Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Cool Binns - How to DIY a Tom Binns painted white crystal bib necklace

Image: tombinnsdesign.com

You will need...


Very easy

Can't elaborate on that - think of it in a  no-news-is-good-news sense. It's also pretty quick if you exclude drying time.


20-30 minutes excluding paint and nail polish drying time.

More bargain Binns

Cover most of the centre with your puff paint.

Tip: Speed up the drying process by using a hair dryer or heat gun. Craft professionals may recommend the latter but if it's not available or your idea of cash well-spent, the former works perfectly.

Now for your paint design! I chose black, red, orange and yellow but you can try experimenting with other colour combinations. Dunk your nail polish brush as deep into the bottle as possible, so that it's thick with nail polish, and shake it so that drops fall onto your dry puff paint; alternatively, paint it on thickly. Repeat with the rest of your colours and hold your puff paint vertically so that the nail polish runs in painterly lines.

When your nail polish is dry, you can use clear nail varnish or lacquer as a fixative.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Binns there done that - how to DIY Tom Binns Au Fait earrings

Tom Binns' Au Fait earrings make a splash in brilliant neons!


Image: Modaoperandi.com

You will need...


Quite easy

Fiddly in places but otherwise a no-sew, no-fuss way to recycle picture hooks and add some painterly pops of colour in the winter gloom!


Hard to tell as I had other distractions but I'd say 30-45 minutes, excluding glue and paint drying times.

Bargain Binns!

Take four of your six picture hooks and separate out the lower sections on them (these bits are for hanging so they should be flat and sort-of oblong when you cut them out); then, cut away the top sections (these are the bits with the holes where you should cut them with your pliers, so they should end up with jagged edges).

With the two remaining hooks, straighten out the lower bends and the curls of the top sections but keep the upper bends intact so they're at a right angle.

Mix your araldite and put the pieces in place like they are on the original - with the longer oblong bits at the top and the jagged-edged bits at the bottom. Mix and use your araldite piece by piece as it hardens extremely quickly (especially the one I used).

Glue your earring studs at the tops of the hooks. I threaded mine through the lower of the two holes and stuck them in place. After the glue has set, curl your top bits over the studs so that those parts of the hooks look like they did before.

When your glue is completely dry (which  may take several hours) paint on your design; after that has dried, coat it with 1-2 layers of clear lacquer or nail polish.


Sunday, 15 December 2013

DIY denim jacket

In a quick shout-out to rather awesome DIY fashion blog, DIY Vine I thought I'd try one of the tutorials, namely the revamped denim jacket. I don't want to give the ending away but it involves a pattermed scarf. Here's some quick Instagrammage of mine:

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The Trends on Wednesday: Back off!

Just when you thought fashion was finally getting a grip on reality in a practical way, don't congratulate yourself on your new pair of tube-ride-friendly pumps just yet; it appears the pendulum of trendiness has swung back once again in favour of feckless flights of fancy. Spring 2014's picks aren't just impractically heeled, they're backless!

Maybe this lament is unique to me as a flat-footed person whose choice of shoes has always been compromised by one of my physical quirks. I just about scrape five foot and - funnily enough - have UK size 5 feet (about a US size 7.5) with no arch whatsoever. I suppose I should be grateful; combine my big, flat feet with my height and teetotal lifestyle and you have someone probably the least likely to fall over! I just remember it being a curse as a child. At least half my summer holidays each year were frustratingly encroached upon by trawling every local shop, tirelessly, to find an adequately-fitting pair of school shoes - as if the 'Back to School' billboards plastered everywhere weren't ominous enough! Anyway, back to the point of this entry: having the arch to contend with is bad enough but without anything to strap me in, I might have to give this trend a wide berth.

Maybe the back of the ankle is gaining ground as the erogenous zone du jour. Maybe the style does carry a certain elegance. Maybe, heaven forbid, the trend might even catch on! Rupert Sanderson, Manolo Blahnik, Rochas, Gianvito Rossi, Chloé and Jenni Kayne have all put their best feet forward according to style.com so perhaps the dust may settle yet. What do you think about backless shoes? Elegant or an epic fall waiting to happen?

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Scrunch Time - How to DIY a scrunchie

Harper's Bazaar may have vilified them, Carrie from Sex and the City, might not have been "caught dead at a hip downtown restaurant wearing (one)" but now that the scrunchie is back - introduced in its resplendence at the London 2012 Olympics and endorsed by Cara Delevingne, Hillary Clinton and Sienna Miller - I thought I'd take the liberty of showing you how to make one.

You will need



Quite easy

Never one to blow my own trumpet, you understand, it was a walk in the park for me but in the interests of covering myself, I'm going to say that it may be slightly more challenging for relatively inexperienced seamstresses.


Under an hour. Sorry to be vague. If I weren't photographing each step of the process it probably would have been minutes, but I'm not entirely sure.

Total cost

£2 because I already had some elastic lying around and because b*tch, please, it's a scrunchie!

In the hair tonight...

Cut as long a rectangle as possible out of your scarf, measuring about 10cm in width (it's relatively easy to eyeball it). Turn it so that it's wrong-side-up (generally the paler, less glossy side), fold the ends back on themselves and iron them down.

Fold the fabric along the length - so that it's long and narrow - with the wrong side still facing outwards. Sew the edges together (not the folded ones).
Cut a length of elastic 15-20cm in length, depending on how wide it is.
Turn your fabric so that it's right-side-out, feed your elastic through it and scrunch it (would you believe!) into the centre. Pin the exposed ends of your elastic together and sew them.
Use your needle and thread to slip-stitch the two ironed-back edges together.

Voilà! It's really that simple and quick. I just hope I haven't created a monster or helped to compound the felony if scrunchies really are back to haunt us from the atelier to the high street, at every conceivable level of taste! Just remember, if It's good enough for Marc Jacobs and Missoni, it's good enough for a crafter with a good eye and a scarf in need of recycling.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Trends on Wednesday: House Haute Goods Revisited

After almost a year of mid-week trend feed I thought I'd do something a bit different, albeit tied in very neatly with one of the themes. You may recall a recent post about catwalk looks that suspiciously resemble homespun hardware. Going with the rationale that fashion is, you know, intended to inspire us and perhaps make us think again, more deeply, about concepts so often glazed over at face value, I had a brainwave; common household fodder, including items we throw away, lend themselves to fashion. With this in mind, my thoughts turned to designer looks you could so easily recreate with the humdrum clutter you've always been meaning to take to the tip. Ah, you may laugh now but what about...


For a sad, lonely ex-lampshade that's all but worn down to a near-mesh state, feeling left out in the cold is a harsh reality, whatever the weather. Yet just a few pounds' worth of trimmings can make all the difference. Lives can be changed and, hey, if it's good enough for Chanel... Let's think about that, when we're bundling up into a warm cab for the next party. No, seriously, it was just made to give your LBD a unique vintage touch!


Clever Christopher Kane is sitting pretty with a British Fashion Award for womenswear designer of the year. His distinctive designs now also hold the honour of best way we can reinvent a skirt suit with some jagged black netting - unless there are any other suggestions.

Old gloves

Elsa Schiaparelli lives! Certainly Vivetta would have had you think so in their Spring 2013 collection. Keeping it surreal with the likes of Charlotte Olympia in sheer 'tongue-in-chic' wit, this design proves there's nothing stopping you in giving your gran's old evening gloves a new lease of life and a prom dress a fabulously quirky finish.

Watch straps

Not that I'm obsessed or anything, here's another Kane-ism, this time with the art of contrast. Again, if your black coat you can't imagine the freeze of winter without is starting to look a little tired, you don't have to face this alone - just add a cheeky contrasting watch strap to the fastening!

Paint overalls
Okay, okay I am milking this one slightly what with art on track to become fashion's look du jour and paint splatters increasingly in vogue but what you can get at a price from Topshop et al you can get for free by digging out your painting overalls, lopping off the top and finishing the look (that is to say, stop them from falling down) with a sleek belt.

Just remember, if you're feeling more tired than inspired you just need a fresh look. Nothing will come from nothing without some creative problem solving. And if it's bric-a-brac you're worried about, you can always try...

...making it up as you go along!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Wonder Cover - A quick tutorial for customising a phone cover

A cheeky quick one for those of you who love, cherish and can't do without your smartphone - so much so that you want to protect it any way you can; you want to give it a secure home, that will protect it from all the horrors of the world and at the same time make it look fabulous. Your only problem is that it isn't an iPhone - it's better!

My beloved Google Nexus 5 mightn't be the sort of phone you'd typically associate with an arty type like me but as a camera, gaming platform and organiser it does as good a job if not better than the aforementioned iPhone. Why, then, do none of the high street shops we know and love - never mind the fashion labels - do any covers for them? Why are their covers - surely a basic protective essential - relegated to the remotest corners of eBay? Still, at least my clear one only set me back £3 - and inspired this 10-minute DIY entry!

You will need...


Very easy

I'll say it again, a 10 minute job like this would realistically have to fit comfortably under that category!

Total cost

Mine came to £6 - how many "Me-phone" covers can you buy for that kind of money? (Must. Rein. In. Smug. Attitude).

Just in (one) case...

Apply your glue quickly so that it doesn't start to dry in the process.Once you've completely covered the inside of the back (not the sides, unless you also want them to be covered) with a thin layer of photo glue, place your printed-out design face-down. Coat it with a layer on top for extra protection.
Leave it to dry  - don't try to attach it to your phone until it's completely dry.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The Trends on Thursday: Scrunch Time

I didn't think I'd see the day, but then a the 25-or-so years that make up a generation in trend terms seem like a lifetime when you're in the throes of teenagehood; you've no option but to do as you're told, wear what your legal guardians approve of and put up with whatever slop is broadcast by the mainstream media because mass-scale broadband hasn't been invented yet!

Fashion is a challenge - a challenge of conventional notions of taste, a challenge to wear within the unfavourable constraints of everyday practicality and the perennial dare among designers: a challenge to take the interchangeable paradigms of art, and some luxury fabrics, to reinvent quintessentially naff fads of yester-decade.  Of late, we've seen pieces of past pop culture frippery taking themselves very seriously in their recent incarnations with designers getting on board in their droves. Fashion's latest intrepid outing has taken us in the direction of scrunchies - a staple of the 80s and 90s, alike - courtesy of Marc by Marc Jacobs. This time I'll casually forget that I don't really suit long hair or ponytails, that being a kid in the 90s actually sucked and that six months from now, we'll all be wondering what the hell we were thinking trying to reawaken a sartorial beast of burden that should really have been left to rest! I'm going to say Marc's scarf-like prints give the scrunchie an elegant, contemporary lease of life and, by the way, it's so delectably easy to make you'll be thanking me effusively until its next in-vogue resurrection - whenever or however that may be!

Perhaps I am being too cynical and unimaginative; if scrunchies are good enough for Cara Delevingne then maybe they do have an enduring - even timeless quality. Timeless, like a broken clock: "right twice a day!"

Monday, 25 November 2013

Bible belle - How to DIY an Alexander McQueen floral bible book clutchbag

DIY-ing by the book?
ALEXANDER MCQUEEN Black Gold Floral Bible Book Clutch

It's (nearly) that time again - T-minus one month to Christmas/ Winterval/ Saturnalia/Festival of Feverish Consumerism (delete as appropriate - put your fingers over the words or something). A combination of shambolic organisational skills and a jaundiced view of advanced capitalism ensure that I'm always woefully late with my festive preparations. However, when it comes to getting all things sartorial in place for the party season, the show must go on. With that in mind, I thought I'd indulge you with a DIY idea that combines luxe and gold sparkle to make the perfect accessory.

You will need

+ Craft mount.


Quite easy

While working with gold leaf can be a fiddly business, of which I've got plenty of bitter experience, this one wasn't too much of a struggle. However, I will say knowing what you're letting yourself in for with the gold leaf and its temperamental nature helps.

Time and total cost

A few hours, excluding glue drying time. This was a relative splurge with time and money, setting me back about £20-25. Finance never was my forté. Still, it's not like it set me back £1215 like the original - that much I did notice!

Clutch a load of this...

Looking at the original you may notice that it's covered with leather, so we're going to follow suit with the real McCoy or if you're vegetarian/ not lucky with charity shops faux leather will absolutely do. If your glue isn't strong enough, craft mount should do the trick.
Cut two pieces of lace big enough to cover each side. Cut away as much of the netting as possible on both pieces, so that you're left with a floral outline.

Cover your fabric with glue and - taking care not to get any onto your fingers - pat your gold leaf over it, piece by piece. I recommend you do the glue in stages, too. Gold leaf is very delicate and has a nasty habit of sticking to your fingers with an annoying amount more gusto than the intended surface so clean any glue off your fingers before applying each piece. You may want to press against some of the tissue paper packaging between the layers if you use the Fimo gold leaf like I did, or you can use tweezers. Also, don't hammer your gold leaf too hard or it'll crack and peel.

Once you have covered both bits of fabric, leave them to dry overnight. After they've dried, use your scalpel to scrape away the excess gold leaf and the back of your fabric as a guide for cutting, where necessary.

A cool optional finishing touch, if you've got some pearlescent ivory nail polish lying around is to paint some of the petals for a subtle 3D effect. Use your fabric glue to stick your gold lace to the clutch.