Wednesday, 30 May 2012

A Brief Miu Miu-sing

My gratitude for your patience in this overdue entry and tutorial. I like to think, and live in hope, that it's been worth the wait - as well as further proof of the absolute gospel truth, and I understand one of the fundamental laws of physics, that one can never have too many bags or shoes. So, with that, I shall keep you no longer and cut straight to the chase...

For this entry I was part trend-conscious, part indulgent in my choice, taking on Miu Miu's red leather rosette pouch:



Pretty straightforward (I'm aware I say that a lot) but requiring of a steady hand and a reasonable degree of skill, especially for crafting the "rose." Definitely worth the effort but you have been warned!


Mine took about 10 hours, most of which was spent waiting for the contact adhesive to dry - you have to apply it to both surfaces and wait 10-15 minutes before pressing them together - so, with a little multi-tasking and organisation, it's definitely possible to economise a little more on time.

You will need (in no particular order)

A small red bag

Black and opaque yellow fabric paint by Dylon (£3 each at John Lewis and £2.99 at Hobbycraft)

A sheet of A4 paper

A clutch pencil

A patternmaster or graded setsquare

Contact adhesive (£6.18 in tub form, which I used, or £2.08 in tube form)

0.5m leather or pleather


All-purpose scissors

Seam ripper

Wide paintbrush

Black gel or ballpoint pen

Palette knife

Sewing pins

The reasons? All will be revealed in the following video:

That hand-crafted oeuvre again...

Friday, 25 May 2012

Chic Cheat's officially a la mode

Damn, I'm good! To find out why, do read on...

DIY Days of Summer

Edited by: Jess of Fresh Jess

The bloggers are taking it to the crafts these days! What better way to get your wardrobe ready for summer than breathing new life into what you’ve got? This week’s Links a la Mode is chock full of quick & easy DIY projects for everything from crystallized shoes and Miu Miu-inspired clutches to top buns and accessories laced with neon. If getting crafty’s not on your to-do list this week, don’t fret. We’ve also got thoughtful posts on personal style, dressing for summer events, supporting local designers and blogger besties. These posts are getting better and better every week and it was hard to choose just 20 of them. Keep ‘em coming!



Spring Sale at Shopbop: Magda Berliner, Weitzman, Rachel Roy, Badgley Mischka, Raquel Allegra, Garde Paris, Rebecca Taylor,Oliver Theyskens & Sonia Rykiel

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Chic Shout Out - all the fun of Fashion Love Affairs

This week I was going about my usual DIY blogging business of solving the world's fashion problems the crafty way when I happened upon Erickson Beamon's fabulous neon-charmed cuff and necklace.

As charming as these items were, with asking prices of £650 and £715 respectively, I - justifiably - couldn't be asked with the real McCoy. Imagine, then, my excitement when I fortuitously happened upon a DIY fashion solution, courtesy of  the Fashion Love Affairs blog. It's great to see DIY fashion growing as a fashion followers' shared interest and as a blogging genre. Turning fashion's audience from consumerist to creative is a way of life I'm proud to be part of, and it's heartening to see other bloggers share that vision. It also proved that a lot can happen in the space of just one week - even when you're working for 45 hours of it - how I love the wonder of modern technology!

Gigi Danielle of Fashion Love Affairs made the prestigious cut for International Fashion Bloggers' "Links à la mode" list with her DIY jewellery entry "In all my glittery goodness" (Envious much - wardrobe envy, that is. Whatever did you think I meant?) She gave a diamante and ribbon necklace some fashion resuscitation with a slick of neon acrylic paint and a sprinkle of glitter with gold stars to add a bit of sparkle and texture.

To find out how and what to get, here's the link again - you know what to do!

It's so easy to get the Erickson Beamon look with this method and a diamante necklace. Mix your neon painted stones with glitter-covered ones. Throw some silver chains into the mix. Give your accessory a right royal finish by adding some diamantés. Have fun, experiment and, of course, save yourself a fortune. Your wardrobe will thank you for it - you know it makes sense!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Oh Miu Miu's Stars!

Another brief D.I.Y. fashion bite for you this week, this entry's come somewhat later in the day than I would have liked. This is partially down to personal laziness and for that I'm giving myself a token slap on the back of the hand as we speak (as it were - or, perchance, as you read?). However, it was also a relatively late inspiration that spurred me on to attempt Miu Miu's painted snakeskin shoulder bag. The reason? As we all know, big prints are back. What's more, this baby grabbed me because it had an essence of handicrafts, itself, with hand-painted stars and a thin slick of blood red paint on choppy black snakeskin material.

Image: Net-a-porter

High fashion looked to craft in the 1970s, or the "me decade" as it was dubbed by Tom Wolfe. Zandra Rhodes and Ossie Clark were featured prominently in British Vogue, as well as Barbara Hulanicki's appliquéd works for her iconic Biba boutique. At the start of the decade, Bill Gibb, a designer known for his leather work, appliqué and elaborate knits, won the coveted 1970 designer of the year title. The do-it-yourself ethos  resonated at all fashion levels as a sartorial embodiment of self-expression. I've drawn this comparison in earlier entries with the subtly different paradigm of economising that D.I.Y. fashion signifies today. It's not to say that artistic expression - the free reign you have of knowing how to make anything you set your heart on - isn't another factor in the current popularity of crafty fashion projects. The aforementioned handbag I took on in this entry appeared to be a nod to fashion handicrafts of yesteryear, if only in the choice of medium - an incitement to be independent and create a look on a home-made personal level. Well, it was Vogue magazine's former editor-in-chief, Edna Woolman Chase who said "Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess" I like to think of said style as a second-hand faux snakeskin bag, a few fabric pains, a paintbrush, a palette knife and the merest smidgeon of creative ingenuity!

You will need

A dark-coloured snakeskin shoulder bag - mine cost £4.21 with postage and packing from Ebay.

Dylon fabric paint at £3/bottle at John Lewis and Hobbycraft in red (dark fabrics paint), white and black

Paint brush

Palette knife

Three simple steps to a stylish snakeskin statement piece

Use your paintbrush to cover your bag relatively thinly in red fabric paint - by that I mean with the  snakeskin texture clearly showing through and with dark background masked by a red tint but still visibly dark.

Use your palette knife to construct the straight shapes of your stars and to fill them in.

Go around the edges of your stars with your white fabric paint and palette knife. My tip would be to make sure your paint is as runny as possible, dip your palette knife ensuring that you coat the edges generously with paint and wipe the sides on the edge of your pain pot, so that you've only got paint on the edge of your knife. That's the best way to avoid smudging and unwanted mess. Also, if your white line runs slightly thin, as you streak along the edge of your star, so much the better - if you look closely, you'll see this happens on the original.

... and there you have it!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

True Collars

So for this week's entry I thought I'd keep my big, opinionated gob shut - or to a minimum so far as verbose introductions go - and my tutorial restoratively easy after my big print-fest and starry shorts of the not-too-distant past. However, to those helming and pricing high street fashion, know only this: To accessorise an outfit with an elegant collar is surprisingly awesome, to charge silly money for the privilege is bullshit! To see what I mean, and to let the numbers do the talking, please refer to the technically inclined and completely objective diagrams below:

Oh, and while we're on the subject of value, you'll be pleased to know this entry gives you two collars for the price of one, both of them as easy as falling off a log - and pretty much equally inexpensive!

Pinterest (clipped to

The second outing's in the direction of Zara with their £18 pink lace collar. £18. Really. The price of a quality top or dress and you get something like 1/50th of a garment! Ahem, rant better out than in, methinks! Now to cut to the chase...


True to my word, this has to be the easiest, least time-consuming venture I've taken on in a long time, possibly even in Chic Cheat history.


Want to go pink and frilly? You're looking at a half hour job, tops.

Looking to toughen up with studs and leather? Oi! Wot u lookin' at? Realistically, 2 hours or so, depending on how good you are at stud insertion.

You will need

For the a study in how to get "studdy"

Pack of 100 6mm studs (£3.50 with postage and packing from Ebay - seller ashkx007)

Pack of jewellery connector rings (99p/pack at Hobbycraft)

Lobster clasp (99p/pack of two at Hobbycraft)


0.5m stiff interfacing (I can't remember what I paid for mine or even if I just scrounged it off my university for free back in the day. I just had it lying around, as I often do with these things)

Computer (like the one from which you're presumably reading this entry) with a printer and Photoshop (or equivalent program)

Metallic gel pen

Masking tape (optional)

Fabric scissors

Sewing machine with a leather needle fitted

Leather or pleather (Editor's note - if you want the real McCoy, fish it out of a leather shop's offcuts bin, or better still, do as I did and pick a cut up jacket out of the reject bin. It'll be useless to them but invaluable for shoe and accessory projects - mine lasted for three. I paid about £3 for mine, whereas a full leather skin sets you back around £20!)

 Iron and ironing board

For a flouncy flight of fancy

Pink collared shirt (I used a men's shirt - £5 from a charity shop but you can strike it lucky and pay even less. They start at around £3 with postage and packing on Ebay)

White lace (I paid quite a bit for mine since I cut it off a garment, but you can find some on Ebay for less than £2 with postage and packing - search "White guipure lace")

Fabric glue (starting at £2.79 from Hobbycraft)

Fabric scissors

So, without further ado, my little stud muffins (terrible pun, model's own) here's how it's done...

Print out the pattern above, making sure it's 22.5cm in length (Photoshoppers, check using the rulers function)

Cut out your pattern outline using your scalpel. Place it on your leather and use tiny amounts of masking tape on the edges to hold it in place. Trace around the outline using your metallic gel pen. Repeat this another three times so you have four pieces.

Cut out your pieces.

Iron your interfacing onto two of your pieces.

Divide your pieces into two pairs, both of which have one piece with interfacing and one without. Machine sew each pair together, using a leather needle.

Using your pattern, put each piece underneath it once again and use your scalpel to trace out the circles where the studs need to go. Prod four equidistant points around each circle (I would say corners but they're circles we're dealing with - you get the idea!) and make sure they all go through both layers.

Now to start putting your studs in. Use the holes you prodded to slip the points of your studs through. You'll probably need to use your scalpel to open the holes and to help coax the stud points through - I should know, I did.

Place both of your pieces back-to-back with the edges completely parallel, and pierce two holes - one at the top and one at the bottom - to make absolutely sure they're symmetrical.

Insert two interlinking rings at the bottom and four at the top - two on one side and two alongside the lobster clasp on the other...

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

To get lacy...

Cut the collar off your shirt.

Cut your lace to fit your collar.

Glue your lace on.


Boom! Owned - and now you can make your own, too. Lucky you!