5th October 2016
Building on the wardrobe rehab step one… What do you do with items that don’t fit anymore? This has always stumped me. Jeans that are just a little too snug or dresses that are too short (and maybe not nice enough to sell). Enter the grommet tunic. A detail I’ve been really into on the runway (see at Ellery and Burberry), we realised it would be a great addition in helping us turn a too short dress into a tunic top. You’ll be seeing this detail just about everywhere in the next few seasons, so why not get a head start on it?
This is the dress before and after – it barely covered my bum so definitely wasn’t something I was going to be able to get away with. Turning it into a tunic top with some modern details was the best way to go.
- A dress or long top
- Fabric (in a colour to match)
- Large grommets
- Grommet tool and hammer
- Fabric scissors
- Fabric pencil
- Sewing machine and thread
- The first thing we did was take off the sleeves. You may not have to do this if you have a simple top without sleeves.
2. Then, unpick the side seam all the way to the bottom.
3. Fold the raw side seams and arm hole seam in 1cm, pin and sew to create a clean edge.
4. Working with one layer of fabric at a time, position the grommets along the side seam until you are happy with the way they look. Mark their positions by tracing around the inner circle of the grommet with a fabric pencil.
5. Cut out the inner circle markings and slip the grommet into the hole, the rounded grommet piece going on the outside and the flat grommet piece on the inside of the garment. It helps to make the holes a little on the mislay side so the fabric grips the grommet well.
6. Using the grommet tool, hammer the grommets in place so they are secure.
7. For the lace up ties, cut 4 strips that measure the width of the fabric by 9cm long.
8. Sew the 4 strips into two pairs then fold in half, pin and sew with a 1cm seam allowance so that you end up with two long tubes.
9. Turn the fabric tubes inside out and iron flat.
10. Weave the ties into the grommets like you would your shoe laces and you’re done!
Photos by Bryant Lee.
3rd October 2016
Welcome to Step 1 of the new Wardrobe Rehab series! As I mentioned last week I’m super excited to be kicking this new series off with you, and hope you’ll join me in curating your closet. I’ll be bringing you 5 detailed steps, as well as all the tips and tricks I’ve learnt in the last 5 years of curating my closet. Along the way I’ll be working with the new fashion marketplace app Shedd (where I’m currently selling a few items from this cull!), to show you how to curate your closet so it’s easy to get dressed every morning, and you always look and feel great. Thanks for all your questions last week too, we’re going to make sure to address those in this series too. The first step today? We’re talking about culling!
The foundation of a well functioning (and chic) wardrobe that is conducive to quick and easy dressing begins with culling. Culling meaning removing damaged, non-essential or mis-matched pieces and helps create a clean canvas to build the perfect wardrobe upon. Check out the video below of me recently culling my wardrobe!
Take a morning out to try on every item in your wardrobe in front of a mirror and be ruthless about every item’s wearability. Ask yourself the questions below and sort your clothes into two piles, those that are going and those that are staying.
• Is it worn out? Remove any items that are ripped, stained or worn beyond repair.
• Have I worn this in the past year? Remove any items you haven’t worn in the last 12 months. (Although, allow yourself to keep a small number of ‘sentimental’ items, just be careful that pile doesn’t grow and grow).
• Does this make me feel confident? Clothes that make you feel your best will make you look your best. Remove any items that are the wrong shape, colour or cut.
• Does this fit properly? Check the fit of each item by trying them on and moving in them, lifting your arms, sitting down, walking and bending over. Remove any items that are too short, too tight or when wearing, require you to adjust too frequently.
• Is this item out of date? Often fashions, prints and colours of a past trend will date quickly and while this doesn’t mean they can’t be incorporated into your wardrobe, remove any items that you haven’t worn recently.
• Does this need altering or repairing? If a piece of clothing is slightly damaged or ill-fitted it may be worth taking to the tailors. This is especially so if the garment is well-made and of a quality material like silk, wool or cotton.
After going through your whole closet, including shoes, accessories and underwear, your clothes should be divided into two sections, those that are staying and those that are going. Put the ones you want to keep back in your closet, and for those that you don’t want anymore split it up into the following sections.
Section 1. Altering (or DIY)
If they need altering, take these garments to the tailors or if you have access to a sewing machine, you can also alter them yourself.
Section 2. Donate
These are pieces that are a bit worn, dated and not worth selling. Take these items to a thrift store or give them away to family or friends. It’s best to avoid throwing away garments if they are still wearable because they can be easily reused and will avoid ending up in land fill.
Section 3. Clothes to Sell
Selling your old clothes is a great way of both recycling them (they’ll get a new owner) anddd making money from that which has been collecting dust in your closet. Who wouldn’t want to turn that hand bag into wine/a trip away/another bag? But selling your clothes can sometimes be time consuming which is where a fashion marketplace like Shedd is really great, because uploading items and selling them to people in your city is really quick… As in 5-seconds-flat quick, making every single item worth it. A tip from me? If you curate your Shedd profile well, and focus on high quality photography and flatlays, it’s possible to gain a lot of traction with the community and sell your items quickly. As a matter of fact I’m selling a few things over there now, go and take a look!
Make sure you have a nice big mirror when you do it to see yourself from all angles! And have fun with it 🙂
It might sound like a lot of work but a closet cull will be the best thing you do all year because it allows you to see what works and what doesn’t. Trust me. Stay tuned for the next step in this 5 step journey, Defining Your Personal Style. I hope you’ll join me in perfecting your closet!
Photos by Bryant Lee. Illustrations by Annie Huang.
29th September 2016
It seems the off the shoulder just won’t quit, and I’m ok with that. But over time what we’re seeing is lots of different plays on the gathered sleeve and how it looks and feels. One style I’ve noticed is those with some sort of embellishment around the elbow, whether it be straps, buckles or gathers. Not so hard to do yourself it turns out!
- An oversized shirt
- Fabric (in colour to match)
- Measuring Tape
- Sewing machine and thread
- Measure the off-the-shoulder circumference around your chest and upper arm. Cut one length of elastic to this measurement. Then measure the circumference of your arm just above your elbow and cut four pieces of elastic to this measurement.
2. Cut off the top of the shirt to create the off-the-shoulder neckline.
3. Fold and pin down the raw edge making sure it is wide enough to fit the elastic through. My elastic was 2cm wide so I made the elastic tunnel 2.5cm plus a 0.5cm seam allowance.
4. Sew the elastic tunnel down with the 0.5cm seam allowance away from the raw edge. Make sure to leave a gap about 4cm wide to thread the elastic through later on.
5. Cut the sleeves to about elbow length.
6. Pin and sew the edge to create a tunnel for the elastic like you did for the top raw edge in steps 3-4.
7. Thread the elastic into the tunnels through the gap and sew the elastic ends together to create a circle. Sew the tunnel gap closed.
8. For the bell portion of the sleeves, cut two rectangles of fabric measuring a length about 2 x the circumference around your arm (I cut mine 50cm wide) and 30 cm long.
9. Sew the rectangles into a cylinder then pin and sew down the the hem (1cm seam allowance) and elastic tunnel (3cm seam allowance). Thread the elastic through as you did for the previous steps.
10. The bell sleeves and elasticated shirt should look something like this.
11. To attach the bell sleeves to the shirt sleeves, pin and sew the two together on the inside of the sleeve (the seam closest to the body).
Photos by Bryant Lee
Wardrobe Rehab: 5 Steps to Perfecting Your Closet (Also: what challenges do you face with your wardrobe?)
27th September 2016
6 years ago when I was living in London I started writing on the subject of Wardrobe Rehab – a process of perfecting your closet and maintaining it over time so that really works for you. Andddddd so that you never stand in front of your closet wondering what to wear again! The goal is a wardrobe that’s easy to navigate, full of pieces that you absolutely love and are able to create infinite outfit with. Fast forward and I’ve learnt so much about maintaining a functional closet and developing your style, much more than I knew and understood when I first started. It’s for that reason that we’ve been wanting to renew/rejuvenate this series for a long time, and finally we are!
I’m really excited because we’ll be kicking off an updated Wardrobe Rehab series, starting from scratch and working our way through the steps one at a time with you. If you haven’t done something like this before – or if you have but you’ve fallen off the wagon – take this as a sign! This transeasonal time of year is perfect for refreshing your closet and your style. Over the next few months we’ll go through the 5 steps with you, sharing videos, tips, tricks and ideas for how you can not only organise and edit your existing wardrobe, but how you can also develop your personal style, choose a palette and focus your shopping. All so you can look and feel your best. 🙂
A Question For You Guys
As a way of knowing more about what would help you with the perfect wardrobe, I’d love to hear about any challenges you face in terms of developing a wardrobe that works really well for you. Do let me know if there is anything in particular you would like me to delve into when it comes to your closet whether it be budget, essentials, colours, brands to buy from, fit, occasions or whatever!
Step 1. Wardrobe Cull
Step 2. Define Your Style
Step 3. Choose Your Essentials
Step 4. Select Your Colour Palette
Step 5. Maintain & Focus Your Shopping
I’m really excited to share this updated wardrobe journey with you, and hope you get on board. The goal is to do this together, sharing the highs and the lows. – Hopefully we’ll all have the perfect wardrobe within a few months. I’m so excited!
Illustrations by Annie Huang