Chain DIY action – How to DIY a Joomi Lim spiked chain bracelet

Joomi Lim Monochrome Mania Spike Bracelet - Mixed Spikes


Joomi Lim’s got a monochrome magic touch for garnering celebrity endorsement with her spiked bracelet designs, with avid approval from Miley Cyrus, Leighton Meester and Jessica Alba.

Miley Cyrus, Leighton Meester and Jessica Alba in Joomi Lim

Ingenious though these designs may be, it, thankfully, doesn’t take a magic touch to recreate the look, just a touch of patience, a soldering iron and a little bit of DIY know-how.

You will need

DIY tools

*Optional extras.

Also needed

Black, white and clear nail polish

Araldite glue




Pretty easy

This one has its fiddly moments, although I’d say the biggest challenge was to avoid being scalded by the soldering iron.



About an hour.


Soldering on



Fill in chain links with solder at regular intervals. Also, if your studs are hollow, fill in the interiors and make sure the bases are all completely flat.Method3


Attach the studs using solder or araldite (I found that the araldite worked better but you need to tidy it up after sticking by wiping the excess glue away from the edges with scissors or something with a fine tip).

Method4Depending on the design you intend to copy, you can add a row of pearls by threading them onto a wire and attaching the wire to either end of the bracelet by using jump rings.

The bracelet

it’s up to you whether you want to keep to one row…

DIY Joomi Lim Spike chain bracelet


…or add a second row of pearls. DIY Joomi Lim Spike chain bracelet


#TBT – Winterlude

DIY Dries van noten jumper

Jumper – DIY/ collar – DIY/ Jeans – River Island/ Boots – River Island/ Earrings and Gauntlet – Freedom @ Topshop

Autumn, the idyllic lull between the intense summer heat (this year, anyway) and the breathtaking winter freeze. A solitary season of transitional calm. A melancholia of rich, earthy colour before the darkness sets in. Am I waxing too lyrical about the time we have to crank the heating up and pay handsomely for the privilege; come home from school, work or related institutions in darkness and spend our evenings in the confinement of our living rooms, huddled beneath a haze of yellow light and lukewarm tea? Come on, for a British person talking about the weather I can’t be doing too badly!

DIY Dries van noten jumperAs a matter of fact, I used to love the winter as an older child and teenager. I loved the escapism of the darkness, especially while I looked out onto it from the warmth and light of my bedroom, in spite of how mad people thought I was and the opprobrium I faced for expressing such a passion. I mean, to actually look forward to four months of arduous weather conditions and perpetual dusk? I could only be one of two things: a vampire or just egregiously middle class! I can see how my New Rocks and solitary bedroom-friendly rock music collection could cause me to be misconstrued as the former but I was just spoilt for choice with my home comforts and the stunning home town of Kenilworth, where I grew up.  DIY Dries van noten jumperI had this outfit in mind, with the baroque opulence of the jeans print and mythical fantasy of the fire bird design in my DIY Dries Van Noten tribute, when I decided to shoot a selfie against the backdrop of the Kenilworth castle ruins – the perfect scene to envelop in a cloud of fog or a transcendent dusky horizon. For fear of clichés and predictability, I threw in some punky paradigms of studs, metallic prism earrings and spiky hair because, well, things were just going that way. It was possibly because all this talk and mood-setting of myth and fantasy needed a bit of an edge and a distraction, so that the final look was less Game Of Thrones and more game face. Or something. It was a while ago. It’s Throwback Thursday. I’m tired. I remember that I liked it and hopefully you do too! DIY Dries van noten jumper

Train in tweed – how to upcycle trainers in the style of Chanel


Revamp old running shoes with some runway chic!
DIY Chanel tweed trainers

You will need..

DIY tools and fabricNot pictured

Neon yellow and green tape

Clear lacquer


Tailor’s chalk



Pretty easy

I’d hesitate on categorising this as 100% technique-free, so in the interests of diplomatic backside-covering, I’d rate it as moderately easy. You’ll be pleased to know that I can’t think of anything especially taxing about this exercise.


About ten hours if, like me, you like to get your measurements precise.



Trending on tweed




Take the laces out.

I find that it helps to get a mixture of bouclé wool fabrics. You don’t need much, so it’s worth sniffing around fabric shops for samples and minimum quantities (most shops don’t cut less than half a metre but some do and asking nicely enough can earn you a respectable handful of free samples!) You need enough of one fabric to cover your trainers. I’d recommend pinning it to the side, tracing around the edges with tailor’s chalk and cutting around the lines you have drawn.

Design and cut out the other panels you intend to use, ensuring they’re symmetrical and the same on both shoes, so that the designs are the same on the outer sides and inner sides of both shoes.

Method3Don’t stick your tweed in place yet. Cover the desired parts of the sole with neon tape and add a coat or two of clear lacquer, for extra protection. I actually used acrylic paint and resin, but lived to regret it, as it was so messy. Going on my bad experience, I’d recommend tape as an alternative; it doesn’t require painstaking effort to get straight lines.


I painted bronze borders on some of the bits of fabric. Again, if you want to add borders and detailing, just make sure they’re consistent on both shoes.
Method5Cover your trainers in fabric and then add panels. Stick them in place with craft mount.

Re-thread the laces.

DIY Chanel tweed trainers






The Trends on Wednesday: What to make of the Spring 2015 Fashion Week shows

This week, I felt that the time was right not to focus on trends but to catalogue, through my own purely emotional filter, what caught my eye during the spring/summer 2015 shows. The shows might be over in the big fashion capitals but rather than being bogged down by the bitter sweet lull after the storm, I thought I’d draw out the excitement of the shows by re-living the highlights that spurred me on to reach for my scissors and glue gun with a frisson of aesthetic delight, or – as a sane person might put it – I thought I’d milk it with another collection of pretty pictures and inane ramblings that might r might not have something to do with DIY fashion! So, here are my top ten must-make items.

Symphony of deconstruction

symphony of deconstruction


One of the more outré and complex DIY project types on the list, I thought, but this is nonetheless worth the outing in the name of sustainability. Think about it – instead of buying a handful of disposable items on the cheap in the hope of breathing some life into your wardrobe, you can make do and amend not one but two garments for a totally unique look!

Make mine a macramé

Slideshow: The Standout Bags of Spring 2015 - Gallery Slide 19


This slouchy Giorgio Armani bag is a brilliant exercise in monochrome macramé chic that made me want to maul a t-shirt like a psychopath so I could knit, knot or crochet a version of my very own!

Customising candy



You know that excruciatingly jarring feeling you get when a brilliant cartoon motif or a vibrant kooky repeat print just isn’t enough? That urge that overwhelms you to dive sleeves-and-bag-first into a drawer of Mod Podge and diamantés? Come on, we’ve all been there. Rocking lolcore doesn’t mean slacking off!


Landing in a tub of buttons

Button me up


Some of the most devastatingly-good argument winners are the phrases that just confuse people. As an example, when I used the word “So?” during my stroppier teenage moments, my mum would put me in my place and come right back with “Sew…buttons on your nose.” To this day I haven’t the foggiest idea what that phrase was supposed to mean, so what kind of a chance did I stand then, when such a statement stopped me in my tracks? And now it seems the buttons are back to haunt me, making an equally random but this time much more enjoyable appearance as the fastening-du-jour at the Paris spring 2015 shows, with brilliant contrast and diagonal lines added into the mix.


Watercolour my world

Watercolour my world


These images transcended me to the whimsical days of school art class (note how I said ‘whimsical’ and most definitely not ‘doss’!) when I would get lost in a haze of watercolours. With the above images, I’m met with the urge to relive those moments with Pebeo silk paints.


Flowers in my hair

Tommy Ton’s Best Pics From Fashion Month - Gallery Slide 10


With big corsages already making an appearance as a trend this past season, it surely makes perfect sense to carry on the craze with a clip and a cut out corsage.


Eye, eye

eye up


Who could not love that jacket? The eyes definitely have it and, considering you only need some fabric or PVC offcuts (depending on what you’re making) and some glue or a sewing machine, this kooky acquired taste might not be a trend for everyone to fall in love with but it’s nonetheless worth copping an eyeful!


Pushing the envelope

Slideshow: The Standout Bags of Spring 2015 - Gallery Slide 19


So great is the temptation to nonchalantly pick up an envelope folder, douse it in craft mount and cover it with brocade fabric, as if you got it from Dries Van Noten, just like that. We won’t tell if you don’t!

Appliqué bouquet

Slideshow: The Standout Bags of Spring 2015 - Gallery Slide 19


A great one for experimenting with textured ribbons or chunky threads and glue to make an old, abandoned handbag bloomin’ marvellous!


Now and denim

patching up


I love working with denim because if you invest in good quality fabric and sew it well, it can look totally professional and in no way amateurish, cheap or off-the-wall, all while still done on a shoestring budget. So, who said a DIY fashion project can never be a patch on the rather gorgeous Burberry Prorsum coat, pictured above on the left?

Romance in a stone (necklace)



Would that I were more organised, I would tell you the designer responsible for the rather wondrous necklace in the picture. While I usually strive to creatively decode and simulate, in an economical, homespun manner, fashion’s latest, greatest pieces and on-trend items, I took a trip off piste when I idly screengrabbed  the necklace from Facebook. I vaguely remember the context but in my absent-minded state I left myself with no means of tracing it. Google image search didn’t help either.

Dull witterings over, allow me to share with you my guide to getting the look, using a semi-precious stone and an abandoned, unloved curtain tieback.

You will need…

Jewellery bits1


DIY tools





Pretty easy

While straightforward in principle, this project has its fiddly moments and challenges, like not being intimidated at the prospect of using a soldering iron.



About 45 minutes.


 A bit of knot and stone


Cut two 30cm lengths of chain. Fold one of the chain sin half and close the loop by opening one of the rings with pliers and linking it to the other end. Before closing the link, attach it to one of the parts of the clasp. Repeat this process with the other chain and the other half of the clasp.Method2

Cut a 28cm length of rope. Cut away the tassel at the bottom of the curtain tie back and cut the remaining straps so that, together with the knot in the middle, they add up to the same total width as the length of rope you cut. I wish I could be more specific but knot sizes vary!




Use picture hanging wire to link the pieces of rope together. Start by winding the wire around the ropes, leaving some excess wire at the end and a long length of wire at the other end. Wind the short length of wire vertically to bind the wire that’s holding the ropes together, leaving the edge pointing into the ropes to avoid scratching. Arch the long length of wire over the top of the ropes and through the bottom of the chain, then wind it back into the wire on the ropes to secure it. Use the soldering iron and solder wire to fix the wire in place so that it dies’t unravel. Repeat the process on the other side.Method4

Attach a generous length of wire to the stone. I did this using the cheap, easy, I-can’t-be-arsed-because-it’s-facing-the-back method. In other words, I beefed up the wire by using solder, so that it would take stick more easily; mixed and slathered on some araldite, taking extra care to follow the instructions and stuck the wire in place. You might well need to press down at the start to make sure your glue sticks. You should also try to tidy up the excess glue by smoothing it down with your fingernails or a scalpel. I wouldn’t recommend smoothing it with your fingers, as it’s too easy to push the wire and stone apart by mistake. As an alternative, you can attach a stone by using copper tape and flux, as well as a soldering iron.



Wind the other end of the wire between ropes, around the knot of the tieback and fix it in place with a soldering iron.

DIY stone and knot necklace


And with that you might suddenly notice you have a complete necklace in your midst

The Trends on Wednesday: Cray Paree



Plenty went down, while femininity and feminism – of sorts – continued on the up in the concluding fashion capital of the spring/summer shows. As the key trends of comfort, utilitarian detailing and graphic patterns evolved, they took some twists and turns in this particular chapter. The normcore-motivated comfort movement picked up where it left off, evolving from culottes to board shorts – case in point, Dior, who married the sportswear staple with the ornate drama of 18th century dress.

By stark contrast to the covered-up silhouettes and chunky shoes of the previous shows, Paris’ love affair with fashion took the form of a debauched hen night with Yves Saint Laurent printing artily shot girl-on-girl erotica on their invitations and Acne – ahem – upping that with phallic pastries and breast-shaped canapés. The glamour of Milan might have been a reaction to the demure mood set in the spring/summer shows but this was an outright rebellion. Talking of which, fashion got political, proud and protesting with feminism taking centre stage at Chanel. Models carried signs with a common sentiment but a variety of levels of seriousness, ranging from ‘history is her story’ and the searing, rallying and very now ‘he for she’ slogans to, erm, ‘Boys Should Get Pregnant Too.’ It was a difficult juxtaposition, coming from a designer who lambasted Adele as ‘a little bit fat’ and proclaimed that ‘no one wants to see curvy women,’ but the show’s saving grace was the labels’ heritage – it was Coco Chanel who released women from the binding confines of corsetry and into sophisticated trouser suits and the spring/summer show reclaimed its seriousness on the subject of feminism with a contemporary take on the statement, involving vibrant prints and intricately textured tweeds.

Elsewhere, fashion shaped up with Bauhaus-inspired geometry, including Balenciaga, Sacai and Balmain, circles at Giambattista Valli and Stella McCartney (the latter of whom outlined them as a symbol of femininity) and diagonally lined dresses at Roland Mouret.

Just to wrap it up, the fastening of choice was buttons – a feature cemented as a trend, after a brief appearance last season. Far from the utilitarian drudgery offered by the zip and its limitations, it took on several forms, from intricately coloured rows at Dior to pearlescent dome buttons at  Alessandra Rich that recalled the power party dresses of the 80s. This DIY-friendly trend is the one to watch – especially in terms of the statement and difference the choice of button can make. Perhaps the line between down-to-earth practicality and high glamour isn’t so well-defined, after all!

Chic dip – My take on ombre dip dyeing

Fancy a dip? Why not go maverick with some nifty reconstructing effects? Sure, festival season might be over and dip dyeing tutorials have been done to death on the DIY circuit (not that there aren’t some fantastic tutorials out there!) but a girl can go against the grain, do something different and dissect a plaid shirt for some dip dye experimentation, can’t she?

You will need

shirt and dye

NB: I used Dylon intense violet dye, so I’m going to write my tutorial according to the directions I was given.

The shirt was a £2.50 charity shop bargain – I just thought you should know!




Very easy

Am I telling you anything you don’t know? It’s no wonder dip dyeing’s been a hit on the DIY blogs!





Sadly, this part entails sewing and can be time-consuming especially if, like me, you spent your Sunday afternoon teaching yourself how  yokes and back panels on shirts are constructed! Also, not that I’m hesitant to give a precise difficulty or time for this part because you can try this project with any garment; all garments and panels are constructed differently and require different amounts of technical skill to sew together.




A 15-minute process with a 45-minute wait, plus about half an hour of drying time if you use a hair dryer. Failing that, you would need to do the project in two stages and leave the fabric to dry overnight.


The back panel took me a few hours to unpick and another two hours to sew back together after dyeing.


Fancy a dip?


Unpick the back panel of your shirt, or whichever panel of whichever garment you intend to use. Don’t try to cut it – the seam allowance needs to be intact.Method2

If you’re using Dylon fabric dye, dampen your fabric, follow the mixing instructions and dip the desired areas of fabric into the dye. If you’re wondering what the silver rounded entity is in the background, it’s a plug – I mixed mine in the shower to avoid cataclysmic accidents with very scary, very permanent dye and would recommend that you do the same, hence why I left that little detail in and didn’t crop it out.

Dip the entire area(s) you want to cover into the mixture, keep stirring and prod it with a stick. I took the lighter graduating bits out after five minutes and left the remaining fabric in for a further ten, whilst still prodding, because I was told to do so in the dye instructions. And because sometimes I just like to poke things with a stick! I left it for a further 45 minutes before pouring the mixture away, bleaching the area like a woman possessed and rinsing the fabric in cool water to get rid of the excess dye.Method3Sew the shirt panels back together. Don’t worry too much about re-sewing the felled seams, as they’re a lot of hassle and I’d describe a shirt of this nature as being more of the aesthetic persuasion than of the hard-wearing variety.

Method4I finished mine off by sewing a faux leather trim across the bottom of the yoke, just to give it a rock ‘n’ roll (‘n’ you know, leathery) edge. This part is optional and very versatile. Rather add fringing or embroidered trim? Hey, it’s all good!

DIY dip sye ombre panelled plaid shirt

The Trends on Thursday: Big in Milan

Milan fashion week


Fashion’s getting real, putting comfort first and channelling a sense of practicality that ensures women wear the clothes- the clothes don’t wear them. How, then, does fashion’s glamour capital cope with a brief like that?

Thoughts outside the box flared outwards  in early 70s-style with A-line skirts and outward draping beneath a high waist at Emilio Pucci. Taking the vintage sportswear look to the, erm, max was MaxMara, with sartorial reference to the 1970 film, Garden of the Finzi-Continis and their own 1971 campaigns that starred Angelica Huston.

Another dominant silhouette was the bouquet-tied waist, an oversized, structured feature that recalled the drama of Yves Saint-Laurent and Dior’s hot pink waist bows. Bows are one among many things that can give a DIY fashion enthusiast like me a frisson, but this brilliantly edgy take could be tricky to get right and not be made to resemble a first-term art foundation year project!

If 2015 will be the season – another season – when fashion comes back down to earth with flat shoes and such like, Milan’s two cents ( with considerably higher price tags) would be the coat as a centrepiece. Sensible – for a season set to go on sale in late January! Highlights of the trend were intricately detailed efforts at Prada, as well as duster coats, deconstructed trench coats and (yet more) 70s style in the form of safari jackets at Bottega Veneta, Salvatore Ferragamo and Missoni. While we’re on the subject of appealing to that normcore lot, hair styling also forewent fussiness in favour of the humble pony tail, with wispy front tendrils that make you look as though you’ve been swept through the wind – or the wrong side of 1999 during your formative teenage years! Not that any spring 2015 shows in a fashion capital could be complete without their take on flats, so what was the order of the day in Milan? Luxurious and ornate takes on skater and pool shoes – case in point: crystal-studded pool sliders at Fausto Puglisi.

Sparkle and glamour were everywhere with brocade at Prada, appliqué and crystal-studded jeans at Dolce & Gabbana and Swarovski crystal-covered ‘daywear’ at Versace. Where else?

Another area of focus was at the thighs. Even if – like with me -they weren’t your favourite part of your body, there was something for everyone, with the dichotomy of upper-thigh exposure (with sheer-panelled skirts at Versace and Roberto Cavalli and lace at Dolce & Gabbana) and the relaxed drape of culottes, epitomised with exoticism at Gucci.

Nothing left to say, except that Barbie made an appearance at Moschino, in a return to Americana, following their fast food outings. Why not?

DIY digest – English rosette

A quick DIY with all the trimmings!

rosette shoes1 rosette shoes2


You will need…

Needle and thread

Assorted trims

Two brooches





Very easy

In the stitch-it-together-idly-in-front-of-the-TV-and-forget-you’re-even-doing-it sense. This one’s a quick, straightforward – you could say – mindless act of customising!



About half an hour.

How it’s done

Make circles out of each your trims by pinning small darts along the edge of the trim, so that it curves round, until it forms a circle. Cut it., stitch the edges together and stitch the darts in place. Stitch the trims on top of each other, with the widest circle at the bottom, to make a fabric rosette. Repeat this process a second time.

Pierce a hole for each brooch on your shoes. Attach the brooch to the rosette and through the hold on the shoe (I put mine on the strap). Repeat the process for a second time. You might also want to ad it out or cover the back of the brooch to stop it from digging in.






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!)

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