DIYing a Heroine’s Clothes
Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Amberkatze. I’m so thrilled to be here!
The heroine of the Cherry Tucker Mystery series is an artist. Actually a classically trained portraitist, from a small, Southern country town called Halo. Her tough, redneck roots and creative ingenuity help her solve crimes, attract the wrong sort of men, and outfit herself in themed outfits. As an artist, she’s always broke, but with her penchant for interesting dress, Cherry uses her DIY craft skills to match her wardrobe to her personality.
In Hijack in Abstract, her third mystery, Cherry wears a variety of DIY clothing. I thought I’d share the outfits, but show how a real DIYer could use Cherry’s crazy ideas to make their own unique embellishments.
To visit her rival, Shawna Branson, Cherry wears an American flag t-shirt beaded in tangerine, black, and kelly green she deems complementary colored patriotism.
The non-fiction DIY: You need beads (smaller seed beads are easier), a beading needle (long and thin as possible), and beading thread (nylon). Thinner fabric is better because beading needles are so thin. Trace the design on the cloth with fabric chalk. Double your thread through the needle, knot the end, and pull several stitches into the fabric to secure it. You can add one to three beads at a time. (More is faster, but less is more accurate and easier for them to become loose). Push the beads until they’re touching the fabric and pull the thread taut between stitches.
An orange tank dress decorated with a puff painted oversized neon paintbrush. Cherry considers this appropriate wear for an interview with a rich patron who wants his portrait painted.
The non-fiction DIY: Applying puff paint is pretty squeeze-out-of-the-bottle simple. But here are some tips to not look like a third grader applied your paint. Prewash the fabric without fabric softener. Iron the fabric lengthwise to find the true middle, particularly if you’re painting a symmetrical design. Put a piece of cardboard between the back and front of the shirt so the paint doesn’t bleed through. To make “puffier” paint, hold a steam iron on the highest setting over the painted area (without touching) until the paint rises. Don’t make long, continuos lines. Use three to four inch lines that aren’t connected. Or make a series of dots and drag your applicator tip through to make a line, like this crafter did.
Denim skirt fringed in black leather to a trucker bar, The Gearjammer. Unfortunately, the fringe gets torn in the subsequent bar fight. And because she falls wearing a skirt, she flashes her panties to the crowd. I recommend wearing jeans in bar fights, which you can also fringe.
The non-fiction DIY: Faux leather is difficult to sew because it’s thick and slick. Here’s some tips I’ve found. One DIY blogger uses a paper shredder to score faux-leather scraps, making it easier to cut. She stops the shredder a half inch from the top and reverses the shredder setting. I also love how she uses snap-type barrettes to keep the leather from slipping. http://www.sew4home.com/tips-resources/sewing-tips-tricks/lush-plush-trends-fabriccom-sewing-faux-leather
A tie-dyed skirt made from a man’s t-shirt. Which disturbs the lawyer’s monochromatic wearing office manager. But makes a super comfy skirt!
The non-fiction DIY: This is actually a really cool project. Consider XL men’s size for length, not waist size. You can dye it or not. One method is to cut across from armpit to armpit and you’re left with a rectangle. Use elastic thread and a sewing machine for “shirring” the fabric, making multiple bands for a stretchy waist band. Steam the elastic with an iron to tighten the waist. Shirring will take about two inches of the original width of the fabric.
Another method, I’ve not tested, is to sew the t-shirt sleeves shut and push them inside the shirt for pockets. Then snip the collar and slit the shoulder seams, just enough to fit your waist. Add a tie-string or snap to hold the skirt on your waist.
I hope your readers enjoyed these DIY tips! Do you have any great DIY clothing ideas?
With a classical series sold and a portrait commissioned, Cherry Tucker’s art career is in Georgia overdrive. But when the sheriff asks Cherry to draw a composite sketch of a hijacker, her life takes a hairpin as the composite leads to a related murder, her local card-sharking buddy Max Avtaikin becomes bear bait and her nemesis labels the classical series “pervert art.”
Cherry’s jamming gears between trailer parks, Atlanta mansions, and trucker bars searching for the hijacker who left a widow and orphan destitute. While she seeks to help the misfortunate and save her local reputation, Cherry’s hammer down attitude has her facing the headlights of an oncoming killer.
Growing up in a small town, Larissa Reinhart couldn’t wait to move to an exotic city far from corn fields. After moving around the US and Japan, now she loves to write about rough hewn characters that live near corn fields, particularly sassy women with a penchant for trouble.
HIJACK IN ABSTRACT is the third in the Cherry Tucker Mystery Series from Henery Press, following STILL LIFE IN BRUNSWICK STEW (May 2013) and PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY, a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist. QUICK SKETCH, a Cherry Tucker prequel to PORTRAIT, is in the mystery anthology THE HEARTACHE MOTEL (December 2013).
Larissa lives near Atlanta with her minions and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit. Visit her website or find her chatting with the Little
There are many places you don’t want to be at zero dark thirty, but I’ve got a personal top three. One is the ER. Second is a police station. The third is your ex-boyfriend’s bedroom.
Thank God Almighty I was not in number three. Stupid does catch me occasionally, but not this night. I was nowhere near an ex-boyfriend’s bedroom.
At two forty-five in the morning, I found myself in number two. The Forks County Sheriff’s Office to be accurate. My cornflower blues were a bit bloodshot and blurry, but my grin matched Shep Peterson’s, who also found himself in a similar location. However, Shep had a drunk tank grin. Mine was more of a self-congratulatory grin, born from knowing that finally someone in Forks County had recognized my accomplishments in the art world. Never mind the phone call that woke me from a dead sleep and near gave me a heart attack.
Or that I had to drive my sister’s Firebird because her vehicle was blocking my driveway. Or that I now sat in the junior officers’ room with a cold cup of coffee and had just realized I had forgotten to comb my bed-head designed blonde cowlicks in my bleary-eyed haste.
And to put on a bra.
The Forks County Sheriff, Uncle Will, needed my expertise. That’s all that mattered. And I was going to get paid.
Needed me for what was still a bit vague. I hoped nothing needing brushed hair and a bra.
* * * * *
With my messenger bag bumping my back, I hugged my chest, figuring it best not to give an extra show to Shep and the boys. I followed Uncle Will down the hallway, waiting while he unlocked a door. The door opened and two faces turned to look at us. One I didn’t recognize, but judging by his despondent expression, I figured he was probably in a mess of trouble. The other person, another deputy, I identified immediately. Hard not to recognize those brown ochre curls with the highlights I had decided were transparent oxide-red lake. Or the lean, muscled body, much like Michelangelo’s David. Or by the strong jaw buttressing two adorable dimples that made a rare showing.
Unfortunately, I knew Deputy Luke Harper a little too well.
He gave me a scant nod and turned back to the perp.
My hand snuck back to my hair and yanked on a particularly tall cowlick in back. I gritted my teeth and gave myself a quick lecture not to make a scene. We had aired our irreconcilable differences behind the local roadhouse, Red’s County Line Tap, a few months ago and I had not quite recovered.
“That’s Tyrone Coderre,” said Uncle Will. “He’s going to give you a description to draw. We need a composite sketch.”
Uncle Will stopped me before I entered the room and pulled me to the side. “Can I leave Deputy Harper in there with you or do I need to call in another officer? Harper’s the one who picked up Coderre, so this is his investigation.”
“I’m quite capable of separating my personal and professional life,” I said, tilting my chin so I could eyeball Uncle Will. “You might want to ask the same of him.”
“I trust Luke not to screw up his job. You are another story.”
I gave him a “why, I never” gasp.
“I’m going to be watching through the two-way.” He tapped my messenger bag. “Lucky for you, I don’t know other artists to call during the middle of the night. Wouldn’t want to be accused of nepotism. But I want a sketch while the memory is still fresh in Coderre’s mind. Don’t disappoint me, Cherry.”
“So, this is an important investigation?” Excitement zipped through my veins and made my fingers tingle. “I won’t let you down. You can even deputize me if you want.”
Uncle Will chuckled. “Just draw us a good picture. That’s plenty helpful.”
“Yes, sir,” I said and snuck by him to enter the room. I nodded to the man in the black sweat suit behind the table and held out my hand. “Hello, Mr. Coderre. I’m Cherry Tucker, a local artist.”
“Don’t shake his hand,” barked Luke. “Are you crazy?”
Tyrone Coderre’s cuffed hands retreated below the table, and I blew out a hard breath.
Looked like it was going to be a long night. At least the criminal had manners.
Couldn’t say the same for the cop.