Saturday, 26 September 2009

Make, Do and Mend!

So, you love clothes and want to find something new and exciting. Where should you start? My advice is NOT in the shops. Shops can lead you to a very wrong and potentially expensive path. We are students, so first we should at least try the free zone. The first step is to look for inspiration. What do you want to dress like? What are the pieces you need to have right now? You can browse the web or magazines to find the things you like.

Go to your wardrobe and search. Be creative. Look carefully to find the pieces you might be able to reinvent with the new season. If you really don’t have anything interesting or remotely close to what you want, then it’s time to play the pirate game and raid into the wardrobe of other people in your social circle. Starting from mum and dad to friends, neighbours and pretty much anyone who will grant you access to the things they don’t want to wear. You’d be surprised at how many beautiful things you can get!

Now it’s time to think creatively. You have a bunch of old clothes and you can see that they are a bit out-of-date. The key here is to revamp. Cutting is the first step. A simple t-shirt can become a wonderful top if you just cut the sleeves or shorten it. A old dress can find its youth again by being shortened or altered. Make sure not to ruin the clothes though. If you are inexperienced try to alter cheap things first. It’s also best never to alter tailored clothes and coats, since altering the structure might be a huge risk if you don’t really know what you are doing. Also, it takes a long time and too much effort. So stick to quick and simple alterations at the beginning.

Embellishments are the next option. Change buttons, add embroideries, chains, studs, lace, ribbons, beads and sequins to make something unique and special from something average. Be aware that haberdashery can be expensive, so look for embellishments you already have somewhere (or at least the ones your mum or grandmother have). The key here is recycling.

Another very popular technique is ripping jeans, an option you might want to think about if you like this season’s grunge look and you have an old pair of jeans. Why pay for a new ripped pair if you can do it yourself? The internet is full of websites explaining step-by-step how to do it. Try YouTube for example, or blogs such as

Dying can be another option. From tea to ready-made dyes, you can go crazy with the whole process. You can even paint with fabric colours or print something on t-shirts.
Remember that you can turn items of clothing into new ones. You can make a dress out of a top, or a waistcoat out of trousers, a scarf out of the bottom edge of a pretty printed dress (that way you would have a shorter dress AND a scarf!).

If you found some yarn in grandma’s closet, you may try to knit some decorations, sleeves, shoulder-covers to add that extra touch to your outfit!

Then: ACCESSORISE! Yes, it should be done wisely, since nobody wants to look like a Christmas tree (not even in December!), but accessorising can really transform what you are wearing and give it a different flavour, be it bohemian, grunge, punk or vintage.

Once you have planned all the opportunities for your newly found pieces ready to be customised, think. Nobody is stopping you from going for some healthy shopping! Now that you have investigated what you have, you can really go and hunt for some new material that will complement what you have created!

And remember: in October we will begin our Sewing Classes, which focus on teaching some basic skills to customise clothes even more!

So, get working and keep it MODO, people ;)!

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