In my first outfit’s worth of my mid-week quick-fire DIY series, I took on the fringing trend in summer-ready sandal form (it’s still March, and yes it’s still cold but we can still dream – and plan), the huge mesh bag trend, animal motifs and ’30s-style pussy bow shirts with a streak of rebel chic in leather skirt form and a colour-popping Burberry homage. Which way would you wear yours?
I’m giving it some grunge this week with a crocheted homage to Moschino’s cropped knit mesh jumper from their Cheap and Chic line. They had me at that brilliant mustard hue (which I just happened to have in wool form in one of my ever-filling drawers) and an opportunity to crochet. Crocheting is one of the most enjoyable ways to DIY a coveted garment; it’s repetitive enough to breeze through by feel whilst delighting at some of the most horrific uses of the television or film medium on the planet without the pedantic mathematical precision of knitting, Crocheting is knitting for self-confessed slackers like myself – an oasis of vegetative calm in which I can turn my brain off yet still make respectable headway on a project. It’s the sort of craft where you can simply count stitches instead of having to look down at your work. And so, until the day they (or perchance I) come up with a type of craft you can do through some sort of perverse telekinesis whilst playing computer games, crocheting will retain a place in my minuscule heart.
There have been visual mumblings of netting and crochet as a trend, the most recent of which was at Zadig & Voltaire during Paris Fashion Week, hence why I thought there to be no time like the present for netting yourself your own mesh wardrobe staple.
Don’t be put off by the pattern, it’s really not as hard as it looks. You just need to know how to do a triple crochet stitch and a single crochet stitch, but don’t worry if you don’t, as I’ll be hyperlinking some useful video tutorials.
A few days or a few weeks’ worth of leisurely evenings when you just want to drift away in front of the television and a crochet hook – naturally!
Hooked on crochet…
Start your front panel by doing 50 single crochet stitches.
Then, do the first triple crochet stitch:
You might notice that in the video, the presenter does the second triple stitch on the next chain link along; just to be difficult, we’re not going to do that – you need to put your hook into the third link along and do the triple stitch as normal. After that, you need to do two basic chain stitches and then put your hook pack into the base of the previous triple stitch, and do another triple stitch into there. Got it? Here’s an explanation, just in case.
That’s how you get the basic sequence going for the main pattern.
Front and back panel pattern
To make the front panel – a process you need to repeat to make the back panel – you need to do a chain of 50 single stitches along the bottom (as stated previously), then start on a row of diagonal triple crochet stitches.
You need to do 23 rows of diagonal crochet stitches in total.
Tip: If you’re struggling to read the pattern, click on the image and zoom in.
Once you have made a front and back panel, you need to attach them along the sides (15 rows up , if that makes sense – like you see in on the pattern) and at the shoulders (7 triple stitches in on each side – again, like in the pattern). Finish off the armholes with an extra row of chain stitches along the edges.
To make the sleeves
Repeat the process with diagonal stitches, following this pattern:
Tip: If you’re struggling to read the pattern, click on the image and zoom in.
Start by doing a chain of 44 stitches to make the cuffs.
Crochet 25 rows of diagonal triple stitches to make the sleeves. Do 7 more rows of diagonal triple stitches that are narrower by one stitch each side (like in the pattern) so that they form a trapezium shape.
Join the straight sides – but not the sloped ones – by crocheting them together.
Repeat this process to make another sleeve.
When you have made both sleeves, attach them to the armholes along the top.
The final destination at the big four fashion capitals didn’t disappoint on the inspiration front!
Concluding my fashion week-themed DIY round-up, I picked out a few key trends and inspirations for quick, easy projects from Paris Fashion Week. From the tales of the intricate and ornate at Dries Van Noten to the resurrection of Derek Zoolander at Valentino, the Paris shows refused to do things by halves. Thankfully, however, some of the stand-out looks wouldn’t be such a tour de force to replicate, including the multicoloured fur patterns and ’80s-style patchwork. Check out my guide and see where the inspiration takes you.
A few more crafty thoughts from the home of high-quality glamour.
I meant to get this entry out earlier but owing in no small part to a busy schedule and copious distractions – some enjoyable and some not so welcome – it took until today for a recap of Milan Fashion Week and some DIY ideas you might have missed. So, if you fancy some novel projects to peruse, hover your mouse over the picture for a few quick, easy ideas for emulating the likes of Prada, Gucci, Emporio Armani, MGSM, Versace and Aigner.
A label not known for blandness and understatement, Dolce & Gabbana gave us an opulent homage to motherhood. While the show was focussed on the making of tiny people, my beady DIY eye spotted a few – somewhat quicker and easier – ideas for things to make or to use for some glamorous inspiration.
London and Milan fashion week have been a tour de force of decade references but with one thing in common, while the trapezium silhouette and quirky paradigms (hello, Afghan gilets) of the ’70s rule the roost – they’re manifested in pattern form. Having barely made it beyond infancy for most of the decade, I don’t remember the ’80s particularly well; the image most authentically etched in my memory was one of primary coloured patterns straddling every last inch of upholstery in sight, comprised either of obnoxious dots and squiggles or geometric, slightly Bauhaus-esque shapes (and no, to avoid confusion, I don’t mean the band). The decade’s more iconic features of shoulder pads, frizzy hair and cruelty to poor people came to me later in life through historian’s curiosity, rather than first-hand experience. So, imagine my nostalgic delight at JW Anderson’s dresses, coats and belts sporting the very colour scheme and patterns that were burned so warmly into the deepest corners of my memory. The vision with which the designer embraced the decade, keeping shoulders and sleeves controlled and incorporating leather skirts and slouched boots into the references instead of the clichés, was made distinctive by the motifs. The collection was visibly inspired by the ’80s but still looked like it was from 2015.
The same could be said of Jonathan Saunders’ prints of wavy ombre lines that brilliantly echoed the psychedelic geometry of ’70s fabrics; of the minimal and contrasting colour schemes of Peter Pilotto’s collection; of the warm, two-colour patterns on Gucci’s coats; of the ’60s-style geometric prints at Fendi; of the scattered patchwork florals on Burberry Prorsum’s coats and a bow to Ossie Clark at Topshop Unique. These references capture the aesthetics of their respective decades in a way that isn’t costume-like pastiche. Much like the furniture, upholstery and wallpaper that the designs that inspired them adorned, they convey a mood like the warmth of a room. It’s a subtle, evocative and almost ambient take – a unique art of the furniture.
As the rush and frisson of fashion weeks across the various style capitals begins, New York fashion week had the media heralding big coats, (American) football fever and an official return to polo-necks as the go-to feature. I couldn’t help but to notice another trend in one of the more traditionally commercial and conservative fashion capitals: deconstruction and juxtaposition. And let’s not dispute who’s coming up with the wacky ideas about fashion around here! Take Rag and Bone’s 90s hip hop homage, for example, with authentically-referenced slip dresses over chunky trousers, as well as sharply tailored sportswear that mixed matte, sturdy fabrics with shocks of satin in geometric panelling. Also throwing contrast into the mix was Jeremy Scott with a psychedelic head trip of patterned pastel colours, swirling round in brilliantly contrasting hues. Not that this was merely about collage but a rethink of garment construction, experimenting with colour, cut and choice of fabric. Among them, Opening Ceremony took the eyes on a journey with diagonally offset seams among larger-than-life proportions and a boldly angular cut. Marc by Marc Jacobs and Phillip Lim offered relentless assaults on the senses with mash-ups of contrasting fabric and seam lines along every possible angle, while Narciso Rodriguez worked grid-like horizontal and vertical lines and a stark monochrome colour scheme into fluid drapes.
The distinctive angularly flared and tailored silhouette of the 70s remains a key talking point this season, yet many of the diagonally offset cuts and fits seen here added a contemporary, shape-shifting dimension to the trend. It was unlike the decade’s handicrafts-inspired paradigms that were also recently referenced. It has its own DIY-inspiring potential in the use of fabrics and panelling, as well as – well – taking things apart and putting them back together differently. This is more than just pastiche; it is taking distinctive features, like the 70s silhouette, and reinventing them in a way that’s still recognisable in its references. When referencing the past, the only way to stop history from repeating itself is to mix it up a little.
Owing to apathetic moping, this DIY tutorial will fit neatly under the category of Valentine’s Day leftovers – time zones permitting – a category which, I appreciate is best associated with discounted chocolate but, given the relative neutrality of the versatile heart motif and the comfort that there’s always next year I thought I’d share this 20-minute tutorial with you.
You will need…
Picture hanging wire.
Two earring studs.
Soldering iron and solder.
Long-nosed pliers that can cut wire (or, failing that, long-nosed pliers and all-purpose scissors)
Pink nail polish.
While the project, itself, is pretty straightforward and self-explanatory, it has its fiddly moments and helps to have a touch of manual dexterity.
10-15 minutes per earring, excluding the time it takes for your soldering iron to heat up.
You will heart it
Cut about 10cm of wire and loop it around the stud in the middle.
Bend the wire into a heart shape and twist the two ends together at the bottom with your pliers.
Cut away the excess wire at the bottom.
Attach the wire to the stud at the top and fix the wires together at the bottom by soldering them.
Cover the wire with pink nail polish.
Quick, simple and perfect for throwing together at the last minute, much like my Valentine’s Day plans.
Two reasons to keep the fleeting party season dream alive with glitter and related matters: first of all, metallics are to remain totally a thing for the (technically) upcoming season (spring, in other words, depending on whether you follow fashion in the traditional predictive sense or the real-time online sense) and secondly, as overrated as new year’s eve is (in practice, at least) its one use is to serve as a retrospectively-inclined distraction from the egregiousness of Valentine’s day. Still, enough about the involuntary pity I feel for those who are ‘taken’ and socially obliged to splash out in order to validate it! Also, while I appreciate that it’s not very fashion to display cynicism towards the idea of romance or disapproval for paying £50 for a taxi because of the calendar date, Chic Cheat and I are all about enjoying the escapism of fashion without the cost; what we lack in money and expenditure we make up in creative problem-solving.
NB: I used metallic green lycra, which you can find in shops that sell fabric or dance costumes.
While you can use a slim-fitting top, make sure it does not have to stretch when you wear it or put it on, otherwise the metallic stripes will come off (yes I did just learn that the hard way in this instance).
Can you draw straight lines? Can you cut straight lines? Can you iron things before the spectre of unprecedented boredom sneaks up on you, with the revelation that two minutes goes strangely slowly when you’re trying to time it exactly, with no distractions and repeat the process ten or so times? Then this one should be a doddle for you.
About half an hour (mine took longer because I ran out of spray glue (which was caused by poor planning and multiple projects beforehand, rather than insufficient supplies, I can happily assure you).