About Charley Helfet

I'm the sole writer of Chic Cheat - and, I like to think, a creative soul at that - comfortably fulfilling the job of fashion writer and creative problem solver in one outing. I'll attempt to recreate anything I fancy that comes my way, and it's that sense of empowerment that definitely makes the DIY fashion lark worthwhile. Alongside working full time, replicating high fashion items in my spare time and general executive functioning that typically gets one through the day, I like rock music, cycling, playing computer games, overdoing things at my local gym and dressing up at any justifiable opportunity (and some not-so-justifiable)...well, a girl's got to put her craft to good use, hasn't she?

The Trends on Wednesday: Crafty for Coachella

With Coachella already upon us and the main festival season on the horizon it’s time to sort out that all-important festival wardrobe. I’ve put together a set of four easy-to-DIY festival outfits with some quick hints on how to make them.

Rock ‘n’ roll


  • Appliqué or embroider some flowers onto a checked shirt.
  • Plait some ribbons or embroidery thread (full thickness) and attach them to sunglasses.
  • Cut off some jeans; turn the hems up and sew them in place; cut out some hearts from the remaining denim and fray the edges and sew the hearts down.
  • Cut out some gunmetal leather or faux leather stars and glue them onto some boots. If you’re feeling adventurous, cut stars straight onto the boots and stick gunmetal material underneath.

Bohemian beauty  


  • Take in a tunic, midi or maxi dress by sewing 1″-wide bias binding across the waist or empire line, or parallel to the hem, stitching as close to the edge as possible and threading some cord inside it to create a drawstring.
  • Sew some multicolour or aztec patterned trims onto a cross-body bag.
  • Customise some flip flops with a scarf.

Casual daytime

  • Use or create some fringing for a classic festival look.
  • Cut off and bleach a pair of jeans.
  • Customise sandals with eyelet detailing.

Evening glamour



  • Paint sunglasses with purple nail polish.
  • Craft an arrow ring out of wire.
  • Cover soft shoes in silver studs.
  • Flick white paint on black jeans.
  • Paint star and flame shapes with glue and sprinkle silver glitter or rhinestones onto it.

Girl with the Pop Art Earring – How make an earring holder by upcycling a photo frame

You will need

DIY tools

NB: Make absolutely sure the gauze sheet is bigger than the photo frame – check sizes against each other or dimensions online. I didn’t and lived to regret it.


difficulty01Very easy

One of the easiest, least time consuming projects to date – happy days!



About an hour. Mine took longer, due to technical difficulties (more on that later) but they’re easily avoidable.


Ear(ring) we go…



Staple the gauze to the back of the frame. Staple along the sides and close to the inside edge, so that they are ‘sealed’ without any gaping holes.

Once again, it is imperative that the gauze sheet is bigger than the frame – you might need to overbuy size-wise. Mine wasn’t and I had to use some filler along the edges, which proved time-consuming and compromised the overall design.



Staple the picture hanging wire securely in the middle of the top of the frame – unless, of course, your frame already has one, in which case you don’t have to worry your pretty head about this stage!

DIY earring holder photo frame


Tonight we’re drizzling from the bottle! Get as many colours of nail polish as you can (I never get round to wearing mine so I had several colours left over from the past few years – I literally had a lot to work with!)  and pour them in wavy linear lines all over the frame.

earring holder earring holder2Upcycling – it’s the Pollocks!



The Trends on Wednesday: Flat Haute


As I’ve stated in a previous post, when I heard that poolside glamour was going to be the signature look of the summer, clumpy pool slides were the last thing to cross my mind. How uncanny, then, that Céline’s shoe-du-jour is exactly that, albeit in finest patent leather, python and crepe fabric. Trainers are keeping in with the theme of comfort but in a way that’s far removed from the modesty of normcore; they’re embellished, metallic panelled and patched in multicolour tweeds. Be inspired, be very inspired.

Take a bow – How to DIY a headband in the style of Christian Louboutin

I made a headband with a painterly floral style inspired by Christian Louboutin’s Loubibow flower clutch.

I have loads of bags and thought I’d do something different with the Christian Louboutin’s painterly take on florals.

For my headband you will need…


NB: If you’re not making the headband, why not try making a satin bow for a matching satin-covered clutch. If you can’t find a match, try covering your bag in fabric, using Craftmount, first.


For the paint effects


Pretty easy

It’s technique-led but generally straightforward and quick.

For the headband/ bow


Satin can be difficult and painstaking to work with, as it’s so slippery, so I’d call it moderately challenging.


3-4 hours – you could probably complete the project in an evening.

 A bow in bloom


Cut four pieces of satin, measuring 40cm in length using the following pattern:


Take two pieces and pin them together with the right sides (the shiny ones) facing each other and the wrong sides (the matte ones) facing outwards. Sew all of the sides together – with the stitches 1cm from the edge – apart from the narrow ones at the tip.

Cut away some (not all) of the excess fabric around the stitching with one layer slightly wider than the other, forming a ‘step’ effect.

Method2Turn the piece inside out and press it so that the stitching is along the edge and the fabric around it is flush. Turn the non-stitched edges inside by 1cm and press them flat.

Repeat the process with the remaining two pieces of satin.


Cut out the elastic section of the headband and feed the tips inside the non-stitched edges of the two pieces. Top stitch them as close to the edge as possible.

If you’re making the bow for a bag, now would be the time to attach the pieces to the flap or front.


Now for the paint effects! I used two techniques for this; the first one involves dipping your paintbrush in silk paint, dabbing it with a tissue so that it’s dry but the paint is still intact and flicking it in a quick streak so that it tapers off.output_QHZZIz (1)

 The other technique involves allowing your brush to get a bit dirty by using numerous colours or not completely cleaning them away before adding more paint. This allows different coloured paint to build up along the bristles. Use the whole length of the bristles, place them flat on the fabric and roll the brush to help them blend.



DIY Christian Louboutin floral style headband

DIY Christian Louboutin style floral headband


The Trends on Wednesday: Phe-norm-enon

“You’re not going out in that – it’s too formal! You look like you’re going to a party! People will be dressed casually in shorts and t-shirts. It’ll be completely inappropriate for what we’re going to be doing. Put on something snug and practical.” That baying imperative left my mum’s mouth throughout my teenagehood – a time spent in the glare of late 90s girl band glamour – and on many an occasion over the past decade, as I battled her sartorial sanctions. Maybe I should be sorry, because maybe – just maybe – my mother was at the forefront of avant garde fashion forecasting, with insight so cutting edge it was decades ahead of its time. Yes, fast forward 15 years (or just skip the track – duh! More on technology later) and it’s purists’ practicality that the cool kids are wearing, or normcore as it is currently known.
Fashion has ventured beyond the obnoxious ‘irony’ of the hipster look to outright avoidance of fashion’s standard fare: commercialised branding, transient fads and conventional glamour. Key pieces for the summer include Céline’s skater shoes, Prada’s crystal hiking sandals, unfitted jeans and tracksuit bottoms, grey marled sweatshirts and ‘ugly’ pool shoes (perchance bringing new meaning to the term, ‘poolside glamour’). Some see it as a shift of paradigm from binding, ornamental sufferance for one’s style to comfort: a slow-burning zeitgeist reacting against years of impractical, constrictive opulence. Richard Nicoll, a designer with a penchant for relaxed-fitting, timeless staples said: “fashion in the last five to 10 years has been quite shouty and bold. It’s an old-fashioned idea that aesthetics matter above comfort. It’s outdated.” Within that timeframe – one which began with the ‘fierce’ look of binding bandage dresses at Christopher Kane, hazardous, tottering heels and short bodycon dresses at Burberry and Balmain that groaned under the weight of rhinestones – the world caught up with the elusive glamour of the privileged few, with reality TV shows trailblazing their take on catwalk fashion and reworking desirable looks through face-contouring makeup and immaculately tonged hair. The elusive became ubiquitous, so fascination turned to the ‘off duty’ aesthetic on celebrities. This new approach is echoed by designers. in their mission to make the wearer feel good because the clothes are good to wear. If you consider the Mary Quant quote: “The fashionable woman wears clothes. The clothes don’t wear her,” perhaps it’s not such a new idea, after all. By the same token, it’s not thought to be the end of an era for ostentation either. Be prepared for the pendulum to swing back towards binding, tottering glamour over the next five years!
Maybe a shift back to flamboyance wouldn’t be so bad in the long term. Since the bland, anti-style ethos of normcore begun in the summer of 2013, it’s seen its share of controversy and disapproval. The concept of embracing sameness as a way of looking cool, rather than striving for individuality was born in a world of frenetic technology and communication. Everything is so easy to find, research and publish via the internet, that “everyone is a researcher now” according to Natasha Stagg, the Online Editor of V Magazine. Trends and cycles happen so fast that the concept of staying current is no longer possible or existent. It is for this reason that trend forecasting collective, K-HOLE identify normcore by conceptual rather than aesthetic means – as co-founder Emily Segal asserts, “it’s not about being simple or forfeiting individuality to become a bland, uniform mass, (rather, it’s about) seeing (recognisability) as an opportunity for connection, instead of evidence that your identity has dissolved.”
It is a salient point that the normcore mentality offers a means of sartorial discourse instead of individualistic flamboyance. I’d rather not have to forfeit any of the artistic expression in my dress sense simply to not look sad and old hat – apparently, neither would Grayson Perry.To quote Henry Van Dyke: ”Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.” The same principle applies, surely, with sartorial expression. Where the normcore mentality might just be right, however, is that fashion, like any art form, is read and decoded as a set of signs. If we are to take the reins of communication and break new ground, perhaps it should be done, not with what we want to say in mind but how we know people are going to read it and where we fit within the wider discourse of fashion. It ain’t what we say, it’s what the world says it is. Face it, you’re unique – just like everyone else!

My DIY Stella McCartney black lipstick intarsia jumper

Image: neimanmarcus.com

Image: neimanmarcus.com


DIY Stella McCartney Black Intarsia lipstick sweater

My birthday celebrations (plural intended – the Queen has nothing on me!) ended with a leisurely weekend on the south coast. So, did that mean I was going to slack off with blog projects? Why, heavens, no! I used some spare time over the previous week crocheting a DIY Stella McCartney black intarsia lipstick jumper with the exact same method as this project  that you might remember – only working from a different design, obviously! I mixed it up with a few more projects of old to create a bold red statement and now you lucky things get to see the results!

DIY Stella McCartney black intarsia lipstick sweater DIY Stella McCartney black intarsia lipstick sweater

The Trends on Thursday: Of Corsage

Paris fashion’s been petal-pushing at the autumn 2014 shows!


Missing the 90s? How adorably 2012! This week, the rose-tinted spectacles of retrospective worship looked to 1984 as the Breakfast Club reached its 30th birthday (according to when it was set). Numerous films from that year have recently received  viral internet attention and lit up the Twittersphere with affectionate, wistful reminiscing – or ‘nostalgia porn’ as said throwbacks are known (a phrase I so wish James Laver could hear; I like to think he’s laughing from above, below or wherever one actually goes after transgressing the boundaries of death).

Despite being too young to remember the year first-hand, my historian curiosities have given me the urge to dig out a ra-ra skirt and rollerskates as readily as the next person. However, there was thankfully more to the 80s than rubik cubes, power dressing and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. The decade that style forgot? Have you forgotten the New Romantics? Or, have you even heard of the French Revolution-inspired Les Incroyables graduate fashion show that launched the career of John Galliano in – yes, you guessed it – 1984? You see, in a previous life, the bigoted controversial fashion designer was revered as the most creative genius of his generation and Les Incroyables as a show that reinvented the art of historical fashion. Rather than merely copying it, Les Incroyables reworked the French Revolution dress it referenced with extreme proportions and contemporary New Romantic touches. I mention the extreme proportions because at this point you’re probably – justifiably – wondering what this has all got to do with flowers.

What makes the flowers of autumn 2014 stand out from corsages of every other year, generation or trend incarnation? Proportion, once again, appeared to play a role with larger-than-life lilies at Dries Van Noten, alongside a vibrant colour scheme that was reminiscent of the recent tropical floral trend. It could also be applied to Lanvin’s radiant oversized petal necklaces. Céline gave us a minimalist interpretation with calla lilies.

Oversized corsages are the DIY trend to watch. What would you make of it all?

Hand haute – How to DIY a Vivetta White Rachelle Hands Shirt

Get a surreal deal with this Elsa Schiaparelli-style shirt refashion!

Image: Style.com via Avenue 32

Image: Style.com via Avenue 32

You will need…

Craft tools

It also helps to have a fine-tipped pen, pencil or tailor’s chalk to trace out the hand design onto your collar.

I will be using a template for the hand design, so you might find it helpful to print the shape out, but a printer is completely optional (and has to be worth the sanity it typically costs you, in my experience!).




Nothing struck me as particularly challenging for this one but, as always, care and love are needed for best results.


About 2 hours.

Hand it over!

collar hand template

Pin the pattern paper to the collar of your shirt and trace the edges, so that you know what size to make your hand template.

Copy or print out the above hand design and trace it onto your pattern paper to fit the collar outline you have drawn. Make sure the thumb, index and middle fingertips touch the edges of the collar outline – it’s even better if you can get the other tips to fit the collar shape but all collars are different!

Method1Cut out your template and trace the hand design onto each side of the collar. You will have to turn your paper over when you change sides, in order to get the design symmetrical.

Cut out the hand design and cut away the edge of the collar along the middle, so that the new edges are raw, with no top stitching.


Paint black ‘nails’ onto each finger on the top layer and leave them to dry. You should be left with two layers of fabric along the collar – both of which are cut into the hand design. Iron interfacing onto the inside areas (the ‘wrong’ sides) of the two layers.


Cut away the excess interfacing and top stitch the two layers together about 1mm from the edges, or as close to them as possible.

Tip: It helps to use glue to hold the layers together while you sew them. Make sure your glue’s fairly dry and not slimy, like gemstone glue. I used craft mount.

DIY Vivetta White Rachelle Hands ShirtMy shirt was short-sleeved, so I added some broderie anglaise trim (2012′s finest!) along the cuffs.

DIY Vivetta White Rachelle Hands Shirt collar detail

DIY Vivetta White Rachelle Hands Shirt

You couldn’t make it up!

It was my birthday today, and quite a momentous one at that; I turned 30! I decided to celebrate with a throwback tribute to my birth year, 1984. I, sadly, lack the requisite bravery to feature shellsuits in my selfies; I like my hair short and straight, thank you very much; ra-ra skirts do nothing for my short, bottom-heavy frame; shoulder pads terrify me to this day (but then I think that was part of the plan) and frankly the less said about leotards and leg-warmers donned outside a performing arts studio the better! Rainbow coloured, mermaid-esque makeup, however, was perfect for a post-celebration selfie session. I decided to have some fun, and so here are the results:2014-03-19_22.47.11~2 2014-03-19_22.48.50~2 2014-03-19_22.50.25~2 2014-03-19_22.53.28~2 2014-03-19_22.54.35~2 2014-03-19_22.54.54~2 2014-03-19_22.57.24~2 2014-03-19_22.59.18~2 2014-03-19_23.07.01~2