BEFORE & AFTER: ONE DENIM SKIRT BECOMES TWO (THE SCALLOPED AND THE FRONT SPLIT)

On the eve of this blog turning 5 (yep, 5!), I wanted to share with you this before & after project, two in fact. Turning one thrifted ($1!) denim skirt into two functional, and beautiful, items has to be the definition of what this blog’s about. Harnessing your creativity to make something out of virtually nothing.

In case some of don’t know the backstory, I started this blog mainly as an online journal, a place to share what I was making every weekend. This was well before blogging became a viable career option and I was working in London as a Town Planner – I never really thought people would read it, only that it would be fun to share and document my successes and failures in some way. Fast forward a few years and it’s so amazing to have connected with so many talented and inspiring DIY addicts all around the world!

What was key, I think, in maintaining enthusiasm, was focusing this site on the things that I’m genuinely passionate about, whether it be reworking vintage pieces or travelling to weird and wonderful places. The concept naturally evolved over time, but it was comforting to have a core passion to focus on. Moral of the story? If you’re thinking about starting a blog, or indeed have one but need more focus, drill down into the things that you love most of all, what’s at your core. And stick to that. (Read here if you want to work out what you love).

DIY Denim Split Mini Skirt

I found this skirt a a local thrift shop in Hong Kong, and it cost around $1. With those limited materials, we created two skirts in a short amount of time. First we cut the skirt off to create the scalloped style, and then turned the bottom half of the skirt around so the back split became a minimalist inspired front split. Sounds hard but it was actually pretty simple.

How to turn one skirt into two DIY denim split skirt

DIY Scalloped Denim Skirt

(You can also make this skirt as a simple denim cut off!).

You need:

  • A long button down denim shirt
  • A piece of card
  • a chalk pencil’
  • scissors

How to:

1. Decide how long you want your skirt (you should check to make sure both skirts will be an appropriate length). Create your scallop template by dividing the width of the bottom of your skirt by the number of scallops you want (ours are 10cm – 4 in – wide) and then make the scallop template out of card. Then, trace it onto your skirt all the way along.

Make a Scalloped Denim Skirt www.apairandasparediy.com

2. Cut the skirt out along the tracing. You can wash if you want a frayed edge.

Make a Scalloped Denim Skirt www.apairandasparediy.com

Skirt number 1 is done!

Make a Scalloped Denim Skirt www.apairandasparediy.comDIY Scalloped Hem Mini Skirt

Wearing: DIY skirt, J Crew tank and Bag, Kurt Geiger heels 

DIY Front Split Denim Skirt

The second skirt is a little more tricky, but so worth it and perfectly minimalist (in contrast to the feminine quality of the scalloped version).

You need:

  • The bottom cut off piece of your skirt with a well finished split at the back.
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread

How to:

1. Trim the scalloped section off the top of the skirt.

Make a Denim Wraparound Slit Skirt www.apairandasparediy.com

2. The next thing you are going to do is orientate the back split to the front, you can see below that this was at the back before, but we put it at the front for a minimalist look. The buttons that were at the front will now be at the back (and more to one side if you chose to put the split in the centre of your leg like I did). We then created some darts around the waist to fit it properly on me.

Make a Denim Wraparound Slit Skirt www.apairandasparediy.com

3. Finally, I finished the top hem of the skirt with a simple stitch on the sewing machine (or you can do it by hand).

Make a Denim Wraparound Slit Skirt www.apairandasparediy.com

Voila! What was the back is now the front.  Skirt number 2 is done.

Make a Denim Wraparound Slit Skirt www.apairandasparediy.comDIY Denim Split Mini Skirt DIY Denim Split Mini Skirt

Wearing: DIY skirt, Grana tee, Celine Bag, J Crew pumps, Nick Campbell sunglasses

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

STUDIO PROJECT: DIY MEMORY DESK

In most offices, Monday starts with a team meeting. Right? But instead of it just being a terrifying hour of what everyone needs to do this week (where most people are distracted working out just how many overtime hours they will have to do), in the studio we decided to make it a little more fun, where instead of straight away plunging into our lists and not seeing the wood for the trees, do a little brainstorming and mind mapping at the start of each Monday meeting. Kind of an imagspiration (yep, made that word up) session. An opportunity to inspire each other with pictures and concepts that cropped up since the last meeting. Which is wherrrrreee this memory desk has come in handy. I first stumbled upon the idea on Pinterest and knew it would be something I would have to create one day. Let’s just say it wasn’t too hard to throw together! My slightly haphazard version that is. I can also imagine this would be a great idea for dinner/wedding tables, where people could write messages and thoughts as they ate!

DIY Memory Desk

Before I dive into the project I want to introduce you to Ollie, our little new adopted buddy. I can’t tell you how much work it’s been having a puppy but so with it for al the love you get in return! (And mangled bras).

DIY Memory Desk

You need: 

  • 2 pieces of Copper Piping
  • 2 lengths of Rope
  • A roll of paper (this is from the kids department in Ikea)

DIY Memory Desk

How to

1. Cut the pipe to the width of the table (or less) and then your rope to around 2m (2.2 yards) each. Then, run the rope through the length of pipe. Do this for both lengths of pipe.

DIY Memory Desk

2. Add the paper onto one of the pieces of the copper pipe. (make sure to keep the rope away from your new puppy!).

DIY Memory Desk

3. Tie the rope/pipe onto the table on each side (one side will have the roll of paper). Ours was a trestle style so we could just tie it onto the legs. Then, run the paper along the surface of the table, and then start rolling it onto the empty piece of pipe.

DIY Memory Desk

Voila!

DIY Memory Desk

The purpose of this desk is that you can jot down your list or major brain waves and then wind the paper so you can hold onto them forever. Love!

DIY Memory DeskDIY Memory DeskDIY Memory Desk DIY Memory Desk

In other studio related new, as part of a relaunch of the blog we’re currently looking for people to join the team! If you’re a photographer, blogger, content creator or anything like that and are based in Hong Kong, feel free to get in touch! Send your resume to geneva {at} apairandasparediy {dot} com. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

DIY LEATHER CAMERA STRAP

You know how they say the best camera is the one you have with you? I’m actually more in the boat of the best camera is the one that’s attached to a DIYed camera strap – hopefully making it much harder to lose (and thus, one you’ll always have with you). Not that you needed any more proof my addiction to camera straps, (cue this and this), however I thought it was high time I shared with you what type of strap I’m currently sporting. Enjoy!

DIY Leather Camera StrapDIY Leather Camera Strap

You need: 

  • leather
  • cone studs
  • multi hole punch tool
  • clasps

Get yourself a leather kit with all the materials here.

DIY Leather Camera Strap

How to:

1. Measure out strips of leather 2.5cm (1 inch) long.

DIY Leather Camera Strap

2. You’ll need a couple of these depending on the width of your leather and how long you want your strap to be.

DIY Leather Camera Strap

3. Use your hole punch to put a hole where your connecting screw will go. Add the screw and top of the stud to secure.

DIY Leather Camera Strap

4. On each end, add the clasp by putting the leather through the loop.

DIY Leather Camera Strap

5. And then punching a hole and then adding another screw.

DIY Leather Camera Strap

Voila!

DIY Leather Camera StrapDIY Leather Camera Strap

WARDROBE UPDATE: THE TAN BAG

If you’re looking to give your wardrobe a refresh (whether it be for summer or winter), maybe it’s time you thought about adding a tan bag to your repertoire.  Prior to last year I never thought of myself as a tan accessory person, it always seemed easier to stick with black, and perhaps tan seemed a little too grown up for me (memories of bags my mum had when I was growing up come flooding back)? That was, until I actually bought a tan bag last year on a whim and found myself wearing it literally every other day. As in, Geneva can you please change it up we are bored now (here, here, here). Tried, tested pretty much proven: tan accessories are stupidly wearable. What I’ve come to realise is that this colour bag (with matching shoes if you’re mild OCD like me) can change the whole look of an outfit – giving focus and a feature to your simple white and denim get up more than, say, black accessories would. Is it weird to also admit that tan accessories make me feel like I’m on holidays? Don’t ask me why!

And so, when Coach asked me to style piece from their new Spring collection for fashion week a few weeks ago, naturally it had to be this tan saddle bag – the logical next step from my hardcore addiction to that tote I’ve been wearing for months. Read on for a few of my tips for adding tan to your wardrobe. Are you feeling the tan?

Tan bag and white dress a pair and a spareTan bag and white dress a pair and a spare

Wearing: Coach Bag, Zulu & Zephyr Shirt Dress, Zara heels.

How to wear a tan bag:

Choose the right shade
With so many different shades of tan out there it’s sometimes hard to find the right one. If you imagine different shades of tan on the spectrum between beige, orange and brown, it’s about finding a colour that suits your skin tones and the colours that you wear. This Coach bag I’m wearing is more on the brown side which gives it a more weathered feel, while this J Crew bag I always use is more orange. It’s really up to you but if in doubt, steer to a cooler tone further towards brown rather than too orange.

Think about shoe colour choices 
If you’re worried about whether or not to match your bag with your shoes when wearing tan (or vice versus) I suggest either matching perfectly (within a few shades reason) or not matching at all. I know it might sound pedantic and a tad stepford wife-ish, but that awkward middle ground of sort-of matching accessories can throw a whole outfit off.

Wear with fresh simple palettes
Tan looks great with classic, fresh inspired outfits – think simple white cotton shirts, denim cut offs and a panama hat. As perfect for Hong Kong as it would be in Santorini!

Channel the 70’s
With the whole 70’s vibe in full swing this season, a tan bag is a great way to give a slight nod to the colour palette of that era, without having to throw away all your skinny leg jeans. Or are you getting into the flares again?

Let it weather
Tan leather wears so well over time, and I’ve noticed that it seems to slowly darkens in colour, which is something to keep in mind when you buy it.

Looking for a tan bag? A few other gorgeous tan options include this J crew bucket style (I want!), this APC saddle bag (in a lighter tone), this J Crew tote that you’ll recognise cos I wear it alllll the time, this Asos backpack, this Topshop cross body bagthis Madewell saddle bag style, and this Botkier cross body one.

 

Tan bag and white dress a pair and a spareTan bag and white dress a pair and a spareTan bag and white dress a pair and a spareSimple wardrobe palette

Photos by Nicola Lemmon