Woohoo!!!! Lockdown DIY project 1 - Done!
Every cloud has a silver lining, and even on these grey days while the entire globe is unified in lockdown efforts to battle the spread of the Coronavirus, I decided to find positive, fulfilling and creative projects to use my 'me time' constructively.
"Like what exactly?" I hear you ask. Well, by staying true to my eco-conscious slow fashion mission. I filtered through my extensive wardrobe in search of any damaged and/or boring shirts, trousers and jackets that I could repair or spruce up in weird and wonderful ways, to give them new life and keep them in circulation for longer.
I've got tons of fabulous ideas up my sleeve, but this particular jacket project was easy to execute because I already had a clear vision for its revival. Several weeks ago, I noticed that an unsightly stain had appeared across the lower back area of this versatile biker jacket and since we're heading into winter soon, I needed to find a clever way of concealing the mark or risk leaving the jacket hanging indefinitely.
The concept: 'Fiori Fall'
The gorgeous bougainvillea and rose bushes outside my home served as inspiration; their petals and leaves drifting away every time the autumn winds blow, and then settling into colourful heaps. The stark monochromatic contrast of silver lace flowers against the harsh black leather is such a befitting tribute for it captures the emotions shared by so many now; grieving loved ones who didn't get to scatter flowers at memorials of lives lost, and disappointed brides-to-be who've had to postpone flinging their bouquets into crowds of other hopefuls. At the same time though, this 'Fiori Fall' (flowers fall) concept eludes to the inevitable cycle of the seasons; eventually, springtime's sunshine will replace gloomy skies just as sadness and uncertainty will be replaced by smiles and cheer.
Go on... Try it out yourself :)
- Any plain jacket that's in desperate need of some TLC.
- Glue that's suitable for use on leather and fabric alike. I used 'One Glue' purchased at Metro Home and Lifestyle Centre.
- Approx. 2 metres of readymade fabric flowers. I chose roses bedazzled with silver tinsels.
- Cotton thread to match either the jacket or flowers.
- A sewing needle for hand stitching.
- A few pins
- A sharp scissor suitable for cutting fabric.
- Begin by separating the flowers. Each individual flower must appear neat, so trim off excess threads but keep any leaves attached.
- Play around with layout first - NEVER start gluing or stitching immediately. Place the flowers strategically on the jacket to cover any damaged/stained areas. Turn them, move them around slightly, and when you're happy, take a photo of your preferred layout so you don't forget where exactly the embellishments were placed.
- View your layout through critical eyes and ask other members of your household for their honest opinion. They must 'get' your concept at first glance. Fresh eyes also help to refine the overall layout.
- Use your pins to connect the heap of flowers so they don't move out of place but DO NOT puncture the leather.
- Turn the bouquet of pinned flowers upside down and use a threaded sewing needle to stitch them into one large piece by hand, so that you can now remove the pins. Remember to just make neat single stitches - nothing too labour intensive - and again cut off any excess threads.
- Drizzle glue onto the underside of the flower heap, being careful not to get any on your fingers, and then turn it over and slowly position it as per your photo. Be mindful of symmetry, balance and positioning because once this is pressed down, attempting to straighten it afterwards will cause quite a sticky mess.
- Once the glued flowers have had a few hours to dry securely, you can glue the individual 'falling' flowers in place, from the collar downwards.
- If you're certain that all the glue used on the back has dried, you can flip the jacket over and follow the exact same method for the front embellishments. The back of my jacket is pretty elaborate so I opted to keep the front simple with just a small posy consisting of three overlaid flowers.
Generally, I'm super impressed with the way my jacket turned out. It's truly the only one of its kind out there! The theme that I intended is so delicately expressed on the front, but when I turn around, it ought to inspire a "WOW!!!" The most rewarding part? By spending just a few hours sprucing up this classic biker, I know for certain that I'll get much more use out of it for years to come, and that's what I call "making fast fashion slow" in practice.