12th October 2016
Just because the weather is in between, doesn’t mean you have to ditch the off the shoulder. In fact it’s something you can wear regardless of season… Ok maybe not in the snow, but you can always throw your coat over the top! Recently we got a bit scissor happy and created something out of a fitted blazer I had in the studio, and it turned out to be a quite a sophisticated silhouette anddddddddd the perfect (fall) alternative to the LBD. Winning! This is one of my favourite projects in a while guys, I can’t wait to wear it over and over and over. 🙂
- A fitted blazer
- Fabric scissors
- Tailor’s chalk
- Sewing machine and thread
- Buttons (optional)
Essentially we cut off the shoulders and added a new lapel that was taken form the bottom of the blazer. Sort of simple? 🙂
- Using the tailor’s chalk, draw two lines. The first is a line around the shoulders, this is where your finished jacket will sit off the shoulders, I found it easier to draw this line when the blazer was on the mannequin (or being worn). Then, draw a second line about up from the bottom. Adjust this width depending on how wide you want your lapel and/or how long you want the finished blazer.
2. Cut along the lines all the way around the jacket. We will discard the top section and use the bottom section to create the lapel that goes around the shoulders.
3. Because my blazer had vents in the back, the bottom section ended up coming out as three sections. To join them together into one long strip, I unpicked the lining off the three sections.
4. Then I pinned and sewed the sections together with a 1cm seam allowance. You will end up with one long continuous strip that will be used as the lapel.
5. Lying the jacket flat, with the lining side face up, pin the lapel (also wrong side up), to the top of the blazer and sew with a 1cm seam allowance.
6. Fold the lapel over the top of the blazer and iron so that it sits flat.
7. Lastly, pin up the bottom edge of the blazer and sew to create the finished hem.
Photos by Bryant Lee
11th October 2016
Remember Ollie? Our sweet ‘little’ pup that the shelter told us was ‘probably’ part fox terrier and therefore unlikely to grow very large? Not so it turns out. But regardless of him being triple the size we thought he would be, we love him just the same (or, maybe even more?). You guysss, having a dog is the best! I know this is going to sound cliche but we honestly didn’t know how much we were missing out on until we got him, it helps that he gets to hang out with us in the studio all day! I often look at Ollie and think of your classic fairytale/rags to riches story – born in the back of a junk yard, now sleeping in a mid century dog bed with mud cloth fabric cushions…. Dog you ballin’! Make one for your own pooch using these steps.
- Plywood cut to size (For dimensions, refer to the diagram below in Step 1. We decided it was easier to paint the plywood white before assembling the dog bed, but this is totally up to you!)
- 4 x hair pin legs
- Power drill
- Liquid nails
- We used Ollie’s dog cushion as a guide for the dimensions and took the measurements to the local hardware store and got the plywood cut to size.
2. Arrange the hair pin legs on the base of the dog bed, then once you are happy with the spacing, use the power drill to secure the legs with screws.
3. Work your way around all four corners.
4. Place and drill the sides on, making sure it lies flush with the front. (Note: the sides will stick out at the back 1.3cm to accommodate for the width of the back piece of plywood). If you find it hard to secure this with just your screws, you can use liquid nails too prior to drilling it on.
5. Once you’ve secured the sides of the dog bed, put the back piece on.
6. Secure the back piece to the base and sides. Before you screw them in, use the liquid nails to glue the two edges together so that they are nice and secure.
*ollie is a super chilled dog, but for some reason can’t relax in front of the camera… Lucky it’s only the odd snapchat cameo he has to put up with. 🙂 Take a load off pup!
Photos by Bryant Lee
7th October 2016
Speaking of all things wardrobe related, one question that a few of you have asked in the past is how to look after your leather shoes. Given how exposed to the elements our shoes are, and how much we depend on them for comfort as well as adding that extra pop to an outfit, looking after them is absolutely essential. We thought it only right to give you our tips and tricks – particularly useful if you’ve just invested in your first pair of The Simple Sandals! These rules apply to all your tanned leather shoes (but not suede), so you should consider them when you buy any new leather shoes whether they be sandals, heels or boots – these are investment pieces that you want to last forever! And with a little elbow grease (and actual grease) they can.
- Leather balm
- Hand Wash
- Clean Cloth
- Shoe Brush
Waterproof Before Wearing
Although we’ve all experienced the urge to try on something we’ve ordered online faster than the courier can get out of the door, it’s well worth protecting the leather of your shoes as soon as you take them out of the box. You can do this by treating the leather upper with a leather waterproofer. Wipe your shoes down with a warm sponge and add the product of your choosing. There are spray repellents, but we prefer a beeswax-based paste. The initial ‘wash down’ warms the leather, making it more porous and improving its ability to absorb the product. Using a soft, clean cloth, rub small amounts of leather balm into the material until it is fully absorbed – make sure to do pre-test in an inconspicuous area on the shoe before applying it to the entire surface area.
Wear Them In (Gently)
Leather is a natural material and will stretch over time. Which is something to remember when you’re buying your shoes, although you don’t want them to be uncomfortably tight, a snug fit will allow them to mould to your feet after the first few wears.
Condition Between Wears
If you can, it’s best to let your shoes rest for a day between wears (or a few days between intense wears like when you’re on holidays) and allow them to breathe for 15 minutes before putting them away. You should also condition the leather to maintain sheen and lustre ever few months, by liberally applying a cream conditioner into the shoe with a cotton cloth (use different rags for different shoe colors). Work it into the leather in circular motions. Let them sit for 20 minutes, and then rub with a shoe brush to remove any excess cream.
If your shoes become saturated with water (like when you’re caught in a freak rainstorm when it was perfectly sunny a second ago), blot away excess moisture using a cloth and allow them to dry completely in natural light before storing or wearing. Make sure you keep them away from heat sources like heaters which may crack the leather.
Have you ever experienced those times when you find a quiet minute in the taxi or on the train and you finally look down at your shoes long enough to notice that they aren’t quite as sharp as they once looked and need a little resurrecting? If you notice any discolouration or salt stains, dampen a soft, clean cloth with a solution of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water and using circular motions, gently wipe the leather making sure not to saturate the leather in the solution.
For stains, lightly brush away any dirt or solid particles with a soft shoe brush. Mix a few drops of hand wash in lukewarm water and using a soft, clean cloth, rub the solution over the affected area until removed. Then wipe away all remaining soap lather. Allow the sandals dry in natural light (but not in direct sunlight) before wearing again. As tempting as it may be, it’s best not to put leather sandals in the laundry.
Polish (if necessary)
For sandals and other shoes with less leather up surface area we find that conditioning works well enough. But if you find your shoes (or even your sandals) have lost their shine completely, polishing is a good idea. To do this you’ll need a shoe polish in a colour that matches your shoes, a brush and a soft cloth. First clean your shoes so there isn’t any dirt or dust. Then liberally apply a polish with the cloth in a circular motion. Let dry for half an hour and then use the brush to buff the polish off. Finally, use the other side of the cloth to give them a final rub down. All done!
Notes on Calf Hair Leather
Pony skin leather shoes (such as the leopard print simple sandals) are made from leather with the pelt left on, which makes them supple and chic but you do have to approach them differently to regular tanned leather. Try to avoid oil or excess water getting on them, and if that does happen wipe it dry with a dry paper towel or wait until it dries and use a dry brush to remove. You can spray the shoes with a very thin layer of hair spray to keep the hair down and also add a layer of protection against the elements.
Unboxing, my favourite thing to do. xx
Photos by Bryant Lee. Illustrations by Annie Huang.
6th October 2016
Hello from Spain guys! Anyone else feeling the change in seasons… and loving it? I have to say I am. The between seasons are my favourite time of the year (I mention this all the time), when you can mix your favourite pieces together and aren’t constrained by the too hot or too cold weather. But what do you take in your suitcase when travelling during these transeasons, when you’re just as likely to be freezing as boiling? After travelling around the world and back I’ve learnt one thing, it’s allllll about layers. Comfortable, breathable layers in luxe fabrics that wear well and also make you feel great. Enter, silk and cashmere worn in combination. Layers done right. These two fabrics tick all the travel boxes (and indeed, all the home ones too), and are a staple in my Spain non-hiking suitcase.
I recently added some of Grana’s new silk styles (the v neck tops are perfectly minimalist) to my wardrobe and found that they nail the whole ‘on-the-go-but-also-look-presentable’ approach, and the tops I bought also comes out of your suitcase relatively wrinkle free (particularly the darker shades) which is a serious bonus when you’d rather be drinking sangria than ironing (!). For cooler mornings and evenings I’ve been layering these up with a cashmere boyfriend sweater (still in tip top since I got it last autumn), making me ready for whatever Spain has to throw at me … Lucky I’m not here during the tomate festival… that would be another story.
Black and blush. Too easy.
On the subject of layering, I’ve given a lot of thought. Doing it well can be a tricky beast, particularly in the between seasons when you’ve no idea how the weather will go during the day annnnddd when you’re travelling somewhere you lack intel. Which is where layering with the right natural breathable fabrics come in. Just as they re important in humid climates, they’re essential in places that are (or could be) coolish and warmish – they allow sweat to escape but also hold onto heat in when you need it. Think of them as the pertly designed house. When it comes to layering for mild (but potentially volatile) climates, the mixing of breathable fabrics like silk and cashmere, and wearing them in combination, comes in. Ready for any weather! This Grana cashmere boyfriend sweater and silk dress are ideal on all counts. Perfect for layering when it gets cold in the mornings, and pulling off when the sun comes out later and you start to sweat!
I’m soooo looking forward to sharing travel guides to the Sierra Navada, Granada, Seville and Cordoba soon. This place has me never wanting to leave. 🙂
This little DIY hanger was so easy to make and is the perfect coat/cashmere rack! I’ll talk you through the steps when I get back to the studio.
Don’t forget to use the code at Grana’s checkout ‘apasxgrana’ to get 10% off. xx
This post is in collaboration with Grana.