All-day TV marathons of Project Runway do not a fashion designer make. Here are six do-it-yourself manuals that will school you on the art of taking your jeans apart and piecing them back together in unexpected ways.
Nancy Minsky’s first rule of Denim Revolution: All material must be begged, bartered, or salvaged in some form. In other words, denim revolutionaries, purchase new jeans at your own peril. Embellished with lace, appliqué, metallic braid, leather, and paint, even the most wayward of Wranglers can have a “come to Jesus” moment, transcending from universal wardrobe staple to the embodiment of your sartorial artistry.
Consider Scatha G. Allison and Marla Stefanelli your denim-butchers-in-chief. The duo will soon have you hacking, slashing, and shredding your way through the most recalcitrant of dungarees. By the time you’re through with the nearly two dozen tailored tasks, your sewing muscles will be flexed and ready to build any garment from scratch.
Who wants to look like everyone else, asks Lauren A. Greene, a former editor at CosmoGirl. Whether your personal aesthetic runs uptown or downtown, girly or rebellious, boho or glamour-puss, Greene will help you channel your inner aspect. And although you can take the girl out of the lady-mag, you obviously can’t take the lady-mag out of the girl. The book comes with a pocket astrologer, with a mini-DIY for every sign of the zodiac.
Faith Blakeney, Justina Blakeney, and Ellen Schultz offer nearly a hundred ways to resurrect your dunzo denim, from a swingy wrap skirt to a teeny vest for your image-conscious pooch. Rated in order of difficulty from easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy to “you better know what a seam ripper is,”each project includes step-by-step instructions, complete with illustrations.
Become your own personal couturier, with a little help from Amy Barickman. Castoff denim overalls, jackets, and jeans are merely blank canvases for a litany of deconstruction and decorative techniques—no Bedazzlers required, promise.
Leave it to Carmen Webber, a contestant on Season 4 of “Project Runway,” and Carmia Marshall, a.k.a. the Sistahs of Harlem, to show us how to infuse refashioned denim threads with New York City’s cool, streetwise vibe. With full-color photos, detailed illustrations, and complete step-by-step instructions, Denim Mania demonstrates that you don’t need a degree at Parsons to pull off retooled couture in a day—or less.