Sunday, 30 November 2014

Iri-decent - how to DIY a basic holographic panelled top

Holographics got a whole lot more graphic.

I could have sworn that the iridescent trend that we knew so well last year is having not so much a revival but a reincarnation in accent pieces and aquatic hues. Vogue maintain that it's manifesting itself in "gasoline rainbow" form with sequins and graduating glitter. Perhaps this extra colour dimension, in itself, came to me as a vision of our next stop in the ever-directional journey of fashion. Either way, I thought I'd spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon on an adaptable, easy-to-make interpretation of the trend, like the panelled Milly jumper in the picture.

You will need...

* I used Cosmic Shimmer Film Autumn Bronze by Creative Expressions, which I bought on eBay. I would also recommend Peacock Blue Shimmer Film for a similar tone and effect.

Not pictured

Metallic lamé fabric (I used gold)


Paper scissors

Fabric scissors

Sewing machine (optional - this is a quick, no-sew tutorial)


Very easy

I genuinely can't think of anything remotely taxing about this tutorial, save for a reasonable eye for detail - specifically symmetry, although even then you could use a ruler or setsquare.


An hour, or possibly an hour-and-a-half if you're sewing (which I actually did but I'm very easily distracted when it comes to timekeeping.

Holo-glam it up

Use some paper to make a pattern piece for the area you want to cover with holographic material, ensuring you fit it properly along the edge of the neck.

Cut the shape out in bondaweb and pin the film to the matte-textured side (not the paper-covered one).

Then, place the paper pattern piece on top of the film, so that it is protected from the metal plating of the iron. Iron the three layers on a medium heat.

Peel the paper backing off the bondaweb, place the film on the lamé and cover the film with paper for protection. Iron it down on a medium heat, as before.
Cut the film-covered shape out of lamé and attach bondaweb to the back of the fabric, as before, with the non-paper-covered side facing the material. Peel away the paper and iron it onto the black top. You can stitch around the edges with a sewing machine to help it stick better but this part is optional. That said, I would recommend doing it, as this would mmake it more hard-wearing, especially when it gets washed.

The top

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The Trends on Wednesday - leather heads

My animalistic urges to emulate Fendi fashion have taken me from cuddly monster fur to leather, in this instance, adding a rebellious edge to the delicate beauty of the hibiscus flower. Flowers have always been worn to denote a quintessentially feminine elegance and sensitivity. Their sweet scent, individual beauty and fragility made slipping them into hair a form of wearing one's heart on one's sleeve, denoting different moods through the paradigms of different flowers (for instance, jasmine for sensuality and a spider flower to say "run away with me!"). Also, in Hawaii and the south Pacific, the positioning of the hibiscus flower is used to denote relationship status ('taken' when worn on the left and single when worn on the right. Instagram pictures always come out in reverse and I'm saying nothing).

My Cleopatra-eyed take on Fendi's leather eyelid strips, coupled with the Hawaiian side-flower styling with my DIY hair slide was, in part down to the fact that my hair's too short to wear in a loose ponytail but more so to do with associations. The vibrant colours of the corsage reminded me of the exoticism of Paul Gauguin's Tahitian paintings, while the drama of the leather streaks, which are dead easy to apply with a generous slathering of eyelash glue, harked back to the tour-de-force make-up artistry of Pat McGrath, especially at John Galliano's shows. Adding drama with fabric and glue is a surprisingly easy trick and a must for standing out in any crowd.

Flowers are always on trend yet always in flux in terms of interpretations, whether they're dark oversized or acid bright. I suppose I'd be expected to make some sort of profound and witty observation about the juxtaposition of 'girly' flowers in hair conveyed in a typically 'tough fabric: leather. To be honest, it's a bit late at night for that so I'm going to be simple in my interpretation and see it as striking a balance of feminine elegance in strong leather fabric, packing an equally dramatic punch  - or maybe just a fun-loving personality - in the vibrant colour scheme. Think of it: beautiful and feminine, but not timid or fragile; strong and bold, without brashness or aggression. How very feminist - how very now.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Corsage of Action - how to DIY a Fendi giant flower corsage hair clip

It's so bloomin' easy!

It was the Fendi oversized corsage hair grip in the picture (well, I think it's a hair grip, or certainly an accessory with hair-restraining properties) that inspired this DIY tutorial. I was planning to fix any giant corsages I made to a large hair slide, as it would double up conveniently as an attachment for blazers. Moving on from practical to emotional considerations, I chose the cut out one in the photo because it was a bit different and more colourful than most of the others I had seen. It made the perfect transition between acid brights and quirky rave-inspired colour schemes, so it appeared that I had to make this home-cooked vision a reality.

You will need


Quite easy

As a project, it's technique-led and has its fiddly moments but it's not the most taxing I've taken on, by any means.


An evening: 2-3 hours. It might take less time if you print out the template of the design I used.

Fabricating flowers

Print out a template of the above design. The flower I used was about 15x15cm, just as a guide. You might want to print it out multiple times so that you can cut out the outlines for each colour.
Cut out each piece in all the different colours and trace around them on the corresponding material. Your pieces should look something like these:

Following the design on the template, glue the pieces of the flower in place. Glue the two pieces at the centre of the flower one on top of the other, with the wider part at the top. Then, with the glue still tacky, fold the side bits back on themselves to create a wrap effect. Stitch it in place at the top.

Layer the tasselled pieces (I made three but two would do) and stitch them together at the top.
Stitch the tassels, the centre of the flower and the orange feathered part together at the top.
Cut two slits on the centre of the flower with the scalpel and slot the hair slide through them, across the middle.

Stitch the flower to the other pieces.

Friday, 21 November 2014

What's New? Pussy Bows

A purr-etty touch for any blouse.

While schedules and - dare I say - leisure activities have kept me from posting my midweek commentary entry, I couldn't help but to drop by in my exhausted state to report on what has been inspiring me this week.

In 2014, the year that feminism finally got back into fashion in every possible sense of the word, we have seen a host of tomboyish staples and comfort-centred paradigms, from flat shoes and backpacks to sporting motifs interpreted with brilliant sparkle. How better to see it off than with the ultimate expression of feminism in the corporate world - the pussy bow? Sure, the pussy bow blouse is an approved pre-fall trend already, embodied 70s retro as the shape of things to come in the spring 2015 Milan shows and is 'haute' property as a standalone accessory, according to Company's High Street Edit but it's also a doddle to DIY.

The pussy bow spanned the whole of the 20th century in its evolution but gained popularity in the 1960s when it was adopted by Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent. Its real conceptual gravitas came in the '70s and '80s when it was worn by pioneering female executives, such as Meg Whitman, the CEO of Hewlett-Packard and of course Margaret Thatcher, as part of her trademark look, serving as a fluid, feminine Yin to the towering, power-dressing Yang of the shoulder pads. There is also more in a name than merely demure feline elegance, according to Jezebel, who put the name down to the markedly less innocuous genital references - it was business balls, feminist style!

To make your own pussy bow, simply:

  1. Find a fabric you like and buy 10cm of length (I've yet to come across a fabric shop that would be prepared to cut you less than that).

  2. Use the whole width of the fabric for your tie and cut it so that it's about 5-6cm deep, depending on how thick the fabric is.

  3. Fix the edges with fabric glue or fray stop to - who'd have thunk it - prevent the edges from fraying.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Top carats - two quick DIY gold jewellery tutorials

Know your way around wire and solder and you're golden.
For various personal, uninteresting and probably inexcusable reasons I have had a lazy weekend, so I chose two tutorials to match my schedule, involving gold wire, solder and substantially more in the way of creative problem solving than effort and patience. It was one of those weekends, so perversely I thought of two tutorials to match, for the following items I happened to be coveting:

You will need

NB: You will also need at least one pair of long-nosed pliers or, ideally, two, as you'd be working with thick, stubborn wire.


Quite easy

Unfortunately, these projects weren't as easy as I thought they would be. Solder and aluminium can be extremely temperamental to work with and although the aluminium wire I worked with was soft, it does help to be a competent modeller.


Hard to say. I'd say the ring and necklace each took me about 20 minutes to complete, excluding the soldering, which can take a while to get right.

To make the necklace...

Using pliers, bend and cut the wire into your intended design.

Attach the chain by opening the jump rings, linking them to the shape and closing them with the pliers. Then, close the top with a thick, generous blob of solder.

Finally, attach the clasp to the chain with jump rings.

To make the ring...

Wrap the wire around your finger and twist it to secure it at the top, making sure it's loose enough to slip off easily. Give it an extra 2-3 twists to stop it from unravelling.

Twist 1-2 loops on either side and cut off the excess wire at the edges.
Fix the 'knot' where your twists and loops are with solder at the back, in order to make it look more like a smooth bow and less like a nest of tangled wires.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

That'll be degradé - how to DIY a flecked Marco De Vincenzo degradé top

An easy-peasy painterly effect? Fleck yeah!

In appreciation of the flecked degradé effect, exemplified in these tops by Furansu and Marco de Vincenzo (the new protégé of LVMH and one to watch, according to the Telegraph), I took on the look in DIY form. The warm, graduating hues and leaf-like dotted textures worked well as an evolution of this year's art and brushstroke fad, so I'm dubbing it a trend, at least in my mind.

You will need...

NB: The paints I used were from the 'Setasilk' range by Pébéo. I'd recommend a maximum of four colours, as they blend very easily.

The top I used was from Miss Selfridge.

I'd also strongly recommend some white spirit for cleaning up the inevitable resultant mess of the project!


Very easy

It doesn't get much easier or more straightforward than this. The only challenge this project really presents is cleaning up afterwards and/or engineering it to avoid making a devastating, irreparable mess.


The top cost £25 and the paints cost about £4 each (although you might be luckier if you shop around).


Time spent on the actual project: About 10 minutes.

Time spent scrubbing like a fishwife possessed between each colour: About an hour and a half.

Degradé, yourself

Pour one of the silk paints into the bottle and spray it in the desired area.

Remember to apply the colour on both sides and take care to avoid 'cross-contamination' of colours, through smudging or putting the design face-down on wet paint.

When you are finished with a colour, pour the paint back into the container and rinse the spray bottle thoroughly to stop the colours from mixing, unless you want them to (it's a great effect if you do, especially for ombre graduation). I find that it helps to fill the spray bottle with water a few times and spray it out until the water is completely clear.

Repeat the process with the other colours you intend to use and leave the top to dry. Finally, fix the paint by ironing it.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Sweet Burberry - How to DIY a Burberry hand-painted trench coat

Burberry's hand-painted coats inspired me to set myself a bit of a watercolour challenge.

One of the season's most high-end and, at the same time coveted items, as Hunting in Heels asserts, it bucks the trend for cheap, mass-produced, breakneck-speed fashion that's sold across the high street. The label that's one of the most steeped in heritage and guaranteed A-list fashion darlings at the front row of every show made their statement of exclusivity through luxury fabrics and painstaking handiwork.

The handiwork part recalls an artistic romance of fashion that's perhaps most vividly associated with the 1970s - dubbed the 'me decade' by Tom Wolfe - a time when fashion adopted handicrafts as an expressively individualistic paradigm. It also, in this case, provides a nice, convenient paradox for me: the labour-intensive part for which at least a part of the premium is paid becomes the part you can make at home for nothing. Sure, the trench I used was from New Look and, unsurprisingly, wasn't real silk but the design that set it apart could be emulated, alright - or at least the idea.

In short...



It's very hard to guarantee it because you do need a degree of painting ability but if you're not especially confident in your  ability to paint neatly or well, I'd recommend choosing a simple design and not worrying about perfection as Burberry's designs tend to use a messy style.


It can only take an hour or two or, if you chose quite a complex design like I did, it could take 3-5 hours. It shouldn't take any longer than an evening.

Just paint