No sewing machine? No worries.

Do you see that? Yes, that is SUNSHINE alighting on my hair! It’s been lovely weather all week, as it often is just before Melbourne Spring Fashion Week (it then generally goes back to being chilly, just when the style set want to dig out their new glad rags to parade in the front row of the shows).


Generally it’s around this time that I start thinking about whipping up a few new bits and pieces for my wardrobe, but nearly two weeks ago I booked my sewing machine in for a long overdue service – and IT HAS NOT COME BACK YET. I kind of feel like a part of me is missing, especially as there are quite a few garments I need to alter (someone may just have done a teensy bit of shopping at the Nicholas Building Open Studios when a traditional textiles and weaving teacher was clearing out her studio… and may just have purchased a vintage Kashmiri skirt that is too long!!!). But a diehard DIY-er doesn’t let the temporary lack of tools put her off. Rather than mourning the absence of my little Brother, I decided this was the perfect opportunity to show you a DIY that requires no sewing whatsoever.

I bought this bolero jacket for $4 at an op shop a while ago – it’s hard to see in the photos of me wearing it, but it’s black lace with cord embroidered over the top. Does anyone know what this technique is called?


I’m not usually so into lace, but the label on the jacket was Magg, which sounded vaguely familiar so I bought it and later found out it was a fancy boutique in Toorak – read this if you want an insight into Australian fashion (and political!) history!


Unfortunately I have no idea how old the jacket is, but I don’t think it’s old enough to be one of Dame Zara’s designs. Never mind, I’m still pleased I found it. The only thing was, it didn’t hang so well on me because it is slightly big and the fabric is lightweight. This is what it looks like normally (please excuse my strange expression, this is just to show you the “before” jacket!).

jkt2The detail on the back is really quite beautiful – I have only noticed it now, looking at this photo!


I wasn’t so keen on the bolero length, so I wanted to add something to make it a bit longer, like a width of contrasting fabric or fake fur. But despite my ridiculously large fabric stash, nothing I had was quite right – until I remembered this skirt. It was originally mini-length but I had let down the hem and added fake fur and beading (this must have been about 1999 when I was trying to copy Marni!).


I haven’t worn the skirt in years and am not likely to, so it was out with the unpicker and off with that fake fur – and then it was simply a matter of attaching it to the hem on the inside of the jacket with safety pins (see, no sewing machine, no worries!).


Of course if I wanted to do this properly, I’d stitch the fake fur on to the jacket, but then again, using safety pins means I can easily remove the fake fur if I decide I want to wear a plain black jacket.


If you have a jacket that needs a bit of a lift, this is such an easy “fix” – and if you’re feeling creative there’s no end to the kinds of trims you can try. I’m thinking of using a much wider piece of brocade-type fabric which would make the jacket more like hip-length. You could also use pleated fabric for a more floaty finish to the hem, or a really wide piece of lace (either in the same colour or something contrasting) for a lightweight coat or, belted, as a dress.

jkt3I’m looking forward to giving this “new” jacket an outing at MSFW: check my Instagram if you want to see what else I get up to this week – I’ll try to manage some outfit shots as well as runway and other event pics).

PS: Thanks to Marianne for a lovely morning of opshopping and taking the outdoor photos for me!