Monday, June 10, 2013

DIY: Hailee Steinfeld-Inspired Tee

Hi there!  The moment I saw what Hailee Steinfeld wore to the Met Ball this year, I was awestruck.  It was the most beautiful thing with all the little safety pins covering the dress.  Since it was designer, there'd be no way for me to afford it, and since my personal motto is "Why buy it when you can DIY it?" I decided to make it myself!  Keep reading to figure out how!


  • A white article of clothing - This is pretty straight-forward, so I'm not going to elaborate too much, but basically, pick whatever you'd like to embellish!  I picked a simple white t-shirt because I wanted to be able to dress down such an intricate piece.
  • ton safety pins in various sizes (at least two) - I got 250 safety pins from my local fabric store because they were a bit cheaper than the ones at Michael's.  However, if you're planning on embellishing an article of clothing bigger than a t-shirt (like a dress, for example), I'd suggest that you get the silver ones from Michael's.  It's best if you get gold ones, but those are ridiculously expensive.  Also, always buy more than you think you need.  I was going to only get 200, but I ended up using all 250 of my safety pins.  Don't buy too many more, but buy a bit more to give yourself a bit of breathing room.
  • Gold spray paint - This is only needed if you have silver safety pins instead of gold ones.  I got mine, a Design Master Premium Metals Thick Metallic Finish spray paint just because the ever-so-popular Krylon ones were annoyingly sold out.
  • Fabric glue - It's best to use the right glue for whatever fabric you're embellishing.  Since I'm embellishing a t-shirt, I got a bottle of Aleene's Flexible Stretchable fabric glue from Michael's, but if you aren't, pick a fabric glue that works best for the type of fabric you're embellishing.  Be sure to look on the little description on the back to make sure the glue you picked is good for embellishing.
  • Newspaper - This is just to protect your workspace.
  • Cardboard - Make sure that you pick a pick of cardboard that stretches your article of clothing slightly for the best result.
  • Toothpicks - You'll need these to spread the fabric glue on your safety pins.
  • A container - This is to keep all of your safety pins in.
  • A tiny palette or piece of cardboard - Finally, this is to put the fabric glue on.

The next few steps are only if you have silver safety pins instead of gold ones.  You could also follow this little tutorial if your gold safety pins are all different shades of gold and you want them to turn them all the same shade.

1.  First off, cover your workspace with some newspaper.  Be sure to pick your workspace wisely because it's going to get messy.

2.  Take all of your safety pins and spread them out evenly on the newspaper.  Make sure not to have any close to the edges just to keep this project a little bit cleaner.  Also, it's important not to have any safety pins laying on top of each other.

3.  Open all of your safety pins.  Listen to some music or watch some YouTube videos while doing this so you don't get too bored.

4.  Follow the instructions on your spray paint can and evenly coat your safety pins in gold spray paint.

5.  Wait for the paint to dry.  It took about 10-20 minutes for my paint to dry.  Try to be patient because if you start touching the paint before it's completely dry, you'll get imprints all over them which is not good.

6.  Close your safety pins and put them in the container.


1.  Iron your article of clothing.  Chances are, it'll be pretty difficult to iron whatever you're DIY-ing after you're done this DIY, so don't forget to iron it!
2.  Stick a piece of cardboard inside your tee (or whatever yo're using, but for the sake of this tutorial, I'll be using the word "tee") to stretch it out.
3.  This next step is optional, so if you'd like, quickly sketch your tee and where you want to place your safety pins.  Consult a photo of Hailee's dress if you need some inspiration.

4.  Now, place the biggest safety pins you have on your tee.  Follow up with the smaller ones.  This is so you can get a feel of how you want your tee to look.  Rearrange your safety pins to get your ideal splatter of safety pins.  

5.  Squeeze some fabric glue out on your palette or cardboard and take out your toothpicks.
6.  Take a photo of your tee just in case your safety pins go flying or whatnot.

7.  There are two ways you could go about doing the next step.  You could either glue the safety pins on randomly, no matter the size.  Or, you could take off the smaller safety pins and start gluing the biggest ones.  Then, glue the smaller ones, and then the ones smaller than those ones.  I chose the second option.  Also, open a few safety pins to stay true to the original garment.
8.  Finish covering the front of your tee and wait for the glue to dry overnight just to be safe.
9.  Flip it over to the back and figure out where you want to put your safety pins.  I just continued on the back the splatter of pins that were already on the front on the shoulder and added another splatter of pins on the opposite corner on the bottom of the tee.  Scroll down a bit to see a photo of the back if you're confused.
10.  Take a quick photo.

11.  Cover the backside with safety pins and wait for the glue to dry overnight.

And there you go!

I really hope you enjoyed this tutorial!  Now that I think about it, I'm kind of worried about being a safety hazard and accidentally poking people when I hug them.  Aw well....  To avoid that, just add a bit more fabric glue to the ends of the safety pins that you've opened.

Let me know in the comments if you're going to try it out!  I'd love to know!

Thanks for reading!
- J

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  1. Super cute idea~~ cheers!

    1. Thank you, Carly. :) I had such a great time making it.

      - Juliana

  2. Ahh, I love this! Thank you for sharing!

    Zoe // The Caribbean Flower

    1. Thank you so much for saying that! I'm glad you liked it. :)

      - Juliana

  3. well this is stunning! somehow i missed that gown. i did a post on the show though...i loved it!

    xoxo from nyc &

    1. Thank you for saying that, Vittoria! And the Met Ball this year really was amazing. :)

      - Juliana

  4. Wow this DIY looks amazing but just a question, can u wash this? Will the pins rust

    1. Since the top is so delicate, you would have to hand wash it very, VERY gently so the pins don't fall off or anything. I don't know about the pins rusting though, sorry! I hope I was able to help a little bit. :)

      - Juliana