Home Rockanomics

54 Projects and Recipes for Style on the Edge

Heidi Minx

St. Martin's Griffin/Thomas Dunne Books

HOME ROCKANOMICS
STREET STYLE
PUNK IS TRULY ITS OWN STYLE. Like everything in true punk, it's born out of DIY, distaste for the mainstream offerings, the 'anti' attitude-think Social Distortion's 'Anti-Fashion'-anti mall Social Distortion's 'Anti-Fashion' - anti mall 'rubber stamp fashion' and anti-mass consumerism.
From the Sex Pistols, to Duane Peters, to Rancid's Lars Frederiksen, deconstruction and destruction reign
My personal closet has quite a few items that I love, usually the ones I've found and modified, and said, "That is SO ugly, it's cool." Plaids, stripes, distraught textures, these are a few of my favorite things.
Patches, snaps, paint, bleach, safety pins, and zippers-all are staples of the punk look, but it is the wearer's unique ability to make something from nothing and to express themselves-and wear it with pride-that makes this style one that is truly unique.
SEXY SWEATERS
Oversize sweaters can become simply sexy with shears, pins, and a little patience.
 
MY FAVORITE "CLOTHING STORE" was my father's closet. Much to his chagrin, I'd frequently help myself to his sweaters, especially the old worn ones. Unfortunately, I was a small and he was an XL. I can't tell you the number of times I'd solve that problem by washing his sweaters in hot water and putting them in the dryer. He was NONE too impressed. To this day, I love sweaters, but usually not the ones I see in the stores. I still prefer the older ones, a simple wool crewneck, but I don't always want to look like a boy wearing one. About two years ago I began to tailor my oversize sweaters so I could feel at least slightly like a girl, even in the New York winters.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
• A sweater that is too big (one with a tighter knit that can be sewn with a sewing machine)
• Good cutting shears or pinking shears
• Straight pins
• Sewing machine
• Trim, if you're feeling decorative
• A friend to help fit the sweater on you
1. Put the sweater on and, following the seams, have your friend carefully use the straight pins to fit it to you--up the sides, along the bottom of the arms, anywhere it is baggy.
2. Once you wiggle out of it, check that the pins seem even and grab your scissors. Cut away the excess fabric, about ¼ inch away from the pins.
3. Then use your sewing machine to sew back up the sides. Personally I leave the sweater seams raw and exposed on the outside. I recommend at least three runs, to make sure that the edges are well put back together.
4. For this sweater, I decided to make a lower neck and used some trim to finish off the front. To stop it from fraying, I just sewed around the cutout neck several times.
I've washed this in the machine numerous times, and it has yet to fray past the stitching.
BLEACH PEN DEN IM
Save the stencils and go freehand.
Denim (preferably dark!) is your easiest fabric to modify.
 
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
• Clorox Bleach Pen (around $3.50 from any drugstore)
• Scrap paper
• Water-soluble marker
• Your canvas--a denim jacket or jeans
1. Sketch out your pattern or design with a simple water-based marker directly on the fabric.
2. Test your bleach pen on a piece of paper so you get a good clean line of bleach gel with no bubbles or blobs.
3. Once you get a good flow, begin drawing on your fabric. Depending on how dark your denim is, the gel may need to sit for a longer period of time. Just keep your eye on it; you'll notice as it is lightening.
4. Make sure to rinse with cold water when you are done (I usually let cold water run over it in the kitchen sink for about 5 minutes), and wash for the first time with rags or on its own, so you don't get bleach on your other items!
TIP: Once you've finished your item and it's been properly washed, you may want to consider using RIT Dye to overdye the garment. Red RIT works well on denim--especially when you've bleached in flames!
MAKE YOUR T-SHIRTS WORK FOR YOU
Two of my good girlfriends--the lovely Jenny Gunns of Dirty Mary and the inspiring Bif Naked--taught me these tricks. As Bif used to say, she didn't want to show if she was "shvitzing" on stage.
 
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
 
All you need are ...
• Scissors
• safety pins
• a T-shirt
TIPS: Get a better fit by "darting" the bustline with 2 safety pins on each side Save that sleeve; it's an easy headband to use when you're washing your face.
Beauty: ON THE LAM!
*Keep Preparation H Pads in the fridge on a morning when your under-eyes are too puffy to bear--Cut one pad in half and put both halves under your eyes--they'll stick on their own. Leave them on for about 3 minutes & you're good to go. (Note: DO NOT put over your whole EYE!)"
 
*Save your old shirt scraps to make 2" x 6" strips. Take sections of hair & roll them around the strip, then tie off in one tie--quicker than rollers, easier to sleep in!
SIMPLE STENCILS
STENCILS ARE GREAT FOR ANYTHING-walls, furniture, sidewalks, and, of course, clothing. Their negative spaces and blocky designs are a project in themselves or a great starter for a blank canvas!
 
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
• I roll contact paper (clear is best; around $3 at any grocery store)
• I good X-Acto knife
• I bottle strong bleach (the stuff at the hardware store is often better than Clorox)
• I small spray bottle with a mist setting
• Paper towels or paper napkins
• Clothing you want to improve (denim works well; Dickies do not).
1. Choose a simple negative-space stencil design. Using an X-Acto, cut it out of contact paper. Make 2 or 3 copies of the stencil if you are going to use it multiple times on one garment.
2. Peel the backing off and place your stencil on a tee or jeans. (Cotton is easier to bleach than synthetic fabrics.)
3. Put some bleach in a spray bottle. (I find bleach from the hardware store is stronger than bleach you get for laundry at a grocery store.)
4. Mist your bleach over the stencil pattern. You can blot the excess bleach off the contact paper with a paper towel, quickly lift the stencil off the fabric and place it elsewhere, and mist again.
5. When the fabric lightens to the desired level, throw the item in a cold wash in the washing machine. Don't wash other items with the ones you've just bleached!
NOTE: Spray paint also works well with stencils. (Krylon holds up very well in the washing machine!)
REVIVING OLD PANTS
TOO SHORT? Bell bottoms? It's really easy to adjust pant bottoms to fit your current personal style. You don't have to be a sewing genius or spend a fortune at the tailor if you have a few fabric scraps and some hardware or zippers.
 
TO LENGTHEN PANTS, YOU'LL NEED:
• Sewing machine
• About ¼-yard fabric
• Straight pins
This project isn't too rocket science; it's pretty simple.
1. Take your fabric and hold it up to the bottom of your pants.
2. Cut the fabric wide enough to wrap all the way around the bottom of the pant leg, and long enough to make your pants the length you desire.
3. Pin the fabric in place with straight pins. I find it's easier to have the two fabric ends join on the inside pants' leg seam.
4. If you can, remove the tray on your machine so the sewing area is small enough to fit the "cuff" of the pants around the platen.
5. Just begin to sew. I don't stop; I just keep sewing in a circle, rotating the pants until I've sewed all the fabric on and closed up the ends of the scrap fabric.
If you want to peg your pants ('cuz let's face it, bell bottoms were NEVER punk!), then just grab some hardware.
TO PEG YOUR PANTS, YOU'LL NEED:
• 2 zippers (between 6"--10", depending on your preference/measurements)
• Embroidery floss (I packet; choose a cool color!)
• Scissors
• I strong needle
• Straight pins
• A sewing machine is helpful but not necessary
1. Start by putting your pants on and marking the outside seams where you want the tapering to begin (usually lower calf).
2. Hold your zipper up to that marked point to make sure it is long enough
3. Pants back off!
4. Using good shears, cut directly into the pants' outside seam, up to the point you marked.
5. Next, cut away some of the extra fabric, taking care to cut equal amounts on either side of your original cut. Your finished cuts should make it look like you've cut out a very long upside-down V out of the outside seam.
6. Using straight pins, pin your zipper on the outside of the pants to close that open area. Make sure to try your pants on to make sure they fit. If you have pegged them supertight, just unzip the zipper to get your feet through, then rezip to make sure the legs are sitting properly and are even on both sides!
7. Pants off again! Use your needle and embroidery floss to sew the zipper onto the fabric. I use X stitches and simple "under and over" stitching. If you do have a sewing machine, you can sew the zipper to the fabric that way first, then use the floss to reinforce it.
TIP: You don't just have to use zippers! Take a look at use zippers! Take a look at the fastener hooks I used on this pair!
WINTER-TO-SUMMER CROP TOP
Convert a boring button-up to a flirty crop.
 
THIS DESPERATE LITTLE NUMBER was given to me by the lovely pinup model, Heidi Van Horne. She had picked it up at Kmart of all places; it's part of the Kathie Lee line! She joked that she got it when polka dots were hard to find. I promised, as a favor for all her help on the PRD boards, that I would take it as a personal challenge to make it wearable!
 
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
• Scissors
• 4 safety pins (I"work best!)
• About I yard of trim (your choice!)
• Sewing machine
• Straight pins
• A button-up shirt that desperately needs a makeover
1. Put the shirt on and mark the length you want, anywhere from below the bust to just above the belly button.
2. Take the shirt off, lay it flat, and cut across that line, but DON'T cut off the button and buttonhole strip! (Those will be your ties.)
3. Next, cut around the armholes, just inside the armhole seam.
4. The trim is optional. If you have a sewing machine, use straight pins to put your ribbon in place--running from the bottom of the "ties" on both sides and up and around the exposed edges--then sew in place.
5. Chances are you're going to need to improvise some darts at the bustline. If there's extra fabric that's gapping, fold it over on itself. Safety pins are easy to use; just fold over the fabric to create a dart and pin. If you want to be fancy, you could sew it in place. Or just leave it!
MAKE-YOUR-OWN FELT PATCHES
Use felt scraps and embroidery floss to make simple, bright patches.
 
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
• Felt scraps in different colors (a 12" x 10" piece is usually less than $1 at a craft or fabric store)
• Fun colors of embroidery floss
• A needle you can thread with the floss
• Scissors
1. Create a simple design--a skull, stars, hearts, dice, a simple band logo (like, Black Flag simple!).
2. Use 1 piece of felt as your background and the other colors to create your design.
3. Sew the pieces onto the background, then sew on to whatever you want!
Polish Docs to A Super shine
*to get A high polish on docs, use a soft cloth to put a generals layer of making kiwi polish an the boot.
-Then use a zippo about 2 inches away from the boot to lightly heat the wax into the leather - the flame tip should just *kiss* the leather as you pass it over the surface.
-Use an old nylon stocking to polish off the wax for a super "military" shine.
INSTANT BELT LOOPS
SOME THINGS just don't have the right belt loops--like Dickies (they're too small)--and some skirts don't have them at all.
 
It's supereasy to get around: Grab 4 large kilt pins and affix them to the outside waistband. The larger kilt pins can even fit a 3-row pyramid stud belt!
STUDS AND SPIKES
THOUGH THERE ARE GREAT SITES like studsandspikes .com , it can still get a bit pricey to add metal to a jacket. Found items can be just as fun.
 
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
• Old Bic Lighters
• Pliers
• Sandpaper (fine-grain is OK)
• Bottle caps (not bent from opening)
• Awl and hammer
• Thread and needle
1. You can easily sand the logo off a metal bottle cap.
2. Using an awl and a hammer, poke two "button-style" holes in the tops (like buttonholes) and sew on to a garment.
3. The silver tabs in lighters are an easy way to get a "bound" metal edge on cuffs and lapels. Using pliers, pry the silver part off an old lighter. Then clamp it over the edge of the fabric.
TIP: The lighter tabs work well on hat brims as well!
VEGAN BIKE TIRE BELT
MollyPop from the PRD boards posted this tutorial. I loved it so much, I asked her if we could include it in the book. All pictures and instructions are from her!
 
THIS IS AN EASY WAY to make a non-leather studded belt that's cheaper than buying one!
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
• A bicycle tube*
• Scissors**
• Studs
• A marker that will show up on black tubing (optional)
• Something to push down the prongs of the studs with (a screwdriver or scissors work)
*To find a busted bicycle tube, you could probably go to a bike shop near you and look in the dumpster or ask if they have any unfixable tubes lying around.
** If you don't have a pair of heavy-duty scissors, buy them.
It's an investment.
1. First, take your bicycle tube and cut it across so it's not in a circle.
2. Now cut it along one of the lines so it turns into a flat length of rubber. The lines are a really good guide for cutting a straight line. It'll probably be pretty icky on the inside.
3. Next, trim the rubber so it's the width you want for your belt. But beware: You don't want to have to stud around the nozzle. Make sure that it's not in your width.
4. After you've done that, you can wash off the ickies if you want.
5. To make sure your width is how you wit, try it on and pull it through your belt loops.
6. Mine is a little big for my loops, so I'm going to trim it down a little.
7. After you've gotten the right width, while it's still through your belt loops mark where you want your studs to end/start and also where you need to trim it if it's too long. Remember to leave enough room at each end unstudded so you can tighten and loosen it. You can always add more studs at the end after you've dealt with the buckle.
8. And now, once it's marked and trimmed, you can start to stud. It doesn't matter how you arrange your studs.
9. Now try it on.
10. From here you should be able to tell where you want the holes to be to tighten/loosen it. If you have a belt buckle, you can add that on there. If not, you can use studs as buttons.
11. So, add studs down the middle of one end like so: I did three to start.
12. Try it on again: I already had one huge hole, which was why the tube was unusable, so I decided to make that my first hole.
13. Take it off and line up the non-button-stud end to the button-stud one and mark dots so when you cut the holes, they'll line up with the studs.
14. Cut little crosses where you marked the dots.
15. And the studs should go in like this.
16. Line them all up: It works! Now you can make any minor adjustments, like adding more studs, trimming the ends, or adding more holes.
17. Once you have all that taken care of, you're done! You can adjust how tight it is by lining up different holes with different studs. I would also recommend reinforcing it with a safety pin; sometimes studs don't make the greatest buttons.
The average vegan studded belt can be over $20, while making it this way (assuming you already own scissors) is only the cost of studs. A bag of 100 standard 1/2-pyramid studs costs $3.40, not including shipping (from CrustPunks.com). Yay!
PATTERNS AND PRINTS
IN ART SCHOOL, collagraph prints were my favorite projects. They didn't require as many chemicals and, to me, were one of the forms of printmaking that had the most varied results--you NEVER knew what your finished print would look like. Collagraphs can be a great way to add texture and colors, and, ultimately, after use, .they become a piece of art on their own!
A collagraph print is made by placing different items onto a boardlike surface, affixing them, and then inking on the textured surfaces and using it as a print template.
 
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
• Cardboard canvas (available from any art store)
• Found items (think zippers, safety pins, strings)
• Modge Podge (available at craft/art stores; about $5)
• Textile paints (available at craft/art stores)
• Hot-glue gun and about 5 glue sticks
• Paintbrushes
• Iron
• T-shirt to print on
1. With your brush, coat your canvas with two layers of Modge Podge (MP) or a similar acrylic substance, like gesso.
2. Choose your found items and begin to glue them onto the board (either with MP or your hot-glue gun). You will want to keep a fairly uniform height with the items, as you will be pressing this by hand, not through a printing press. The uniform height of the items will help get an even print area.
3. Use your MP or gesso to create a sealing layer over your items once you have them affixed. Let it dry (this may take up to an hour if you used a lot of found items).
4. Drizzle hot glue all over the dried collagraph; this helps hold down the items and also creates cool shapes and textures. Let glue dry. continued ...
5. Using brushes, your fingers, whatever, begin to apply your fabric paints over the raised areas. Play around with paint thickness and colors.
6. Lay your shirt, jeans, denim-jacket back (whatever you are applying your design to) out on the floor.
7. Lay your collagraph board facedown on the fabric and apply pressure--use your hands, stand on it, whatever you deem fit!
8. Lift up your collagraph and allow your fabric to dry. When it's dry, place a scrap of fabric over it and iron to set the paint.
You can use your collagraph again and again. It gains more and more personality each time you use it!
TIP: They look cool hanging on the wall as art!
WINDY SPRING SCARF
SCARVES ARE HANDS DOWN one of my favorite accessories. On spring and summer nights, I love them--go to a concert, stuff one in your bag, be warm on the way home hours later. When I was in India this past year, there was so much fun cotton plaid, I wound up grabbing a lot of it. When I got home I had to find ways to use it.
 
TO MAKE A FUN SCARF THAT WON'T BLOW IN YOUR FACE OR DOWN THE STREET, YOU'LL NEED:
• About a yard of fun fabric
• Needle and thread
• About 3 feet of a lightweight chain
1. Quite simply, fold your fabric in half lengthwise and sew up the open sides. Flip it inside out, so the seam is on the inside and, if you want to, iron it. You'll give your scarf shape and make the next step easier.
2. Next, divide your chain in half (scissors will work if it's lightweight chain); you'll need some for both ends of the scarf.
3. To finish off the ends, begin to roll the fabric ends, tucking under the exposed fabric hem-like. As you roll and whipstitch your raw ends, sew the chain on to it. (I used about 3 whip stitches for every link of chain.) The final item will have the chain exposed on the outside (not sewn into the roll)!
IN THE MORNING ...
BIFFY'S FAMOUS BREAKFAST FROM GOD
Bif Naked
WHEN I WAS IN MY EARLY 20s, I got turned on to Biffy's music. I was in love with it. I was floored by Bif--here was a girl, covered in ink, who was a brilliant musician, loved animals, was totally spiritual, and punk as fuck. I had an inkling of a feeling that at some point, sooner or later, our paths would cross. About six years ago they did, at a show she was doing in NYC. My friend Pete and I hit the show and (as Pete calls it) got "rockignized" by her publicist, Rikki Z. We didn't meet that night, but Rikki gave Bif a bunch of clothing I'd brought for her from my line, and the next time she was in town we got together. We did a shoot for Inked Magazine together, where we went to a Bad Brains reunion show at CBGB, and we've cooked together at Jivamukti Yoga Center (you can see the video at youtube.com/frankyandminx). This past year, Bif was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am still in total shock and can only say, this woman is amazing, and I pray her fighting spirit kicks her cancer's ass to the curb.
IN A VITA-MIX OR POWERFUL BLENDER:
• 3 big bananas
• 1 big handful spinach leaves
• 1 handful black kale leaves
• 1/2 pint blueberries
• 5 big strawberries
• 1 cup water
Blend until smooth.
 
IN A SHAKER CUP:
• 2 tbs flax meal
• 2 tbs shelled hempseeds
• 2 tbs whole psyllium husks
Combine with liquid and shake.
TIP: I always save half in a jar and put it in the fridge for an hour, which will solidify somewhat, due to the psyllium, and create a "pudding" for my midmorning snack! Yummmmmmmm!
Serves 1-2
ON - THE - LAM FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
ms minx
 
IN THE SUMMER, look for firm, medium-sized green tomatoes. Farmer's markets are more likely to have them than grocery stores.
 
INGREDIENTS:
• 2 or 3 firm green tomatoes
• 1 egg (or Egg Beaters)
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• 1 cup Hungry Jack instant pancake mix
• 2 tbs Olivio, margarine, or butter
1. Cut tomatoes into thick slices, just less than 1/2 inch.
2. Then dip in egg or Egg Beaters, lightly coating both sides.
3. As usual, I was out of the basics, which is how I decided to improvise with Hungry Jack instant pancake mix. I added a few dashes of salt and pepper and fully coated the tomato slices in that instead of flour and cornmeal.
4. Next, heat a crepe pan superhot with Olivio (olive oil spread instead of butter) and cook them for about 2 minutes on each side.
YUM!!!
Serves 2 (unless you love them as much as I do and don't share)!
EASY HASH BROWNS
ms minx
 
IN '91 IN THE U.K., after going out on the road with International Beat, the band got in late to a friend's house. We didn't have the energy to go to the food store, so we were left with what was in the fridge (not much!). There were some potatoes, onions, and eggs. The band had been talking about how they loved American breakfast food, so I went to town.
 
INGREDIENTS:
• Potatoes (2-3 fist-sized)
• 1/2 onion
• 1 egg white
• Oil
1. Use a cheese grater to shred up the potatoes (no need to peel them, skins are fine!). Once you grate them into a bowl, there will be some extra liquid; just blot it off with a paper towel.
2. Dice up the onion and mix it in with the grated potato (to taste).
3. Use 1 egg white for every cup and a half of the potato-and-onion mixture; stir it all up well.
4. Heat up a skillet and put in some oil. Make small patties out of the potato and lay in the pan. Put the lid on and let them cook well--at least 8 minutes on a medium heat--flipping them several times. They should be crispy on both sides.
Serves 2
EGGLESS FRENCH TOAST
Porcell of YOUTH OF TODAY/JUDGE
 
PORCELL AND I met backstage at the BNB Bowl '09, albeit for a supershort time. He wound up reading an interview I had done for my nonprofit, and reached out to me. It was funny, but when I asked him for a recipe, the first one he gave me was for Khichari--which was funny, because John Joseph had already given me that one. What are the odds of that? Porcell and I share a love of India, but here is a totally American breakfast for you.
 
INGREDIENTS:
• 6 slices of bread (soft whole-wheat or multigrain is ideal)
• 3 tablespoons tahini
• 1 cup milk or soy milk
• 1 ripe banana, mashed well
• 1 tablespoon maple syrup
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 3 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour
• 2 tablespoons butter (or olive oil)
1. Set aside the bread and combine all the other ingredients except the butter in a large mixing bowl, adding the flour last.
2. Preheat griddle or frying pan on a high heat, melting butter on the surface so the bread doesn't stick (olive oil can be substituted for vegan French toast). If you use butter, make sure you get the bread onto the griddle quickly or the butter may burn. Ghee (clarified butter, available at Indian markets or health food stores) can also be used and has a much higher burn temperature than butter. If your pan has a nonstick surface, you can forgo the butter or oil altogether, but make sure the pan has a chance to get nice and hot.
3. Coat the bread well with the mixture and after shaking off the excess batter, place on griddle. After about 30 seconds, reduce flame to a medium heat and flip when the bottom becomes golden brown (may take another minute or two, depending on the stove). Turn flame back to high and repeat the process for the other side.
4. Serve hot topped with extra butter (or vegan substitute) and pure maple syrup, with fresh fruit of your choice on the side.
Serves 2-3
EGG SANDWICH
Lou Koller of SICK OF IT ALL
LOU AND I HAVE KNOWN EACH OTHER for about ten years. I've been on the road with his band, and over the years they have supported me in many ways. I had to reach out to him last minute for this and, as always, he came through!
 
INGREDIENTS:
• 3 eggs
• ¼ cup milk
• Garlic powder, to taste
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• 2 slices of whole-wheat bread
• 2 slices of cheese (whatever kind you like; I use good old American!)
1. Grease up your frying pan and put it on the fire!
2. Break the eggs into a bowl and add milk.
3. Put in the garlic powder; how much depends on you. I do it by eye, so wing it. Add the salt and pepper to flavor.
4. Now beat the whole thing 'til your wrist and elbow ache! Pour it all into the hot pan.
5. Put the whole-wheat bread into the toaster now, 'cause the eggs cook fast.
6. Keep running a spatula around the edge and keep scrambling the eggs 'til they're done to your liking. Put the cheese on the toast and then put the eggs on top of the cheese and squish it all together.
Serves 1
HOME ROCKANOMICS. Copyright © 2009 by Heidi Minx. All rights reserved.