When it comes to DIY, I'm a bit of a diva - I'd rather pay someone to do the hard work than pick up the pinking shears myself. My personal combination of impatience and perfectionism means I reach for my debit card more often than my needle and thread. Why bother doing it yourself if you can get it down Topshop for a small (okay, moderate) fee?
I wasn't always so A List about crafting - in 2005, I set up a jewellery business called pinkplectrum. Throughout my time at university (I did a media degree... go figure), I made vintage-style jewels and sold them through MySpace. It was a pretty booming business and for a while, I shared the market with the ladies behind ElsieBelle and Eclectic Eccentricity. But then life got in the way, I swapped my sewing machine for a MacBook and packed away my craft box. It was only when I spotted Oxfam's DIY guides that I decided to go back to my roots and give the Visa a rest...
These cute cards are available to pick up in Oxfam stores and feature a range of craft projects, each with an official button rating for difficulty (love that!). The lace collar has a difficulty of one button, so I thought that'd be a good place to start. First, the ingredients...
The men's shirt was £2.99 from a charity shop - the idea with these cards is you can buy all you need within the charity shop you picked it up in. The lace was snipped from a vintage nightie, also picked up in said charity shop. I dug the needle and thread out of my neglected craft box and found the pearls there too - a little extra embellishment is always good in my book.
First, I chopped the collar off the shirt and neatened the edges with sharp scissors. Very easy.
Next I had to actually do something properly crafty - sewing. The hardest part of this bit was threading the damn needle - seriously, why is the eye of a needle so impossibly small? Is that really necessary?
With needle (eventually) threaded, I sewed the lace along the collar. I wanted it to 'hang' over the bottom of the collar so positioned it close to the edge and used the stripes to keep a straight line. Handy! Because I used lace trim from a nightie rather than a proper length of lace, I had two small pieces rather than one long length I could cut to size. I sewed the pieces to each side of the collar and joined them at the back where no one would see. Sneaky!
No need for neat stitches if your thread is the same colour as the lace!
With the lace in place and my guide card offering no more instruction, I went it alone and decided to sew a cluster of pearls on the tip of my collar. Woah, steady on Jen! Clearly I was channelling Jazz Domino Holly. It was ridiculously easy to add the pearls though - just one stitch through the pearl and a knot at the back and they were in place.
And that's it! It took around half an hour to make this collar - quicker (and cheaper) than a trip to Topshop. Okay, so I cut my finger a couple of times, spent an inordinate amount of time trying to thread a needle and covered my bedroom in bits of lace, but hey - isn't it purdy? I'm so proud.
My crafting comeback wasn't quite as dramatic as a(nother) Madonna reinvention, and I actually really enjoyed creating something with my own two hands rather than letting Topshop do all the work. I'm not quite ready to swear off mass-produced commodities and make my own dresses from hemp, but I'll definitely give crafting another go and might even make DIY for Divas a regular feature.
What do you think - are you the crafty type or is it fast fashion all the way? Impressed with my collar or think you can do better? Let me know!