Sunday 23 May 2010

Get Kaned!

As much as I love to keep up with the trends - and, of course, celebrate them in this little blog of wonders, one fad of the age I very much resent is the advent of text speak.  I'm not saying it shouldn't exist, being the slowest texter in the history of mankind I need to abbreviate anything I can when texting, but that's just the point; text speak - clue in the title - is a convenient means of shorthand expression for text messages only.  It's not a natural evolution of the English language, and nor should it be treated as such because, if anything, it's a devolution.  Much as I love to embrace modern technology, Microsoft excepted, I found myself at a loss as to whether to laugh or cry  the other day, when I came across a line of grooming products called OMG.  What will they think of next, I can't help but ponder, a line of incontinence pads called PMSL?  This would be a good cue for your gran to question what the world is coming to now that our beloved tongue has given way to lazy, incomprehensible gibberish, and she'd have a point!  A trend your nan possibly would more likely approve of, though I wouldn't, would be those charming "vintage style" floral prints all over the high street.  I don't have an issue with florals per se, I just feel like floral prints on the high street have become like a mild-but-irritating cold.  Even when you expect them to have gone away and rationalise that you and everyone around you is over them, they just seem to hang around and never entirely shift.  Simply put, I just feel like florals have reached a boring, predictable cul-de-sac.  Time to inject some inspiration from the couture crowd, methinks, work some Chic Cheat magic and bring it to the masses.  I found the perfect answer and the very kick up the arse the floral trend has been crying out for in Christopher Kane's brand spanking new collection from Fashion Week, spanking being the operative word.  No pansies in floaty frocks for his latest, oh no.  He teamed intricately embroidered floral designs with curve-gripping lace and body-conscious armoury of leather panelling, reworking the look and striking the perfect balance between sexy and girlie like a sparkling pink riding crop on a trussed-up rump.  Oooh, behave!

Harry Potter star, Emma Watson has already rocked the unique Kane-bound trend, and now it's my turn.  Watch and learn...



...Well, I say hard.  It's mostly pretty straightforward and self-explanatory but it really helps to be skilled at embroidery for this one.  The "hard" verdict was given mostly to cover my arse in this particular instance - something you might want to make extra sure the back panel does for this risqué frock!


Here's the bad news - we're looking at about 50 - what with embroidery being the mission that it is!  That's about 2 weeks worth of evenings, a social life on the backburner, blood, sweat, tears... but for a potentially fabulous result.

Total Cost

About £40

Save It!

£40 is still just over a forty-fifth of the price of the original.  That's a saving of £1735!

You Will Need

  • Black lace dress- mine cost £28 from New Look

  • 1 metre black silk satin - synthetic will do.  I know the original uses leather, but try embroidering through that by hand and I can guarantee it'll be a nightmare!  I got mine from Hobbycraft at £2.99 per metre

  • Skeins of embroidery thread in the following colours, 85p/ea from Hobbycraft.
  • Black thread

  • Fabric scissors

  • Sewing machine

  • Beading and embroidery needle - like this one.

  • Embroidery hoop - the bigger the better.

  • Metallic gel pen whose ink is visible on dark fabrics.

  • Pattern paper

  • Sewing pins

Let's get Kaned!

First of all you have to cut your lining out of your lace dress if it has any, if you want your version to look authentic - and you dare to bare as much!

Now to draft out your pattern pieces. I got mine by pinning my fabric paper to the front of the dress and folding it into the right shapes, like so...

Your pattern pieces should look something like this...

...For the front and back panel.  And this...

...For the side panels.  Fold your satin and cut out four side panel pieces, and two front/back panel pieces.

Fold your fabric back by a centimetre at the side of each of your satin pieces and top-stitch it at the edge, so that there are no raw edges.

Now to embroider your flower design.  I copied the original by drawing it out before embroidering.

Which I turned into this...

...By getting the following textures:

To cover an area, simply stitch back and forth across it like so.  Make sure your stitches are as close together as possible so that there are no nasty gaps.

You can also stitch back and forth to cover small areas.  This, in turn, can build up quite a nice texture...

...And speaking of texture, you can build it up by doing one set of horizontal stitching on top of the other, like in the picture above.

You can also outline an area by stitching around it.  After you do a stitch and you're about to do the next one, bring your needle back out halfway through the last one, like the stitches in the above pictures.

You can also use the technique of starting each new stitch halfway through the last one to create a rough texture, like the one on the yellow leaf above.

45 crafty hours later, after you've embroidered your beautiful design, you've just got to sew your side panels onto the side of the dress, starting at the bottom, and your front and back panels to the centre of the bottom - and there you have it!