Interview: DIY Star Matter of Style!

Today is the start of a new feature at JLTFK.... Interviews! With the internet's most creative types, these interviews will bring you the thoughts and influences behind these talented minds. 

Today's interview is with DIY star Alessia from A Matter of Style. While on the surface, readers are wow'ed by her ability to just see something and and then make it for herself, Alessia is a true artist. As you will see, the conceptual planning behind this process demonstrates a real understanding of design and functionality. A self-described 'serial DIY-er', Alessia draws her inspiration from surprising sources and translates that idea into beautiful pieces that display a sense of her own personal influence fused with high-fashion.

Oh, if you enjoy DIY style, Alessia shares step-by-step tutorials on her blog!

You blog at A Matter of Style. What made you choose this name and what is the idea of behind your blog?

Firstly I would like to thank you Joyce for your interest in my blog and for this interview. My name is Alessia and I blog from Italy. The blog Matter Of Style is a page about my interests in fashion and crafts.

I started showing my favourite pieces from shops I like then, little handmade things. I enjoy the experience of blogging, thanks to the internet we have the chance to interact and be inspired by people who share our same interests from all over the world and this is great.

I'm really happy when someone likes my page and I hope I'll be able to improve my blog showing more fashion.

I picked this name Matter of Style for a handmade jewellery line I was making a few years ago and the blog was named after that. I wanted to communicate that whoever picked my jewellery was making a stylish choice. 

What made you first get into DIY? What was the first thing you ever made on your own?

The first thing I made were a pair of earrings when I was little, with enamel copper wire- I've continued to make handmade jewellery ever since.
My interest in jewellery is older than my interest in fashion. I've always been attracted by big, expensive, regal jewellery we see at the neck of stars or on magazines, I've started making handmade jewellery because I wanted statement jewellery I could wear.

What is your most favourite project?

Shoes are my passion so they are my favourites!

Who and what inspires you?

I'm drawn to unconventional designs, things excessive and surprising, something you can dream about wearing, sometimes more suitable for stage costumes than for everyday wear; that is why I love designers like Alexander McQueen, Martin Margiela and fashion inspired by origami.

I'm attracted by the complex designs of Gareth Pugh, Iris Van Herpen and Sandra Backlund sculptural knitwear and I religiously admire the sharp elegance of Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Versace and the boldness of Dolce and Gabbana.

Please share how you work your ideas into reality.

When I want to do something inspired by the catwalk, I try to figure out how I can make it with things I can find in shops. I try to discover a hidden potential in common things to transform them into what I want.

Sometimes it takes time to find all I need and then every project is a journey. I mean, I always learn something finding a solution to little problems I have to face during the making of an item.

What are you currently working on? 

I'm trying to do a daring shoe DIY project, I always want to DIY more shoes!

I would like to work with leather right now, I have some ideas I haven't been able to realize yet.

Will we be able to see this soon?

I hope so!

Do you see yourself working in fashion or DIY in the future?

That would be fantastic, I would love to open an online shop with my handmade works one day, maybe with one of a kind pieces.

Do you sell your work?

Matter Of Style creations are not available for sale yet.

Thank you so much Alessia for your time and your inspiring work. Don't forget to check our her blog at A Matter of Style!

How to make your own dress form

Dress Form Construction by Sartorial DIY
I've been pining for a dress form for a long time and recently I was lucky to be given one by my parents. But before that I was looking for a cheap alternative. And I found that I wasn't the only one. There are so many  tutorials online to DIY your own dress form. Most of them involve duct tape (is that American for packing tape?) or paper maché. But I particularly like this one because the creator glues black felt onto his finished dress form. This is great because you need to be able to pin your cloth to the form when using it.

This dress form guide is made for men, but you get the idea. Basically you wrap your tape/glue-drenched cloth strips around your body (wear a garbage bag) and arms till it's thick enough to hold, wait for it to dry into shape then cut it off. Attach it back together and stuff it with newspaper or fabric scraps. Find a stand (Threadbanger uses a Christmas tree trunk) and cover the form with felt or thick cloth. And like Sartorial DIY finish the neck hole with a wooden sphere.
Thank you NicoleBem for following! I hope you like the blog :)


My parents bought me a dress form to say thanks for helping out with their anniversary!

DIY Zipper Backless Dress by Vintage Lover

Vintage Lover created this tutorial for DIY'ing a zipper backless dress with any old dress you might have.

I love this idea! But dare I try it... ?

You'll have to find some way of making sure the top of the zipper can be closed whilst the zipper itself is still open. A eye and hook combo will do the job, as I imagine you'd still need to zip the dress open all the way out to put it on.

Have a look at her tutorial on her awesome blog here.

In other news, Rfam & Co. will be shutting its doors! Inez from the store has offered clients a discount if you mention my name (Joyce). I think she can post things out if you're not in Melbourne.

You can see her dresses on her Facebook page here.

What to wear to a Silver Anniversary

Hi everyone! Hope you're all doing really well. This week's post is from a project close to my heart. Usually I don't do personal posts but recently I've gotten a few requests for more blogging about life, in general, so I guess this post will be the first one. Please enjoy it :)

My Mum's 25th Anniversary dress

Recently my parents reached 25 years of marriage (congratulations!), and decided to celebrate. In honour of this once-in-a-marriage occasion I made my Mum's dress for the event.

I've never been to a 25th anniversary party. So the only sort of occasion I could relate it to was a wedding. We debated the etiquette of a white dress, but after trawling through Net-a-Porter for ideas we settled on a pink satin and chiffon layered gown. The chiffon is two-toned, the colours fading from a watered-down pink on the bodice to a maroon-brown towards the hem. My Mum also wanted that asymmetrical hem so popular in dresses today- I'm not sure what the correct description for this is, but I like to call it a peacock hem.

Tacking the bias tape - so awesome!
It was also the first time I've ever worked with bias tape. OMG it is the best invention ever made! Because the dress is made up of two layers- the satin underlayer and the chiffon overlay, and because of the thinness of the fabrics- the bias tape had two purposes; to hold both layers together and hide the stitching. The leftover bias tape was used for the hem of the dress, which made for a really pretty contrast with the dark chiffon.

My Mum helped me so much with this dress! It was the first time I had used such delicate material in a way that could really expose my mistakes, if I got it wrong. All up, this gown took the two of us about three months to finish.

We started off by measuring my Mum and making a block pattern, then made a paper dress to check the proportions. Then we had to revise the block three times. We actually argued in the process... about armholes. And then we had to use the block pattern to make the actual dress pattern with the v-neck and back, and the peacock hem.

We re-did this pattern another three times. When it came to cutting the cloth, I had problems with laddering the chiffon. My Mum (thank God for Mums), pointed out that my pins were too thick. So lesson one: use the thinnest pins possible when working with chiffon! So I had to cut the fabrics again. At this point I went on to baste the chiffon and satin layers together, but the seams were really ugly. Lesson two: use bias tape when working with thin fabrics. My brother, by the way, made these incredible programs!

Well, to make a long story short, Mum wore the dress! Yipee! Here are my parents enjoying themselves at the function centre before the guests arrived. And Dad kept saying how beautiful Mum was, so... goal achieved!

They had a ceremony in the morning- an incredibly sweet renewal of vows. As you can see the chapel had an open wall leading out to a courtyard garden. Which looks great with the sunlight but it was quite chilly, so everyone kept their coats on. My parents had about eighty guests- we don't have any family in Melbourne so everyone was mostly friends and some colleagues from work.

My Dad managed to find some Lindt heart chocolates with 'I heart you' inscribed onto the back, and one of my parent's friends offered the flower arrangements and corsages for all members of the 'bridal party'. 

There was a lot of singing and speeches. Lots of thank you's and I love you's. A bit of tearing up from the women guests. And plenty of teasing and 'wedding games'- one of which was a how-well-do-you-know-each-other game- which both Dad and Mum completed FAILED! Well at least you have the rest of your lives to get to know one another. Dad surprised Mum with a Eurovision song.

I think my parents really enjoyed themselves! And for me at least it was really sweet and even inspiring seeing my parents renew their vows for their silver anniversary. As they said, 'When we first got married, we committed ourselves in faith. We had no idea what our marriage would be like. This time round we choose to renew our vows knowing exactly what we are getting into'.

When my parents first got married their wedding was in Hong Kong. As of such they didn't have that Western tradition of a first dance. A quarter of a century later, and after twenty-four years in Australia, they got their first dance. 

Congratulations Mum and Dad on twenty-five years of marriage! 

Oh yeah... here are some videos :D

My Mum's physiotherapy class of '82 decided spontaneously to sing their class song

One song sung by Robin and Jeremy during our lunch - So Close by Jon McLaughlin

Shorts on

How to make a pair of White Short Shorts by Jenna Sauers (

You know when you're in that space of jumping from link to link on the Web? I was trowling through Pintrest following the pages which had linked JLTFK (thanks for linking Amy!) and found this tutorial by Jenna Sauers of Jezebel to make shorts!

I remember vaguely a few years ago that Jezebel was a celebrity goss site on par (in my mind) with Perez Hilton, but apparently every Friday now they run a DIY column. That's pretty cool.

Shout out to B g, Matter of Style, Martha P Perry, Ayesha Ali and Bekah for following! I cannot express enough how massively encouraging your support is for me.

How to Sew Shorts No.2

Chloe Spring '11 via Fashionologie

Hi everyone! Hope you've all been well. Sorry for the delay but here is the second (you can also consider it 'first') part to my shorts tutorial. This post goes through how you can create a pattern for your shorts. Once you've made a paper template, cutting and sewing the material is pretty easy. I forgot to mention that I used a zip on the side of my shorts because this pattern doesn't include a fly. Saves any embarrassment over open flys (...flies), huh?

As always, please read through all instructions before starting! And after you've made the pattern, I'd suggest tracing it onto newspaper as if you were actually making the shorts, and trying on your paper shorts to see if it fits.

The sewing section for the shorts may be found here.

Making the Pattern:
STEP 1: Measure around your hips and divide this measurement by four. Add two centimetres.

Draw this line like so.
STEP 2: Measure your crotch length (sit down on a chair, and measure from your hips to the chair).

Draw these two vertical lengths like so.
STEP 3: Close off your box, adding five centimetres to the left.

We'll call this 'the crotch line'.
STEP 4: Extend your vertical lines by eight centimetres on the left, and five centimetres on the right.

The vertical line on the right represents your outside of your thigh. Likewise, the longer vertical line on the left represents the inside of your thigh.
STEP 5: On the bottom of both your vertical lines, draw a two centimetre horizontal line to the right.

We'll connect these two points later to create a hem for the shorts.
STEP 6: Using a curve (ruler or plate), connect the point from the hip (your first line) to the hem on the right.

Draw a wider curve from your crotch line (the line drawn in Step 3) to the hem on the left.
STEP 7: Draw your hem as shown.
STEP 8: Draw a straight line from the left hip line to the crotch line.

(This looked curved in the diagram, but I later discovered that a straight line connects the right and left shapes much better.)

You've just made your pattern piece for the front!
STEP 9: The back pattern will be a little different to allow for your butt.

You'll need to cut out your front pattern and trace it onto a second piece of paper.

This blue outline represents the original front pattern.

Mark a spot on the crotch, three centimetres left and half a centimetre up.

Then mark another spot on the hem, one and a half centimetres to the right and one centimetre down.
STEP 10: Connect your new crotch point to the hip (straight line even though it looks like a curve).

Then connect your new crotch point to the hem.

Connect the lowered hem point up to the original hem point on the right (the outer thigh line).

You have made your back shorts pattern. YAY!

So when you're tracing your shorts, cut two of the front and two of the back. Don't forget seam allowance (about a centimetre) all around. Have a look at my first post for these to get an idea.

Hope you have a great week.

We Don't Care

Hello everyone! Firstly just some apologies for not updating as often these days. But I promise, there's a good reason for this- I've been asked to help out with a new non-profit organisation, We Don't Care Inc (WDC).

The aim of WDC is to bridge Gen-Y's with volunteering opportunities/social justice initiatives. You know that feeling you get when you see a situation where help's needed, and you want to help, but somehow, you can't? Because you don't know who to ask, none of the other volunteers are your age, or the way in which the help is structured doesn't quite fit in with the person you are? WDC tries to create events and channels in which young people can help in a way that's distinctly young. 

We Don't Care started off with its first project, WDCA (We Don't Care About) magazine, which should see the launch of its first issue later this year. As Gala Darling recently quoted, our generation might also be called the 'Magpie Generation', meaning the things that appeal to us have to be presented in a considered, design-y, and generally gorgeous manner.

And what's more relevant than popular culture? WDCA as envisioned by its creator, is 'a culture magazine talking about social justice'. Let's see if content like this will get your attention:

The other project of WDC is The Fashion Fund, which is an event raising awareness for Victoria's homeless. We'll be selling pre-loved designer and vintage pieces to raise funds. We managed to get Federation Square for our pop-up store!

We shot our lookbook two weeks ago:

I'll be working with Shen for the visual merchandising and the whole look of the event. So excited! It's going to be hopefully, something memorable.

So that's what I've been doing :) Please forgive me for the sporadic timing of my posts. And if you'd like to get involved, please head over to the WDC Facebook page and feel free to ask us anything.