Saturday, 20 July 2013

Patterns4life according to Instagram.

I'm in Bangkok bitches.

L: One of the last days before I left, playing with my cousins' baby rabbits!
R: Last minute crafting before I hit the airport, as I won't have my tools and supplies with me for months and months!  So unfortunately it may be a little dry on the old DIY front for a while.
L: Goodbye London!
R: Hello Pattaya!
L: Amazing architecture in Bangkok, spotted between castings.
R: Male model DJ Borja Marting's Phoenix tattoo- I love the look of tattoos before they've been filled in if they have line work this good.  If anyone is in Bangkok at the moment, make sure you check out his set tomorrow night at @Demo.  He will be spinning some sick Deep House so don't miss it if you're in town.
Two stunning locations I've shot in so far with Elle cover star Tanja Lederer showing me the ropes ;)  Work here is going quite well so stay tuned for more updates, but don't expect them to be too frequent as Wifi here is terrible and I'm loving life away from the computer and social networking, actually going out and living!

Follow me on instagram for more updates on what my model familia and I are getting up to in Thailand.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Styling Thrift

Part 3 in my Styling Thrift series and I have a video for y'all!  I hope you all enjoy me dancing around the room, trying on my various thrift store finds.  I went nuts in my last two weeks in London, spending over £200 in various charity shops (oops!) so I figured the haul would be great for creating a video (or two or three!).

So I'm now in Bangkok, loving the sun and the food (fresh fruit for breakfast, anyone?) and not to forget, the shopping!  Will be doing a post about my best shopping spots here soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that, if you're heading to Bangkok.  Obviously I'm enjoying the work here too, as we've shot in some stunning locations.  And if you want to follow more behind the scenes modelling stuff, make sure to like me on Facebook and follow me on Instagram, where I've been posting daily.

Hope you enjoy the video, and make sure you're subscribed to my YouTube channel and leave me a comment below to let me know what you think!

Friday, 28 June 2013

What to Wear to Castings in Paris: Guest Post for Private Pose

If you're a fellow model heading to Paris on stay, you won't want to miss my style guide for Private Pose, the industry blog which I've just started contributing to.  Written by industry insiders from models to agency bookers and photographers, it's a one-stop resource for anyone already working in the industry or aspiring to.

Even if you're not planning on heading to Paris but you're trying out other markets as a model, check out the article anyway as the staples you rely on for Paris castings should form the backbone of any model's travelling wardrobe, which is why I started there.

Follow my advice and in no time at all you'll go from pounding the pavements to storming the runways of Paris.  Check it out here and let me know what you think by leaving a comment!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Style Profile on the Beauty Beast Blog

If you don't follow me on facebook, you may have missed May's style profile on the Beauty Beast Blog, featuring yours truly.

Ruku interviewed me about my work, life and style and I really didn't hold back in this one, lifting the lid on the fashion industry and offering an insight into life as a model, underneath the veneer of glamour.  I've touched on everything from the overwhelming pressure on models to constantly be perfect, dehumanising treatment from clients, creepy photographers and exploitative conditions.  I've also thrown in my beauty, diet and lifestyle tips and advice to other young models on having boundaries.  You can see the full interview on Ruku's blog, so check it out!

Monday, 17 June 2013

DIY Black Crop Top

Hey all, hope you've all been enjoying the recent DIYs.  Apologies for letting those boots hang out on the front page for over a week, but I was just way too proud of them to sully my blog with anything else, lest it be inferior.  A simple black crop-top, why, Sundal, these are readily available in any high street store for less than a song!  Yes, I hear you cry.  

But more in the spirit of earth-saving than penny pinching (as this DIY actually cost me more than the price of a plain black crop top), I wanted to rescue this sad looking polo neck from certain garment recycling death.  Why I waited so long to post this DIY will all be revealed in good time...

You will need:
1 victim top.  I've had this one knocking around for ages and this was the DIY to save it.
  • sharp textile scissors
  • a set square
  • tailor's chalk
  • measuring tape or ruler
  • matching thread, needle and/or sewing machine
  • tailor's pins
  • (optional) flexible curve or french curve
Try the top on and mark, using a pin how short you want your finished crop-top to be.
Using a set square and measuring tape/ruler (if your square is not long enough), mark an equal distance at intervals from the hem to 1 inch below the hem.  This extra inch will be your seam allowance.
Cut along this dotted line.
Using the french curve, draw a curved line with the tailor's chalk from underarm to shoulder.  You can also draw this freehand if you have a steady hand.
Pin-tack the two layers of fabric together so that they don't slip when cutting along the line.
Cut along the chalk line.
Fold the top in half and trace the line onto the other armhole.
Pin-tack again and cut along the line.
Now, you may not need to do these next few steps if your top is a good fit, unlike mine.  If not, try the top on and get a friend to help you pin out the excess.
Sew parallel to the seam-line, as indicated by your pin.  Try your top on to make sure you are happy with the fit, and take in extra if necessary.  I had to do this three times before I was happy and I also had to take in diagonally to remove some of the extra gapeage near the bottom of the armhole.
Once you're happy with the fit, trim the excess seam allowance, leaving about an inch.  You can leave the seams raw, as they're jersey which doesn't fray too much, or if you prefer you can finish them as below:
Finish the raw seams with the overcasting or zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine.  If you have an overlocking machine, even better.  Unfortunately mine needs repairing so I just used the overcast on my sewing machine.
Fold over the seam allowance (1 inch on the hem and 1cm on the armholes, as they're curved so you want less there) and sew with a straight stitch.  You can press the seam before you sew it, to make it easier, or after, to speed things up.
Now this is optional and only if your top is really old and faded, like mine was.  Using some black machine dye and table salt, follow the instructions on the pack to refresh the colour (or change the colour if you like!) in your washing machine.
If you didn't allow for shrinkage, like me, now would be a good time to cry at your DIY fail (hey, at least the colour looks great!)

Hit up your local high-street store and pick up a crop-top for a throwaway price to wear with high-waist trousers, skirts, shorts etc. and forget ever attempting DIY again!

Top - Primark
Trousers - Vintage
Boots - Vintage
Bracelet - DIY

I could have saved the top, like I did with my DIY western cut-offs, by adding some of the excess fabric I'd removed back on, but that wouldn't have looked particularly streamlined.  I could have added a contrasting coloured jersey band around the bottom, and that would have looked pretty cool.  And I probably would have done that, had I not already promised the top to a friend who is quite partial to this underboob look, and I'm sure it would look really sexy for a photoshoot.  I will probably add a proper roll-neck to this primark top, as the lack thereof gives it away as a cheaper high-street buy.

We all have DIY fails, yes, even me, after over a decade of DIYing my own clothes, and my main issue is I'm way too scissor happy and I cut everything too short.  Now that I've noticed the pattern of my behaviour hopefully I can remedy the issue and get back to DIY wins!  Most important is to never give up.

Have you had any DIY fails?  Did you manage to rescue them and if so, how?  Share one, share all...

Sunday, 9 June 2013

DIY Western Belt Buckle Boots

I love the western trend.  It embodies everything I love about fashion.  Attitude, raw visceral sexual energy evoking images of rugged cowboys crossing the Nevada plains.  It infuses that perfect mix of femininity and masculinity that I'm always striving for.  However, this trend can easily veer into the territory of fancy dress.  That's why despite loving all the western-inspired incarnations of ankle boots around at the moment from the yoke-seamed Dicker boot to the cuban-heeled pistol boot, I draw the line at wearing actual cowboy boots.  Leave those back in 2003 where they belong.  They were safe there cos no-one was wearing cowboy hats as well.  Oh, wait.  Yes we were.  Let's move swiftly on to the DIY shall we...

My initial inspiration, the python boots by Erin Wasson for Zadig & Voltaire:

Because of course, once I have these on, I will look exactly like this:

The poster girl for Western-meets-Navajo chic, y'all know it's true cos the girl lives and breathes this look whether it's on-trend or not.

So I've been planning this DIY since LAST summer but never chanced upon quite the right pair of boots.  I have too much reverence to chop up a pair of beautifully embroidered vintage snakeskin boots (vintage snakeskin, if at all- you know what they do to those snakes?), as those are worth a pretty penny, especially by the time the full cowboy boot swings back into fashion.  

I finally chanced upon the ideal victim pair of boots in a local charity shop (I was trying to cut the habit but a force greater than myself compelled me to go into this one, call it intuition or call it addiction, that day it was smiling on me) and around the same time I stumbled upon the Luxury Jones Boot.  Now these are beautiful and much more unique than the Zadig version but they retail for about £350.  And why?  When you can make them at home for less than £20.

The Luxury Jones boot

You will need:
-A pair of victim boots (try and get an unlined pair of leather ones, rather than a textile lined pair like mine, as that's the one thing I would have checked for had I known how this DIY would end up...

- Four belts in matching or coordinating colours (I went for all black as I want to be able to pair these with black tights for a leg-lengthening look)

- Sharp textile scissors and (optional) an awl or leather hole punch
 Using the scissors, cut a straight line down the back of the boots.  I also cut around the v-shape of the counter of the shoe to avoid cutting through it as I wanted my boots to be a little lower than the tip of the counter.
 Fold the boot shaft over.
 Wrap your first belt firmly around the base of the upturned shaft, making sure the leave the buckle on the outer side of the boot (yes, it is on the inner in this picture, I had to do this again).
 Wrap the second belt around the top in the same way as before.  I paired the thickest belt with the thinnest belt and the two medium sized belts went on the other boot.  Luxury Jones sometimes would pair two thicker belts with three thinner on the other boot.  Play around with combinations and see what you like best!  If the lining of your boot is less ugly than mine, you may be happy to leave more exposed.  Tuck any loose ends in between the belt straps.
 If necessary, punch new holes in the belts using an awl or hole punch, to ensure a snug fit.

 Ta-da!  There are your finished boots!  Wear with attitude ;)

Thursday, 30 May 2013

DIY Home: floral display

Looks like spring is finally in the air, if only for a day at a time.  Spirit away those rain-drenched blues by bringing a little bit of sunshine into your home.  All you'll need for this DIY is a few vases or jam jars/glass bottles/milk jugs repurposed into vases, some secateurs and a few well-chosen wild flowers.

Enjoy the sunshine while it lasts!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Model Off Duty Style and some DIY inspiration

Papped for another model off duty style post on the Leni's model management blog.  Wearing my staple leather shorts, DIY'ed by cutting the legs off a pair of vintage biker trousers, these have become a  real can't-be-without item.  Great for both rainy days and messy nights out.

The top is from Missguided (similar here) and it's currently inspiring another DIY I have up my sleeve... watch this space!

Boots - Topshop
Tights - Wolford
Earring - Topman
Belt - Vintage

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

DIY Western Applique'd Denim Shorts

Denim is huge this summer.  Indeed, when is it ever not?  But in recent years we've seen denim in every single incarnation known to man from raw and tailored all the way to bleached, ripped, studded, ombre, embroidered and everything in between.  Just as long as we don't start seeing any of this again, denim is a good thing to be in right now.

So here's my contribution to the many denim-related DIYs out there:

Quilted, applique'd denim cut-offs.  These are inspired by a combination of all the navajo inspired denim around this season as well as Indian textiles and Indian quilting techniques.

You will need:
  • A pair of jeans in need of a new lease of life! - These old baxter's are a size too big for me and as skinny as I thought they were when they first came out, I much prefer super skinnies these days.
  • Fabric of choice - The floral stripe and red on this Indian suit piece I thought was suitably western-themed, without being so yee-haw as to date it by next season.
  • Pins
  • Fabric shears
  • Matching thread and needle
  • Tracing paper
  • (Optional) Tracing wheel - this is handy but not essential.
  • (Optional - not pictured) Pinking shears or a sewing machine

 Using my favourite cut-offs as a guide, I cut off the legs of the jeans.  Always overestimate!  More than you think you need to, trust me, you will not regret heeding my warning.

Fold the garment in half, and use as a guide for cutting the other side.  Yours should look a bit longer than these!!
 And just in case they don't, keep the excess!  Not wanting to flash a load of cheek, I ended up needing to add a little bit extra on, as despite adding a whole inch extra, it wasn't enough.  I neglected to allow for the fact that even though both denims are the same size, these were a skinny fit and the other a more relaxed fit, so they sat higher up.  It's always handy to keep the legs anyway, for saving your favourite pair of jeans when they start to develop a crotch hole!
 Cut a piece of tracing paper larger than the exposed part of the pocket bag and pin it over.
 Using the tracing wheel, or a pencil, trace round the shape of the exposed pocket bag, making sure to give yourself an extra 1cm allowance around the outside.
 Cut around the line you've just traced and use this pattern to cut out the shape from your fabric.
 Fold over the 1cm allowance just at the top and side and press with an iron.
 Pink the curved edge of the fabric using pinking shears.  If you don't own any, you can also sew a zig-zag stitch around the edge or hand-sew a blanket stitch.  This step is important to ensure this edge doesn't fray over time and will help your DIY last so I don't recommend skipping it.
 Pin fabric in place.
 Cut around the rivets and tuck raw edges underneath.
 Blindstitch the fabric to the denim using matching thread.
And here's a fun, optional detail- I added a vertical running stitch, just like on Indian quilts and bedspreads to ensure the fabric is secured to the denim and won't wear away (as my applique is made from quite a flimsy material) over time.  I love the look of this, but you don't have to do it if you are using a more heavy-wearing fabric.
Shorts: DIY;  T-shirt: Gilly Hicks;  Waistcoat: H&M;  Boots: Clark's;  Shawl: Pakistan;  Silver bracelet: Ebay;  Silver ring: antique store in Munich (now lost after my birthday shenanigans!)

photography: Leon Roy

Have you done any denim-related DIYs?  Let us know in the comments below or tag me in your instagram pics: @patterns4life.

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