Friday, 28 December 2012

20 minute headbands

Ok, last DIY of 2012. A discreetly bejeweled headband so quick and simple it can be made over a lunch break and be ready in time for any glitzy New Years parties. And it can be made with scrap bits and pieces you likely have around the house. The best part is that you can vary this DIY so much to create your own look, by using whichever trims/ribbons and costume jewel pieces you have laying around or like the look of.


  • Ribbon - I like black velvet for its simple elegance, but the possibilities for variety of this DIY start here
  • Some old or thrifted necklaces
  • Hair elastics - elastics anything will work, I just didn't have anything else around
  • Needle and thread
  • Possibly some pliers to remove any necklace ends that don't look too great

Measure how much ribbon is needly by simply wrapping it around your head, and remove a couple of cm for the elastic stretched out.

Lay out the necklace over the ribbon and sew in place. Glueing works, but sewing will look better and spare you the headache of removing/hiding smeared glue.

Sew the ends of the ribbon around the hair elastic and that's it.  

If you are planning on using them as headbands in 1920s style, you might not want elastics showing. So simply leave the ribbon ends long and you can tie into a pretty bow.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Dolce & Gabbana inspired gold trim cape

Before this year is over and it's out with the old and in with SS13 inspiration I wanted to show you this cape inspired by the Dolce & Gabbana Autumn/Winter 12 collection. It's the perfect cover over neat cocktail dresses to and fro the season's festive soirees. And it couldn't be easier to make.

Before and after. A little detail makes a big difference.

I love everything about the D&G collection; the detail, decadence, opulence of it...amazing!  And the gold on black baroque pieces were my absolute favourites.

So when I found a heavy, thick, pure lambswool black cape in a charity shop for next to nothing it was clear what its destiny was to become.


  • Black cape. If you don't have one, so easy to make one, a great tutorial here.
  • Gold trim
  • Black velvet trim
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Not pictured: sewing machine/needle & thread

Step 1. Pin, then sew the gold trim in place wherever you think it would look great. I chose just above the hem at the back.

To cover up the stitches and add a little elegant detail, pin and sew the velvet trim over the top of the gold trim.

And that's it!

As I was rummaging through my wardrobe looking for an outfit to go with the cape my inspiration deviated from Dolce & Gabbana's baroque and towards F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.

If I was going to a New Years party this year this is what I'd wear: black silk dress, heels with DIY gold details, a DIY hairband with gold details (tutorial coming up later in week), and for outdoors this cape. But alas I work. 

Unfortunately the DIY heels are pre-The Peppermint Store, but if you want to make something like them the web is packed with great tutorials. You can find a superb one at my DIY bible, here

Ciao for now!

Rose necklace makeover

I haven't been feeling my very best over the last few days and what better to do when stuck in bed recovering than the tedious task of sorting, cropping, editing photos.

Right, so now that all the photos are edited, I'll be posting a whole three DIYs this week. Starting with the very easiest, a necklace makeover.

So I'm all about colour in summer and shades of gray and black in winter. Therefore I rely heavily on accessories for happy bursts of colour.

I got the below costume jewellery pendant from my mom. I loved the shape, but it felt a bit boring.

So it became forgotten about until I was cleaning my little atelier and was flicking through some recent magazines, getting ready to throw them out. Came upon this page, something about purple being trendy this AW. I love some plum shades, so perfect!

Supplies couldn't be easier. Nail polish and a pendant. I'm sure any hobby paint would work too, but you know my love for nail polish by now.

The nail polish looks red, but two coats of that and you've got the most amazing plum colour.

Paint. Leave to dry. Repeat. Wear.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Sun dress to round off the summer

Hey everybody!

I owe you an apology, for disappearing without a trace for almost two months. I have been away, and prior to that preoccupied with planning to go away, and then after settling back into daily life. This year I have longed so badly for some hot weather and no alarm in the morning that my life for 1.5 months has revolved around this. So worth it, I had a great holiday, have lots of new energy and am ready to put on my most autumnal knitwear and plan some DIYs.

But first a DIY to round off the summer. Maybe somewhere it's still warm enough to be wearing sundresses. :)

I saw this sundress in a charity shop and absolutely fell for it. I love the amazing fruity colours, the light cotton fabric and the dip dye at the bottom. But the style was a bit boring. Oh, and it was a UK size 16 (Europe 44, US 14 to give you an idea).

So I deconstructed it to made the upper part a bit more form fitting, keep lots of fabric in the bottom part for a really full skirt, add something going on at the back, and finally add a little dipped hem effect.


  • Sundress
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Measuring tape
  • Seam ripper
  • Sewing machine (or needle and thread, but for this project that make take a while)

Using the method of your choice - scissors or seam ripper, separate the bodice and skirt.

Lay the bodice out flat, add a few pins so the fabric stays in place and mark how much fabric you want to remove (I did it by guessing, a better idea idea might be to lay out a top that fits like you like over and use it to measure).

Sew along your markings and cut off the excess fabric.

I wanted an open back in a V shape, so I cut open the back and made the two sides symmetrically diagonal.

If you dress has the same top as mine, before folding in about 1.5 cm of the edges and sewing in place, make sure to open up the fabric of the 'canal' that the string you use to tie goes through (wow, I absolutely have no vocabulary to describe this part of a garment) so you don't accidentally sew it shut and can't put the string through.

Next, the skirt part. I wanted to keep all the fabric to make it a really full skirt, but I wanted to lose some length in the front. However, I didn't want to touch the bottom of the skirt and lose any of the dip dye. easy way to make this dipped hem without removing any fabric at the bottom is to lay your skirt flat, bring up the top layer of the fabric until you've achieved the front length you want and then cut the top of the top fabric layer using the top of the bottom layer as the layout.

The bottom pic shows how the top of the skirt should look (well, ideally a bit more even) when the bottoms of the two layers are again aligned.

Sew together the top and bottom part (you will probably have to ruffle the skirt to make it fit with the bodice) and you are all done!

Ok, I admit that this probably wasn't my shortest DIY, even I'm tired after writing this post.

Regardless, hope you enjoy and see you for an autumnal post soon! :)

All photos of completed dress by Josh.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Floral applications skirt

I'm a sucker for printed fabrics, especially florals, so needless to say, I love spring and summer (aside from it also being warm, sunny and generally awesome). What I really liked about this seasons' collections is that the florals are three dimensional. It creates such an interesting texture and is so easy to take inspiration from for a DIY. Embroidery, applications, beading..the choice of techniques makes it such a versatile inspiration source.

I went with washed out jerseys.

You know those jersey items we all probably have, those that are so worn and washed so many times they’ve long ago started to look sad, but also so comfy it’s impossible to get rid of them. In my case this included a couple of T-shirts that have lost most of their color (and all of their fit) and a skirt with too many moth holes in it. Embarrassing. But also so comfortable.

The inspiration:

I wasn't really sure how to do this, whether to make rosettes out of scrap fabric or to buy ribbons, but then I remembered this awesome T-shirt dress on one of my favorite blogs and borrowed the idea for how to create applications.

This is what you will need:
  • An old skirt
  • Some T-shirts
  • Optional: other fabrics for different textures (I had some scrap silk fabric from an upcoming project)
  • Scissors
  • Needle and thread
  • A film to watch because if you hand sew, it will take you a while

Cut your T shirts and fabrics into strips.

Form fabric strips into flowers (I tried to twist and turn to make rosettes, but ended up with spirally piles of fabric -ah well, this project is forgiving), pin in place and hand sew. Do a symmetric pattern or do it randomly, it will look great whichever way, I'm sure.

Photos of finished skirt by the bf (you can probably tell, because my behind is in focus..sorry about that!).

Monday, 16 July 2012

Jungle inspired straw clutch

Happy Monday everybody!

Hope everybody's week is off to a good start! I struggled with Monday tiredness all day until like... actually, I probably will until the weekend. (The weekend really should be upgraded to 3 days.)

So I figured screw it, I'm going to be superproductive anyway and stop neglecting this blog. In fact, I have been neglecting this blog so much that to make up to you I have a whole two fashion inspired tutorials planned for this week. Awesome, no? ;)

The first one...remember this inspo post? Well, even before I saw the Anya Hindmarch clutch I have been pondering what to do with a straw clutch I got as a freebie in 2009 in The Body Shop and haven't used since...2009. I liked the shape and size of it, but thought it looked a bit plastic. The Ipanema clutch and its needle work and beads on straw clearly was the inspiration I needed.

This is what I came up with. The bf thinks the beading looks like eyes. I can live with that.

  • Straw clutch - if you cant find one, get a straw place mat, fold over, sew or glue in place and you've got one
  • Embroidery thread
  • Some beads
  • Some decorative ribbon
  • Bias binding, or a bit of fabric to make some
  • Scissors, needle, glue if you must

My clutch had to be stripped of its tacky, plastic white trimming. Ripping ugly details off is surprisingly satisfying.

Make your bias binding. Sew it around the edges of the clutch. I used thick embroidery thread, because I like the look of the big stitches.

Add some nice trimming. I recommend hand-sewing, but if you are the type who doesn't mind glue, go for it! You'll save yourself time and a lot of needle stabbing into fingers.

Finish with some beading. I added two golden buttons for closing, and I simply use a hair elastic wrapped around the two buttons to keep the clutch closed. Easy and practical if you, like me, always have a few hair bands around your wrist.

Maybe not an afternoon project, but great for a rainy Sunday!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Tie dye jeans

Good morning everybody!

Last night I installed a new blogger template, created and freely distributed by the lovely Katrina at Pugly Pixel. The header is temporary, but I'm loving the simplicity with bursts of candy pink.

Hopefully this new look will be the start of regular and better posting. To emphasise this intention, here are some DIY tie dye jeans!

Remember this post? Tie dye has been on my mind for a while, and as I was born about a decade too late I've never had the opportunity to test out this fun method. So first tie dye attempt...well, the results were so so as I did just about everything wrong. So with the instructions on how to do this, I'll also provide a set of instructions of what NOT to do.

First things first though. Gather your supplies:
  • White jeans (or dark if you want to tie dye with bleach instead of dye. If you go for dye, remember to use a natural material such as cotton, as the dye won't work on polyester)
  • Dye (or bleach if using dark jeans)
  • Rubber bands
  • Some gloves
  • Not pictured: a container - don't use your sink unless it's stainless steel, as the dye stains

  1. Start pinching off sections of your jeans using the rubber bands.
  2. Keep going.
  3. And some more.
  4. When you've tied to your heart's content, prepare the dye using the instructions on the packet, plop in your jeans bundle and follow the instructions on the dye packet.
What NOT to do:
  1. DON'T buy gloves and ignore to use. Zombie like grey skin doesn't look good on anybody.
  2. DON'T fall asleep in the sun while your jeans soak in the dye about 3 times as long as they are supposed to.
  3. If you do the above, DON'T panic when you remember your jeans and realise they have gone way darker than you wanted.
  4. And finally...if you do panic, DON'T throw the jeans into the washing machine on 60 degrees C for 2.5 h. Mine took on a slightly green colour after this.
Other than that, this is so easy!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

More nail polish - painted bangle

I started this blog on the theme of nail polish, and I can assure you that this is something you will see a lot of. There is just so much you can do with nail polish. You'll see... ;)

The story behind today's post: When it's summer (even if it is grey and wet and miserable) I want to dress like a rainbow. It's all colours, colours, colours! So when I saw a bunch of bright bangles for £1.50 at a new fav charity shop, I couldn’t resist. However, one of these is plain, so plain, just a gold-colored bangle. As I'm still holding out hope for tanned arms eventually the next couple of months, a DIY was necessary.

There are loads of possibilities of how to do this. I decided to go for a geometric pattern, but e.g. a few different splattered colours would be gorgeous!

Supplies needed:
  • plain bangle
  • nail polish
  • graphic tape (I got loooads with my sewing machine when I bought it from a fashion design student, and embarrassingly, this is all I could think to do with it)

Wrap the tape around the bangle diagonally in one direction, then in the other.

Paint. Leave to dry. Remove tape. Done!