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As you might remember from our previous Dr. Slow editionwe asked you to keep aside all those clothes that are in need of a little TLC. So in this edition we'd like to look at ways of extending the lifespan of those pieces by mending, adjusting, repairing and customizing them. 

Personally, I've made it one of my goals for 2015 to keep/look after my clothes as best as I can. Where I used to not bother and think that I could just pick up something cheap from the next high street store, nowadays I'm keen on doing everything in my power to create a) less waste, and b) less need to buy new stuff. 
So far this goal has proven to be much more satisfying than the high of any crazy shopping spree could ever be. 
Not only because the possibilities of mending and customizing your clothes seem almost endless, but also the "feel-good factor" of resisting the fast fashion trap and doing a little good yourself and the planet, is really quite addictive!

So here's what I've been up to this month on my quest to give my wardrobe a "little loving" to give you an example. I really hope it'll inspire you to embark on your similar adventures, and as always, I'd love to hear how you got on. So please comment away and share your projects on your favourite social network with the #DetoxWithDrSlow hashtag!

P.S. La versión en español se encuentra en modasostenible.org

1. Get inspired

Naturally, both inspiration and imagination are essential ingredients for any original DIY adventure. This is why I'd like to introduce you to Mexican born and London based stylist, consultant and blogger Victoria Villasana and her brilliant blog Style Marmalade. If you haven't had the pleasure of coming across Victoria's DIY customising projects yet, you should definitely pay her blog a visit! Her fresh and original approach to DIY not only inspiring, but also quite easy to follow.
 I'm very pleased Victoria agreed to share some insights on what inspires her work...

"I really love customising my clothes, express my personality through little details. I also like the fact it causes a reaction with people, most of the time it creates a dialogue, people often smile, laugh or look at me funny, but most of the time the reaction is positive and people ask me things about what I'm wearing, where I bought it or how I made it etc.
What inspires me the most is everyday life and art. I know it sounds like a cliche but I think art and fashion overlap all the time. The best way to make my ideas flow, it's with movement, observing the world, action. Good ideas never happen in front of the computer; I also bring a notebook everywhere I go to write ideas down otherwise I forget! I believe the best ideas come when you live the present, when you accept your life exactly how it is, with the good and bad. It's about making the best of what you have. And it's about having fun, stress and fear are the worst enemies of creativity."

Victoria Villasana

3. NOW shirt & more on Victoria's blog Style Marmalade!

2. Fix it!

In the same way that a freshly reorganized wardrobe lifts your spirits, fixing your clothes very much extends this effect! Although, admittedly I often feel quite lazy about this, once I get going I literally can't stop! If you need something to get you started, why don't you organize a "fix & mend" night with your friends? I started doing this during one of those long and wet English winters with my friend and then neighbour Linda. We used to go around each other's place, equipped with whatever each of us needed for our projects, and most importantly a bottle of wine! While mending or customizing away, we had a chance to catch up on the latest gossip, so mending our clothes became less of a chore and more of a laugh!

For the sake of this post (and my dear wardrobe), I did two things I meant to do for a long time, one was fixing a pair of white leather brogues which were full of scratches etc. and the other one was freeing one of my favourite winter coats from an army of fuzz balls.

1) Before 2) After: I got a colour repairer (6 / brand: Tarrago), which I simply applied with a small sponge until my brogues were back to their former glory, and changed the white shoelaces for black ones.

4) Before 2) After: I think getting this easy-to-use velvet fabric brush was another worthwhile investment, I've used it on all kinds of fabrics & it took surprisingly little effort to get my coat back to its original state.

Obviously, your "patients" might be different from mine, so here are a few websites you can consult for further tips and ideas:

21 genius hacks for fixing ruined clothes (Cosmopolitan.com)
How to care for your clothing - 101 tips (Stylecaster.com)
How to care for your winter clothes (Stylecaster.com)

3. Be smart!

Sometimes small ingenious tricks can go a long way and this is definitely true when it comes to customizing. Our new contributor Paula's photo tutorial below is a great example (she's going to share her DIY projects here on Consciously Sartorial on a monthly basis from now on!). 

What you'll need:
- paper scissors
- measuring tape
- a pencil and a thin permanent marker
- a small ruler
- a paper cutter
- a needle pattern tracer
- punch pliers
- a piece of soft leather of your choice

1. Equipment & material (see description above) / 2. & 3. draw/cut out a paper 
pattern for the leather covers (according to the size of your shoes 
- you may have to adjust this a couple of times). 

4. Fold the paper pattern over one of the shoes first, in order to ensure 
the sizing, length of fringes and eyelet positions are correct / 5. Add the 
eyelets to the paper pattern with the punch pliers (4 eyelets in total: 
2 for the front + 2 for the back) / 6. Cut out each leather cover 
(incl. the fringes) using the paper cutter.

7. Add eyelets using the punch pliers 8. Perforate each leather piece 
alongside its edges and the fringe edges with the needle pattern tracer. 
9. Add the shoelaces & et voilà!

P.S. Should you be less of a handyman/woman, you may want to ask a savvy friend or repair shop to do some of the leather work for you.

4. Make it fit!

How often do we buy or keep something that needs adjusting but we never get around to do so ourselves or bring it to a seamstress? As a consequence we never wear these clothes and quite possibly give them away eventually - what a shame! 
Ill-fitting clothes are also bad news for our body confidence. On the other hand, there's nothing quite like a piece that fits you perfectly! With this in mind, I've decided to invest my pennies this month in getting the above "boyfriend" blazer FINALLY adjusted - eight months after buying it from Rokit (Aquascutum) - P.S. Obviously, not a proud moment... 
I can't tell you how excited I was though when I got it back this morning - what a transformation and so much more special than a high street buy! A highly recommendable experience 

5. Ask Dr. Slow!

Don't forget Dr. Slow will be back on the 26/3, so if you have any questions, please email them to us by next Saturday 22/3. We'd love to hear from you!


+ you can still sign up for our email post alters here!

1 comment

  1. I'm feeling pretty inspired by that Jackson Pollock hat right now! Most of my mending has involved sewing buttons back on, but I'd love to try some printing and dye jobs to bring things back from the wardrobe afterlife. And I have to agree about the velvet brush - that has saved my velvet boots many times.

    Angella Frasier @ 4-Wardrobe


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