Taking the Wrist, and Making a Twist

Today's DIY is inspired by film, animal prints, and Victorian wonders. Contemplating on what to do next with a few remnants that did not mesh seamlessly with any of the projects that I'm currently finishing I decided to go for something different. I've been obsessed with collars and wrist creations lately, well for many years, yet I'm shocked that I've not done too much with these ideas.

Thanks to blogging, I have been inspired to do more DIY and share a few creative concepts - making them a reality, but also keeping a few extra funds in my clutch... for SHOES of course! With all jokes aside here's what I have so far; I hope that you enjoy.
*To view results skip to images if in a hurry!

Hot-glue/fabric glue
Ornate buttons or any embellishment
Black small snaps
Sewing machine
Needle & Invisible/black thread

Leather Animal:
This printed leather was initially used for a belt I made for a friend, however I wanted to create a bracelet of some sort from the excess pieces. A  wrist measurement is needed. After measuring your wrist and deciding on the length of the cuff/bracelet cut the leather into any shape. I wanted an asymmetrical sharp styled cut for mine. I used rose buttons which added a unique detail by using fabric glue or hot-glue for adhering to the leather. *You may also use faux leather if you prefer. I work with alot of leather so it's close and on hand... don't judge!

Closure: If you do not want to use a button as the closure use Velcro. I attached Velcro (with adhesive) to the leather - where you'd wear it on the tightest part. Be certain before attaching that you aren't able to see the Velcro from the outside. Feel free to make a mock-up with paper if needed.
After the Velcro placement, hand-sew around the Velcro as reinforcement, and may also do by machine if you're a bit advanced - just be sure to watch the needle, and sew slowly. You can use Velcro without adhesive, however I found that I like having an extra stabilizer for the leather, sewing it to the leather definitely helps. You're finished!

Cuff Me, Lace Me:
I know you're probably sick of seeing lace right? Oh well, when you stop over here at Fashion Tales you must know that lace will come up every so OFTEN. haha! I wanted lace cuffs and armbands. I took my appreciation for built-up necklines from victorian blouses and costumes and decided to produce a wrist/arm version of what immediately came to mind. Think of it as a mini bell hem or fantastic skirt for your arm.

I have very small wrists so this was perfect since I wanted to make a statement without wearing a watch or actual jewellery. Start by the normal wrist measurement. This is woven so the measurement if crucial, adding 3/8" for overlapping. I created an additional piece for binding, but you may acquire binding already made at a local fabric store in various colours.
I drew out how I wanted this to look, which is basically an circle pattern with 3 seams (whatever width+added length wanted) there will be a slight curved slit or v where the snaps will go. Leaving 1/4" extra at the top edge of the pattern. With wrong side up, seam-to-seam sew both front & back pieces together, turn inside out, press. Baste the top edge. After gathering my pieces at the top you should have seam allowance (1/4") or whatever you made your seam allowance. Take the binding and fit the basted top edge of lace into the seam of binding. Sew binding to lace by top-stitching at edge. Hand-sew snaps on lace one on each side (w/ overlapping). If you like, you may also top-stitch at hem of the lace. I just pressed it nicely in the seams and edge stitched. Here's the result. Wishing you a wonderful day.
Be inspired!

From Italy, With Love

As you may not know I am a huge fan of texting, emailing and, most importantly, Skype! I believe most of my catching up with family and friends from afar is done by skyping them, so it's no surprise that for this particular feature that I would use none other than my wonderful skyping tool, especially since I was unable to make haste to head across the pond this time around.

Today, FASHION TALES will fly to Italy to introduce you to an emerging designer of ingrained art influenced garments: Lucia Squillari, the young lady behind the women’s label, Larimeloom
Interview Lucia SquillariLarimeloom
Squillari designs feminine, feel-good apparel that has the ability to give you a radiant glow naturally, even in her loose-fitting silhouettes. She may not be traditionally trained, however the garments that she produces showcases a special designing eye that says otherwise.

The Italian native from Alba creates one-of-a-kind pieces and made-to-measure garments for clients worldwide, allowing them to choose from her on-line shop or customise any items wanted by request. Each piece in Squillari’s line is handmade personally by the designer herself right from her home studio using materials from silk and cotton to leather, linen, mixed wool, and blended knits. 

“I do everything myself right now, but I like it that way, I think I'd get tired of doing only one part of the process.”
Some of my favourites in her line are basic styled garments or draped pieces – ones that I’d definitely wear in diverse ways. Much of the beauty in her collection lies within the dying methods that she selects, which is cleverly offset by collaborating with an artist who exercises in [yarn dyes] using natural plants, such as onions, berries, leaves, and roots to achieve rich colour. You can see the difference in the herbal and hand-dyed technique in some of Squillari’s lovely accessories, for example in her hand woven garnet red shawl.
Lucia Squillari Etsy Shop Designs

There’s so many reasons that I felt compelled to introduce this emerging designer; admiring her attention to detail whether by fabrication or sheer focus on creating versatile styles. However, ample simplicity is just as important throughout the collection. Squillari’s a young woman who wants to have fun with fashion, but doesn't get caught up in the hype of today’s market and race to stardom.

Instead she’s grounded by her local community, and staying true to herself with her passions. “I must also admit I do not aspire the high-fashion runways. I hate fast paces and stress, so I think I wouldn't have as much fun in the real fashion world,” said Squillari.  

It was a pleasure to speak with an independent designer who expresses such harmony in her easy-living designs as much as sharing her gift to the world; on a greater note wanting to make a woman look and feel good in everyday threads with a handmade touch.

For more information you may visit her on-line shop here!  

Getting to know Lucia Squillari:
On design inspiration… “I don’t follow the fashion world very closely, I mostly just do my thing, evolving ideas from other ideas and letting the fabric talk to me.” 

Lessons & learning…On advice to aspiring designers… “Try to have as much fun with it as possible, don’t worry over what you’re doing.... and of course SEW SEW SEW! The only way to grow stronger in something is by doing it!”

Next on the agenda… “I am pretty happy where I am right now, I would like to have my pieces in more stores locally and a larger work space - that is truly necessary!”

Photos: courtesy of Larimeloom


The Best Gift My (Fashion) Friend Gave Me

Gifting at times is not all that easy, especially when it comes to buying for a close friend. Often deciding on what the perfect gift can be or if that perfect gift may even exist can be also frustrating.

I've learnt early on to think of it how my mum succinctly puts it to "never give someone anything that you haven't thought about, or anything that you yourself would not love," of course in actuality it may vary, because I myself do not love or have the need for barbecuing utensils. However, when I recently purchased those for a passionate grilling friend it was well thought out and something that he's now enjoying to use quite frequently.

With that being said, I love giving and receiving gifts that have a purpose. It might be a handmade card with words of encouragement, a special photo, a smile, statement pieces of jewellery, or an incredible vintage/thrift find to just name a few.
Almost 2 years ago I received one of my all time favourite fashion gifts from my dear friend, Jin. It was a fantastic notebook! In fact, this (what seemed to be a blank notebook at first glance) was filled with loads of data that included fashion related websites, helpful blog addresses, important must-know dates of fashion weeks, button sizes, a fabric dictionary, inspiration layouts for mood boards, and so much more!

The notebook is called Fashionary. If you haven't heard of this book yet be prepare to be inspired! 

As I carefully turned each page I was consumed with excitement, anxious to create, and inspired to see what the next surprise page would bring. This one book is essentially everything that I want to fit from 3 other books that reside on my reference shelf. There's also a folder pocket in back of the book where I keep all of my extra tear sheets, trims, and other random discoveries that I choose to toss inside. 

Today, this brilliant concept gives more to the "apparelista," fashion designer, or fashion drawing enthusiast offering additional references and new bold book colours than its initial launch. You might be pondering the question of, what if I don't draw much? Not to worry there's guidelines lightly embedded on pages for you to start inspiring works, progressing with each sketching effort. 

I've been using this book along with a few other notebooks that I keep nearby since the moment received, and cannot wait to purchase their men's wear edition. It's loaded with technical info that I was taught in design school, yet arranged in such a sophisticated and orderly way. Fashionary provides necessary fashion related resources all compiled in a sketchbook be it used by an ambitious creative, or seasoned designer it's a wonderful contribution to the fashion design industry.
Here's a few of my sketches & inspiration that I keep within the notebook.

If you're wanting a different suggestion for a fashion loving friend this book is an inexpensive way to tell them, "okay, so you love creating something do ya? Well, here's a book to keep it all in!" With computers and other technology just about ruling the creative world it's nice to take a walk down memory lane, in retrospect an encouragement of the doodling process as you cut and paste a few ideas here and there.

Perhaps you will even remember what a 28L button actually looks like or what the tailor meant by when he/she said, "set-in sleeve."

Working primarily with patterns and operational modifications on a daily basis, I am forever fascinated with a consolidating source that can fit merely in my stylish envelope clutch! So here's my gift to you sharing a token of what I deem as a great fashion aid, my Fashionary from one friend to another. 
All photos:  Ladyofashion    originals,  and   Fashionary.org

Notions: Making the Most of What I've Got!

Hello lovely fashionistas indeed it has been a long while since my last DIY, but I have been doing a few things. I decided to complete some of the projects that I'm excited to show you all. Continuing my love for lace, I wanted to use many of the remnants I had stowed away in my fabric bins.

Additionally, I've wanted to do something more with chain and studs, because I made an appliqué that I did not use on a garment I had initially intended it for, here's what I accomplished so far... I hope that you enjoy!  

*Skip to results/mobile photos if you're in a hurry! 
Other materials used/equipment: Metal glue, fabric glue, glue gun, hand needle, sewing machine, tailor's chalk, pins, invisible thread, or silver thread, and patience!

The Chain Reaction: This belt was inspired by my biker jacket and I wanted it to be a bit more edgier to go along with this particular dull biker jacket. I used my appliqué for the studs. I am not one to waste much when it comes to sewing, so I simply cut off all of the studs that were hand sewn on the mesh fabric. 

The chain: I bought at a wholesale market by the yard. You may purchase this at your local hardware store. I've cut the leather here into 4 strips, (although only one is needed for this belt project) I am using the other 3 pieces for another idea at a later date. Leather can be purchased online, or even bought at a fabric store (I am using old scraps of leather from an art project years ago). 
I measured my waist using measuring tape, divided it into 3 parts (2 sides, and 1 front), because I wanted to add contrast fabric at the ends. Cut the leather into the exact measured thickness and length/stylized measurement that you want your belt. You may not own tailor's chalk, if you don't then think about what you have in your household already, use white eyeliner! This will help you lightly mark where you want your studs and chain placement.                      

The ends of my belt are dyed crochet-lace. Of course this may be any colour, but I generally buy white lace so that I can later dye it any way that I choose. After the dyeing process or after you cut your purchased lace, iron the piece and cut once, creating 2 separate pieces. This measurement for me was minus the leather measurement + the length that I wanted my belt tied (I wanted a longer belt, so I made the length to be worn in a variety of ways, fitted, drop waist, loose, etc.). *By using measuring tape it may help you to visually see it better!

Hand-stitch, or even easier machine stitch each crochet-lace side joining the leather strip. Positioning my chain in the center, I carefully basted it by hand (with silver or invisible thread) to the leather to stabilise. Afterward, I hot-glued my studs in the design that I wanted. Securing the position chosen for the chain to be in I carefully put very small amounts of metal/fabric glue to the chain, and also a few studs, that I have touching the chain (which is also part of my design).  I knotted the ends of my crochet piece, but you may put beads on the ends, fold over & sew, or even add other trim on the ends. Here's the result!

If the Shoe Fits: 
If you have a favourite pair of shoes, particularly flats that you LOVE as I do, then you've probably worn them religiously over the years. I have tons of shoes that I wear and adore, but I also have a few go-to styles that are not only my favs, but also incredibly comfortable! I'm ashamed to say how long I've had this particular pair. 

I wanted to do something playful by dressing up my plain and old black patent-leather flats, yet something that could still go with many of my not-so-dressy ensembles, especially if I had to slip them on quickly after work. I decided on using lace as a top covering to add texture to the shoes. I also found a v-neck piece that I cut in half and used it to create a fun bow that sparkled nicely as an added bell to my DIY whistle! 
I cut the lace into 4"strips, and the width-wise measurement of the toe of my shoe. This measurement may vary, depending on style of shoe and size. Use fabric glue to adhere the lace to the shoe. The adhesive that I used said that it needs 18-24 hours to dry, but It was dry within 12 hours. 

I love getting the most out of the products that I buy! All of this came from what I already had in my artsy house ... granted I do sew and have a few art supplies, however everything used here can be acquired from your local art store, hardware or fabric stores, and the best part is that it's really inexpensive! 
I created a triple ruffle/bow and stitched the center. I wanted my sequins ruffles/bows to be slightly flat, yet puffier on the ends, and hot-glued the center atop the lace, then glued around the edges of the bottom and top of the sequins piece. For versatile use I decided to add a barrette style clip to the back of each ruffled piece in case I fancy using the ruffle on another garment. Here's the result! 
You may also remember this dress from my bargain shopping score!

The goods: Hat- H&M, Shoes- Target- DIY/Ladyofashion, Biker boots-Dirty Laundry, Dress, thrifted-see above, Belt-DIY/Ladyofashion, bracelet-Forever21 

 Next up? Jewellery, and more accessories to come! 


A Market for Sole-Sisters

To put it quite honestly what's the one thing that a fashionista might focus on to complete her outfit? It's simple ... shoes, of course!

If you're a funky sole-lover as much as I am then you've probably flipped through favourite magazines viewing a few styles by the creators of Plomo shoes, an under-the-radar label that's known for their avant-garde gladiator sandals and leather heels, and all entirely wearable. Whether their style's for you or not, it's most definitely a conversation starter. 

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure to catch up with Galia, one of the lovely ladies behind the brand to find a little bit more about what it's like working with your close friend, taking a small concept internationally, and more importantly being able to live your dream. 

Keltse and Galia, the founding designers of Plomo shoes met in Mexico after Galia co-hosted a fashion TV pilot. The two became close friends, and deciding on becoming business partners was a match made in... well, Mexico actually! "When I wanted to start making shoes it only seemed natural to invite Keltse to the project. We have a great connection and respect each other tremendously. I think that's the secret - trust, and respect," said Galia.
With Keltse now living in New York, the collection has also gained an added urban feel to some of their designs than the previous collection, giving more versatility to their market. "We design things that we would love to wear ... strong, confident, smart, and daring women wear our shoes," said Galia.

"It's been amazing what we have accomplished in such a short period of time, we're already in all of these amazing stores." 

The ladies attribute the alluring aesthetic of their designs by their heritage; both born in Mexico having a love for sexy and edgy styles, "both of us are latin, so I guess it has an influence on our look and design, all of our customers always tell us that Plomo is very sexy," said Galia. They actually offer a variety of styles in their collection ranging from leather heels with a high-spiky appeal to studded or boot inspired looks, amongst many others.

After chatting with Galia, it's easy to see that these hardworking gals are dedicated and inspire women to go after their goals no matter what they might be, what's their advice to an aspiring shoe designer? "Be patient, and to realise that you never stop growing or learning. We have learned so much in the past year and a half, and are very conscious that we still have a long way to go. That's what makes it so exciting," said Galia! 

The new summer collection is online or perhaps in your local boutique!
For more locations visit www.plomoshoes.com

Getting to know Galia & Keltse:

On their sartorial style... Both of us are very sexy, urban, feminine and elegant. We also own a lot of shorts its quite funny. Boots with cutoffs and a blazer, or tight bandage skirts & a loose silk blouse. We like things that look they have been lived in.

On inspiration... People, paintings, nature,& street-wear inspires us. For F/W 2011 we were inspired by the colour of the leaves in the fall, by menswear and schoolgirls, also Gustav Klimt's painting, "Forest of Beach Trees," & Lou Dillon´s style.

Favourite designers? Yes, Isabel Marant, Christophe Decarnin, & Karl Lagerfeld

On biz + friends...  We're so similar that we can shop at the same store separately & end up buying the same things.  

What's next?... To keep on growing & keep on selling. We want the buying experience to be a lot more personalised.

Photos: Courtesy of Plomo Shoes

Just Shake Your Romper!

Given the fact that I've pretty much covered what my favourite summer trends are at the moment or what I'm most looking forward to wearing this season I decided to take a closer look into my closet for a favourite romper style.

I have a couple of unique jumpsuits, however the few that I really love are simple and solid coloured styles. You may have seen a few blogging lovelies with the jumpsuit or "romper situation," donning them beautifully and with great inspiration. Of course, by actually wearing one yourself there are pros and cons of rompers in general; especially when deciding on what type (if any) is for you, which may distinctly vary if considering functionality, texture, lifestyle, or trend. One of my recent favourites were of Marissa of Tastes and Style, Vahni of Grit and GlamourCheryl, of Oh To Be a Muse, and Mrs Bossa, of Mrs Bossa Does The Do; all wearing them in their own way or sharing their thoughts on the one-piece creation.
Fashion is playful and has such humour at times specifically when I think about rompers, because growing up I would laugh at the styles that my mother and grandmother wore during their childhood. Yet I find myself loving and wearing some of the exact styles that I ridiculed or simply thought I'd  n e v e r  wear.

Perhaps, the idiom: Don't knock it before you've tried it, or confidently know without a doubt that it's not for you could apply here...

That 50s, 60s, 70s show!  Disco times, free spirits and all around one-piece attire was popular during this era. From gigantic hem openings to jumpsuits of both solid and printed form were prevalent in the 70s. However, where did this crazy garment come from? Certainly, the 70s turned out fashions of the jumpsuit with an increasing nod to some, but rompers or shall we say what the French called, "barboteuse"(initially for boys), came to America in the 1900s, with a latter gain in popularity in the 1950s for both sexes.

When I hear the term jumpsuit I typically think about flight suits or Sidcot suits, which has invariably existed amongst males and females and before the trendy romper. Should men really talk about women who happen to fancy a romper? Well, come to think of it some of them actually wear rompers I mean jumpsuits don't they? Haven't you seen your fellow race car drivers, aviators, astronauts, prisoners, mechanics, plumbers, and skiers? Sure, your average person may not be into wearing Kevlar or Nomex garments... Call it what you want, but God almighty that's a romper style (okay, maybe not entirely, yet one-piece garment does apply there)!

If you aren't a fan of this roomy silhouette maybe it's because you correlate it to a child-like garment - something that was originally made for recreational and formal attire for the little ones that has now become popular as an adult play-suit. But, I digress!

Whether you're going to be wearing a romper/jumpsuit/play-suit or not, here's how I'll be wearing the comfortable versions that I do adore.
You saw this crochet-lace cardigan in my previous post. I added floral patches that I made, and dyed it fuchsia for a different effect. This white retro romper is light weight and very forgiving by it having smocking in the chest, in addition to an elastic waist.

The goods: (At top) Strapless romper-Urban Outfitters, Crop jacket- Michael Kors, Gladiator sandals-Urban Outfitters, Heels-Gifted-Nordstroms, Striped belt- Forever21, Black/gold cut-out belt- Gestalt Collection/Ladyofashion, (Above) Vintage crochet-lace cardigan, Wedges- Nine West, Retro romper-gifted, handmade dream catcher-sister's, hat.

Laces and Brights: Feels Oh, So Right!

This summer there's so much to look forward to wear throughout the season! For me, it's not solely bringing in the new trends per se, yet it's the old that has caught my eye. Lace is back and where it's at... of course if you follow this blog or know me at all then you already understand how much I adore lace on a level that only a lace maker would probably understand... or fellow lace obsessive fashionista (The LOF/Ladyofashion).  
For this season's summer trends, I'm also looking forward to wearing bright colours. Bold, bright hues are constantly a favourite in my wardrobe so for the summer I've been mostly thinking about pinks, corals, yellows, turquoise hues, and actually any variant of those colours (Yes, this would also include borderlines of the lovely fuchsias, and seafoams).

I decided to begin my summer with a shot of retro and contemporary, taking inspiration from Beds and, Crochet Lace to Chantilly, and even Venetian or needlelace, because to me it's all very good. I'm excited to wear lace in brights this season and have seen a few unique versions of it in shorts and skirt silhouettes, which have caught my eye sprightly with bold colour or by its beautiful charm in nudes.
The story of the seasons:  I love the root of lace (what the Italians called "punto in aria," stitch in air) in general, dating back even as far as the 15th century; with each era, season and time period there's an interesting way of wearing lace even in current forms today. I became an ardent lace appreciator when I worked at a costuming shop where creations of 18th and 19th century clothing for reenactments and theatre took place, since then I have been fascinated with lace making. We can thank Italy and Belguim for its popularity and elaborate groundwork at lace's birth, however every region now seems to have their own spin on styles of lace.

The myriad of colours and fabrics today blended by new and modified techniques for the lace lover is also intriguing to me as much as the artful process in initial creation. Here's inspiration to show my love for lace and brights; together making me anxious to wear colour with intermixing lace in an inspiring way this season.
The goods: Hat- Courtesty of Goorin brothers, Buckle Clogs-gifted/Spain, Coral-Lace Skirt- Anthropologie,Tee-Roxy, Chain bracelet-Gestalt Collection.(Above right):Turquoise leather belt: Urban Outfitters, Strapless dress-Love Culture, Gold/Turquoise beaded headpiece- DIY (more to come!), vintage: Crochet cardigan with dyed floral pieces added -Ladyofashion handmade, Straw hat-Urban Outfitters *
This post is apart of Fulltime fabulous event.
Further notes: Styles of lace, Lace origins 


Vanity + Vintage #08 *Special Issue*

You probably wondered where last week's Vanity + Vintage (V+V) series was, eh? Well, I had to wait and give you a full dose with an exclusively stylish bunch of people who wanted to participate in the theme. Do not fret, there may be a future themed post just in case you missed the submission this time around.

This week's edition of V+V is a special feature showcasing vintage enthusiasts, some of whom may already be in your blogging circle. I wanted to take a moment to see what their favourite belts and bags were. Here are some beauties to show you how they wear vintage, and why they adore these specific items.
 Sacramento, of Mis Palpelicos: Queen of vintage, thrift, and inclusively clever style says,
"I love to wear this because this belt is baroque like me, and an unique piece of art that found me."
 Debbie of Thrifty Girl Vintage: The smart shopping bargain hunter with a vintage budget says,
"I recently thrifted this white wicker purse for $2.  I used it in this post to make this menswear look a little girlier.  I’m looking forward to carrying it with vintage inspired dresses this summer." 
 Anika, of ByAnika: The self-worth activist, designer and blogging darling says, 
"I'm wearing my mums bag that she bought in Brighton 30 years ago. I added a belt for the strap. I love the colours of the bag, but what I love most about wearing it is that it makes me feel close to my lovely mum."
 Christine, of Un-Stitched: The romanticised vintage loving fashionista says, 
" I love this bag because it hails to the past of lady-like simplicity and is dainty and demure."
Jamillah, of Made-To-Travel: The ethical ever inspiring ray of sunshine says,
"This clutch is one of my most beloved thrifted accessories. I got it for $6 at a goodwill! ...It has attended every wedding I've been to, many nights out with the girls, & even some weekend strolls with the bf. It totally goes with everything & is at home with my fanciest dress & with my most casual outfits."
And lastly, I chose this particular bag, because it's a vintage camera case/bag that I acquired during school. Upon purchasing there were old negatives hidden inside (that someone obviously had forgotten to toss)... nothing disturbing, just images of people that I did not know! I've only used this bag a few times, but it has become a piece that I love dearly.

The fact that I almost talked myself out of buying it makes it so special... Though, I do not recall the exact price I paid for it, however to my remembrance it was under $10! I simply love it... that is all!

I hope that you enjoyed this feature and wish you to be inspired this week! 
Next up?

The goods:  Thrifted: Skirt-Refuge/SF, Tank- H&M, Vintage leather bag-Hinson, Necklace- DIY, leather harness-DIY (more to come)!
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