Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Slicker than your Everage - How to DIY Dior's So Real sunglasses

It was Dior's So Real mirrored cat eye sunglasses that got the stars, bloggers and editors purring in succession, helping the design gather ground as a fashion institution that's still going strong after a year.
How Dior’s Dior So Real Sunglasses Became a Street-Style Sensation

You will need...

Not pictured

Long-nosed jewellery pliers


Wooden splint

Container for the resin


Moderately challenging

Although straightforward in principle, this one was more fiddly than I expected. Also, expect things to get messy.


A couple of hours, most of which goes on waiting for the resin to set.

Hello, cat eye...

If you want, you can print out and trace the template above but they might not fit the sunglasses you're using. I would recommend tracing the outline of the lens onto paper with the sunglasses face-down.

Once you have drafted out a template, cut it out carefully with the scalpel, trace the outline onto the glass fibre tissue, turn it over so that it mirrors the shape you just traced and then trace an outline around that. You should have two shapes that mirror each other, like in the template.

Cover the lenses with parcel tape.

Tip: Press the tape onto your clothes a few times so that it loses some of its stickiness but has just enough to stay in place on the lenses. This prevents lens damage.

Cut out the shapes in fibre tissue.

Mix the resin with the hardener and use it to attach the fibre tissue shapes to the top edges of the lenses. Make sure you follow the directions carefully and leave at least 20 minutes for the resin to dry.

Make a wire outline for each of the lenses and stick it in place with more resin. I also used some flattened bits of curb chain to hold the top bar in place.

Once the resin has dried, remove the tape and scrape away any excess resin with the scalpel, taking care not to scratch the lenses.

So authentic?

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

The Trends on Wednesday: Can you sandal this?

With the start of summer weather finally here, in the mildly thawing, you-can-crawl-out-from-underneath-your-coat-and-jumper sense, I thought it appropriate to introduce some DIY ideas for the humble sandal. With sandals taking on the role of statement piece as well as summer staple I thought I's whet your appetite with a few taster projects you can do to new sandals or old ones that need making over.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Realise dragons - How to DIY a Nicole Miller dragon motif top

While it was 2015's huge oriental trend that inspired me to take on this top, the dragon design in question actually had folkloric fairy tale roots, specifically the illustrations of Patrick Arrasmith and Alan Lee, for The Last Apprentice and The Hobbit, respectively. Whatever inspired it, it captured my imagination so I thought I'd capture the idea myself.

You will need...

Not pictured


Gemstone glue


NB: Make sure the top is not so small it has to stretch to fit you, otherwise it presents problems when you attach the non-stretch fabric. Go for something slim-fitting but not skin-tight.


Very easy

...Provided you don't make the same mistakes I made (more on that later).


A few hours (the exact number of which I was too sidetracked to count).

How to make the top

Print out a copy of the following template, flip the image around so that it's mirrored and print that out.
You should have two images. Pin them underneath the front panel of the top, making sure they're placed at the same height so that the whole image is completely symmetrical.

Using black 3D fabric paint, trace the outline of the image, add some dots to look like embellishment and add some gemstones.

Now to add the brocade fabric. I've mentioned the importance of choosing a top that fits well. I bought mine online, as I had no choice. Sadly, it was a lot smaller than I expected it to be and my execution of the final design suffered on account of it. I could have done better, and I'd recommend you avoid making the same mistake as I did by not choosing too tight a top. The reason for this is that it won't fit properly when you attach the non-stretch brocade fabric. Make sure the top fits you without needing to stretch before you buy.

Turn the top inside-out so that the 'wrong' side (the side you don't want to be visible on the outside of the garment) is facing outwards. Cover the 'right' side of the brocade fabric (the side you want to be outwardly visible) with craft mount and stick it to the 'wrong' side of the front panel. Turn the top right-side-out.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

The Trends on Thursday: Patching Things Up

With handicrafts very much in vogue, it may seem like a trend that's made for DIY-ing - unless you're not much of a crafter. From the granny squares at Miu Miu to the intricate panelling at Burberry Prorsum, the autumn/winter shows served up plenty of inspiration or perhaps impetus to reach for the needle and thread, fabric glue or bondaweb and simply attach a fabric of your choice. That's the beauty of the patchwork trend: no need to toil or challenge your technical skills, simply find a beautiful fabric and sew it on. This is craft in its rawest, most organic form, and the first skill you're likely to learn or use, whether you're sewing on a patch or adding squares to a quilt, and from that basic foundation arises an endless scope of creative expression - it could be in the stitching you use as a feature in its own right, or in the material you attach. It is that almost childlike creative touch that gives the patch its organic style. What's more, the fact that it's so easy to apply makes it one of the most potentially personal touches anyone can add.

With that in mind, I thought I'd perversely dictate a few ways in which you could apply patches in a way that exactly mirrors the current trends! Or not. For, as always, I set out to inspire and teach rather than give orders. The creative expression has to come from you; that order still stands.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

The Trends on Wednesday: China dolling up

 Any doubts you could have had that fashion's love affair with chinoiserie had come back full circle after almost twenty years would have been officially laid to rest in the light of the Met Gala where every outfit that justified the $25000 expenditure for the privilege of attending was Chinese in theme or designer. Sure, it wasn't an isolated occasion where the Far East was recently reacquainted with the West like an old friend, as if it had never gone away. Chinoiserie it seems could once again be a talking point, just like it was when it was pioneered by Paul Poiret or by John Galliano and Alexander McQueen in more recent years.

As a teen in the late '90s and at the turn of the millennium I remember Far East-inspired fashion being something of a institution, from the cultural appropriation of the cheongsam and related paradigms to the rather less culturally appropriate character tattoos and photoshoots in sleazy Chinatown-esque backstreets with Chinese lanterns just so you know where it's (supposed to be) set! However, to devolve from the opulence of the upper echelons - whether they be John Galliano's Poiret-style drapes or Alexander McQueen's intricately embroidered blossoms on diaphanous fabrics - to a fetishised sleaze takes real allure: a lust for the exoticism and mystery of the aesthetic. Chinoiserie, or let's just say stuff that looks generically Oriental if we're talking about the assimilation broadly, has always been more than a common or garden fad in the way that it captures designers' imagination; in the elegant silhouettes classic designs, such as the cheongsam, create and in the way that it's from far away and, like, looks exotic, innit?

This time around - so far at least, touch wood - the trend has been kept classy. Perhaps it's to do with the fact that the meaning of an unfortunate tattoo is so easily Googlable and that red carpet looks are copied more closely - even those sold on the cheap (it might be in poor taste to suggest we have China to thank for that one!). Nonetheless in my cheat sheet to getting ahead of the curve, I thought I'd share a few suggestions for getting the look by your own fair hands.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Shelf help - how to customise shelving units with patterned paper

I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say it is with bittersweet solemnity that we reach the end of the bank holiday weekend and look on wistfully at the three whole weeks of numbing nose-to-the-grindstone routine we have to endure before our next long break. I used the time for a spot of furniture DIY involving a second-hand bedside table, some patterned paper and some varnish.

Simply cut the paper to the right size for the area in question and slather on some varnish.

 Another nifty trick is to make shelves out of boxes. Not that you haven't heard that one before but, while there might be the temptation to spend money on fabric boxes with fancy prints, trust me, there's no need. Simply cover a shoe box with fabric using craft mount; you might want to mix colours and patterns up a bit for a true bohemian look.

You can also cover the box with leather or faux leather if you want a chic, luxurious look.