DIYs of the future

31 March 2009

Yes, I know I talk about doing DIY more than I actually partake, but there are only so many hours in the day. Here are some of the images clogging up my designated inspiration folder:

I'm going to be on the hunt for some equally patterned stretch jersey, to make some leggings on the cheap. €40 is just too much.

I need to get stud happy on a plain denim skirt; I love the mixed embellishment on this Graham and Spencer piece.

A frill attached to a cardigan? Looks good to me. This blogger Keiko Lynn has reconstructed a blazer to give it a cutesy, feminine edge.

She also has a shop, Postlapsaria, where she customises old shirts into beautiful, fitted dresses. Methinks I need to sort my pattern cutting skills out and attack some my Dad's old work shirts....

This dress on Ebay passed me by, as the bidding went way out of my price range. I aim to construct a pattern for it over the summer, though I'd like to use a different print as I already own too many floral dresses.

My black scarf urgently needs re-knitting, maybe it's time to try a different stitch pattern like this Etsy seller (unfourtunately I've lost the site, silly me). Can anyone help with this technique?

I am in love with this red coat sported by Pandora. Now if I could just find one in Oxfam for a fiver...


28 March 2009

Man, I can't wait to get back to London town. Am still at my uni lodgings, under the premise of doing 'work', going to work and being a total geek. The reality is that I sleep for 12 hours, and mooch around watching Loose Women before sticking some pictures in a sketchbook, not the most productive of times. At least yesterday was payday, and instead of buying multiple items like I usually do, I finally got round to my own unique DIY project; making my fake American Apparel dress a reality....

Yes, after splashing out during more frivolous times here, then realising the jersey version comes in more colours than I can afford, I decided that now was the time to make use of the stolen grey jersey that's been under my bed for years. Back in my pre uni days, I used to be quite a fan of drawing round my clothes and making patterns, so I went back to these methods and created a simple pattern, then secretly overlocked it all together at uni. I did make it up as I was going along, which you could probably tell close up, but I'm not really fussed about precision when it comes to stuff I make for myself. If I were to do it again though, I would back sure the rectangular piece that makes the top, was the same measurement as the circumference of the top of the skirt, as this did cause me a few problems as I was doing it.

Seeing as I saved money by not buying clothes, I splashed out on some earrings. At £7 (minus many discounts), they are my treat for the week. Honestly, I'm going to try and reduce my credit card spending, since most of my pay this month has gone on obliterating the balances of the two cards I have. I don't know why I thought it was a good idea to still carry on spending when I didn't have any money, and paying it off when I did. From now on, whenever I feel like I need something new, I am going to go in this drawer that I can't even shut, and pull out something I haven't worn in the past month.

Another annoying thing, I lost my favourite scarf in the whole world, the one I made here. It wasn't even lost in an interesting way, I literally must've dropped it when I was in a bar the other day, and now some trampy student is probably wearing it (frequent calls to the bar proved fruitless). I am going to re-knit it as soon as I can, and pretend this whole scarf-losing thing ever happened.

These cheered me up the other day, reminding me off happier times in Paris strolling down Avenue Marceau. Then I saw they were £75, and I realised that I needed a rainy day fund, like this blogger. These cutout leggings seem like they could be a Mark Fast creation, though they are actually by Alexander Mc Queen. I think that this design would also look great as a print, on a t-shirt, on a dress; I want a whole collection of Eiffel Tower inspired outfits to wear. Perhaps a future DIY project? I wonder if I can knit them...


25 March 2009

Ah so I finally know when I'm going to New York for my placement...Jan 2010. A long, long, long way away, and I know I originally wanted to go in June, but I've rationalised this in my brain, and come up with an action plan:

Things to do before I go to NY:
Save some money for initial 5th Avenue spree
Save some money in general
Figure out the concept of NY, Manhattan, Brooklyn etc long before I get there (I really don't get it, are they boroughs or something?)
Perfect the art of layering for the cold New York winters
Sort out another placement
Learn how to walk in high heels during the day
Embrace charity shopping
Pass my driving test
Break into London Fashion Week
Go on holiday, preferably somewhere unaffected by the credit crunch, via Sweden
Grow my hair

So it's all good really. From this summer I'm just going to concentrate on rediscovering the South East after being in the Midlands for so long, there's so many shops I want to visit and hopefully I can do more of the London based stuff that I always end up missing out on (such as camping out for Comme des Garcons at H&M, YSL manifestos).

Being the copycat that I am, I started to attempt these SS09 Rodarte leggings a few weeks ago, without realising the utter mission they are (and the total hash I would make of it). I feel like I've been cutting out squares for ages, but I've only done 3/4 of one leg, honestly, the bloggers at Park and Cube and Six Six Sick make it look so easy. I'm hoping the places I will wear them to will be too dark to notice my slightly dodgy cutting-out skills, I need to do some serious repairing.

The other leg awaits.

I need to go to Sweden...

22 March 2009

I really do. I just discovered they have this cool concept store Monki, with quirky whimsical clothes and accessories, and when I typed their Kronor currency into XE expecting the worst, I realised many prices were around the £20 mark. I think this may be my new favourite currency; I need to get these clothes.

I love the unusual take on the LBD, and the illustrated floral print on the leotard, (£21 and £17 respectively), and there's plenty of other cute, well thought out basics on the site. There is no online store (sobs) as yet, but the company behind it has been bought by the force that is H&M so hopefully it will have more of an international presence in the future. Until then, I need to befriend a random Swede, fond of frequent visits to the post office...

Oh, and I sorted out my blog list, as it's previous incarnation was making my head hurt. It now has handy categories making it easier for everyone to see what each blog is vaguely about, and I will add more as I discover more and more blogs to categorise (I'm sure my Google Reader will end up in triple figures soon). I've also added some more online shops I like to browse, great for inspiration as well as halving the money in my bank account. I'd also like to say that I appreciate everyone who visits my blog, and leaves comments, (gush, gush) as it really makes my day! I'm going to try and make an effort to post more often, so make sure you follow, follow, follow! Following is fun!

To hareem or not to hareem?

19 March 2009

You know when you swear blindly that you will never even consider a trend, only to be sporting it months later? This happened pre my grunge phase when I was 15, when I bought my first pair of skinny jeans age 18 (from good old Primark) and now I think the same thing may be happening with harem pants. I haven't even tried them on yet, but I'm constantly thinking about them, visualising them with my vest tops, striped tops, all sorts of tops and brogues. My mind has opened up to the lure of the harem, I have a harem obsession. I've found a pair on Etsy, which are pretty reasonable pricewise and the crotch is not dropped to ridiculous lengths.

I like the fact that they have a slightly sculptural jodphur feel, and don't just drape. They're quite skinny on the bottom like a pair of leggings, which bodes well for my heels and flats. This Bassike pair is slightly out of my price range for a trend item, but has a nice slouchy feel.

I think I'm going to try on some High Street styles, a harem evaluation you might say, to suss out what I may look like in them (hopefully not MC Hammer), then plump for the Etsy pair (supporting the small businesses, of course) if they look halfway decent. Has anyone else been converted to the lure of the harem?

Having no money is slightly annoying, but at least I can throw myself into my knitting. My cricket jumper is coming along, will hopefully finish it over Easter. Only two more 30-row cable patterns to go till the back is done, woop di woop.

Must also make use of the clothes I already have, I was inspired by Rachel to post pics of my drawer organisation (or disorganisation).

You can probably tell I've bought a ridiculous amount of tights within the past few months.

Thing is, there's even more stuff at home and undoubtedly more stuff to come. I was going to set myself a clothing budget next month, but I'm not sure if there's any point trying. Am seriously considering a mass Ebay exodus when I go back for Easter. There's a lot of stuff I've left at home, which I always thought I might wear again some day, but now is the time to be brutal.

Still haven't found out when I'm going to New York, so the Gossip Girl stalking and American Apparel sprees are on hold.

Also, I'm going to be sorting out my link list over the next few days, as it's about as cluttered as my chest of drawers. Let me know if you wish to be included, and I will sort it out.

Paris has a new obsessive

16 March 2009

Have just about recovered from Sunday night's marathon coach journey back to Grand Bretagne, which included a 2 hour wait at Calais (fun). We tried to pack in as much as possible into our whistlestop trip to Paris, and it was more a trip for inspiration rather than anything else due to my chronic lack of funds. We started off at the Sonia Rykiel exhibition at Les Arts Decoratifs, a 40 year retrospective of her work, which was the cultural highlight of the trip. I loved seeing how her work progressed and the element of fun she has in her collections, models cheerfully skipping down the runways wearing berets. It was useful the different techniques involved close-up, there was a lot of frantic sketching going on as I tried to work out how the stitch patterns were produced.. Once I'd been around a few times, and knew that I had nothing to lose, the covert photography commenced:

Also went to Colette, a 'happening' concept store with house music blaring, and numerous trend magazines. Oh, and clothes as well. This time I had to take a secret film, not the best quality, but you get the idea.

With the eclectic merchandising, e.g Luella mixed with Jeremy Scott, Henry Holland, Rodarte and Gareth Pugh side by side, it seemed more like an exhibition.

The Louis Vuitton store on the Champs Elysees was also worth a visit. It was mainly focused on the Stephen Sprouse inspired collection, I did try to wangle a poster but failed miserably.

I think shops in Paris go to a lot more effort with their window displays, Kenzo's was pretty spectacular.

As was Marc by Marc Jacobs.

I did manage to scrape the €5 for this keyring, absolutely nothing to do with Paris, but a souvenir nonetheless.

Enough with the high-end! The flea markets of Montemarte were a great way to spend a morning, never thought antiques could be so interesting. I want this furniture for my future Parisian hideaway...

I just love clutter.

This vintage shop was amazing, yet expensive (the elusive €600 Chanel Bag appears yet again), but my friend did manage to get an Hermes scarf for €30 because the owner didn't notice the small-print logo.

Arsty picture of the Eiffel Tower, somewhat smaller than I'd imagined, yet rather inspiring. I could see this being the inspiration for a Mark Fast creation.

One of those rare outfit posts, in a decent setting for once.

Wow, the most photo-heavy post I've ever done. It had to happen sometime....

Anyways, now I must get back to the real world, where inspration is not found on every corner, where cocktails are not €14 and where people don't follow you onto various forms of public transport. I have an imminent driving lesson, knitted sample deadline and tip of a room to sort out, as well as working out how to channel this crazy amount of inspiration.

Till the next post of ramblings.

Bon Voyage!

12 March 2009

Woop de woop, I'm off to Paris tonight!!! As it's on the cheap, we're leaving at 9pm and arriving at 9am, so it's going to be an all-nighter on the coach. Here is my survival kit:

The exchange rate is even more shocking than went I went to Florence a few weeks ago. I've almost forgotten happier times when things could actually be cheaper on the continent and I would occasionally come back with significantly more. Oh well, I'll see how far my barely triple digit Euro figure takes me, and if it's not far at all, there's always the shiny pictures in Grazia to look at and the cupcakes to feast on. Hopefully I can resist the urge to overspend, when faced with temptation. I'm trying to prepare a handy map, so I will know where I'm going this time (I've learnt after wandering around aimlessly in Firenze), and am trying to plot a few recommendations I've seen on the blogs.

I actually managed to win something on Ebay the other day. After coveting this lace top in Topshop, but not quite willing to spend £25 on something so unsubstantial when I really needed a lightweight jacket, I popped lace vest top into the search bar, and ended up with this...

It was ridiculously easy to win, the seller hailed from Australia, so although it ended at 7am (I was not getting up that early), my 1pm bid the day before was enough. Cost to me? Five shiny pounds! I think this new approach to shopping is working well. I'm also selling a few bits (too shocking to post here) so hopefully I can make enough to cancel out recent purchases slightly. Then the real budgeting must start.

Anyways, I'm off to pack a ridiculous amount of clothing for 2.5 days. I'll let you know how I get on (and whether I can get any sneaky pics in the Sonia Rykiel exhibition, or afford anything other than tights).

Au Revoir!

A mixed bag

9 March 2009

Ok, so I wasn't officially tagged, but was inspired by Jozehh to do this 'What's in your bag thing?' Haven't really been able to do my DIY post as of yet, as I had a research presentation to prepare for today, but will hopefully be able to post some interesting bits soon. So, to tide you over, here is my bag of tricks...

The blurb

1. Post a picture of the bag, purse, handbag, pocketbook [whatever you call it] that you are carrying. Now, don't you even think about going back there to your closet and getting your very favorite one or that cute little vintage clutch that you carried the last time you went out...I want to see the purse that you carried today!

2. Tell us how much it cost. Oh my, I know what you are thinking - a proper lady would never discuss matters of money, darling. Well, yes, but today we are gonna break that rule and tell. Yes, tell how much it cost. We won't judge. This is for entertainment purposes only. And if there is a story that goes along with this purse, tell it.

So this is the bag I was raving about a while ago, I bought it in the Luella Outlet for £144, and have been using it ever since so on a cost-per-wear basis, I guess it costs me about £2 each time I use it. I think that's pretty good, plus I rarely buy bags, and it was partly a Christmas present, so I feel it's justified. It's a pretty good size, but I haven't filled it to the brim today, to preserve it's longevity (I have another bag filled with sketchbooks and other knit related things, so I'm a proper bag lady).


Empty Sunglasses Case don't believe I've worn sunglasses for about 7 months, not sure why this is here
Random receipts some things I brought back, some I didn't
Student discount book everyone loves a bargain
USB contains a ridiculous amount of PSDs
Gum Wrapper
Memory Card This 1GB model has been discarded for the time being, since I traded up to a 4GB
Gum surprisingly, not kept in the wrapper, maybe shouldn't eat this
20p every little helps
Bottle lid was a former home to my contact lenses while in Florence
Random button might turn this into an earring
Notebooks for Uni I think there's a La Tasca voucher in here somewhere, mmmmm.
Hairbrush complete with actual hairs from my head
HMV Student card that I have never used
Purse empty
Ipod full
Phone a fairly new addition to my bag, just starting to get used to it, the iPhone will have to wait
Pen will soon run out

Conclusion I do have a lot of interesting stuff, just not in my bag

Now I tag basically everyone who is willing (and reads this blog, now is the time to come out of the woodwork)!

Admiration (and a bit of knitspiration)

6 March 2009

I've started doing my New York designer research already (in preparation for all those fashion week shows I'll be attempting to gatecrash), and came across Ideeen, a relatively new label which seems to create a mixture of draped and sculptural pieces, with some textured knits. I'm particularly drawn to the current Spring Summer collection (as it's cheering me up as we slooowly leave the long Winter months). The look book easily shows how this innovative knitwear can fit into your everyday life, combination of macrame-like cables and lace stitches reminiscent of netting. There's a lot of DIY potential here, saving you a lot of money as a knit dress from the collection is around $400. I think it'd be quite fun to play around with these techniques, twisting bits of fabric and adding metal rings similar to the look in the middle.

There is also a mixture of faded floral prints and more graphic, fragmented patterns, as well as a bit of tartan. My favourite looks are below, the knitted dress is particularly loved, as I'm obsessed with seams and panels, which separate the collage of knit techniques. There is also a lot of draped jersey, which is simple and never overdone.

I'm going to be attempting a bit of DIY (obviously fashion related, not the actual building of stuff) this weekend, even though I still have some research to do for my latest project, but I'm trying to save a bit of money instead of buying a new outfit. I'm off to Paris next week (I know I seem to be globetrotting quite a bit - this never happens) to see the Sonia Rykiel exhibition, so am hoping to find some vintage bargains. Has anyone been to Paris and got any shopping tips when on a budget? Or maybe the tip is not to bother shopping at all...

Across the pond!

5 March 2009

I got the placement in New York! I think it's time to buy these:It's all very vague at the moment, I'm not exactly sure when I'm going (I sent an e-mail to the placement co-ordinator literally begging to go in June 2009, instead of Jan 2010) or what I'll really be doing, but I'll keep you posted as I find out stuff. I'm glad to finally know, as I was planning multiple American Apparel and sample sale visits, as well as some serious Gossip Girl stalking, and didn't really have a back-up plan. I'm going to also need a comprehensive list of places to visit in New York, where to eat, what to shop, what to see.

I can't wait to find out more.

I think I'm going to have to recreate the opening credits of The City as soon as I get there.

Send June 2009 vibes.