Monday 28 October 2013

Born lippy - How to DIY lip gloves

With designers paying lip service to 90s kitsch at the Spring 2014 shows, I thought I'd get in on the action!

The ultimate icon of classic kitsch and brazen lust is back, with Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Peter Jensen, Saint Laurent and  Yaz Bukey all giving it some lip. So, while a cheeky smack of red lipstick still has fashion's seal of approval (perchance, with a kiss) I thought I'd 'share the glove' in DIY tutorial form!

You will need...


Very easy

Quick, easy, self explanatory - just be careful with the scalpel or I'm telling on you!


About an hour - maybe longer if you're easily distracted like I am and there's some good TV on!

Lip smack away!

Cut out the following shapes using grid paper - I found using that and folding the design in half are good ways of ensuring your lips are symmetrical. Let's not forget, it's definitely perfect facial symmetry you're going for here! If you're lucky enough to have a functioning printer (unlike me) you might want to print out the template out. Mine was about 9.5cm wide but you need to fit it to the gloves you're using.

Cut out two of each shape - namely, the red lips and white background (or teeth, maybe. I never know!).
Use your template (either piece will do) to trace a base curve across the back cuffs of your gloves. Cut along the lines with a scalpel and secure the edges of the fabric and lining by joining them with your glue gun.

Glue your lip pieces together and then stick them down using craft mount. I know it would be more economical and less confusing to do it with the glue gun but you're more likely to get flat, all-over adhesion on the desired surfaces with the craft mount. Personally, I'd say there is a difference in the quality of the finish - and it's definitely worth it!

As my DIY photo finish I decided to model the gloves in Instagram selfie form, with what I deem to be justifiable duck face posing because, you know, lips... pouting... that whole theme. No? Fine, whatever you say! Just trust me about being careful with the scalpel.

Monday 21 October 2013

Cosy Parka - How to DIY a Mr & Mrs Furs multicolour fur-lined parka

Set your world on fur with a spot of style and sewing!
This latest Chic Cheat outing entails another foray into fabulous faux fur with the characteristic bold colour scheme that sets the class of autumn 2013 apart.

As synonymous as fur currently is with luxury and opulence - or cruelty, wherever your principles lie - its recent resurgence in the field of fashion had me thinking of a 'fact' I read in Camilla Morton's book, How To Walk in High Heels: A Girl's Guide to Everything. It alleges that Cinderella's glass slippers were a mistranslation of fur, owing to a mistranslation with two very similar French words (i.e.' verre,' meaning 'glass' and 'vair' meaning 'fur.') The resident myth-police at Snopes beg to differ. First of all, they argue, the account of the famous Cinderella story we know and love (at least those of us who haven't been subjected to pantomime interpretations!) was written by Charles Perrault in 1697, by which time, the word, 'vair' had been mostly phased out. Secondly, when they say "written" they mean penned (perchance quilled?) by Mr. Perrault's own fair hands. So, assuming he knew his own mind and was compos mentis at the time of writing, hapless skinned woodland creatures weren't on the agenda! Glass slippers were one of his personal touches to a story that had already been told from Ancient Greece to China, as long ago as the ninth century. In a lot of versions, Cinderella is not helped by a fairy godmother but by her late mother, reincarnated as a cow or goat - I guess that part might have been harder to stage!

All joking aside, it wouldn't be fair to judge an otherwise well-written book on a minor oversight, given the humour, wit and advice from designers on how to do things as fabulously as (super)humanly possible. It wasn't so easy to access and verify information in the years of inspiration and networking leading up to the book - but then, that was what gave monetary value to print journalism and literature for so many years and allowed so many talents to be nurtured.

As for me, let's just say timing never was my strong point! Thankfully, DIY adaptations of coveted couture items are a bit more of a strength, so...

You will need...

Author's note: The epic fur-gasm of a fabric I used is available here at £40 per metre (it's a metre-and-a-half wide, so you won't need any more than that).

At the other end of the scale, I picked up the parka for £6 from a charity shop (yes, I was definitely a winner!).

NB: If you are using faux fur like mine, make sure your parka's a dress size or two bigger than you'd normally wear as the fur's pretty thick.



I'm covering my back quite a bit here; most of the alleged difficulty comes from the fact that this particular project entails sewing with a tricky fabric. I didn't struggle much and with the methods I used to overcome the fabric issues (which, of course, it'd be rude not to share) it became pretty straightforward. Fear not - you're in safe hands!

Total cost

Taking into account the unavoidable cost of the fur, mine came to £46, which you'd be hard-pushed to beat. It also helps if you're lucky with charity shops like I was.

I paid less than an 80th of the price of the original, which, as of this entry, will set you back £3,720. Yes, almost four grand - and not dollars but pounds! So, while the project wasn't exactly on a modest budget, my wallet definitely avoided taking a pounding in the scheme of things!


What's not to like? Unfortunately, the real kicker here is that it was near enough a two-day job, what with all the sewing and meticulous cutting. Time was definitely the biggest issue with this project - as well as an issue in general, what with my 45-hour working week and hellish commute!

Fur of flying colours...

First of all, you have to work out your pattern pieces by pinning your pattern paper onto each panel you want to cover (In my case, the back, sides and hood. Note that I didn't do the sleeves.) so that it's completely flush against the lining. Trace around the edges and cut them out. Don't worry about seam allowance at this stage. Also, if your back panel is seamless, only trace around one half. We'll cut this on the fold to make sure it's symmetrical.
Fold your fabric in half and place your back panel on the fold, so that it can be cut into a perfectly symmetrical piece. Trace around the edges of your pieces but don't cut them out yet.

Use your patternmaster to trace a seam allowance of 1.5cm around each of the edges. Cut your pieces out.

You should have some unmarked sides opposite the ones which had pattern paper pinned onto them and shapes traced. Mirror these by measuring a 1.5cm seam allowance inside your edges with the patternmaster, as before, and mark them out.
Cut your fur as flat as you can along the seam allowance. This should make joining the panels together - with a mortal domestic sewing machine - a hell of a lot easier!
Pin your seams together and sew them. Then, place your new lining inside the parka.
You should have some flat edges 1.5cm wide, which we cut earlier, around the outside and armholes. Fold them back on themselves and pin them in place. Finally slip stitch them to the parka.N.B. Going on the logic of the video I hyperlinked, you need to pull your thread through the fold of the faux fur and into the base fabric of the jacket.
DIY MR & MRS FURS Multi-coloured Fur Lined Parka
...and you should have something that looks like this!

Monday 14 October 2013

Heart of craft - how to DIY a Michaela Buerger neon heart crochetsweatshirt

When it comes to on-trend crafty chic, Michaela Buerger is at the art of the matter!

You will need...

Neon green wool

Black jumper

An 8mm crochet hook

Gemstone glue


Not as hard as it looks ;)

...Let's just leave it at that!


2-3 hours, depending on how fast you can crochet.

Total cost

Mine came to about £10, no thanks to postage and packing costs - it's still less than £245, which the original will set you back!

Give it some heart...

Monday 7 October 2013

Little Mink - How to DIY a Fendi owl bag

Fur, Fendi and forever-cool owl motifs are the very 'hoot' of fashion!

You will need...

I got my faux fur from here and here on eBay. The colours I chose were: grey, navy, black, cream, orange and pink, and came to about £27. The satchel was £8 from Primark. I already have some craft mount but if you don't, it'll set you back about £8.


Pretty easy

Actually, I can't think of a reason why this one shouldn't go on the furthest left end of the scale but as a lifelong crafter who gets wrapped up in projects like these so easily, it's difficult to judge and best to err on the side of caution. My gut instincts told me this tutorial wasn't quite a walk-over but it's still pretty straightforward.


2-3 hours. Maybe longer - I was distracted so it took me slightly more time than that but I'd say no more than an evening.

Total cost

This one's definitely on the pricier side of Chic Cheat creations. Mine came to about £35 and would have been more if I didn't already have craft mount. However, it's still a 76th of the damage done by the genuine article, which comes in at $4450, or £2765 at the current exchange rate, as of this entry!

Hoot couture!

I've gone over the outline in pen to make it clearer and taped my pieces to the bag but that part's also optional. What you need to do is trace the outline of half a side of your bag at the front, the back and on the flap; this is so that you can ensure that your design is symmetrical. trace out your owl face design and whatever you want to do with the back. I just gave mine a narrow stripe along the centre like the one on the original.

Cut out your paper pattern pieces and trace them onto your fabric, in the corresponding colours (you will probably need a dark pen to do this, or a metallic gel pen for the dark fabrics). Then, turn them over so that they're the other way round and trace around them again. Cut out your fabric and craft mount them to your bag. If you've got a glue gun, you might want to use it to tidy up the edges, especially if your fabrics fray as much as mine did, but this part's completely optional.

DIY Fendi fur owl satchel

...and there you have it!

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Chic Kane - how to DIY a Christopher Kane feather applique floral jumper

How many kinds of stylish flowers grow in an English country garden?


You will need

N.B. The feathers I used came from a shop on eBay. I bought two packs of white feathers, six in black and one in wine. They were 99p each, exclusive of postage and packing.


Pretty easy

It helps to be a skilled gluer but, as tutorials go, nothing too taxing here.


A day - 7ish hours, I think but I was pretty distracted when I did it so it may take you less time if that level of patience seems too tall an order.

Total cost

The feathers and glue gun sticks (trust me, you'll need plenty!) came to about £15. The jumper was about that price as well but if you've got an old one or are lucky with charity shops, hopefully your project won't incur quite such an expense.

Either way, you'll probably make a fair saving on the original, given that it costs £2475!

The fruit of the plume

Slip your magazine in between the front and back layer of your jumper to avoid sticking them together. Glue your feather in place to form flower shapes. I set them out in outwardly-radiating clusters of five, six and ten, with the latter set out in two layers. Try to contrast textures and colours. Owing to supplier issues, I was actually sent a few packs of chicken feathers, which are fluffier than the ones I had intended to use but worked nicely. As happy accidents go, I'd definitely recommend it, if such a thing is rationally possible!

Trim your flowers along the edges so that each feather has a flat tip. Try to separate some of the strands and cut inner circles shorter than outer ones and you should have something that looks rather like this: