Monday, 31 March 2014

My DIY Stella McCartney black lipstick intarsia jumper

My birthday celebrations (plural intended - the Queen has nothing on me!) ended with a leisurely weekend on the south coast. So, did that mean I was going to slack off with blog projects? Why, heavens, no! I used some spare time over the previous week crocheting a DIY Stella McCartney black intarsia lipstick jumper with the exact same method as this project  that you might remember - only working from a different design, obviously! I mixed it up with a few more projects of old to create a bold red statement and now you lucky things get to see the results!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Trends on Thursday: Of Corsage

Missing the 90s? How adorably 2012! This week, the rose-tinted spectacles of retrospective worship looked to 1984 as the Breakfast Club reached its 30th birthday (according to when it was set). Numerous films from that year have recently received  viral internet attention and lit up the Twittersphere with affectionate, wistful reminiscing - or 'nostalgia porn' as said throwbacks are known (a phrase I so wish James Laver could hear; I like to think he's laughing from above, below or wherever one actually goes after transgressing the boundaries of death).

Despite being too young to remember the year first-hand, my historian curiosities have given me the urge to dig out a ra-ra skirt and rollerskates as readily as the next person. However, there was thankfully more to the 80s than rubik cubes, power dressing and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. The decade that style forgot? Have you forgotten the New Romantics? Or, have you even heard of the French Revolution-inspired Les Incroyables graduate fashion show that launched the career of John Galliano in - yes, you guessed it - 1984? You see, in a previous life, the
bigoted controversial fashion designer was revered as the most creative genius of his generation and Les Incroyables as a show that reinvented the art of historical fashion. Rather than merely copying it, Les Incroyables reworked the French Revolution dress it referenced with extreme proportions and contemporary New Romantic touches. I mention the extreme proportions because at this point you're probably - justifiably - wondering what this has all got to do with flowers.

What makes the flowers of autumn 2014 stand out from corsages of every other year, generation or trend incarnation? Proportion, once again, appeared to play a role with larger-than-life lilies at Dries Van Noten, alongside a vibrant colour scheme that was reminiscent of the recent tropical floral trend. It could also be applied to Lanvin's radiant oversized petal necklaces. Céline gave us a minimalist interpretation with calla lilies.

Oversized corsages are the DIY trend to watch. What would you make of it all?

Monday, 24 March 2014

Hand haute - How to DIY a Vivetta White Rachelle Hands Shirt

Get a surreal deal with this Elsa Schiaparelli-style shirt refashion!

Top image:

You will need...

It also helps to have a fine-tipped pen, pencil or tailor's chalk to trace out the hand design onto your collar.

I will be using a template for the hand design, so you might find it helpful to print the shape out, but a printer is completely optional (and has to be worth the sanity it typically costs you, in my experience!).



Nothing struck me as particularly challenging for this one but, as always, care and love are needed for best results.


About 2 hours.

Hand it over!

Pin the pattern paper to the collar of your shirt and trace the edges, so that you know what size to make your hand template.

Copy or print out the above hand design and trace it onto your pattern paper to fit the collar outline you have drawn. Make sure the thumb, index and middle fingertips touch the edges of the collar outline - it's even better if you can get the other tips to fit the collar shape but all collars are different!
Cut out your template and trace the hand design onto each side of the collar. You will have to turn your paper over when you change sides, in order to get the design symmetrical.

Cut out the hand design and cut away the edge of the collar along the middle, so that the new edges are raw, with no top stitching.
Paint black 'nails' onto each finger on the top layer and leave them to dry. You should be left with two layers of fabric along the collar - both of which are cut into the hand design. Iron interfacing onto the inside areas (the 'wrong' sides) of the two layers.
Cut away the excess interfacing and top stitch the two layers together about 1mm from the edges, or as close to them as possible.

Tip: It helps to use glue to hold the layers together while you sew them. Make sure your glue's fairly dry and not slimy, like gemstone glue. I used craft mount.
My shirt was short-sleeved, so I added some broderie anglaise trim (2012's finest!) along the cuffs.

DIY Vivetta Hands shirt

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Marni, Marni, Marni - How to DIY a Marni Visor

Marni's attention-grabbing accessory is a 'shade' more experimental as a style statement!

You will need...

Just to clarify, you need 180cm of rope.

I got my visor from Hobbycraft and would recommend it. Alternatively, you can cut out a piece of foam 24cm wide, in the shape of the template, below.


Pretty easy

I can't think of anything too challenging or painstaking with this project but I figured I'd err on the side of caution and not declare it a total doddle.


2-3 hours, I think.However, it is amazing how little you can keep track of time in the company of Mr. Television so I'm not entirely sure I'd like to give it  a more specific timeframe than 'a leisurely evening,' if that makes sense.


Remove the strap from the visor and use craft mount to cover both sides of it in satin, ensuring the right side of the fabric is showing.
Use the glue gun to attach rope along the edges.

Punch holes in the corners; you can use a hole punch, scalpel or even scissors. Cut two pieces of rope about 50cm in length, thread them through the holes, tie them in knots and secure them using the glue gun.

Thread the two lengths of rope through the tassels, fold them back on themselves and secure them using the glue gun.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The Trends on Wednesday: Sweater Dreams

Jumpers for your love!

Fashion has given us practicality and comfort once again by channelling creativity and focus in equal measure to the humble jumper! Speaking of channelling, just as Coco Chanel redefined knitwear in 1916 with her iconic jersey suits, Alexander Wang, J Crew and Tommy Hilfiger were among the designers reinventing it at New York Fashion Week, with graphic abstract prints and textured, oversized knits. This pick of the knits is to be worn with a skirt, according to the trends of Milan Fashion Week.

It hasn't been long since statement sweatshirts were primarily the reserve of street style bloggers (think Kenzo's distinctive tiger faces and eye designs) but they, too, are among the key wardrobe pieces for 2014, with print, texture and embellishment aplenty.

Monday, 10 March 2014

D-Eye-Y - How to DIY your own eye-printed clothing

The eyes have it this season!

If the blog and street style avenues are to be believed, Kenzo's eye prints - and anything resembling them, as I'm sure the high street will be quick to point out - are the motif to be seen with right now, so I thought I'd share a nifty little tip for recreating the pattern.

You will need...

NB: My foam was about 1cm thick.


Quite easy

...But not as easy as I thought before I tried it. This isn't a particularly long or complicated project but it's more reliant on skill than I initially thought. As ever, I can guide and advise you so that you don't find it so hard. You can also practise on some scrap fabric to get the feel.


An evening...well, a few hours. Sorry, I got a bit lost in the project so I wasn't counting!

Timings for this project depend largely on the number of eye motifs you're looking to do; if you're only doing one it will take less than an hour but if you're covering your top it will take significantly longer.


Cut out the circle and eye shapes into your foam using the above template. I made my circle about 9cm in diameter and the eye about 4cm from the tips of the eyelash.

Now to craft some stamps! Cut the lid of your box into smaller pieces that cover your foam shapes and glue the shapes to them.

Use the paintbrush to wet the surface of your stamps; don't apply it too thickly or allow it to drip. Also, don't let any paint get onto the plastic as this will cause the design to smudge when you press it down - wipe excess paint away, if necessary. Stamp your design down, pressing firmly to ensure that the whole design is transferred onto the fabric. Don't press too hard, as this will also cause smudging.

Repeat this process until your design is complete.

Loving the stamp action? Check out this tutorial.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The Trends on Wednesday: What to make of the autumn 2014 trends

Two recently predicted trends set to cook up a storm - and possibly weather it - this coming winter are midi skirts and fur, picking up where it left off with multicolour patchwork.

 Midi skirts and dresses originally came into vogue in the early 70s as part of a continuation and evolution of the trends from the 60s: the decade that gave us the miniskirt and microskirt (they were bloomers in a previous life or something!). Midi and maxi skirts broadened the spectrum of skirt length. Maxi skirts and dresses always were a safe bet for most if not all heights and body types - like Diane von Furstenberg's wrap dress, which came to the fore during the same decade. And the midi? It was always a difficult length for me; I felt it exaggerated the shortness of my five foot frame. However, if we are to trust fashion in its ability to rework paradigms of the past in a challenging, contemporary light, perhaps it is worth giving the current crop a chance. My favourite of the bunch were Michael Kors' ethereal efforts; the sheer fabrics softened the hemlines and would surely create a less sharp cut-off effect on someone short and bottom-heavy (not to mention thigh-heavy!) than their opaque contemporaries. They'd also be a great excuse to upcycle an old miniskirt with a covering of mesh or tulle.

Fur was back in full force with patterns aplenty, not to mention shearling seams - or 'poor fur' as Miuccia Prada dubbed her interpretations. Fendi gave us fur trousers - a novel direction for generation #YOLO! Multi coloured furs were, once again, a staple at many of the shows this year, with plenty to get the creative juices flowing as to what one could do with odds and ends of fluffy fabrics. Don't have a menagerie of coloured furs in your house? Local markets are great for finding super cheap cuts.

So, while no one wants to be reminded of the winter gloom to come, the autumn shows have given us some fun trends to look forward to, as well as a sumptuous colour palette. What look can't you wait for this autumn?

Monday, 3 March 2014

Haute metal - how to DIY your own metal plated cut out shoes

Cutting it with an on-trend upcycle!

You will need...

NB: Use brass sheets as they're a soft, reasonably pliable metal. I got mine here.

The snips I used are called tin snips.

*Relax, the lighter is optional and not recommended for faux leather shoes or near flammable furniture!

** Make sure you use metal araldite glue; only a solvent of that strength is going to work!


Quite hard

This one did prove to be more of a challenge than expected; working with metal is very fiddly and demanding of elbow grease. However, since I had never worked with metal before, I learnt from the mistakes I made and will hopefully be able to guide you so that you don't find it so difficult.


About two afternoons, so 8-ish hours. Again, I was disappointed that I didn't find it easier but I bit off more than I was expecting to chew with the metal. Thankfully, the results are totally worth it.

Cutting it...

Cut out small triangular areas on both sides of your shoes. Ensure they're symmetrical, identical in shape and in the correct places. You might want to trace your shape out on paper and use measurements as references.

After cutting your shapes out, use a lighter to smooth the edges (only if the shoes are leather - faux leather shoes would be ruined). Again, this part is completely optional and only applicable where appropriate, i.e. nowhere near flammable objects.
Finish the edges by gluing trim over them. You can use the scalpel to smooth away the excess glue or cut away extraneous blobs after they're dried.
Cut the above shapes out in metal with the amounts specified. The strips on the left are for covering buckles, so if the buckles of your shoes are already metal, you don't have to worry about them.

The shape in the middle is for the tips of the straps. It needs to be just wide enough to cover them but narrow enough to fit through the buckles. You might want to test it before bending it into shape and gluing it, to make sure that it fits; making a strap tip that's too wide, bending it into shape and then trying to cut it down is much harder, as I would know! The areas for folding back along the edges should be at least 1cm wide, as they're too hard to bend otherwise.
Once you have cut out the metal shapes for the tips of your straps, you may notice some fold lines in the template. I find it helps to draw them in place with a pen that can write on brass; for this, I used an extra fine silver marker.

Hold your piece of metal down and bend it with the tip of your pliers touching the line; I find this method's the easiest and requires the least brute force (something I don't have much of, especially in my hands and forearms!). Don't bend your side bits all the way as you will need to slip your straps underneath them.

Apply glue inside the metal tips and on the surfaces of the straps, and slot them into place.
The trapezium shapes, shown on the right of the template, will be placed over the arch of your foot - shoes follow that arch shape in the place where you're due to glue them - so bend them along the length. This will make them much easier to glue down.

Apply glue to the underside of the metal pieces and onto the surface where you intend to stick them. Again, make sure they're in the same places on both shoes.

Leave your glue to dry. You might have to leave it overnight. Make sure you leave it for as long as the instructions specify.

...and there you have it!