22nd January 2014
And just as everything 90′s is de rigueur this season, tartan has made a serious comeback (but I’m guessing you know that already, right?). And because it’s pretty much a requirement for me to make a skirt using every fabric that crops up on the trend-o-metre, I recently crafted this two tone tartan number, perfect for virtually instant lumberjack-ensemble-craving satisfaction.
To make this skirt I used a super simple gathered elastic waist construction (you will have seen it before here and here), but this time I made it half black and half tartan for the two tone look. In case you’re wondering, I often opt for this type of skirt when I want to make something fast (it looks particularly good in brocade or taffeta), for this version I crafted a belt in matching black fabric to go over the top of the gathered waistband, the perfect finish for the easiest skirt you’ll make all year (and it’s only January!).
- 1 metre of black fabric (1.2 yards)
- 1 metre of tartan fabric (1.2 yards)
- Elastic to match the size of your waist
- A sewing machine
1. First, cut the fabric to the right length and shown in this pattern corresponding to how long you want it to sit when you wear it.
2. Sew the black and tartan fabric together where shown by dashed lines in the pattern.
3. Open out and iron. The resulting piece of fabric should look like this.
4. Finish the hem on the fabric by rolling twice, ironing and then sewing down.
5. Sew all the way around, creating a hem for the whole piece of fabric including the black section. Make sure the transition between the tartan and black section is as natural as possible.
6. Then sew down the top edge, leaving a gap through which to thread your elastic. Sew the elastic together to secure. and then snip off any excess.
7. Sew the final short edge together, using a zig zag stitch to finish the edges so they don’t fray.
8. To create a simple waistband that looks better than the gathered elastic, cut a section of black fabric 7.5 cm (3 in) wide and sew down the edges ensuring the rough edge is folded over completely. Tie this over the top of the waistband and in a bow at the back to give a more finished look.
Voila! Wear with your favourite biker jacket.
Oh and in case a tartan skirt wasn’t enough, I recently took my addiction to all things tartan to another level by custom designing a tartan watch using this cool program. All I did was take a picture of the fabric, edit it for colour and upload it to Zazzle’s website, playing around with the layout of it on the watch. The finished product came fairly quickly (considering most post takes foreverrrrrr to get to Hong Kong), and was such a simple way to get on board with whatever the perfect print or fabric trend is around that you like.
I can’t help but think good a watch design would look with this Tory Burch print or this Givenchy one be in the lead up to the summer season? Oh and psst, I’m told you can use the code ‘pairandaspare’ for 10% off your own design!
Outfit images by Luke Casey
1st November 2013
As some of you will have noticed I’m going through a bit of a bralette / crop top phase (DIY ones here and here), worn under blazers with high waisted skirts or palazzo trousers. As soon as I saw this amazing Alexander Wang style on Nicole Richie I knew it was something I would have to try to make myself. Trouble was, I had no idea where to start. I ended up taking an afternoon out and playing around until I got it (kinda) right. There was a lot of trial and error, particularly getting the cup shape jussssst so, but I think it worked out ok! Although, before you ask, clearly not the sort of thing you would wear to a job interview…
- Some black fabric, I used fabric that was like thin neoprene, good for giving you support and also great because you don’t have to hem the edges if you don’t want to (yay!).
- Sewing Machine
1. Start by making the cups of your top. Below you can see a very simple template of the left cup (print to scale on A4 paper). For each cup you will make a two triangles with curved sides. Once you sew the curved edges together you will get the rounded cup shape. The template has been made to fit my size which is why I would suggest you print it out and play around with some scraps of fabric before committing to a shape. Everyone is different so once you’ve made it using scraps trim the cups or make then bigger depending on your requirements. The dotted lines show where you will pin them together.
2. Create two sets of these. Note that the template above is for the left cup, so for the right cup you should turn the template onto the wrong side and trace that onto your fabric so your cups end up being mirror images of each other. Then cut the base fabric to suit, matching to the width of your back.
3. Pin the curved edges together.
4. Sew together.
5. Pin and then sew the cups to the top edges of the base fabric.
6. It should (hopefully) look like this.
7. Then sew the elastic on as the straps, matching to the right size of my shoulders. I sewed the elastic all the way down the sides of the triangles onto the base fabric so it gave extra lift.
8. The final step is to secure the back. I used an exposed zip to do this, pinning to the outside of the fabric and sewing down.
Voila! You may have noticed I didn’t sew the edges of the triangles, I didn’t have to because of the fabric I used (great for lazy people like me!), but if you use fabric that frays more I would definitely hem the edges. Just remember to add a little more around the edges of your triangles when you are cutting them to allow for this.
As with any cropped piece like this that shows a lot of skin, I like to pair it with a longer skirt or a slouchy blazer to play down the look so it’s not so in your face. Happy DIYing!
First and last images by Sabrina Sikora.
28th October 2013
If you’d said to me ‘sequin cushion’ a while ago it wouldn’t have been my jam. But interestingly, I have to admit that recently I’ve come around to the idea of a bit of sparkle in the lounge room, but only in a ‘one in a VERY neutral room’ kind of situation so it’s not too in your face. As usual, when it comes to sequins, for me it’s all about the colour and the matte – when in doubt I go for the non shiny ones or sequins in a larger size. I think it would be quite easy to stitch some matte sequins (like these) over the top of a simple Ikea cushion – and bing bang bong you’re done!