The Trends on Wednesday – On with the show and off with the show-offs

LFW trends


Continuing in the theme of casually chic abandon,seen elsewhere London Fashion Week went on to prove that fashionistas both on and off the catwalk weren’t taking the peacock any more. No longer was the intent strut of the fierce fashionista in six-inch heels doing the rounds, rather designers were putting their best feet forward in flats. If New York Fashion Week had been all about the flat pumps and winklepickers, the London Fashion designers took the next step in statement trainers, coupled with the statement-du-jour of normcore suburbia, the denim jacket – even at Burberry. The ultimate stake of casual chic’s claim at the height of fashion’s relevance, however, was surely, Christopher Kane’s incarnation of slouchy tracksuit bottoms in luxurious leather.

Long skirts also made more than a fleeting appearance with the rules of hemline dipping as relaxed as the fit – some welcome news for the thigh-gapless, bottom-heavy likes of me. It would, of course prove cumbersome for cycling, my involuntary self-centred instincts tell me, but, realistically, being photographed on bikes is just so try-hard street style blogger – so very 2012! Relaxed fits manifested themselves in the slouchy backpacks set apart by Preen, lightly flared two-piece ensembles at JW Anderson and even the drama of Roksanda (without the) Ilincic’s silhouettes pared down, leaving just the bold colour scheme to make the statements. The relaxed fit held more resonance than mere comfort and practicality; it denoted a freedom from the confines imposed by fashion, in its efforts to mould the body towards false ideals. From the monolithic boxiness of tailoring, to the grandeur of drapes and the sexual and athletic empowerment of bodycon cling, the London Fashion Week silhouette was a hitherto unseen departure from those dynamics, altogether, posing a new question to the glibly accepted relevance of its frenetically competitive poseur ethos. This conceptual resonance echoed at many levels with  “I had this dream, I had this feeling” written on Richard Nicoll’s show seating. The vision, like many among the designers, was one of calm, fitness, escapism and work-life balance – in a word, wholesomeness. Among the designers echoing words of ‘ease’ and ‘effortlessness’ were Alice Temperley and Christopher Bailey of Burberry.

The tottering-heeled pose of looking expensive is now a dime a dozen. Flamboyant posturing can happen at any level – true style, according to fashion’s illuminati is to be stylishly invisible and not to outdo all you survey. Unpretentious elegance is key now, along with quirky nautical rope detailing, Bermuda shorts, Matisse-style colour blocking, pleats, giant circle motifs and, erm, school uniform. The last on the list was incarnated through quirky pencil case clutch bags, as well as standard pleats and burgundy, but if it’s rigid conformity we’re sticking to, I suppose it’s in for a penny, in for a pound (or doubtless several thousand!)

Grand Thrift Autumn – How to upcycle a blanket to make a cape

A cape of new hope for an unwanted blanket!

DIY cape upcycled blanket


You will need…



I also added a faux fur trim at the neck but that part’s optional.





Quite Easy

It’s a simple, straightforward method, in principle, but if, like I am, you’re lacking in the height department and working with a heavy blanket, it can be cumbersome at times.



2-3 hours, if you’re working with faux fur – that part entails hand-stitching. Otherwise, it’s 2 hours. tops.


So, to wrap it up…


Fold the blanket in half. Cut along the centre of the front (only through one layer)  and a 10cm slit at either side of the top.Method2

I cut my area to accommodate the deer design so I wasn’t especially paying attention to the precise measurements but the vertical line in the picture was roughly halfway across each side. The diagonal line was at a roughly 45° angle to the vertical line and ended about 10cm from the side edge.Method3

The next step is to turn the blanket wrong-side-up and sew the newly-cut edges together with a 1.5cm seam allowance. Don’t worry if they don’t meet – they won’t. I found that the jagged edge helped to create the three-dimensional angular drape that’s hopefully apparent in the pictures I hastily took! Once the triangular gap has been closed up, do what an old sewing teacher of mine once described as a ‘stitch in the ditch,’ which entails pinning the seams together and stitching along them -the ‘ditch,’ geddit? Please say you do – my sparing descriptive skills can’t cover it any better than that!

Finally, stitch along the raw edges – again., with a 1.5cm seam allowance – and into the corners (at that point, I just sewed along the edge of the blanket’s binding.Method4Turn the blanket right-side-out. If you want to add a faux fur trim like I did, fold back the top corners at the front, pin them down and cover them with faux fur. Cover an area at the back that’s the same width as each of the triangles. I sewed together three pieces of faux fur to make my trim. I would also recommend trimming back the fur inside the seam allowance so that it is easier to fold back and pin down at the edges.  I slip stitched the pieces in place along the edges.

…and there you have it!

front DIY cape upcycled blanket Back  DIY cape upcycled blanket Side DIY cape upcycled blanket


The Trends on Wednesday: What’s New #NYFW?

NYFW trends
Is it the up-and-coming influence of street style or the shift of paradigm to stylish wearable technology that saw the tottering authority of high heels cut down to size, once again, in favour of flat shoes? The paradigm of comfortable chic was interpreted, this time, in the form of winklepickers, most notably the floral panelled offerings from Victoria Beckham’s team of designers. The dizzying heights of ravishing bondage had a reinterpretation elsewhere with Anthony Vaccarello using hipline-skimming splits to cement his vision at his debut show for Versus. It was this statement of extremes with which he interpreted the Versus trademarks of raw sex appeal with copious black leather, after dressing friend and muse, Anja Rubik, in a daring white frock for the Met Ball.
Thankfully, plenty of designers had primly pretty interpretations of the hemline covered with below-the-knee skirts, which were teamed with boxy t-shirts, wrapover jackets and sleeveless coats – a styling statement that drew erogenous attention away from the thinness-worshipping thigh gap and waist and towards the calves.
Fashion took its key trends to, or rather from, the streets, with statement sportswear having a moment (and Alexander Wang ‘fetishising trainers’ in frock form), boxy jean-jackets, plait artistry and scrunchy bucket bags becoming the go-to 90s trend to reincarnate in contemporary sculptural form. If the outré heights of splits at Versus feel unworkable or unnerving, New York Fashion Week at least gave us plenty of stylish reasons to get real! Also meshing nicely into the mix was gingham – perhaps the only DIY idea that really leapt out at me from the bunch. Why not? We’ve been there and done that with the bucket bag and even old tablecloths need a new, loving home!

Pretty in Pinko – How to DIY a Pinko knit dress

Give a knit dress or jumper a ‘hole’ lotta love!




You will need…

A form-fitting beige knit dress or jumper.

Fray-stop glue.

Small, sharp fabric scissors.

A mannequin can be useful but it’s optional.




Very easy

Quick, easy and all in a leisurely evening’s work!



About an hour, although I was being a bit of a perfectionist trying to get the design symmetrical – a process for which I’d recommend taking the time!


A quick knit


You might want to take your dress or top in slightly to ensure that it’s under tension when you wear it – this will enhance the design. Cut some horizontal and vertical slits (you might want to map them out with some tailor’s chalk like I did). Try to get your design as symmetrical as possible. I find it helps to count the number of slits you do on each side and make a mental note of the spacing.Method4

If your top or dress is made from fine knit material, it will probably roll up at the edges when you cut it. Use this quality to manipulate and make the teardrop shapes on your design. At this point, having a mannequin really helps, as it makes it easy to mould the design and see what it looks like in 3D. Secure the shapes and rolled edges with fray-stop glue. Method5


DIY Pinko knit sweater

DIY Pinko cut out knit sweater

DIY Pinko cut out knit sweater

Drumroll, please…DIY Pinko cut out knit sweater

Back in style – a no-sew upcycle!

Lol-ing about






Fancy some chic laughs this autumn? Fashion’s already on it with the Lol-core trend. What? You didn’t actually think the esoteric take on everyday wear, or normcore, would actually retain interest among fashionistas, did you? With the winter gloom approaching and looming up especially ominously for August, the last thing we need is 50 shades of humdrum melancholia, even if Gap has tried to channel it in its latest ‘Dress Normal’ campaign.

Fashion is always one to push boundaries and question the paradigms behind them – in this case, children’s cartoon-print clothing, manga motifs, fluffy monster-style furs and face prints – or just, you know, have a laugh and an excuse to become a peacock once in a while. Great news, if you ask me. Fur is easy to pick up from markets and reasonably user-friendly in DIY projects.  Manga? Get those sew-on BMX-style patches out! And my personal favourite, the toddler fashion for adults? Don’t be put off by the unsettling verbal juxtaposition. It certainly lends itself to someone 5′ and petite with no qualms about the odd shop in VAT-free childrenswear sections. And just think, if the trend holds out until Christmas, novelty socks and ties might even be cool, according to the convoluted vagaries of irony. Might.

Absolutely Kok-on – How to DIY a Kokon to Zai Eflect Tattoo Patch Drum Bag

This project was an indulgent nod to the fringed bag trend of right-now. As a girl of the 90s and early 00s, I’m conditioned to let anything with bold, Eastern-inspired patterns render me weak at the knees and powerless to resist – although the era itself can keep its character tattoos, whose aesthetic value is meh at best and whose capacity for embarrassing mistranslation is simply boundless! I’m talking more about geisha motifs, cheongsam dresses and blossom patterns – dramatic outfit paradigms, in both visual and dream-selling terms. The exoticism will forever have its hold over my imagination and the emotional triggers that incite us to buy or, in my case, senselessly plagiarise!

I have my local vintage/charity shop to thank for a £7 pair of size 14 leather trousers I upcycled to make  the bag; the amount of skins needed for the bag would get me little change from £100 – possibly even more. It might not be 1986 any more but there’s always a place for old forgotten leather trousers in my craft room, and my minuscule heart – even if my love entails lacerating them!

You will need


DIY tools

NB: If you want to include a lining, you also need fabric for that. I would recommend a firm satin but most fine non-stretch fabrics would work. I used red jacquard fabric.

You also need a sewing machine and a hammer for the eyelets.




I’m going to put this on the easy side of intermediate. It involves sewing and working with patterns, so it would be foolish to assume everyone would find it a walk in the park, but both are minimal and straighforward in this project, so don’t let them put you off.



10-11 hours

Keep calm and Kokon



Cut out the pattern pieces specified in the drawing. I wanted to make my bag quite bog so I used the measurements in the pattern, but you don’t have to make yours anything like that size. I’d recommend using a trouser leg (ideally along the thigh) to save time, although you will have to unpick one side, so that you can lie the piece flat. It would also be helpful for calculating the size of the bottom piece by using its width as the circumference of the circle you need to cut.





Cut out three pieces of white satin in the shape shown above (print and trace from the image as a guide, if necessary). Place them along the side of your bag (rectangular piece) and stick the pieces to the leather using craft mount.


Go around each piece using a zig-zag stitch. If you can programme your sewing machine, make the stitches as wide and close together as possible, so that it creates a solid border around the satin. You might need to go around it twice to ensure this.



Sew on the fringing, so that it is wrong(matte)-side-up with the non-fringed part along the hem.I also added some leather stars to the middle of the satin shapes to look authentically like the original and in aid of a slightly weaker argument: YOLO.



Unpick the waistband and belt loops from the trousers. Fold the waistband in half and sew it in place so that it forms a long cord. Sew one of the belt loops to make a figure-of-eight shape for holding what will be our drawstring in place. The other loops are for attaching to the bag as a base for strap attachment.



Sew the side seams together and then attach the top loops and bottom. Since I was working with leather, I found that it helped to use staples along the edge, instead of pins, in order to hold the pieces in place for sewing. Leather is a tough fabric to pin and holes are permanent – although these didn’t matter as they were inside the seam allowance.

Repeat the sewing process with the lining and hand-stitch it to the top. I would recommend a slip stitch but you’re likely to need a thimble.



Punch holes in the top. You will probably need a hammer or some form of eyelet puncher if you’re using the ones that I used. I hated this part because it’s loud as hell and – it being late in the process -I had to do it late at night. I prayed I wouldn’t get the screaming abdabs from the neighbours for disturbing them. Thankfully I didn’t but it was a tense moment, nonetheless!Method8

The final step is to thread the drawstring through the eyelets and attach a strap, if you so wish.

DIY Kokon to Zai Tattoo patch drum bag



Trick for tats – A quick gold temporary tattoo tutorial

No alliterative overkill intended, I just thought I’d share my latest glittering tutorial with you. All you need is a stencil:



… a paintbrush, water and some gold powder from Fimo.



Simply, wet the paintbrush, coat it thickly with gold powder and paint the design through the stencil. The more thickly you apply the powder, the more vibrant the design will be. It’s a quick, five minute glamour fix that’s perfect for party wear.







NB: I wouldn’t recommend it for people with sensitive skin or itchy allergies – I haven’t experienced anything, so there’s every chance it could be fine, but I don’t want to promise that you wouldn’t get any nasty reactions if you’re susceptible.







Charli-DIY – How to DIY a Marc by Marc Jacobs Satin Stud Embellished Stars Playsuit

Because I’d jump at the chance to look like a star!
Cover photo

My latest DIY-scapade took me in the direction of the Marc by Marc Jacobs’ satin stars playsuit – a glam rock-studded party piece made famous by a host of festival fashion guides and the music video to Boom Clap by Charli XCX.

You will need…

DIY tools

I found my playsuit  by sniffing around eBay; it started life as a past-season H&M jumpsuit (I had to shorten it, in other words). I spent most of the weekend shortening and remodelling it to look authentic but, since satin’s a difficult material, I wouldn’t recommend the OCD-copycat approach – why not try the look on a jumpsuit or a strappy top and hotpants?



Quite easy

This straightforward customising project is a breeze – just be careful how much glue you use.


2-3 hours -using a hair dryer on the glue speeds up the process, so I’d definitely recommend it.

Bring the stars out


Trace out some stars and a flame shape and slather a thin layer of gemstone glue inside each one – don’t lay it on too thickly or it will take forever to dry…


Sprinkle glitter over the glue and shake off the excess glitter.


Stick the diamantés on with small blobs of glue – again, don’t apply it too thickly.

Method4DIY Marc by Marc Jacobs Cosmo satin playsuit

The Trends on Wednesday: Wrap Chic

Beach, please – fashion’s last stop.Wrap chic

Fashion has, once again, taken a break from the city and hit the beach. It’s not the first time sun, sea and style have collided and made sartorial waves, from the underwear-inspired swimwear shapes between 1900 and 1940 to the navel-bearing scandal of the bikini, that was designed soon afterwards . This time, it’s the post-swim glamour of the wrap that’s causing a reported 40,000 kimonos a week to fly off hangers at New Look. The reason? It’s twofold: the art of dressing for the beach, like any occasion, is heralded in dedicated pages from every retailer, touting a melange of  surf-inspired rash shirts, board shorts, beach dresses and accessories; secondly, kimonos are the perfect combination of practicality, prettiness and poolside glamour. Their unstructured shape makes them easy to throw on between the pool and the bar and to keep you protected from the sun but unbound by any awkward constriction or excess warmth. Their graphic floral prints can create a mood of sultry evening glamour that echoes the fantasy of sipping cocktails on the beach as the sun sets.

The kimono was preceded by the bohemian chic of the kaftan and could give way to the buttoned longline beach t-shirt. Beachwear is now an established fashion category with as strong a prerogative to move in cyclic trends as any. The good news is that wraps and even kaftans are dead easy to DIY with a large scarf or piece of satin, a few remodelling stitches and a bit of creative thinking. If you fancy a holiday from lengthy sewing and crafting projects, a simple wrap would be a (gentle summer) breeze!

Gravy trainers – how to DIY Dior’s floral sequinned trainers

Running stylish with DIY-inspiring customisation from Chanel and Dior!



It was Dior’s Fusion trainers that caught my eye – and captured my imagination – when I decided, on a whim, that an indulgently customised magnum opus like these would be the perfect replacement for my old, worn, sad-looking trainers.



StyleBubble recently described Dior Fusion trainers as “the rise of 21st century contrasting mix and match in fashion.  High and low.  Expensive and cheap.  Couture and sportswear.  Casual and dressy.  The list goes on” in a favourable, admiring post. While the aesthetic, itself might have divided opinion, the conceptual statement of juxtaposition – and resonance, of the high fashion trainer trend being assimilated at the highest tier of couture – convinced me that intricately customised trainers wasn’t just inspiration, but relevant and a must for my next project and tutorial.

You will need…

DIY Tools


A appreciate that it’s a long list, although it does include a lot of basics, such as pens and scissors (just make sure the ones you use are all-purpose) but it’s not as bad as it looks (in my over-enthusiasm, I realise I’ve neglected to include pattern paper and a sewing machine!). The only things you’d need to search for would be the beads, sequins and ribbon, the trainers and the staple gun. You can cut up a sports t-shirt or polo shirt to get airtech fabric  – it’s not as illusive or specialised as it sounds.






I’m not going to lie –  I underestimated this one, in terms of the work, time and technique involved. Hopefully, you won’t find it as hard with my guidance ;)



Two full days – I might as well be honest, here. Owing to the – hopefully hard-wearing – customising techniques I used, it’s a bit of an investment, time-wise.


Dior or DIY



Trace about 40 flower shapes into the plastic sheet and cut them out. You might need to use a metallic marker but try not to smudge it. Cut the flowers out and punch holes in the middle of each one.



Cover a trainer in pattern paper (you can use tissue paper) and trace around the edges to make pattern pieces. Once you have traced them, add a small (about half a centimetre) seam allowance using a ruler or graded setsquare and cut them out. Cut out two of each piece in airtech fabric and sew them to make covers.



After you have sewn the covers together, hand-stitch circles of green sequins. Then, stitch a flower, a blue sequin and a blue faceted bead in the middle of each one.



Fold the cover over on the top edge, and onto the wrong (non-customised) side . Slip stitch the top edge to the fabric on the lining of the ankle and the tongue, if possible.



Use the staple gun to attach the cover to the sole of the trainer. Trainers are typically padded at the soles, so, stapling the fabric at the side shouldn’t go inside it and into the area where your foot will go, although it’s always worth checking so that you don’t end up lacerating your feet when you wear them! I tidied mine up with a lick of white fabric paint, but that’s optional – you’ve just got to keep your staples as far out of view as possible.

Finally, hand-stitch the black grosgrain trim along the centre and in a bow shape.

DIY Dior Fusion trainers

DIY Dior Fusion TrainersDIY Dior Fusion Trainers