Wednesday 11 January 2012

On the dot

Spotted: The best way to carry off appliqued dotty chic this season.

"Fashion rebels against the static; it is always in flux," as Jane Mulvagh highlighted in Vogue's History of 2oth Century Fashion book. To each trend, silhouette, fad and movement that dominated fashion through the ages, she asserts, "a reaction is (simply) inevitable." A valid point though that may be, it seems to be much less to do with fashion as a reactive swinging pendulum, drifting from one excess to another, than about its inherent pressure of aspiration. It revolves around the creation of ideals delivered at an ever more frenetic pace through a melee of style advisor apps (Ask a Stylist et al), the scrutiny of blogging and, lest we forget, the dreaded haul vlogging phenomenon. How zealously fashion and style businesses compete for their products to get a place in such divinely influential liturgies of fashion - whether they be the scriptures of celebrity gossip, fashion blogs or a conspicuously spoiled brat with a webcam and too much time on their hands - to be recommended as the gospel truth of all that's oh so now by the "experts." Terry Eagleton pointed out in The Significance of Theory "Power succeeds by persuading us to desire and collude with it; this process is not merely an enormous confidence trick, since we really do have needs and desires which such power, however partially and distortedly, is able to fulfill," so now you know. My sincere thanks for his use and acknowledgement of the word "distortedly" but I digress, since that may be the mentality fashion wants to perpetuate to keep us buying and consuming to keep it afloat, but here at Chic Cheat, I have other ideas, namely those of the recycling, reworking and customising persuasion. That's right - stick that, academics! Looks like you don't have to play the financially feckless fashion victim to be fabulous, after all! Or should I stay out of that debate, being at a disadvantage as only a part-time navel-gazer?

While we're on the subject of ever-changing fashion, I spent most of my art education theorising on post-modernism and the idea that every possible style has already been done, but in a way that leaves an array of possible references and permutations that can be mixed together in different ways to create new visual messages. This gave me some meaty food for thought and the motivation to dissect the meanings of each look I explore as well as the clothes I cut and splice through to recreate them. This season has seen a resurgence of sixties trends, including jewel tones, bold Cardin-esque tailoring and an explosive, body-conscious take on polka dots. It's out with the quaint, clown-like fare of fifties fashion...

... and in with the spotty sex appeal of the sixties...

...reiterated as a collaged concoction today - for us to celebrate in DIY-form.



More on the painstaking and time-consuming side, this one, but a good technique and precision for circle cutting certainly helps.

You will need

A white dress with a mesh top

1.5x 1m white twill or a similarly stiff fabric

1m bondaweb

White thread


Compass and pencil

Iron and ironing board

Sharp fabric scissors

 And your mission is, if you choose to accept...

Fold your twill in half, across the length and sandwich your bondaweb in between.

Iron your bondaweb in place on a high heat, one side at a time. Maybe I should mention that you need to peel the paper off the second time around - just sayin'!

Using your compass, pencil and ruler (as you may see, I used a patternmaster for mine but fear not for a ruler will do) measure and draw a circle 5cm in diameter directly onto your fabric and repeat this 50 or so times. Ensure you only do this on the twill that has bondaweb and another layer beneath it.

Using your fabric scissors, cut your circles out. I find it helps most to skim your scissors along the edge, pulling on the fabric as you go, to avoid nasty jagged edges.

Repeat this process with 150-200 smaller circles 2cm in diameter. This process may prove long-winded and hard work, so I recommend you stick the telly on or some of your favourite music, or perhaps even a DVD - here at Chic Cheat we like to take a liberal view of each reader's approach, you'll be pleased to know.

Time to finally stitch them on individually. It's yet another painstaking phase but it's thankfully on the home run. Stitch most of your larger circles in a cluster on the bust with the rest sprinkled sparingly around the top, and your smaller circles in a linear cluster across the middle of both sides of the skirt, graduating more sparingly outwards towards the top and bottom.

...And you should have something that looks like this:

A spot of stylish crafty chic to see you through the season!

1 comment:

  1. You are genie! I like your DIY blog very much and all ideas and tutorials!