?

November 4, 2013

Upcycle T-shirts into Beanies!

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As the weather drops it’s difficult not to think about warm hats, hoodies, and of course Christmas sweaters! I always get the itch to knit around the holidays and I’m notorious for making crocheted and knitted hats for all my friends and family. (Not sure if this is a good thing, but I haven’t heard anyone complaining…)

Of course, at Bumbling Panda we’re all about going green and recycling, upcycling, and giving every piece of clothing a second chance. So I pulled out a couple worn t-shirts from my thrift haul and mulled over what to do with them. It didn’t take long for that ah-ha! moment to hit. Then I grabbed a pair of scissors, snip snip snipped, and turned my t-shirts into a beanie. It took about three t-shirts to make this beanie, but it is pretty loose and slouchy on me, just how I like it. It’s super comfy and really thick and warm! Perfect for the cold weather (although I do live in Southern California, so I might be over-exaggerating the coldness here).

If you plan on making your own t-shirt beanie, send me a pic of it! I’d love to see how it turned out. Here’s a helpful video on how to turn your t-shirt into yarn to knit or crochet whatever you want. It doesn’t have to stop at hats! Turn that t-shirt into whatever your heart desires and keep on dressing responsibly!