Sunday 28 April 2013

Pump Action: How to DIY a pair of Charlotte Olympia Ooh La La Pumps

Charlotte Olympia gives this season's pump trend a bit of "Ooh La La"...


Quite Easy

Getting it perfectly neat's a little trickier as it involves glue guns, which I find messy by their very nature, but this DIY's as straightforward and intuitive as it gets.


2-3 hours. Well, probably less as I faffed about quite a bit when I was working on it!

You will need...

To get the shoe on the road...

Mark out where you intend for your lace hearts to go. Make sure it's in the same place on both shoes and that you've left enough space for slight overlapping so that you can glue your pieces in place.

Cut out your heart shapes slowly and carefully, so that your stanley knife doesn't slip, causing you to unexpectedly maul the entire shoe!

Blast your ribbon with craft mount (on the wrong side) and fold it in half so that it's pipe-like and slightly more rigid.

Using your glue gun, model your "Ooh La La" lettering, making sure it fits onto your lace hearts.

Glue your lace hearts in place, again, with your glue gun (craft mount would be a bit messy).

Glue your red ribbon in place one letter at a time - don't try to do whole words as gun glue is very quick-drying. Don't panic if you make a bit of a mess, as the glue is easy to peel off once dry, especially with tweezers. Failing that, use a scalpel to scrape away the excess glue.

Sunday 21 April 2013

Pur Sang: How to DIY a Sang A clutch

With an easy-peasy pleather-recycling homage to the much-coveted V clutch by Sang A - recommended by, no less - I give you another DIY doddle that's doable in an evening.

You will need

About 2 square foot of black leather/ faux leather and 1 square foot in white. Both can be pretty pricey so why not cut up some old jackets. If you haven’t got one, or both, comb your local charity shop or look online.

A sewing machine with a leather needle nothing too technical, available at all good haberdashers and a precaution that’s definitely worth taking. Conventional needles aren’t strong enough and tend to break.

Craft mount

Piercing tool which looks like a scalpel but is pointed at the end.

All-purpose scissors 

4 sheets of A4 paper and masking tape

Pencil Preferably a clutch pencil, either way, make sure it’s sharp.

Patternmaster or graded setsquare

Gold gel pen

Black polymer clay

Gunmetal bag chain about 150cm long. I know it sound like a lot but it is for a cross body bag.

Silver picture hanging wire

Glue gun


Pretty easy

Don’t let a bit of machine sewing and basic pattern cutting phase you, this is among my quicker, easier outings.


2-3 hours

How to make the 'V' thing

Trace out the above pattern pieces onto paper using the measurements provided. You’ll need to tape 2 sheets together for the bottom right-hand piece. Cut your pieces out.

Trace the piece in the top left-hand corner onto white leather/ faux leather and the other two pieces onto black (onto the wrong sides) using the gold gel pen. Cut them out. Trace out the bottom left-side pattern in white twice, without the seam allowance.

Prod holes in your black pieces and triangular white piece.

Place your black pieces right-side-to-right-side and machine sew them together along the sides and bottom. Trim away the sides, leaving one layer slightly wider than the other. This makes it easier to turn your bag inside-out and prevents excess bulk and distortion.

Craft mount your non-triangular white pieces to your black pieces (the wrong sides, which should still be facing outwards.

With your white triangular piece, fold back the seam allowance towards the wrong side and craft mount it down.

Turn your bag right-sides-out. On the triangular part of your black pieces, fold the seam allowance back on itself, this time, towards the right side and craft mount it down. Cover that side in craft mount.

Stick your white piece down on your craft mount-covered black piece, with the right side facing outwards.

Attach your chain to the top corners by threading your picture wire through nearby holes and the end links on either side.

Make your polymer clay arrow, bake in the oven (following the instructions carefully as I trust you will!) and stick it in place with your glue gun.

Sunday 14 April 2013

Katrantzou's got the cream: How to DIY a Mary Katrantzou print clutch

Make a big impression with bold print, courtesy of Katrantzou.

You will need

A zipped bag (Mine was actually made from strong paper and came from this Ebay seller)

Paper (If your bag isn't made from it, like mine)

Craft Mount (Again, if your bag isn't made from paper)

Pencil and eraser

Felt tips (as many colours as possible. Mine were spares from home and a bog standard Crayola set from Hobbycraft costing £3.99)

Clear car lacquer


Very Easy

...And I bet there you were thinking colouring in was for kids!


Mine took about 5 hours but it depends on the designs you choose to do.

Operation cut, stick 'n' colour...

If you aren't working straight onto paper, craft mount a sheet to the front and back of your bag, even if you're not doing both sides, just for consistency. Use your pencil and eraser to sketch out your design.


Colour them in (woohoo!)

Blast the whole bag with clear car lacquer.

Sunday 7 April 2013

Acid Reign - How to DIY a basic pair of acid washed jeans

Drench and distress your denim for an on-trend spring/ summer staple.

Party on, the '90s are back - in fashion, anyway! If you’ll take some time to let it sink in, some 20 years have passed since the fearful decade of post cold-war tensions, millennium bug fear and even novelty scrunchies. It really does feel like yesterday, or rather today with this nostalgic levity of 90s retro upon us. 2013 fashion has, so far, been dominated by brilliant neons, sombre grunge-inspired palettes and, yes, once again there’s no getting away from customised denim this season. So, why awaken the ghost now? Maybe it’s because 90s teens are now consumers, with the requisite disposable incomes to really “live the dream” or view their youth through rose-tinted glasses ( à la Gallagher, perchance? We’ve still got the Britpop aesthetic to work with). Maybe it’s because the current teen generation are too young to remember how insufferably cheesy it all was the first time around. Maybe, just maybe, it’s because fashion moves in cycles with a chronological algorithm of what is romantic, retro or plain passé. According to Alison Lurie’s book, The Language of Clothes, fashion a year after its time is “dowdy,” 10 years after is “hideous” and 20 years after is “ridiculous,” (that said, it was written in 1981, making it, like, so stuck in the 80s and “amusing” by its own standards!)

Yves Saint-Laurent’s recent grunge-inspired show had Courtney Love ecstatically tweeting her “’gasms” at the idea of rich ladies buying what she used to wear in years gone by “finally (with) no beanies.” As a 90s teen, myself, I’d say that reference was just the tip of the iceberg from a generation of assorted tastes and “scenes” with fashion and music joined at the hip. Into your acid and trance? Neons at the ready. Disaffected and rock ‘n’ roll? Distressed Americana-flavoured grunge. Fans of girlband and boyband pop? It’s all about the denim. As the saying goes, "plus ça change..." It's no wonder we’re getting designer déjà vu in a 90s-style climate of sky-high youth unemployment, corporate greed, worldwide religious and political unrest and many a damning question of exactly what goes into your supermarket beef burgers!

So, on that happy note, who wants some acid?

You will need

Jeans (shout out to my gal the Frenetic Fox for her much appreciated donation)

Dylon fabric dye (about £3) I'd recommend a colour within the region of purple, red or burgundy but, needless to say, it's up to you

Thick bleach


Rubber gloves (trust me, your hands will thank you for using them!)

Plastic wash basin

A good area for making a mess. I used my shower


Very easy and totally rad!

The only remotely difficult thing about this one's not making a mess, so while I'd like to stress the need for appropriate precautions to be taken (Clue: Wear clothes you don't mind ruining and keep well clear of soft furnishings) it's a DIY fashion breeze. Cowabunga!


Total time including drying and soaking: 5 - 10 hours

Actual time you need to spend working on it: Half an hour to an hour

Do you see where I'm going with this? This is practically a DIY that does itself. You just have to chip in and guide it at certain intervals with the instructions I'm about to give you. It's a great project to do in conjunction with other things, or to plan other activities around, while you wait.

Bring on the acid...

Squirt some bleach in wavy lines all over your jeans and spread it using your sponge.

Leave to dry.

Following the instructions provided carefully and to the letter, as I'm sure you will, mix your dye in your wash basin and leave your jeans to soak.

45 minutes later, hang your jeans up to dry and, if you fancy, give them one last swirling squirt with bleach for luck, like I did.