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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.

Burberry Prorsum Hand-Painted Cotton & Silk Trench

BURBERRY PRORSUM Hand-painted Sheepskin Trench Coat

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…

Pebeo setasilk fabric paints and trench coat

DIY burberry hand painted trench coat replica


NB: I used Pebeo’s liquid fabric paints from the Setasilk range.




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

DIY burberry painted trench coat replica

DIY burberry painted trench coat replica

#FBF – Halloween Special

Sweet Toof shoreditch sclater street


Street art of the east end is the first subject of my festively-themed Facebook Friend… nay, Foul Batchelor Frog… nay for it be Flashback Friday today of course, silly! I couldn’t ignore exactly where we are on the calendar today, however, I thought that rather than trawl out the obvious costume-themed fashion round-ups and spooky make-up and photography fare, I’d go maverick with some tasty. toothy tagging from street artist, Sweet Toof.

The story that sets the scene for this entry happened back in January 2008 (two whole years before the person responsible would rise to the echelons of international recognition), a time of idyllic calm when we weren’t yet in recession, dreams were dreams and it was just about considered socially acceptable to listen to emo, when I came across a striking and terrifying apparition down the east end – and no I’m not talking about those obnoxiously pretentious art urchins they call hipsters!

Sweet Toof shoreditch sclater street


Your eyes are not deceiving you if you look closely at this towering warehouse and notice a teddy bear on a cross – just one feature among this monolithic facade of ominous boarded windows, snaking ivy and artwork skirting the extremes of visual nightmare fuel.


But Mr. Toof’s aesthetic of sunken-eyed cadavers and mangled gums is not so much a paradigm of gratuitous horror as a quirky, conceptual angle on our treasured gnashers. According to an article by Jess Holland in The London Paper, Sweet Toof is quoted as saying:

“Teeth can be really sexy, or aggressive, but they’re also constant reminders of death. They’re how we get recognised by police when there’s nothing else left.”

According to an account by Olly Beck, Toof’s work resonates conceptually with the Vanitas paintings of the 16th Century – a movement highlighting the transience of life and actual meaninglessness of the material goods we hold dear in the process, which was typically signified by juxtaposing ornate items with skulls. Also, Sweet Toof’s skulls are rather close to the Mexican skull iconography about the honour and celebration of death, much like halloween is to the Mexican skullfest, Day of the Dead.
Sweet Toof shoreditch sclater street Sweet Toof shoreditch sclater streetSo, there you have it: skulls, teeth, mortality, transience, conceptual craziness, beauty of death and nature and a sugary high that sends gums into a frenzy. Perhaps this Friday flashback isn’t so off-topic, after all!




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?

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!)

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!

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.

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.







Northern bites – an Instagram special

On a recent trip up North, to the Lake District and then Glasgow, it came to me – I am at a ripe age to appreciate the wonder of technology because I remember how much life sucked without it. I don’t just mean the convenience of Google Maps, YouTube et al either, I mean the joy of seeing something so stunning you wish you had an easel and forever at your disposal to capture the fantastical beauty, not merely of the object – although that rather helped – but of the moment: a scene that can only really be described as hardcore sightseeing porn! Granted, a pocket-sized camera and colour filter apps aren’t an easel, as such, but getting the angle just right before adding the drama of a colour filter like a snapshot of your own dream-like interpretation of the subject is damn close! I’m now moved to reach for my phone every time I’m met with the frisson of beautiful sights – okay, I admit it, I have an Instagram problem!


AF treeAFF3EFXAF2AF1AF1Aira Force tea roomsAF4Keswick LC LC2 LD1 LD2 MH1 MH2 MH3 Scotmisc

As my final thought, let me leave you with a spot of DIY and upcycling inspiration: a whitewashed chandelier with knotted rope and tassels (which can also be made of rope) and a black chest of drawers covered with prints that could easily be copied using varnish and vintage-style wrapping paper.

DIY inspo

The Trends on Thursday – Bucket A-List

The bucket hat’s no flop this time!
Bucket A-list
Fashion is a fickle mistress, in too many and too obvious a set of ways to mention. So many of my nearest and dearest cite at least one article they just can’t wear, either because their body shapes are too elusive for the formulaic proportions of high street clothing or they just don’t suit them. Whether they’re trousers, short skirts or wrap dresses, these garments very soon reach the point of sartorial anathema – a nemesis the wearer can’t even imagine themselves in. The subject isn’t even up for discussion. My mum, for instance, ‘isn’t a hat person.’ Just think, what chance would such an unabashedly functional, ugly accessory as the bucket hat have of capturing the imagination of the fashion industry?
Timing is at the heart of this. The bucket hat, as a trend, is nothing new in menswear circles, nor has it been for the past two years. Pharrell’s head gear has made fashion waves among both sexes but the bucket hat’s relevance was cemented by Rihanna in her Instagrams from the World Cup final. Of late, she’s been seen cannily teaming bucket hats with elegant feminine paradigms, including scarlet lipstick, leggy hotpants and satin twinsets. Given the current women-led zeitgeist of tomboyish comfort and a 90s revival under way, when better to take a bucket hat and make it your own?
Bucket hats originated in Ireland and are part of the nation’s traditional folk costume. They were also famously worn by  Beppe Wolgers, a Swedish author and artist, in the 1970s; in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; by Alan “Reni” Wren from the Stone Roses; by  rappers in the 90s and among urban black youth in South Africa, as a sign of streetwise edge. Within a fashion context, a bucket hat over your hair – a quintessentially girlie paradigm – represents a subversive, hard-partying look, that’s cool in a devil-may-care kind of a way. It’s the next logical juncture from beanies, not to mention infinitely more comfortable in the sultry summer heat! It’s such a good look, in fact, that I was moved to dig one out and capture the moment myself – in my selfies.That point I made about uncool being the new cool? …I’ll get my coat!



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