Wednesday, 18 February 2015

DIY DISTRESSED DENIM TECHNIQUES ROAD TESTED

Every crafter worth their salt will have put their hand to a touch of distressed denim at some point, it’s pretty much the DIY equivalent of a gateway drug – once you start, you can’t stop. But have you noticed just how many different techniques there are for distressing your denim? From power tools to kitchen utensils, everyone has a different approach (I’m all for the tweezer method).
To find out, we got together with our friends from GRANA who have released a line of super comfy (and flattering!) Japanese denim jeans, to test out a few of these methods. Like with all their products, the team at Grana have travelled the world to bring you the best of the best in fabrics, in this case beautiful Japanese denim from the best traditional mills. But just like their silk tanks, because of their innovative pricing model these jeans feel and wear like that of an expensive pair, but actually aren’t. (Don’t worry I won’t tell :) ). I mean, when did you last see a pair of jeans for under $50? In 1992 that’s when. With such an affordable price tag, chances are you won’t feel bad about snapping up a few pairs and personalising one of them with some distressing! These are my favourite wash, and go with so much of my wardrobe.
Read on the see our verdict on the best distressing methods.
DIY distressed denim techniques road testedDIY Distressed Denim
Wearing: Grana denim skinny jeans in stone wash bleach (left) and stone wash (right)
DIY Distressed Denim (with friends) www.apairandasparediy.com
For the roadtest we used all the different tools in the office, and focused on the skinny jeans as they have a great amount of stretch which is perfect for distressing. They ended up being so comfy that I wore them on a plane on the way to Thailand, which is pretty much the ultimate test of wearability!

DIY Distressed denim techniques road tested
Here’s our thoughts!
Cheese Grater
Method: Cut a few parallel lines in the denim and then use a cheese grater and rub the surface of the cuts, giving texture to the cuts.
Our thoughts: This one was harder to do without grating off your fingers, and we felt it didn’t produce a very realistic or interesting look, however we think it would wear well over time.
Sandpaper
Method: Rub the jeans with course grad sandpaper to soften the top layer of threads.
Our thoughts: Sandpaper is a quick way to make your jeans look more worn in, we all felt that the sandpaper gave the denim a more realistic look and feel, although was very light in its effect.
Tweezers
Method: Cut parallel slices in your denim and then remove the blue threads to just leave the white threads (see an example here).
Our thoughts: Many of you will know this is my approach of choice, and I think it produces the most pinterest-esque type of distressing, particularly for skinny jeans. However, depending on how sturdy the white threads are, over time they generally wear down and there is the risk of ending up with larger holes. So this is best done in small sections.
Scissors
Method: Just cut holes into your jeans, or cut off the hems.
Our thoughts: Using scissors on any part of the jeans except the hems didn’t really work for us, as it didn’t give the worn in, natural look we were after. However, as a method of changing the length of a pair of jeans (I’m all about the crop at the moment), and adding an edge to the hems, this is a winner and oh so easy to do.
DIY Distressed Denim (with friends) www.apairandasparediy.comDIY Distressed Denim (with friends) www.apairandasparediy.com
Tweezing out the blue threads is my favourite technique, although takes FOREVER!
DIY Distressed Denim (with friends) www.apairandasparediy.comDIY Distressed Denim (with friends) www.apairandasparediy.com
Overall verdict?
Ok so we weren’t that down with the cheese grater, but other than that we felt that all the tools created different and nice effects, and were actually best applied to one pair of jeans. We found the best look was to use the tweezer method on the knees, the sandpaper on the pockets and down the seams to give a worn in look, and cutting off the hems with scissors. I think overall there’s probably no wrong answer, but it was fun to see what different tools did. But I have to say, one of the most important steeps and one not to be missed is to wash your jeans after distressing them, as this makes all your efforts look more natural and as though you haven’t spent 2 hours at them with tweezers. Trust us! case you’re wondering, we had such a fun time doing this, we’re thinking about making it a regular crafternoon. Maybe you should too!
DIY Distressed Denim (with friends) www.apairandasparediy.comDIY Distressed Denim (with friends) www.apairandasparediy.comDIY Distressed Denim (with friends) www.apairandasparediy.com
Oh and by the way, meet Alanna guys! She’s joined the studio and it’s so fun having someone to share all the crafting with!
DIY Distressed Denim (with friends) www.apairandasparediy.com
Photos by Nicola Lemmon

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Beauty: Blood Orange Lipstick

Beauty: Blood Orange Lipstick



I'm a sucker for a red lip in winter. As much as I enjoy a retro-y red lip in summer, it's nearly a constant beauty decision in winter. It doesn't seem to matter how much I moisturize or hydrate in winter, my skin looks a little duller and a bright orange-y red lipstick seems to help distract from less than glowing skin. This blood orange shade by Cate McNabb is pretty close to perfect when it comes to my criteria for a red lip. The lipstick has a matte finish and when layered it really lasts--as a bonus it's also paraben-free and cruelty-free.
P.S. If you're nervous about wearing a bright colored lipstick and get self-conscious about it, then try applying the lipstick at least an hour before you leave the house. As you go about your everyday tasks in that hour you'll forget it's on your face and by the time you head out into the world you won't remember to be self-conscious.

Outfit: Whale of a Tale - From

Outfit: Whale of a Tale - From 


This dress is perfect for summer days by the seashore...but those days are a few months away so right now it's hiding under some of my favorite winter accessories. Would you believe I've had this beret since high school? In case you're curious, I graduated in 2005 so that makes this beret around 10 years old! It was part of my uniform at the Catholic high school I attended my senior year--I practically have more stories from my one year at private school than all my previous years at public school (I don't think I'll be making the 10 year reunion, Hawaii is a bit far). For a lot of people a beret reminds them of French New Wave, chic Parisians, or even military groups, but for me it'll always be Mass Day...

Outfit details:
old beret (similar)
old coat (similar)
vintage boots (similar)
old mittens (similar