BEFORE & AFTER: PLEATED DENIM MINI DRESS

Because of travelling quite a lot recently I haven’t had the chance to hit my favourite thrift store as much as I would like, but a little while ago I got a chance to do a full afternoon wandering the racks and was rewarded with loads of cool pieces – and some not so cool things I thought might make great fodder for before & after projects. Once such item was this denim shift dress – long, unshapely and generally not something you’d catch me wearing. However, given the summer season I thought it might be fun to make myself a summer pleated dress, a little bit 90′s, and little bit Balmain and a whole lot of satisfaction when it was done. This was my first experience with pleating and let’s just say it was an eye opener!

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Wearing: J Crew Bag, DIY dress, Daniel Wellington Watch, Zara heels, Thierry Lasry Sunglasses

This is said shift dress and what I did to it:

Transform a simple denim shift dress www.apairandasparediy.comTransform a simple denim shift dress www.apairandasparediy.com

You need:

  • A shift dress
  • Scissors
  • A sewing machine
  • Needle and thread

How to:

1. I started by chopping the dress off at the point at which I wanted the pleats to start.

Transform a simple denim shift dress www.apairandasparediy.com

2. Because the shift dress was very long I was able to create two panels for the skirt part, allowing me to create much more volume with the pleats.

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3. I then trimmed those panels to the same length and sewed them together so I had one long panel, then sewed the hem of the part of the panel that had originally sat in the middle of the dress.

Transform a simple denim shift dress www.apairandasparediy.com

4. I then took in the top so it was fitting on my body.

Transform a simple denim shift dress www.apairandasparediy.com

5. Now it’s time to create the pleats. I decided I wanted to create box pleats so they had a one over one under look (rather than side pleats like a netball skirt where they all face the same direction. What I did to do this was to measure both the bodice and the skirt panel, and decide on a pleat size that would divide perfectly (or approximately in my case) – thus allowing the panel piece of the skirt to fit together with the bodice. I worked out a pleat of 4cm wide (approx 1.5 in) would work well.

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6. To create the box pleats I turned the fabric over to the wrong side and did two side pleats (that’s two folds) facing each other, turning over to make sure the resulting box pleat was around 4cm wide. At times it was approximate but I didn’t really mind!

Box pleats

7. I pinned as I went, but found when I got to the end the last pleat was a little short so I had to go along and redistribute a bit so I could finish the last pleat – very much a case of working it out as I went along!

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8. I then pinned the pleats to the underside of the bodice.

Transform a simple denim shift dress www.apairandasparediy.com

9. Using the sewing machine, I secured the pleats to the bodice.

Transform a simple denim shift dress www.apairandasparediy.com

Voila!

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Outfit photos by Marion Tessier

TRAVEL: SARDINIAN BLUES

Often memories of places I’ve been are dominated by colours – pinks when I think of my last trip to Sri Lanka (the half open water lily flowers and sari fabric shops) and oranges when Chiang Mai comes to mind (the temple marigolds and gorgeous sunsets). However, I have to say that my recent trip to Sardinia – wisely tacked onto the back of our Glastonbury adventures – was more diffused with colour than anywhere I’ve ever been. The colour blue to be precise.With photo editing apps being what they are these days it’s sometimes hard to know whether the place you’re going will look the same as the pictures you’ve seen, but for once the scenery didn’t underwhelm even for one second. The blues in Sardinia are like nowhere else, at least nowhere else I’ve ever been. The photos you see, and take, can’t even do justice to the vivid sea and crystal clearness.

Speaking of the colour blue, while I was away I was so sad to miss what looked like the most fun event of the year (see some pics here) with Club Monaco, a pop-up cinema at Sheko Beach to celebrate the new beach and Coqui Coqui collections – designs largely dominated by gorgeous blues and white patterns. Not wanting to miss out on the fun, I took a few pieces on my trip and enjoyed every minute of photographing them amongst the gorgeous surrounds of Sardinia.  I took a whopping 1200 pics in only a few days (how could I not?), and thought that while I ummm and ahhh over which ones make the travel guide cut, I would share with you some of those shades of blue – from azure all the way to ultramarine (ahem: cobalt, cyan, powder, royal, sapphire, sky, teal, turquoise… got any others?!).

Sardinia BluesSardinia BluesSardinia BluesSardinia BluesSardinian Blues www.apairandasparediy.comSardinia BluesSardinia BluesSardinia BluesSardinian Blues www.apairandasparediy.comSardinia BluesSardinia BluesSardinia BluesSardinia BluesSardinia Blues

Wearing: clothing from the Club Monaco Beach & Coqui Coqui Collection

And yes, in case you’re wondering, I currently have a severe case of Sardinian blues, believe me – real life and work pales in comparison!

As one of Club Monaco’s Global Travellers, I’ve chosen some of my all time favourite travel photos which are currently being showcased in their flagship store as part of their Pop Up Travel Gallery, so if you’re in Hong Kong make sure to stop by and check them out before July 16th at Club Monaco G/f New World Tower, 16 – 18 Queens Road Central. Cheers to more inspiring travels!

Stay tuned for my Sardinia Travel Guide coming soon (including how to get to untouched beaches by boat!).

DIY NO SEW FRINGED KIMONO

Ok so despite the torrential rain (that anti rain dance wasn’t worth the trouble), Glastonbury was a seriously fantastic weekend. But more on that later! One thing I noticed while I was there was the dominance of a few key ‘festival dressing’ trends. One which sort of surprised me was the proliferation of the mermaid/ sea punk theme – there was seriously miles of blue and pink hair on display and flat backed pearls applied to faces like it was nobody’s business. Another trend which I have to say I was getting amongst myself was the kimono one – not so practical in half a foot of mud but that sure didn’t stop me or any other girl!  Being a lover of kimonos ourselves, last week Wander & Hunt and I created this no sew one (you got a glimpse of the BTS here during my week with Ferragamo) – perfect for those of you a bit scared of the thought of a needle and thread. It’s available in two prints so there’s something for everyone, and is Glastonbury festival tested so what more could you want?

No sew kimono DIY craft kit www.apairandasparediy.comNo sew kimono DIY craft kit www.apairandasparediy.comMake a kimono with absolutely no sewing! www.apairandasparediy.com

You need:

  • 1 floral scarf
  • Black fringe
  • 50 x large gold prong studs
  • 50 x gold metal backing plates
  • plyers

You can buy the kit in floral and in geometric.

Make a kimono with absolutely no sewing! www.apairandasparediy.comMake a kimono with absolutely no sewing! www.apairandasparediy.com

Instead of sewing you’re going to be using round prone studs to attach the fringe and create the arms, we were excited while we were creating these because it really is such a simple method!

How to:

1.  Iron the piece of fabric and fold it in half lengthways.

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2. Measure approximately 60cm (24″) from either ends of the fabric and mark it clearly with a pin or chalk. You will be attaching the sides together to create sleeves while the middle section will be open and act as the body of the kimono. The fringe will go all the way along from end to end, but in the middle section it will only be attached to the bottom side of the fabric.

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3. Place the fringe along the edge of the double up edge of fabric.

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4. Using the round prong studs, start pressing them through at 3cm (a little more than 1 inch) intervals, sandwiching both sides of the fabric together.

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5. When you are closing the prongs, add one of the ‘blanks’ into the back so it locks the fabric in and then press the prongs down.

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6. When you get to the 60cm (24 in) point where you marked with pins, continue to attach the fringe all the way along but only to the underside of the fabric rather than both.

Make a kimono with absolutely no sewing! www.apairandasparediy.com

Volia! Alanna from Wander & Hunt and I are loving it!

No sew kimono DIY craft kit www.apairandasparediy.comMake a kimono with absolutely no sewing! www.apairandasparediy.com

Buy the kimono kit in floral and geometric (and read a slightly more detailed tutorial over at Wander & Hunt here).

Photos by lovely Marion Tessier