Designer-inspired DIY

Designer-inspired DIY

You might recall that back in April I took a short trip to Rotorua.  While I was there for an entirely different purpose, one day I happened upon a wee shop next to a café I was grabbing a coffee, and that’s where I first spied the For the Twill of it jeans from Trelise Cooper.  I really, really wanted them, but I certainly couldn’t justify spending $379 on a pair of jeans that I could never wear on casual Friday.  With a heavy heart, I left them behind.

That was six months ago, and I still occasionally Google these jeans (or search for them on Trade Me) – but apparently there were plenty of other women happy to snap these up, as they’re no longer available in my size.  If you want a size 12 for half price, you can find them here.  For the rest of us, I finally decided to create a Friday-appropriate version for the princely sum of $20, and I’m here to share the magic.


First up, you’re going to need a pair of jeans.  These need to be a slightly baggy and relaxed style to align with our inspiration, but also because a stretchy pair of skinny jeans will run the risk of distorting your DIY star print.  I bought this pair with some very slight distressing for about $8 from Savemart a few months ago, and while I enjoyed wearing them as-is, they were the perfect sacrifice for this experiment.  Go for a lighter or distressed colour of denim, too.  I chose a pair that weren’t too distressed because I wanted to be able to wear them more often, but you should just pick a pair that works for your lifestyle!

The inspiration, via  Trelise Cooper

The inspiration, via Trelise Cooper

Next, take a quick drive to Spotlight (or anywhere that sells fabric paint) and pick up a bottle of whichever colour takes your fancy.  I wanted to stay close to the original design, so I went with white, but I can imagine red stars on a darker denim would look awesome.  You could even try using two colours to create ombre stars – totally up to you.


You’ll also need a basic kitchen sponge (the thinner, the easier it is to cut) and a pair of sharp, tough scissors.  With these, create a simple star shape.  It doesn’t have to be totally perfect, because you can use a small piece of sponge as a correcter, gently dabbing the edges of your star to give it a slightly better shape.  I think we all know that the first “star” I made looked more like a cloud/star mutant, so make sure you cut it from one half of the sponge to give yourself a bit of leftover if you need a second attempt.  You could use a template.  I totally winged it, it was fine.


Based on my experiment, I can tell you that the DIY version looks better with some inconsistency in the paint – when I pushed down really hard to get a fully opaque star, it somehow ended up looking kind of childishly executed, even though the opaque finish looks great on the original denim.  I hung my jeans from my clothing steamer and planned where I’d pop my stars by pinning small Post It notes onto each leg.  Then it is just a matter of making sure your stars don’t all point in the same exact direction or mirror each other too symmetrically.  Or, y’know, you could just bang them on.  It would probably look just as good as my unnecessarily controlled approach!


Let the fabric paint dry overnight and then fix it by ironing it in (the paint will include instructions, don’t worry).  To get the Gucci-esque vibe of the original jeans, I paired my newly decorated jeans with a striped webbed belt from World (not available on the website, weirdly) and these awesome Jaggar shoes – that red and green block heel is Gucci stripe all the way!  You could, of course, sew a ribbon or some kind of decorative detail down the side hem, but this seemed a much more versatile compromise.


So there you have it!  A really cheap and easy way to get a pair of jeans into your rotation that are a bit interesting, and all without having to sew a single stitch.  I’ve still got plenty of white fabric paint left in the bottle, so I’m dreaming up other printing options – maybe polka dots on a pale pink tshirt?  What do you guys think – are you keen to try your hand at these easy DIY jeans, and what else can I paint?