Recently I was discussing some grave breaches of etiquette I’ve been exposed to and was called uptight as a result.
Of course, I found it a bit offensive- we live in a world where people are supposed to be loosey-goosey go with the flow, low stress, all that. It’s seen as weird and control-freak-esque to care and try.
The thing is I used to be very “why make a plan?” In some respects, I still can be. If I’m going on a trip for longer than a month I tend to only plan a week or so in advance. I’m super into walking around and picking a restaurant based on what looks good. Sometimes freedom is good. There’s a bit of a thrill in not knowing what might happen.
There’s also a lot of disappointment in not being able to stay in a town you had your heart set on because all the hotels and hostels are booked out. Or in having to go home and cook a frozen pizza because all the restaurants are fully reserved.
I was always worried I would get left out and not be invited to things so I became the planner in my group. We were all broke students so I found ways to game the system. If I started looking at St. Patrick’s Day events on January 2nd, we could get early bird tickets for $15 instead of $50. Canada Day event scouting started on March 18th. Halloween? July 2nd. New Years Eve? Honestly, September. New Year’s can be a bit of a circus. I got a lot of, “seriously? You’re starting this now?!” followed by the same people going, “man, tickets are so expensive!” after waiting until the week before the event.
One of my friends tried to take over the planning and promptly asked how I haven’t gone insane yet.
Well, it might be because, yeah, I’m uptight. I’m aggressively helpful. I like to have a plan.
I also work for myself, have been on multiple solo trips, moved to a new country, and have the drive, motivation and follow through to learn multiple crafts, languages, and read books that some people find intimidating. I look at a Julia Child’s recipe and know it won’t be a problem. My meal planning means my food waste is super minimal.
I love the idea of a superfood. We’re all trying to be healthier and being able to do it by eating this one thing sounds like a really good deal. The problem is these “superfoods” tend to be tropical, expensive and super hard to get out of season. If you’re in a place where they’re native or you can grow them yourself then enjoy your geographic luck! For the rest of us, here’s a couple of swaps.
To be fair, I have a bee in my bonnet about avocado because my body does not like it. I can have a very tiny bit but anything more and my digestive system goes to war. Avocados are also expensive, and our modern lust for them has taken a bit of a toll on the environment. Olive oil is a great substitute when you’re looking to add monounsaturated fat to salads or soups. If you’re looking for a hit of potassium, as well as a toast aesthetic think mashed banana. Nut butter also works for a sweet toast or pesto for savoury. You can make pesto yourself with any “cookable” green- I like the classic basil, spinach, or arugula, nuts- which tend to be monounsaturated fat powerhouses, and oil. You can add in garlic, lemon, or parmesan cheese. Just whiz it all in a food processor, or my preferred method of a mortar and pestle and some demons that need smashing out and you’re in budget business.
I used to work at a tourist attraction that wanted to try to health themselves up so they brought in packs of dried goji berries for staff to try. Sadly they didn’t find them financially viable, but for one blissful summer, they almost completely replaced my candy habit. They’re sadly hard to find and a bit expensive in Ireland, so it’s tough to consider these more than an occasional treat. The best substitution? Literally any berry. Dried cranberries are closest in texture and flavour to a dried goji. As for fresh, I don’t think freezer berries get the credit they deserve. They’re picked at peak freshness so they’ve still got a tonne of nutrients in them. They’re great for baking or cook them into a jam substitute with a splash of water and honey or sugar if you’re feeling cheeky. If you get a deal in the summer freezing them yourself is a great option- just spread the berries out on a cookie sheet and once they’re frozen pop them in a more permanent freezer container.
One of the easiest ways to live your best broke fancy life is to learn to cook.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore eating out in moderation. Seriously though, calculate how much you spend on takeout or eating out every week and you’ll probably cover a grocery bill three times over.
Besides being much cheaper it’s also so much healthier to cook for yourself- you control your ingredients and your portion sizes. Also, no one judges you for being a picky eater and making ten thousand substitutions.
This isn’t the first cooking class I’ve taken on Bluprint– it’s not even the first with Martha Holmberg. So, let’s get on with this examination of Homestyle Pan Sauces.
I’m a firm believer that an instructor makes a course. Not just online, but literally anywhere. Martha feels like a more approachable version of another Martha we’ve heard of. She starts the course by listing off her credentials which include cooking in freaking PARIS, but she does it in such a low-key approachable way that doesn’t sound one bit braggy. I also love how her focus is on being a “lazy cook”. She teaches how to think for yourself, make substitutions and eyeball things in a way that makes you confident going off on your own. Honestly, a big part of the reason I chose this class is because of Martha. By the way, Martha if you’re reading this then first off, oh. my. god. and secondly, I hope it’s cool that I feel like we’re on a first name basis.
Balsamic Reduction Sauce
I don’t know if I was actually supposed to make this one, or if it was just her demonstrating a point, but I made it. I had never in my life thought to reduce balsamic as more than a drizzle and it was mind-blowing. I served it up with sauteed chicken breast and mashed rutabaga. The super sweet rutabaga was amazing with the reduced vinegar.
Again, I think this one was just demonstration purposes but I made this bells and whistles extravaganza with pork chops and served it with roasted rutabaga, caramelized onion, and apple. It was amazing. I had never thought to sub creme fraiche for cream and now I’m just like, why have I never done this? The thing that really comes through in the first two lessons is how Martha explains things in such an easy, casual way. She instructs us not to cook like her husband and to err on the side of more is more for fresh herbs. It’s a bit like having your Mom’s best friend teach you. She made this million step recipe seem really effortless and intuitive.
Lemon and Caper Sauce
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a Meyer lemon in a small town in Ireland in the middle of winter- weird, right? So I made this one with normal lemon. It reminded me a lot of a piccata, but the dill added a good twist. I subbed in dried dill because that’s what I had, but I’m definitely making this again in the summer with some fresh stuff and hopefully a Meyer lemon. All up though, this was a quality sauce.
I was sceptical about this one. I don’t like lamb so I subbed out turkey steaks- I figured they’d be a bit more flavourful than chicken. I served it up with a tomato, arugula and parsley salad and made a za’atar swirl bread. Now, keep in mind here, I’ve been known to say I don’t like pomegranate. However, I will have it in cocktails or on salads. So maybe I do, who knows, but I approached this with so much caution. I had never reduced juice to make a sauce, I was worried about the turkey… there was just a lot of things that I was really unsure about. I’m happy to report that this sauce too was amazing. I’d like to try it on beef or chicken thighs one day.
Light Lemony Cream Sauce
I had some eggs I needed to use up so I decided to make homemade farfalle for this. I don’t have a pasta roller so this took a tonne of manpower but I don’t think anything is ever more worth it than homemade pasta. After spending about six hours rolling and shaping dough I needed this sauce to be worth it and it was. I even loved the vegetables in it. It was creamy and delicious without making you feel gross after. It was Ash Wednesday so I made this one with vegetable stock and it still turned out amazing.
I love turkey, so it hurt my heart being realistic and deciding that the financial and leftover realities of a turkey are only realistic at Thanksgiving. I used the exact same method with a chicken. Now, keep in mind I’m known for my gravy making skills. My parents visited for Thanksgiving last October and I’m 99% sure that nine-hour flight was mostly motivated by my Father’s desire for my amazing gravy and homemade pumpkin pie. I’m a bit of a gravy savant. This classes gravy was good. I loved the emphasis on a homemade stock. Like, it tasted great. But… I think mine is just a tad better. Though, this class has inspired me to try a new method of reduction when I make it next.
I’ve always been curious about the stuff on the side of a beef deep. What is it, really? I ended up doing the full pork roast experience- I loved the recipe for the roast; I’m not an expert at pork roasts so the guidance was nice. The jus turned out so good. Super savoury, and not too much. I can’t wait to try it with beef to do a full-on beef dip.
Salted Caramel Sauce
I love caramel, and I was definitely one of those people who thought I couldn’t make it at home. I seriously can’t believe how easy this one was. My mom called in the middle of my making it so I think I over caramelized it a bit- it’s very toffee tasting. It was awesome over ice cream. I was worried about it firming up too much in the fridge, but the photo is it four days later- less runny, but definitely not hard. I’m sure I could warm it up a bit and get that runniness again.
Is this class worth it?
Martha is an awesome instructor who focuses on troubleshooting and you being independent in the kitchen.
The recipes are delicious.
I would have liked more guidance on pairing sides with the sauces.
Basic Bluprint issues- the search function is truly tragic and it’s subscription only so after your free trial you have to decide to make the financial commitment or watch like a hawk for free weekends.
If you have a subscription to Bluprint, have the free one month trial, or happen to get a free weekend this is one that’s really good to watch. The fact is I’m probably going to go back and make these recipes again. Furthermore, I learned why the recipes work the way they do and I feel like I’m a better cook for it.
A lot of people ask me where I get my ideas from. A lot of it is runway inspiration, sometimes it’s shopping, clothes I wanted at some point in my life… Sometimes I go through a completely original design idea based off of a building, plant, colour or anything really. Inspiration is truly everywhere.
I find one thing that has really helped my design and creation process is the accumulation of skills. The more you know how to do, the more you’re DIY fashion journey.
Sewing is the most obvious way to make clothes. I don’t really remember the process of learning to sew. I used to make Barbie clothes with my Nonna, and my Mom was a pretty good sewist. When I was about ten my Mom found out that the local quilting shop ran kids classes and those were my first formal sewing lessons.
Sewing has always come very intuitively to me. I’m at a stage now where I’m trying to learn how to do things properly, and it’s really making a difference. The good thing about sewing is, more than anything else, it’s a true life skill. Sewing on a button shouldn’t be something you need to outsource. Being able to mend your own clothes is good for the environment, your wallet, and there’s a great sense of self-accomplishment in it.
Sewing is a bit of an investment. While a needle and thread can get you places, you’re not going far without a machine. I wouldn’t say it’s the most compact, portable hobby either. But… After not having a sewing machine for a year and kind of putting it on the back burner I’m realizing how much I’ve always truly loved it and how rewarding it is.
I’m still a newbie at this- I only learned it last year. The biggest barrier to me getting better at it is that I’m not the biggest fan of embroidered clothes. I do love embroidered home decor though, so I see many, many pillows in the future.
I’ve always been bad at hand sewing, so when I learned embroidery I honestly thought I’d hate it. But… I kind of wanted to have a Jane Austen novel moment so I persevered. It’s made my hand sewing, and honestly every other craft, so much better. There’s something about being able to see every single stitch so clearly and distinctly that makes you pull up your socks a bit and take pride in your work.
I always wanted to learn to knit. My Grandma finally taught me when I was about twelve and I took to it right away. She taught me the knit stitch, and my Nonna taught me to purl (the only two stitches in knitting) so I always think of them when I knit.
Knitting is not a cheap hobby. There’s some really nice bargain yarn out there, but even then it adds up. I honestly don’t think you could make a sweater for under $80. I’m honestly too scared to even think about it in euros. Knitting is also not a fast hobby. When you knit you’re literally making fabric stitch by stitch. The time adds up, especially when you’re working with finer yarn.
I’d say knitting is probably the easiest hobby to travel with. Yarn’s light, and it’s really fun finding yarn all over the world. It’s also a great way to spend time on planes.
One of my favourite things about knitting is that it’s a bit of a passive hobby. If the project’s right you can knit while you watch TV, knit while you chat, knit while listening to podcasts… it’s great for fidgeters.
I want to be really good at crochet. I think because I find knitting so natural I get frustrated that I haven’t managed to pick it up straight away. Eventually, I think I’ll get it, but I need a tonne more practice. My biggest issue is that in every situation I could crochet I find myself picking up knitting.
This is one of the few things I’ve taken an actual, in-person class for. I don’t have a wheel, so I’m on a drop spindle and again, it takes forever. I find myself not gravitating towards it, but when I do it I really enjoy it. It’s definitely the most meditative thing I’ve ever done.
I was working at a school in southern Italy for two weeks and whenever the nuns who ran the school had a minute they would pull out this lacework and make doilies. One of them ended up teaching me. I got the basics and I’m eager to learn more.
I used to be bead crazy. As a kid, all I wanted to do was sit in a room by myself, listen to the radio, and bead. To be fair, that’s essentially all I want to do as an adult most of the time. I love beads. There’s something just so primal about the shiny object attraction. Unfortunately, my massive bead collection didn’t make the move as I haven’t been doing it as much. However, I definitely want to get back into jewellery making of all sorts.
Overall I think I’ve developed an interesting skill set, but I’m always wanting to learn more. Any ideas on what my next big hobby should be?
I actually do have a pretty wild Milan fashion week story. My cousin, Jordan, was studying abroad in Milan. I was back in Vancouver, grabbing an after class drink with some friends, minding my business, when suddenly Jord sent me a selfie of him and Santo Versace.
Kid talked his way backstage.
Sadly, I have neither the gift of the gab nor the blind self-confidence required to even attempt to try to talk my way backstage at any event, let alone a Versace runway.
For Jordan, there’s life in the spotlight. For the rest of us, there’s Vogue.
I love the pattern on this skirt- it looks almost like grommets filled in with glitter. I’d probably skip the ruffle and do more of a half circle skirt. I’d be interested to see how the grommets would weigh the fabric down.
I don’t know how I feel about it in the outerwear fabric, but I love the bows on the shoulder, and I’m kind of feeling the bows on the knees. I fall down a lot so the extra klutz protection would be good, and it’s kind of cute.
I could make these gloves. The question here is should I make these gloves.
I absolutely love this jacket. I have no idea where to wear it, or what to wear it with, but I know I love it. Also, just last night Adam looked at my 18,000 sequins left over from my latest project and asked if I could cover boots in them. I said it was a bit excessive… but LOOK at those boots. Look at them!
I’ve seen so many embellished leather jackets and I like them all. The appliques just on the sleeve look so good.
A while back there was a big trend of knit scarves that were foxes. I always wanted one but didn’t have the skill to make them. I might finally knit one but use wolf colours to mimic this scarf. I don’t think it’d be that hard to sew a version either, you’d just have to be comfortable with the beheading of a stuffed animal.
I like the way this is bunched over one shoulder and held up with a belt. You could do this by simply finding a cute one shoulder dress and sewing a belt on as a strap, or you could even fix up an overcut Flashdance sweatshirt with this method.
I’m really into the gold ribbon down the sides of these pants. I’ve been thinking about tuxedo stripes a lot this morning…
A lot of the time lace is sewn directly on top of fabric. I like how here it’s been placed right on the edge so you still get the see-throughness. I’m also into the red glitter. It’s casual, right? Tell me those shoes aren’t the most Dorothy-tastic thing you’ve ever seen!
I’m trying to figure out where the sparkle on this sweater is coming from. I’m 100% sure it’s not rhinestones glued on top of the sweater. I think it’s either beads incorporated into the knitting and distributed sporadically or maybe… I’m almost wondering if it could be rhinestones glued onto the wrong side of the fabric. What would that look like? Would it be comfortable? I’m intrigued.
I think the lace overlay on this collar is REALLY pretty and it’d be so easy to make.
Rhinestones are amazing. One of the best things in the world has got to be shoes covered in just so much sparkle. I needed to find a pair of silver shoes for an upcoming bridesmaid’s ensemble and was having trouble finding a flat pair. After checking with the bride that rhinestones were okay I ordered… 20,000 of them. It was a bit excessive. But, I mean, I’m a bit excessive so there.
You’ll need your shoes, I got these at Penney’s, glue, and rhinestones. Not pictured, a good source of entertainment for your ears. I decided to watch Friends for the ten thousandth time.
Then, you just glue rhinestones to the shoes. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat some more.
There isn’t much of a tutorial, because, well, it’s glueing things to things.
However, there are some things to note.
Apparently, E6000 is impossible to get in Ireland, so I started with a super glue we got at Lidl. It was a liquid, it was messy, and it made the top gems look less than sparkly. It’s super inflexible… and I just hated it. The t-strap dried so hard and inflexible it was unwearable and I had to cut it off. Do not use the glue in the picture for this project.
I ended up getting Gem-Tac when we were in town and it worked so much better. It dries clear for max sparkle, it’s a bigger bottle, and it stayed flexible. It also just feels nicer when dry and came off my fingers SO much easier.
I need to see how the Gem-Tac wears, but honestly if you have E6000, use it. It’s really an irreplaceable glue.
While I’d love to one day repeat this project in Swarovski crystal, with my current budget a plastic rhinestone is a plastic rhinestone. I used a 5mm stone I got on AliExpress. I’d definitely order from them again. They came super quick, were cheap, and out of the 2 packs I finished and the third pack I started there were only 8 “mistake” stones- a few with the backing on the wrong side, no backing, or this kind of malformed one that looks like a bit like a cabochon. Honestly, I kind of wish I could buy the mistakes in bulk- I kind of like them, so I’m hoping by the time I get through all 20 bags I’ll have enough to do something with the rejects.
I used a 5mm stone, but if I had to do it again I’d consider a 2 or 3mm. Don’t get me wrong, these look really good and I’m happy with how they turned out, I just wonder if they would possibly look a bit more elegant with a smaller stone.
This is one of the weirdest craft things I’ve ever done, but it works. When you’re done glueing all your stones on drop your shoes from as high as you can. This will shake off all the gems that aren’t as glued on and will allow you glue them on now, in your home, while you have plenty of glue to fix them instead of when you’re wearing them and they fall off in the street.
I’d definitely recommend this project, it’s easy, a great boredom buster, pretty cheap, and the results are amazing.
These guys are coming to Australia with me in May. To see them in action make sure to follow my Instagram and mention me if you make a pair!
**If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I’m currently glueing a tonne of rhinestones onto a pair of shoes. While doing this gargantuan mission, and there’ll be more on that in its own post when I’m done, I’ve been watching Friends in the background. It’s in my head. Following me around. Everywhere.
I’m in between on whether or not I like these shoes. Really, they’d be as simple as a belt glued on to a pump. The most adjustment you’d need to do is make sure the overlap of the belt- the end sticking out of the buckle after it’s done up- is trimmed in a way that looks intentional.
I like this sequin fringe moment. I’m not into the glam sporty look, but imagine the fringe in black on a black dress, or even in smokey quartz on a grey dress…
I like this look. I wouldn’t attempt adding that many grommets without a grommet tool, though hammering this many could definitely work out some demons. I always lose the belt to my trenches and I think something like this would be a great way to do something fun to a beltless coat.
I can’t figure out if these are rhinestones or some sort of metal bead. In any case, I like the way they’re sporadic but not spazzy. I’m also almost always all in for an embellished hat.
I LOVE the idea of adding rhinestones to a swishy pleated skirt. It’s gorgeous and elegant, but still subtle.
I’m really into the embellishment on this shoe. The bow on top of the tassel reminds me of something, but I can’t figure out what. In any case, it’s a really wow shoe.
I’ve tried many times to add a capped toe onto shoes. For whatever reason, I can never get it quite right. I like the idea of just throwing a knot over it- it’d definitely take the pressure off…
I love appliques and the way these have been applied and contrasted with the green coat is stunning. I’m officially on the lookout for a green jacket and black rose appliques.
I don’t think this would be too hard to make from scratch. All you’d need is a good fabric, velvet ribbon, and a dress that fits you well to trace. Personally, I’d avoid the overdramatic bustle and just do a shift dress.
Aside from the embellished pleats that seem to be everywhere this season, I also noticed the collar. I know way back they used to do detachable collars and I’m just sitting here wondering why that isn’t a thing anymore. Imagine wearing this collar one day, a rose gold version the next, and a sapphire one after. Detachable stuff is the WAY.
Whoo! It’s ready to wear time! I love ready to wear. It’s a good mix of clothes you would buy and super out there so you see stuff that’s nice and wearable with the occasional “what on earth?!” mixed in.
I don’t know if I like this cardigan or not… I’m definitely intrigued. I wonder if you could get this effect with fishnets or if you could do some sort of stretchy power mesh?
It looks like this sweater is sewn onto the tank part. It’s an interesting approach, almost like a cold-shoulder dickie. It’s a good fix for when you’re trying to cut a Flashdance sweater and take it a touch too far.
I’m always intrigued by things I can make from a men’s button down. I think if you made some adjustments there could be a cute top in here. Mainly, I’d do a more bandeau-ish cutout instead of the bra look.
First off, I could definitely glue a row of crystals onto shoes. It’s like they’re not even making it hard for us anymore. Secondly, I don’t think this skirt would be easy to DIY. If you have hips like mine finding a jacket would be its own circle of hell. If you did manage, dealing with the sleeves would be a whole other thing. Then there’s the issue of whether you’d trust that one tiny button to hold everything together. All I’m saying is I’m going to be quite the weirdo in the men’s department wrapping tuxedo jackets around my waist for the next little while.
I went shopping on the weekend and saw a lot of dresses that look like the top of this one. I loved them, but they were all too damn short. I wonder how it would go if I bought two of the same dress and added a long ruffle to the bottom?
I love the look of this embellished strap. It gives me a very Robin-Hood-y warrior vibe. However, I wonder about the practicality of this. These would only look really great if they were metal and metal tends to hold heat and cold in a way that I don’t want on my shoulder. Don’t get me wrong- if I find anything that looks like the plates? charms? things? that they’ve attached to the straps I’m 100% making this. I’m just worried about branding/freezing myself.
Speaking of ruffles added onto dresses for length, the pleat on here is intriguing. I’m into how it’s not a super proper hem on the top, but it’s not even a little messy.
If you cut two armholes into a square of fabric you can make a nice drapey vest. If you add a blanket stitch to the edges you’d be onto something.
This blouse definitely gives me some like, pirate/swashbuckler vibes I’m a bit into it. You’d either need a good shirt and matching fabric or 2 or 3 of the same shirt. It might look really cute with a high waisted pencil skirt.
I love the purse strap treatment of the belt on this outfit. I also love how that ribbon on the hip looks. I don’t really want that thick of a line on my hips, but I think a velvet ribbon the sleeve seam would be something to consider.
It looks like this is a velvet coat with a black camisole under it. I’ve never been one for velvet, but lately, it just seems to be calling me. I wonder if I could get a similar effect doing a square with armholes? Or, if puff sleeves are as forgiving as I think they might be and really go for it? Also, I could DIY those jeans, and I saw shoes just like that at Penney’s.
I like anything Baroque influenced- more is more! And I’m definitely into it on the bottom of a skirt. A part of me would love to be the type of person who would hand embroider the entire bottom of the skirt. Honestly, I don’t think I’d feel like it was time-waste-y at all. At the end of the day, it’s a black and gold skirt and is pretty timeless. But a part of me knows I’m only as talented as finding the right applique’s.
As always, there’s also another option: Fabric paint and stencils. I’m loving the black and olive combo.
I love a good one shoulder sleeve. I’d do a simple black dress, but keep the row of crystals.
I love lace, and I love lace and leather combined. These shorts are so cute. This would also look awesome on a skirt.
I think the top of this dress wouldn’t be hard to make, but the skirt is just two rectangles stacked and gathered on a waistband. What I really love about this is the fabric and how they’ve mixed sequins with lace.
Imagine how cute that trim pattern would look on a raglan sweater, possibly cut off the shoulder a bit?
I love that this Baroque-y, scrolly stuff is back in. I’m obsessed with it. This one looks like it might have been done with sequin tape, which is its own demon, but at least it’s easy to find. Maybe I just need to get better at embroidery…
I am, always have been, and always will be team arm party. Stacked bracelets are awesome and a great way to get faster at basic beading.
I’m intrigued by and concerned about this sweater. First off, I like the idea of having the sequins and the cutout. I think it’s a really cool look. I think it’d be even cooler having the cutouts as a sort of repeating pattern then wearing a tank under. I’m concerned about the fraying issue. Maybe use this on a baggy t-shirt with a tank under? I’m also concerned that we’re back in a “forgetting to wear pants” era of fashion. It’s cold out.
This outfit is a LOT, but it’s got some great details. Imagine that sparkly neckline on a black camisole? What about those rhinestone edges on a dark grey skirt? If you love the patterns I mean, yeah, they’re stunning. Even just keep bold prints and not pair them together. The good thing is while it’s fun to be bold, if you’re sparkly but subtle it’s quite easy to pare this one down.
I have a love/hate relationship with brooches. Whenever I wear one I feel like I’ve broken some sort of brooch etiquette rule and done it wrong. I decide I’m totally against them, and then I see something like this jacket and just remember how amazing they can be.
I don’t have a camo coat, I’m a bit trepidatious of camo in general. I do have an army green jacket, and I’m wondering if I could put some detachable cheetah print on the cuffs, collar, and pocket flaps. It would definitely be an idea for next fall…
For reals though, since I saw the designer wearing this jacket in the men’s show I’ve been looking to make it and I’m having a tough go at finding all the elements. I’m still 100% committed to punk Clueless. Don’t worry, it will come even if it means me studding a jacket on my deathbed.
I tend not to be a big denim/mixed denim/not jeans or a skirt or a plain shirt person, but I love this top. Maybe it’s the addition of leather, but it’s just so cool. If only we had a country bar in this town…
I’m trying to figure out what makes this different than any other heavily appliqued jacket and I can’t quite put my finger on it. However, there’s something about the silver/white on black and the chain on the sleeve that gets me.
This is the embellished leather on top again. I’m really into this look- it’s casual and understated yet still super fun.
Okay, so, this is a look with a backstory! About nine or ten years ago American Apparel had this t-shirt that had kind of an open back with fringe attaching the two points. I really wanted that shirt, but I didn’t buy it because I was like, “Psh, I could make that.” I even. bought. the. fringe. I don’t know why I never finished that project but imagine this dress, but in reverse, so the front we’re seeing is the back. Or just a full fringe dress because why the hell not?
I like the idea of just embellishing the jacket sleeves and collar. This looks almost like it has little pearls in the middle of a bigger bead on the lower half of the arms.
I love this entire outfit and would both love and hate to knit that dress one day, but that headband would be more than easy and super quick. It just looks like a 2×2 rib in the round. sorted.
I love a good rib knit scarf. They’re a pain to knit, they take forever- especially to get this long, but they’re so easy. It always kind of amuses me that they’re a high fashion thing. The good thing about a scarf like this is that if you’re a new knitter it’s great practice, and an experienced knitter can use a project like this as a chance to invest in really beautiful yarn.
I love a good embellished anything and that blazer collar is calling my name! Stuff like this is super easy to recreate because there’s no preciousness to how you place stones. Also, let’s take a minute for these amazing shoes… and how easy they’d be to recreate.
I like the idea of painting the underside of a cuff gold. Unfortunately, pants that I need to cuff don’t exactly exist, but imagine a gold band on the bottom of a skirt?
I think I could recreate this hat by knitting a black tam and sewing on a bunch of gold sequins. It’d be cute with jeans and a blazer on a cold night out- especially around Christmas.
Now, I’m not going to outwardly suggest that you should spend ages sewing rectangular sequins onto a jacket, but I will say if you’re crazy enough to spend the time doing that (and we all know I am), it’s best if you do it on something like this that will last many seasons.
London Fashion Week has already started, so let’s see what other DIY inspo is coming at us this season…
I spend a lot of time watching DIY clothing videos on YouTube and one thing always just baffles me. Do these people not wash their clothes? Don’t get me wrong, it’s great looking cute in a picture, but if I’m going to spend my time and money making something I want it to last.
This is where my bafflement comes from. I’m not the biggest fan of fabric glue. I realize it comes in handy, and some stuff just plain needs it. However, if I can sew something I pick that 100% of the time. You don’t have to worry about glue spilling, it’s sturdier, and you can fix it easily. Also, fabric glue is never as cheap as a needle and thread. While yes, fabric glue is washable, it still makes me nervous washing it.
As for raw seams, it’s true that some knits don’t need finished edges. When I made my bridesmaid’s dresses I kept the edges raw. I think it really depends on the fabric. If it’s a stockinette knit it will curl and a hem just makes it lie flat- especially after washing. Looser knits will unravel if they’re not hemmed. Woven fabric will just fray like crazy. Sometimes that’s what you want- see every distressed jean ever.
If it’s a t-shirt type upcycle that has no raw hems I’ll throw it in the dryer. Anything else I like to hang dry. If I have a distressed jean I’ll throw it in the machine and hang dry, and if I have a woven with a frayed edge, like my blanket scarf, I’ll handwash it.
Like I mentioned in my post about dyeing jeans, wash stuff with black for the first five or so washes or until you’re 100% sure there’s nothing that’s going to bleed out.
Sewing from Scratch
Prewashing fabric is not optional. Sometimes fabrics can be coated with a stain repellent, wrinkle remover, fade repellent, or really anything. I’m not opposed to the coating of fabric- it’s important to protect the fabric before you buy it, but it can throw the fabric completely off grain. You know when you’re wearing a t-shirt or tank top and the side seam keeps wiggling and migrating? That’s the result of something being off grain. It looks super unprofessional and, most importantly, is really, really annoying to wear. Nothing’s worse than spending hours making something only to have it change completely after its first wash. Also, fabric shops tend not to be immaculately clean places so it’s nice to start with something fresh.
I try to avoid dry cleaning because the chemicals creep me out and it’s expensive, but sometimes it’s inevitable. If your fabric is a dry clean only type of thing, e.g. silk or wool, I find it’s good to cut some squares (I like a 10cm x 10cm) and see what they can do. I’ll hand wash a square, throw a square in the machine for a load, and maybe one in the dryer just to see what happens. Keeping the squares consistent allows me to see the shrink rate and compare the colour fading and how the fabric feels. Most of the time handwashing works just fine and I can prewash like that. If dry cleaning is necessary it’s more than worth the extra cost to bring that big bolt in.
Fabric issues aside I find both quality hand stitching and machine stitching do just fine in a washing machine. I tend to keep hand sewn stuff out of the dryer if I can because the dryer just isn’t good for your clothes.
Honestly, I’m low key disgusting and never really wash my knits. To be fair, I don’t really make sweaters so it’s not a super big deal. When I do need to wash things, it’s always hand wash. I don’t care what the yarn label says about the machine, Knitting takes too long to try anything else.
I think the main thing to remember is that in all cases, the dryer is evil.
It’s been a more than tough week for me. I had a cough that I’m still trying to shake, my hip went out and I had a tonne of tiny annoying things happen that compounded themselves. I needed a win.
And dammit, I got one.
One of my big annoyances that has been going on for a while now is Penney’s (aka, Primark Ireland) has decided they no longer want to carry my size and leg length jean in washes that aren’t… well, in washes that I would consider wearing. Being tall is tough stuff. Add in the fact that I’m on the cusp of plus size and buying clothes becomes a total nightmare.
When I saw acid wash jeans on clearance I picked up two pairs. A quick stop to the craft shop for dye and I was ready.
The short description? Buy some jeans, follow the instructions on the dye pack.
Now, the rest of this post will be all about how I kind of veered off the instruction path and was fine. First off, my jeans were about twice the weight that my dye specified. Secondly, my jeans had a bit too much of a polyester content for the dye to work “properly”.
Honestly, before we get into anything, I need to talk about the dye.
I used Dylon because that’s what my craft store had, and it was an all over stressful shopping experience. How on earth is a picture of a feather supposed to accurately show me a colour?! Tell me Dylon. How?! Burlesque red is not a standardized colour. I knew I wanted a wine red to echo the Marni-ness of it so I took a chance. I also got a pack of jeans blue just to see what would happen. The red pants have a bit of the acid wash-ness still to them- they’re surprisingly close to the Marni jacket, but the blue ones are just a straight up indigo jeans colour.
These are the jeans we’re starting with. I got two pairs of skinny, acid wash jeans.
This is definitely not a material heavy project. All you need are your jeans, dye, anything the dye instructions tell you- for me, that was 250g salt, gloves, and a dye specific utensil.
That last one is important. Anything you use with commercial dye can’t be used for food ever again. This spatula did its duty, but we got a nicer one so now it has a new life.
At this point, you just follow the dye instructions.
I got some warm water in there and dissolved my salt…
Then I dumped in the dye pack and dissolved that too.
I stirred that up and popped my jeans in. The instructions say they should be prewashed and damp, but I skipped that step and threw them in dry. You have to stir the jeans for fifteen minutes, so pop on some good music and go to town.
After that, you leave them for at least forty-five minutes, stirring/poking them every so often.
Like I said, my jeans had a lot of polyester in them, so I wasn’t sure how much more they’d lighten up at this point. Polyester tends to look like it took in dye, but it just rinses out like crazy.
After an hour or so passed I went back to them and drained the sink. I rinsed them with cold water and kind of kneaded them to get out as much dye as possible. Then I added some soap and rinsed them again.
The hardest part is definitely waiting for these to dry. The red ones lightened up a lot, so my curiosity was killing me. No matter how good you are you’re not going to get all the dye out, and you’re not a spin cycle so there’s probably going to be some major drippage. Trust me, those paper towels on the floor are a godsend for picking up drips of dye.
Run these through a wash cycle with all black clothing so that if more dye leaks out it won’t wreak havoc. I’d recommend sticking to dark wash cycles and not wearing them to places with light-coloured fabric seating for the next five-ish washes, just to be sure.
One of the best things about this is it’s a really passive process. While the fifteen minutes of stirring can get a bit tedious, after that you just give it a stir when you’re around it. I vacuumed the house, put bread in the oven, and started writing this post- I’m literally staring at them on the drying rack right now.
I dyed the red ones first, they picked up all the cool denim variations. It’s also good to note that the thread didn’t take any dye in.
The blue ones didn’t turn out as fun, the dye just kind of filled in where the original wash wasn’t.
You can really see the difference in how the dye took on the inside of the back pockets.
The implications of this are amazing. There’s almost always white, acid wash, or some other weird light-wash jean on clearance racks. I paid €5 for each pair of jeans, and €4 for each pack of dye. I dyed the red pair first and a small part of me wanted to pick up a different colour of dye and really go for it with the second pair, but I’m happy I did the jeans blue simply because now I know that this experiment works… But I still wish I had been a bit more ballsy. I’m sure I’ll be able to find acid wash jeans on clearance again and fulfil my mustard-pant dreams. I’m also wondering how other jean washes will take up dye. I’m definitely going to go wild on clearance racks this summer and see what other light coloured pieces that I can get creative with. I’m hoping I can find some acid wash jean jackets and get the full Marni experience.