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DIY of the Dacade – how to make your own Laurence Dacade-inspired embroidered boots

I’ll publish the tutorial in full soon but just to keep you up to date on the things I’ve got up to – in a way that doesn’t involve vapid numeric brags about my recent gym performance – I thought I’d share some pictures of my Laurence Dacade-inspired suedette boots with floral embroidery; rather than subject myself to hours of painstaking labour, I attached some embroidered fabric, using fusible fabric glue and hand-stitching along the edges.

Embroidered fabric

DIY Merli floral-embroidered boots DIY Merli floral-embroidered  boots DIY Merli floral-embroidered boots

 

Diy embroidered boots modelled

 

Haute Fluff – How to DIY a Shrimps faux fur jacket

Faux fur is more than just a bit of fluff this season.

Although an early 2014 street style staple, Shrimps’ statement stripy fur jackets are still riding high with the faux fur trend. The label’s distinctive stripes are a sure-fire statement piece for brightening up any outfit in the winter gloom – and every bit as easy to DIY.

Shrimps 'Dulcie' faux fur coat


 

You will need…

Jacket and fabric

 

Sourcing tip: Shop around on eBay for the best deals on faux fur coats and comb your local flea market for the fur.

NB: You can also use fabric glue if you’re not keen to get messy.

 

Difficulty

difficulty01

Very easy

Measuring and  cutting in straight lines is the biggest challenge you’re likely to come across here and while they’re not quite as easy to get perfect as they look, they don’t require any skill, just a steady hand.

Time

A few hours, at most.

 

Fancy a shag?

Method1

Use your patternmaster to measure a parallel line 4cm from the edge of your jacket and cut the fur along the line with your scissors. Measure and cut a line 2cm above the previous one and trim down the fur between the two lines as far as you can. Repeat the process by making a line 2cm wide and 3cm above the last one.

Cut two flat lines with the same spacing and width starting 4cm from the cuffs. The flat lines should look something like these: Method2

Measure the circumference of your cuffs and the hem of your jacket. Cut four pieces for the cuffs and two for the hem; each piece should be long enough to cover the relevant circumference and 2cm wide.
Method3

Measure the circumference of your cuffs and the hem of your jacket. Cut four pieces for the cuffs and two for the hem; each piece should be long enough to cover the relevant circumference and 2cm wide.

 

Glue the faux fur pieces inslde the flat, trimmed areas.

DIY Shrimps jacket

 

DIY Shrimps jacket

#TBT – A Festive Return

Now that Christmas is nearly two weeks in the past (perchance a lifetime, in real terms, as far as evangelists of the new year detox regime would have us think) I thought I’d share my experience visually in flashback form. Technically, anything in the past qualifies for casual celebratory flashback material, doesn’t it, even if it’s not quite the timeframe that, say, James Laver might deem noteworthy? For this entry, I will take an affirmative view of that statement to recall the tranquil, indulgent idyll of the two weeks spent at my parents’ house in Kenilworth – a place I like to call the vintage pearl of the English Midlands, with its opulently historical architecture and centuries-old landmarks – surely that’s a throwback of sorts?

#TBT – Lace and lashes

Only catwalk models need appliqué?

Lace and lashes

My search for festive styling inspiration left me bitten by the millennium bug of Lancome’s Instinct fragrance campaign from way back in 2000 (yes, I’m aware that through those few words I’ve just shown my age, but hopefully I’ve done so gracefully).

Devilishly dramatic was the order of this upcoming festive season, so far as I was concerned. You might have noticed from certain other recent posts that I’m all for a little experimenting with fabric appliqué on makeup and when it’s so easy with eyelash glue, why not?

I wanted something quirky but kept to a single fabric and a limited colour palette, to avoid detraction from the outfit in question, or onlookers uttering words to the effect of “Yes, Black Swan was a great film but Halloween was over a month ago!” Fabric makeup appliqué made a brief appearance in the intervening 14 years since my inspiration, in Chanel’s spring 2013 shows, again, with a monochrome colour scheme and delicate application of mesh.

Difficulty

difficulty01

Very easy

 

Time

About 20 minutes.

DIY fabric appliqué makeup

Eylure false eyelash
£2.42 – asos.com

Urban decay eyeshadow
£13 – beauty.com

I started with a cheeky lick of eyeliner along the eyelids and some generously-applied mascara. I then covered my eyelids and inside of my eye sockets with a frame of black eye shadow. I used a brush to smudge the eye shadow slightly in the outside corners. Finally, I added a thin sliver of silver eye shadow to my eyelids to add definition (mind screw of a sentence, notwithstanding) and made the brave step of applying the lace along my eyebrows with eyelash glue. Incidentally, if you’re wondering how such a thing is removed without an unintentionally botched eyebrow wax, I’d definitely recommend using cleanser or an equivalent for dissolving the glue first.

tbt4

Rimmel lipstick
nelly.com

Use the darkest dark purple lip liner you can find for the outline and slick some pink liner along the inside of your lower lip, then, add a deep berry or plum and cover your lips with clear gloss. You can also use liquid eye liner to add the beauty spot if it’s the real McCoy you’re going for. Dust the underside of your cheekbones with a rose blusher.

DIY fabric appliqué makeup DIY fabric appliqué makeup

Cyber Monday chic

what I wore cyber mondayFor those of you who were expecting some kind of merchandise sale or giveaway for when this inevitably pops up on my various social media pages, begging your pardons I remain. It just seemed fitting – and perchance fate – that on a day when I decided to debut yesterday’s space age-style iridescent top with my saucer-like leather peter pan collar and geometric black appliqué jeans (not pictured) it turned out to be on a day they call Cyber Monday. By ‘they’ I don’t just mean our dear friends from across the pond but a great number of us, albeit in aid of a sequence of events we borrowed from there. I speak, of course, of Thanksgiving and the infamous Black Friday. Regarding the former, if I were to steal any event from another country, it would probably be the Vietnamese Moon Festival, especially if it’s adopted in the usual superficial aesthetic and culinary style we’re known to love – it’s pretty! As for the latter, forgive the lack of imagination but it’s Black Friday, with its hypocritical premise and obscene savagery of jostling for clearance-standard goods  that should have stayed well and truly put, whatever its commercial or (perish the thought) cultural potential here.

Cyber Monday makes substantially more sense. Accomplishing as much shopping – particularly gift shopping – as is humanly possible in the Zen calm of your lounge or bedroom is infinitely more advisable for your sanity and mental wellbeing. You get a full ten square feet to yourself, it’s quiet, it’s clean (well, you know what I mean), you’re not actively tussling with anyone for the item you’ve set your heart on and the biggest stress you’re likely to encounter is remembering usernames and passwords. It contrasts brilliantly with the claustrophobic pressure cooker presented by its real-world equivalent. Streets and shopping centres are like mosh pits but without the live music, and with frazzled throngs in place of enthusiastic fan camaraderie. It’s the antiquated strain (NB: operative word) of shopping where you race against the clock in a collision course of pavement parkour around slow-moving pavement blockers and toddlers who insist, to the chagrin of their exasperated mothers, on straddling footpaths twice their size, eyes too transfixed by the window displays to notice the snarl-up of raging pedestrians in their wake.

Yes, I know Black Friday sales can take place online but, just to clear up any discrepancies in my observation to all pedants, the pleasure of Cyber Monday sales is hinted in the title. So, please, seek bargains in a distraction-free room, through a medium where you can read spec in full and scan for rip-off potential before buying.

Just to wrap this up and salvage it from the diaristic, off-topic rant that it has become, my love of all things cyber has been expressed and I fancy I have dressed aptly for the occasion. Hopefully, you’d agree.

IMG_20141217_210547~2

Iri-decent – how to DIY a basic holographic panelled top

Holographics got a whole lot more graphic.

Milly Iridescent Leather Front Knitted Sweater


I could have sworn that the iridescent trend that we knew so well last year is having not so much a revival but a reincarnation in accent pieces and aquatic hues. Vogue maintain that it’s manifesting itself in “gasoline rainbow” form with sequins and graduating glitter. Perhaps this extra colour dimension, in itself, came to me as a vision of our next stop in the ever-directional journey of fashion. Either way, I thought I’d spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon on an adaptable, easy-to-make interpretation of the trend, like the panelled Milly jumper in the picture.

You will need…

DIY tools, craft materials* I used Cosmic Shimmer Film Autumn Bronze by Creative Expressions, which I bought through an eBay vendor. You can also buy some here. I would also recommend Peacock Blue Shimmer Film for a similar tone and effect.

Not pictured

Metallic lamé fabric (I used gold)

Pins

Paper scissors

Fabric scissors

Sewing machine (optional – this is a quick, no-sew tutorial)

Difficulty

difficulty01

Very easy

I genuinely can’t think of anything remotely taxing about this tutorial, save for a reasonable eye for detail – specifically symmetry, although even then you could use a ruler or setsquare.

Time

An hour, or possibly an hour-and-a-half if you’re sewing (which I actually did but I’m very easily distracted when it comes to timekeeping.

Holo-glam it up

 Method1Use some paper to make a pattern piece for the area you want to cover with holographic material, ensuring you fit it properly along the edge of the neck.
 Method2

Cut the shape out in bondaweb and pin the film to the matte-textured side (not the paper-covered one).
 Method3 Then, place the paper pattern piece on top of the film, so that it is protected from the metal plating of the iron. Iron the three layers on a medium heat.  Method4

Peel the paper backing off the bondaweb, place the film on the lamé and cover the film with paper for protection. Iron it down on a medium heat, as before.
 Method5

Cut the film-covered shape out of lamé and attach bondaweb to the back of the fabric, as before, with the non-paper-covered side facing the material. Peel away the paper and iron it onto the black top. You can stitch around the edges with a sewing machine to help it stick better but this part is optional. That said, I would recommend doing it, as this would mmake it more hard-wearing, especially when it gets washed.

The top

DIY Milly holographic sweater replica

 

The Trends on Wednesday – leather heads

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DIY Fendi leather corsage and makeup

DIY Fendi leather corsage and makeup

DIY Fendi leather corsage and makeup

 

My animalistic urges to emulate Fendi fashion have taken me from cuddly monster fur to leather, in this instance, adding a rebellious edge to the delicate beauty of the hibiscus flower. Flowers have always been worn to denote a quintessentially feminine elegance and sensitivity. Their sweet scent, individual beauty and fragility made slipping them into hair a form of wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve, denoting different moods through the paradigms of different flowers (for instance, jasmine for sensuality and a spider flower to say “run away with me!”). Also, in Hawaii and the south Pacific, the positioning of the hibiscus flower is used to denote relationship status (‘taken’ when worn on the left and single when worn on the right. Instagram pictures always come out in reverse and I’m saying nothing).

My Cleopatra-eyed take on Fendi’s leather eyelid strips, coupled with the Hawaiian side-flower styling with my DIY hair slide was, in part down to the fact that my hair’s too short to wear in a loose ponytail but more so to do with associations. The vibrant colours of the corsage reminded me of the exoticism of Paul Gauguin’s Tahitian paintings, while the drama of the leather streaks, which are dead easy to apply with a generous slathering of eyelash glue, harked back to the tour-de-force make-up artistry of Pat McGrath, especially at John Galliano’s shows. Adding drama with fabric and glue is a surprisingly easy trick and a must for standing out in any crowd.

Flowers are always on trend yet always in flux in terms of interpretations, whether they’re dark oversized or acid bright. I suppose I’d be expected to make some sort of profound and witty observation about the juxtaposition of ‘girly’ flowers in hair conveyed in a typically ‘tough fabric: leather. To be honest, it’s a bit late at night for that so I’m going to be simple in my interpretation and see it as striking a balance of feminine elegance in strong leather fabric, packing an equally dramatic punch  – or maybe just a fun-loving personality – in the vibrant colour scheme. Think of it: beautiful and feminine, but not timid or fragile; strong and bold, without brashness or aggression. How very feminist – how very now.

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.

Difficulty

difficulty02

Easy

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.

Time

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.
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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

Pins

Tailor’s chalk

Difficulty

difficulty02

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.

Time

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

 

 

Trending on tweed

Method1

 

 

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.

Method4

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

 

 

 

 

 

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