Monday 27 August 2012

Chic Challenge: Girl Power Dressing!

Knowing as I'm sure you do, dear loyal readers, how much I love a challenge I thought I'd let you know about a challenge I set myself to replicate this Emilio Pucci gold jacket, most famously seen on Gossip Girl:

...within a 2-hour time frame.



I feel marginally hypocritical saying so as there were a few things I did wrong, learnt from and would do differently next time. However those issues were more choice-of-method-related and I endeavour to guide you accordingly so as not to end up in quite the same boat.


This tutorial actually took me somewhere between 2 and a half and 3 hours, in fact I feel I should have been even slower and more cautious. That said, a 20-hour-plus job this baby ain't!

You will need

A skimpy metallic gold jacket, I was slightly extravagant and picked up mine for £20 from Ebay but I'd say look anywhere second-hand as you may be lucky with car boot sales and charity shops

6m of gold sequinned trim

Short, sharp scissors

Glue gun

2 sponges, ideally rectangular like these - yes, it's all glamour at DIY Fashion HQ!

Flat shoulder pads mine came with the jacket

Gel pen

A few fabulous steps


I made sure my line was a gentle curve and measured out opposite points on either side to ensure it was symmetrical.

As you can see I used round sponges but I'd recommend something narrower like rectangular or oblong-shaped ones. You kind of need to mould them down so that they're totally smooth and curved rather than angular at the edges, reaching a pointed peak on one side.

Then glue them to your shoulder pads so that they're ready for positioning inside your jacket. Make sure you get the placement absolutely right and symmetrical.

Now it's time to add a fabulous sequinned finish...

...and you should have something rather uncannily resembling this:

Like I say, it didn't turn out exactly as I had planned. I could have made my sponges narrower and smoother still at the sides, so that they formed gentler slopes. I might also sponge it down with some gold metallic paint as and when I've got a minute because, you know, working full time and living by myself is a lifestyle so boundlessly generous when it comes to leisure time needing to be filled! All joking aside, that advice should make your version easier than mine with better results.

Sunday 19 August 2012

Gucci's Great Gatsby

 Thought I'd round off this unexpected sultry summer season with my DIY ode to Gucci's roaringly fabulous 20s-style dresses, specifically one worn by a slew of A-listers. including Taylor Swift and Zooey Deschanel.

You will need

7m of 10cm wide gold upholstery fringing, mine came to £20.93 from mnj-trimmings (2133) on Ebay

1m of 30cm wide black fringing, which would come to £7.40 if you bought it from seller anthony1547 (60515) on Ebay

 3m of 15cm wide black fringing which would come to £11.40 if you bought it from seller anthony1547 (60515) on Ebay

 3m of 2.5cm wide black fringing which would come to £6.30 if you bought it from seller anthony1547 (60515) on Ebay

 Scissors, ideally of the badass tailoring variety (Any lucky Londoners reading this should check out William Gee near Shoreditch)  because of the sharpness and length – in this instance, I’m afraid it’s more about size than how well you use them, simply because the larger said size is the easier the latter should be – sorry!

 Glue gun

 Knee length black dress (a little black one will do – you can’t beat the classics!)

 Gold or metallic gel pen for sketching out lines



Fiddly in places but smile of you like a bit of cut, stick ‘n’ colour!

Total cost

 £46, which just covers the fringing, so near enough the original predicted budget. I used an old dress. Also, you’ll need to stock up on sticks for your glue gun because, boy, you’re going to need them! Costings were the reason I gave this entry a late seasonal entrance and while I knew the budget would be a big ‘un, I can validly say, don’t let it put you off!

…Oh, and also, I think the original comes within the region of £9000 so my sartorial solution’s a drop in the ocean by comparison, to say the least. Besides, the original’s officially sold out online meaning it’s not an option anyway – so there!


Uhhhhh, a lot! If I’m honest that was another drawback. I mostly worked on dress in fits and starts around my work schedule so  it’s really hard to say. Maybe within the region of 10 hours.

Three simple steps to a roaringly good 20s look

Sunday 12 August 2012

DIY Digest: Foiled!

Another charming addition I thought I'd share with you - one that adds a £10 foil-finished jumper and some silver fabric paint, and no the result isn't £35, like the design that inspired it.


It was this impromptu urge to indulge that became me as I strolled through the shop earlier this weekend, before an increasingly well-used self-talk mantra that was to chine in my mind once again: "Wait for the sale!" before my creative call-to-arms; "I can make it at home for nothing!" My point? It comes at two different angles, for meandering as I was to the sale section, I recalled that I was comfortably replete in the silver fabric paint stakes and thought "All I need is a white jumper - surely that'd be bad tactics for them to put something as blatant as that in the sale?" Thankfully, how wrong I was. 10 minutes and one £10 pearlescent white jumper later, I knew exactly what I had to do to get a bona fide metallic foil effect.

You will need

Black and silver fabric paint - £3 each from Dylon

Fabric paintbrush - I'd recommend a coarse, bristly one

A white or cream jumper, bonus points if you can get one with a pearlescent "foil" finish, failing that, you can create a similar effect on the surface onto which you wish to paint, by investing in some pearlescent fabric paint


I actually did time this one to the minute, well to the 30 minutes the whole process took me. Happy and glorious times!


Very easy

Needless to say, if you ask me!

How it's done

I find it helps to sketch your skull in place first with a pencil. Then mix in some black with your silver so that it contrasts with the background. Apply generous amounts of paint with each brush, sketching out some tiny leopard-style patterns in paint. You'll see that the pearlescent surface shines through to give it a metallic effect instead of the usual matte finish.

Sunday 5 August 2012

Rio steal

Fashion has always been an avenue for paradoxes - well, in much the same way that this past summer's been a bit drizzly in parts, or that the infamous naga bhut jolokia chilli can have a bit of an afterkick. It is as much about regimented adherence to a given set of trends as it is about the necessity to be constantly breaking the rules and reinventing itself. As the late Isabella Blow once said, "fashion is anarchy." Then, there are times when it can be downright perverse, for instance...

How this season's fashion encourages us to dress:

How this season's weather necessitates that we dress:

Endemically British laments aside (with or without tea and scones) should we really blame it on fashion for being out of touch? I mean, how were the Premiere Vision Paris personnel to know that the gulf stream would be causing trouble this year and, you know, why should they care? Beyond the ivory towers of the elite, who think nothing of spending a four figure sum on a couture dress, we mortals are much harder pushed to justify parting with money for something we're simply never going to find an occasion to wear because it's constantly hammering down and freezing! Then again, isn't that that fashion's problem, as a creative avenue that has always struggled to be taken seriously? Why, my child, that question brings me to one of juiciest paradoxes of all: Out of all the design disciplines, fashion - the avenue that's always had to try the hardest to justify its existence and value system - is up there with the best of them in terms of necessity, and will be until the day we cease to need coverage. Since we have yet to start growing adequately protective fur (and deem it socially acceptable not to wax it and/or cover it with cheap diamant├ęs - fur-jazzle, anyone?) we will simply need clothing, or something with which to cover ourselves. Not that it's just a question of basic insulation - every authoritative institution, from school to the army and prison, enforces the wearing of uniforms, with the latter including head shaving in their bid to help enforce their authority and values, while helping to quash any personal expression and resistance. Sartorial statements hold great psychological importance as a means of  personal expression,- they're never "just clothes" - hence why fashion has always provided such fertile ground for intellectual deconstruction and discourse.
Any stereotypical bitchiness, insecurity or superficiality on the part of the fashion world is surely self-inflicted.

Image: Vogue Brazil

For this entry, I've taken on the green circled denim shorts, recently worn in Vogue Brazil by Gisele Bundchen, only I've made them with warm, woolly crocheted circles, allowing me to hold on to this summer's exuberant neon and denim trend and at the same time to have something warm and snug for the inevitable cold that's get to come - so, that should be tomorrow's outfit taken care of!

You will need

Green wool

Cream wool

Crochet hook

Denim shorts


Glue Gun

50-100 studs depending on how many circles you want to make.


Very easy

All you have to do is learn to crochet - and then marvel at how amazingly fun and therapeutic it is!


Each circle takes up to 8 minutes, with the cream border taking a maximum of 3. Putting the shorts together took me 3 hours, and I don't want to give away the ending, but, let's just say it included "studding" and gluing!

How it's done

First of all you have to learn to crochet your circles. I'm a bit too lazy and bad at single-handed photography to explain it in pictures, so instead, I'll recommend you use this video tutorial especially up to 2:09, to teach yourself how to make a basic chain. Also, not how she starts a new row.

  1. Make a chain of three loops, then insert your hook into the first one along, i.e. the one that's furthest away, then make a loop that links the two.

  2. Insert your hook into the link below it and stitch a loop from that.
  3. Repeat this process, working your way around the links below, to make a circle 2-4cm in diameter.

  4. Repeat this process of crocheting small circles. You can make 10, 50 or 100 - you're the designer! That's just how we roll in the world of DIY! Just to give you an idea, I did about 48.
  5. Using your cream wool, crochet a single-loop-wide border around each circle by making a loop, inserting your hook into a link around the edge, making another loop and pulling your hook through all three of them. Repeat this process, working your way around the edge.
  6. Put a cone stud in the centre of each circle.
  7. Glue your circles in place.
  8. To form links between circles, like the ones on the original, use your crochet hook to thread your wool through one of the loops in the outside and tie them in place. Cut away the excess thread.

And there you have it!

Oh, and if you fancy attempting the red belt - I mean, why wouldn't you? - this is useful.