Every now and then there are those few points in the year where high street stores all sell exactly the same style of clothing and duh, these are called trends. Except, I don’t think ‘this is great I have five different options when it comes to embellished skinny jeans’ or whatever happens to be ‘in’ at the moment. I get a little frustrated and insanely bored. There’s nothing inspiring about only having the option to look and dress like everyone else. To break out of this rut, I raided a few well-known haberdasheries at the People’s Park Complex in Chinatown, Singapore. Collecting a few metres of pastel pink tulle, velvet ribbon, crystal buttons and rainbow sequins, I made a ‘fairytale’ dress. An outfit that tells a story and is weird as it is wonderful. Not everyone is into making their own clothes from scratch and I did this without a sewing machine (I was really bored and it’s a summer holiday). So here are five tips on how to make DIY look expensive when you might not really know what you’re doing:

1. Embellishments

You can use sew on crystals, studs, beads or sequins on collars (particularly cute on Peter Pan style ones), on sturdy material like denim and leather. The latter is extremely hard to pierce so I’d recommend using a thimble and the point of a sharp scissor if you’re planning to go down that route. As for studs, the type that screw on at the back are the best quality and it also means that if you make a mistake, it’s easy to readjust your design.

Haute tip: Don’t use glue-on embellishments, even if you have the right glue. It makes for sloppy work and you want to be able to enjoy your creation not look back at it like a failed kid’s project.


2. Ribbons

Replace the straps of your camisoles or strappy tops with a velvet or grosgrain ribbon to elevate it and give it a girly edge.

Haute tip: I don’t recommend sewing them horizontally across dresses or tops (for example, across the waist of a dress) because this disturbs the ‘flow’ of the material and can affect the way that the clothing sits on your body. At worse your outfit will be far too tight and restrictive, at best you’ll have a slightly wonky ribbon across your waist. It’s better to just tie it as a belt.

3. Lace

This is probably the material that people gush over the most at haberdasheries. Except from the time I used to stalk Project Runway, found out which textile shops they frequented and started at the $200 a metre tweed and dreamed of making my own Chanel-esque suit. While those days are over, mostly due to a lack of willpower, lace is still one of the easiest ways to make a piece of clothing look a little more dressy. Think of those Red Valentino t-shirts that rocked a spray of delicate lace!

Haute tip: Avoid draping lace over the shoulders, it could be a bit of a 80’s ‘Sunday best’ kind of look. Also, never buy lace where you can see that the flower design is attached to the trimming by thread – that’s poor quality lace. As is anything remotely shimmery because that’s probably flammable too.

4. Distressing denim

You can find countless tutorials that basically all say the same thing online so I’ll give you a tip I learnt when I was doing the visual merchandising at Abercrombie. Before you snigger, it was a very serious job okay. And they have very high ceilings so you had to be a big girl about changing the light bulbs. Jokes aside, their denim was one of the only things that lasted long after I left and they have a particular way of styling them on mannequins to showcase its rugged resilience.

Haute tip: spray the legs of your jeans up to the knees with water. Scrunch them up tight and hold them together with clamps (or those really big butterfly hair clips). Leave overnight and the next day, you’ll be left with wonderfully crinkled ‘worn in’ looking denim.


5. Buttons

So I’m a bit neurotic and I’ll totally discount articles of clothing if I hate their buttons. I’m a big sucker for tortoiseshell and other ‘natural’ materials. The good news is that if you have the patience to replace every single button of your Zara shirt from matte plastic to a slither of mother of pearl, you can make that £19.99 blouse look like a £75 one.

Haute tip: I’m cheating with this tip because it’s more common sense than a best practice. Always keep your thread the same colour as the material and refrain from trying anything too fancy like contrast stitching. If you’re extremely tempted and you’re like, ‘no this is what I want’, then try doing it on like, one button first. Just to see if you like the cute subtle touch. If you still want to go all out then I’m not taking any responsibility.




  1. 9th September 2011 / 8:52 AM

    absolutely beautiful! i'm blown away.

  2. 9th September 2011 / 9:28 AM

    Thanks for your comment on my blog! Your pictures are beautiful! Like your blog girl! X

  3. 9th September 2011 / 10:02 AM

    OMG ! You look gorgeous in that dress. You loos so elegant and so chic ! And absolutely that dress is fabulous. Great job girl ! Katerina

  4. 9th September 2011 / 10:21 AM

    woww!!! have you make that dress? really? you are an artist!!! it is amazing!!!!


  5. 9th September 2011 / 12:20 PM

    amazing pictures ! especially this one with you lying in the water <3

  6. 9th September 2011 / 12:28 PM

    amazing photos! looove the dress …and the idea of going into the water with it…so cool 🙂
    just stumbled upon your blog. now following. maybe you wanna follow back?!

    xx romi

  7. 9th September 2011 / 12:37 PM

    wow!!! gorgeous photos! i love the black and white shots.

    xx from hong kong 🙂

  8. 9th September 2011 / 2:07 PM

    absolutely stunning, I love that you did something different with the photos!

  9. 9th September 2011 / 2:09 PM

    Absolutely! It's so much more interesting to wear individual creations… yours is gorgeous and the photos are wonderful.

  10. 9th September 2011 / 2:12 PM

    Hi, thank you for the lovely comment! Wow, the pictures are great! No, they are awesome! 🙂

  11. 9th September 2011 / 2:41 PM

    omg you are so talented! I love the dress that you made!! I've attempted the tutu before, and yours is way nicer haha! 🙂

  12. 9th September 2011 / 3:08 PM

    wow j'adore ta robe Andrea… et cette serie de photos est magnifique.


  13. 9th September 2011 / 3:28 PM

    beautiful pics!

    To do the nails like mine you need a sponge and nail polish.
    for example you apply a coat of black nail polish then you have green, blue, red, yellow and white nail polish you pour a drop of each nail polish into a plastic recipient and with the sponge you'll apply it all over the nail then you apply glitter nail polishes or glitter on the top coat in the end you make another coat of top coat and you're ready. This is confusing? Do you want a DIY tutorial?

  14. 9th September 2011 / 5:58 PM

    what a lovely Dress and great photos 🙂

  15. 9th September 2011 / 7:22 PM

    Okkkkk.. this made my day.. One of the most creative posts I have seen.. You are so pretty and love the Prada inspiration on the top of the dress…

    Peace! ~Angel

  16. 9th September 2011 / 10:16 PM

    amazing dress! You look like a mermaid!

  17. 9th September 2011 / 10:22 PM

    Marvellous look and I like the pictures in the Swiming Pool!

    I follow you, you follow me?

    Besos chipless by Dave Vuitton
    New Post: Rock Star Look

  18. 9th September 2011 / 11:59 PM

    Such a gorgeous dress and you're a naturally stunning girl! xoxoxoo

  19. 10th September 2011 / 1:15 AM

    amazing photos!!! that dress is sooo beautiful!!! i cant believe you made it yourself! you are so talented! 🙂


  20. 10th September 2011 / 4:42 AM

    the dress is beautiful I love the tulle part! But the photos on water took my breath away! So original even in the kind of photos that your posting… not following the trends 😉
    xx so

  21. 10th September 2011 / 6:21 AM


    i have to say that you have a LOVELY blog and i simply adore you DIYs and not to forget your STYLE… i some how stumbled upon on your blog and i see you do alot of SHOPPING in SINGAPORE&MALAYSIA!!! it's great that i found your blog because i don't get to see alot of bloggers with "locaton:SINGAPORE" and i am following your blog now and when you can, do drop by mine!!!

    Label me ADDICT ♥ http://street-chic-blahhhhh.blogspot.com/

  22. 10th September 2011 / 8:40 AM

    beautiful pics x

  23. 10th September 2011 / 10:47 AM

    You are so beautiful 🙂






  24. 10th September 2011 / 11:02 AM

    This pictures are so amazing!! I love this dress!

  25. 10th September 2011 / 12:10 PM

    The dress is gorgeous! Well done girl!

  26. 10th September 2011 / 1:16 PM

    This is an amazing dress! The water picture is so magical!

  27. 10th September 2011 / 1:21 PM

    I cant believe you got in the pool with your beautiful dress on! -Love the first picture and the one with you laying down in the pool; magical!

  28. 10th September 2011 / 1:29 PM

    I completely agree with you on the concept of trends. One of my exasperations from this summer where the see-through chiffon skirts. I made one in February and only got to wear it a few times before I saw it absolutely everywhere!

    I love this look- and the photographs! So editorial getting them wet 😉



  29. 10th September 2011 / 1:43 PM

    Hi, I like your shots.
    Great blog, it is so awesome!
    Check out mine 🙂

  30. 10th September 2011 / 1:59 PM

    super dress! super screens in swiming pool 🙂

    I take part in competition for the best look to school. I will be very happy and so grateful if You could log to your account on facebook and click LIKE IT here:

    The button is under my photo :))

  31. 10th September 2011 / 2:30 PM

    absolutely gorgeous! I love the dress you've made. It's very girly and reminds me of childhood~ I also couldn't agree more. I guess people are stuck on what the media defines as "pretty" or "in" at the moment. It's nice to take a step back and let our own unique individual shine from others. BTW, Thanks for commenting on our site~We appreciate it! Keep in touch~ Joyce =D

  32. 10th September 2011 / 3:27 PM

    OMG, can't believe you made that! What talent. It's gorgeous. Looks like a perfect fit from the photos, too! Great job!

  33. 10th September 2011 / 4:56 PM

    OMG! These pictures are amazing!!! You look so, so beautiful and I love this look!! Beyond gorgeous.

    I just became your newest follower! I would love for you to check out our blog & follow us back if you'd like!

    Also, enter our giveaway for a Tiffany & Co. necklace by liking our Facebook page!



  34. 10th September 2011 / 4:56 PM

    AWESOME: I like the idea why you decided to make that dress, I like the dress because it´s so creative and original and I like those amazing shots where you´re in the water.

  35. 10th September 2011 / 5:57 PM

    fairytale indeed! you never fail to amaze me with your posts

  36. 10th September 2011 / 6:17 PM

    Beautiful dress!
    I looks like little mermaid meets a dragonfly fairy 😀

  37. 10th September 2011 / 8:55 PM

    this is sooo great, can't belive it! amazing photos!

  38. 10th September 2011 / 9:18 PM

    Amazing job on the dress 🙂 I love love the photos! and your necklace hanging in the back = Perfection

  39. 10th September 2011 / 10:39 PM

    ths dress is beautifull 🙂 i would love it if i could make something like this your pics are amazing too!!


  40. 10th September 2011 / 10:51 PM

    absolutely amazing shots, and that dress is beautiful, i especially like the skirt part.. just stunning.

  41. 11th September 2011 / 12:20 AM

    WOW! That dress is all kinds of great things..your very talented! Great photos displaying it

  42. 11th September 2011 / 1:40 AM

    oh wow…. you've got such a unique face structure. i like! 😀

  43. 11th September 2011 / 4:48 AM

    I'm actually lost for words hun. I can't believe you designed this, its gorgeous! Keep up the good work! Thanx for your comment and I'm your newest follower hun. Check me out and let me know your thoughts! xx

    Urban art + street fashion addict:

  44. 11th September 2011 / 6:25 AM

    very cute dress! and i totally agree everywhere is selling very similar clothes!!

  45. 11th September 2011 / 10:03 AM

    Oh my god, you look amazing in that dress! And the fact you got into the water with it is so wild! I like the photos! It's so stylish!



  46. 11th September 2011 / 10:04 AM

    I am actually really praying these photos are being sent to a modeling agency right now.. If not, why not?
    These are outrageously mind blowing and stunning, Cameras obviously have a thing for you. Without trying to sound creepy – I am obsessed!!!!!
    Hope you had a great weekend, xx

  47. 11th September 2011 / 10:05 AM

    thanks for your comment and OMG i love your dress! you're soooo talented!! pics in the water are amazing!

  48. 11th September 2011 / 10:30 AM

    wow, amazing shoot!!

    would be a pleasure if you visit me too!

  49. 11th September 2011 / 10:57 AM

    OMG, awesome!! LOVE these photos, they are absolutely gorgeous. And the dress is beautiful, congrats 🙂


  50. 11th September 2011 / 11:04 AM

    wow wow wow!! OMG I love these pgotos :)You look perfect, that dress is lovely!

  51. 11th September 2011 / 12:49 PM

    Such a pretty dress love your work 🙂


  52. 11th September 2011 / 1:51 PM

    you made that dress? so pretty!!

  53. 11th September 2011 / 1:53 PM

    These photos are just incredible. You really are a model and your photographer is great too! Love the dress!

  54. 11th September 2011 / 2:12 PM

    you look like a mermaid in that uber lovely dress 😀

  55. 11th September 2011 / 3:53 PM


  56. 11th September 2011 / 3:59 PM

    Hey !

    That dress is stunning, I love the sequins at the top 🙂


  57. 11th September 2011 / 4:15 PM

    beautiful dress, love how u took the photos <3


  58. 11th September 2011 / 6:39 PM

    oh my, that dress and your photos look like a fairytale! you're definitely a very talented girl! 🙂
    btw, want to follow each other? 🙂

  59. 11th September 2011 / 8:29 PM

    wonderful dress (:
    you look fantastic <3

  60. 11th September 2011 / 8:43 PM

    The pictures in the water are amazing!
    you looked like a fairytail!
    Lots of love

  61. 11th September 2011 / 9:37 PM

    amazing dress and amazing pics!!! love it!

  62. 12th September 2011 / 3:33 AM

    How awesome – I sew, too…….and tulle, velvet, sequins, etc are some of my favorite textiles. What a fun dress; great job!

  63. 12th September 2011 / 4:54 AM

    I can't believe you made this dress…it looks incredible! And those shots in the water are beautiful, too!

    I can't believe you perched a heel on the railing for the shot.. I'd be scared to drop it over, lol!


  64. 12th September 2011 / 5:52 AM

    WOWWWW you are so talented and creative. these photos are gorgeous. when i saw you in the water with this dress, i let out a gasp for fear that you were ruining the dress! but the under water photos came out beautifully. xx

  65. 12th September 2011 / 6:55 AM

    What a beautiful dress! I love the combination of the tulle skirt and the soft colored sequins. You're tres talented..

  66. 12th September 2011 / 9:59 AM

    stunning pictures! love the outfit -x-

  67. 12th September 2011 / 10:13 AM

    You look like Cinderella! What an amazing dress.


  68. 12th September 2011 / 10:40 AM

    Wauwwwwwww amazing and the view is crazy, love itt

    Hajar & mounia

  69. 12th September 2011 / 11:21 AM

    waow! I love how you went alll the way in the water.. it's amazing. you looks so cool and modelish. it's so awesome. and your legs are soo pretty. how do you keep so thin and fit?

  70. 12th September 2011 / 1:32 PM

    Absolutely gorgeous dress!

  71. 12th September 2011 / 2:11 PM

    I am empressed. Great creativity. The dress lokks stunning.

  72. 12th September 2011 / 2:44 PM

    gorgeous pictures amazing blog

    come follow the first ever fashion blog from a Guys POV, let He know what you think

    Fashion by He

  73. 12th September 2011 / 3:23 PM

    Really creative outfit, and creative photos too. I´m loving all that I see. 🙂

  74. 12th September 2011 / 4:19 PM

    beautiful photo's. i love the dress! xxxx really really beautiful dress

  75. 12th September 2011 / 4:39 PM

    nice post! very nice!
    i put a new post on miriamstella blog, of Dolce & Gabbana shirt, and Chanel bag 2.55. Come to see, please! and if you like it, please add you to my follower! for me it's important!
    Miriamstella (ftom Italy)

  76. 12th September 2011 / 7:15 PM

    you are a total inspiration babe. soooo loving this!!

  77. 12th September 2011 / 7:22 PM

    Fun dress, it's lovely.
    Aren't you afraid to be so high?


  78. 12th September 2011 / 7:41 PM

    Your pictures are STUNNING! As are you. I'm seriously freaking out at how amazing these photos are, I especially love the water ones. That dress is too cute too! Reminds me of high-class cotton candy 😉 xxAnisa

  79. 12th September 2011 / 7:41 PM

    the second photo and all of the water pictures are perfect.
    i love you so much!

  80. 12th September 2011 / 8:12 PM

    I loooooove your dress, so beautiful! You are very creative.


  81. 13th September 2011 / 2:47 AM

    wow that dress is so pretty!!! xx

  82. 13th September 2011 / 4:29 AM

    I know this must sound cheesy, but u look like a mermaid turn in to a ballerina =) Love that dress!

  83. 13th September 2011 / 7:27 AM

    re: thanks for you comment, and yes, it´s the best pair of wedges I´ve ever bought!

    I really like these pics, especially the ones on the balcony. And you´re so talented for making such a beautiful dress.

  84. 13th September 2011 / 7:28 AM

    Oh.my.GOD!! have you made that dress?? it's absolutely amazing, dear!! I've just finished my Fashion Design studies.. and you're so talented!
    Love also the pictures, so so great!
    Following you 🙂

  85. 13th September 2011 / 7:42 AM

    Ahhh, such pretty photos! Love the way you think – so chic!
    Follow each other? 🙂


  86. 13th September 2011 / 10:20 AM

    beautiful photos! 🙂 love your shoes..
    wanna follow each other? 🙂

  87. Anonymous
    13th September 2011 / 10:42 AM

    Flower dress 😉
    Absolutely gorgeous and surreal <3

  88. 13th September 2011 / 12:48 PM

    you are so stunning!!! adorable skirt<3

  89. 13th September 2011 / 6:52 PM

    These photos are absolutely stunning! I'm adoring your use of water and the photos of you immersed are just gorgeous. I too tire of trends, and I refuse to follow a trend that I don't already like! 🙂 Love love love that dress you made, so creative and beautiful!


  90. 13th September 2011 / 7:53 PM

    Your pictures are beautiful!

    I read that you live in London.
    Well, i love London, i'll live in London too.
    And i'm sure that in the future i can do it.
    Becase i love too much this city.
    and for this reason i think that you are

  91. 14th September 2011 / 2:37 AM

    wow! love your dress! I also love how you took pictures in the water, very creative!

    xx char

  92. 14th September 2011 / 1:55 PM

    Precioso blog, si te gusta la poesía te invito a mi blog.
    feliz semana.

  93. 14th September 2011 / 4:27 PM

    Hi! I found your blog and I like it so much! you look really great in this outfit!The photos are simply fantastic!
    Come and visit my blog, and if you like it, follow me, I'll be waiting for you!

    Cosa mi metto???

  94. 14th September 2011 / 4:48 PM

    you look like a mermaid!! 🙂 x

  95. 14th September 2011 / 5:50 PM

    omg you look sooo good !! love the photography !!!!!

  96. 14th September 2011 / 6:44 PM

    still can't get over these photos. they are fantastic.

  97. 15th September 2011 / 3:01 AM

    gorgeous dress! you're so talented. and you really do look like a pretty little mermaid.

  98. 15th September 2011 / 4:36 PM

    Nice outfit. I like your blog. If you want, we can follow each other 😉

  99. 15th September 2011 / 9:03 PM

    Amazing. Love your dress.

  100. 16th September 2011 / 11:09 PM

    That dress is very, very beautiful 🙂 you're clearly very talented 😉 thumbs up for making your own clothing! I love to do that too 🙂 totally following your blog 🙂

  101. 17th September 2011 / 4:24 PM

    hi there what a lovely dress u made and nice pics,check out my blog,would love you to follow my blog if u like

  102. 18th September 2011 / 11:25 AM

    wow, gorgeous pictures!

  103. 18th September 2011 / 2:18 PM

    Uh-mazing photos.

    Thanks for visiting my site x

  104. 21st September 2011 / 7:26 PM

    OMG! GREAT PHOTOS!!! I love them!!!

    Thank you for visiting my blog!! 😉
    And btw, Im not a model..hahaha


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