Diary of a Frugalista:Stamped Denim

Diary of a Frugalista:Stamped Denim

When it is gloomy and rainy outside, it is the perfect time to stay at home and start some DIY projects!

Today I will show a sequel of my  Bleached Denim post. Let’s stamp!

My inspiration was these bleached-n-painted jeans shorts. I loved the idea of combining a bold black and white design with the subtle denim texture. The problem was… I could not do it by hand because I am so bad at drawing! What could be the solution? Stamping! Stamping is perfect for me. It is very easy to do, and gives a greater uniqueness and personal touch than what you can find in stores.

To my surprise, it was not easy to find good stamping accessories in Montreal. Some stampers were available at the art store DeSerres. Stamping kits were there too, but they were paired with a regular paint that is not suitable for fabric. Even Dollarama failed to help: I was only able to find toy stampers for kids there.

Of course, I could have bought the accessories on the Internet. But I did not want to wait – it was time to get creative!

I made a stamping inkpad out of a dish sponge that I cut through the middle. Small air-tight plastic containers from Dollarama became inkpad cases. The fabric paint was bought at DeSerres. Also, I bought a few floral and heart-shaped stampers there and got a bag of toy finger stampers at Dollarama.


At first, I did some sample tests. I diluted the pink paint with a bit of water and poured it on the sponge.  Then, I stamped the fabric and realized that- surprise, surprise! – results are better when stamping is done on a flat surface.

After stamping is done, the design needs to become permanent! The paint gets fixed by ironing for 5 minutes in cotton selection. Once fixed, the design resists machine washing and dry cleaning.

After waiting for the paint to dry, I washed the samples. Woo-hoo, it looks so cool!

Floral stamps looked pretty too.

Although I liked the resulting floral pattern, I wanted to make a geometric ornament with circles and rectangles. To do that, I bought an eraser and used its wide side as a stamper. The circle was made out of a finger stamper with the shape part removed.

The result was not perfect enough for me. The surface of the eraser side was too large, and the paint got unevenly distributed across the surface. The same happened with the circles.

After experimenting more, I decided to use the most narrow side of the eraser. It greatly improved the quality of the prints. Hurray!

I liked the brick pattern the best. Instead of the circles, I decided to use the star finger stamper.

Ok! So the pattern and the technique was all set! It was the time to prepare the shorts.

I bought a pair of jeans at a thrift store.

Then I cut and bleached them using the instructions I have recently published.

Stamping time! Making the very first prints was so exciting!

The left part was stamped with stars. Some stamps turned out to be untidy, because the circular edge of the stamper left marks. Another hint: to get a good quality print, use good tools!

On the back, I only stamped the pockets.

Before fixing the design, I waited one hour to let the paint dry.

Fixing by ironing was long and inconvenient, so I decided to use a different method! I baked the shorts in the oven for 5 minutes with the temperature at 300F.

(OMG, my oven is so dirty! Have not noticed before!)

Here comes the result! I rolled up the trouser legs and sewed them underneath in a few places. After baking, the fabric got some yellowish tint. The tint was resistant and survived washing, so I decided to pretend it was by design!

The view from the back. The flaps need to be ironed after every washing.

Stamping is cool!

A few practical tips from my experience:

  • Quality of the print depends on the quality of the stamper, so it is worth to spend money on accessories.
  • Do stamping carefully on a flat surface; to make sure the fabric was  flat, I put a magazine inside the shorts.
  • The fabric should be stretched and secured with pins.
  • Whitebright paint will probably not be visible on a light cloth; while choosing the paint, pay attention to what fabric it is designed for (darklight).
  • It is much easier to dry the paint in the oven than doing so by ironing; of course, it will work only if the garment has no plastic details or buttons.

This is it! Happy stamping!

My blog:

Diary of Frugalista: Items for the Mega Swap

Diary of Frugalista: Items for the Mega Swap

By Nadya Ershova

The Montreal Mega Swap is coming soon!
This time, I have prepared a big pile of clothes to swap!

I will show you some of my favorites. I like these items very much, but I have stopped wearing them for various reasons. The items have been hanging idle in my closet for a couple of years already, and now they are looking for new, appreciative owners!

As you may have noticed from my previous posts, I usually take a lot of pictures of my outfits, a habit that developed a while ago. As a result, I already have plenty of pictures of the items I am swapping. I will show you some photos to give an idea of how you can wear these pieces.

I’m giving away two items from this outfit.
Can you guess which ones?

The first one is the yellow BEDO sweater, medium size. The fact that it’s 30% alpaca makes it very warm and cozy. It is a great piece; unfortunately, yellow does not flatter my skin tone, so I am giving it away.

The second one is the blue Ben Sherman shirt, medium size. It was bought in England almost 10 years ago and since then, I’ve worn it only occasionally. The shirt has spent the last two years in the closet. Now it is surely time to find it a new owner who would appreciate it more than I!

One item from this outfit goes to the Mega Swap!
What do you think it is?

It’s the Nine West shoes, size 7.5. They are made of genuine leather, both inside and outside.
As you can see above, they make a perfect companion to a black-n-white look. Since I do not wear b-n-w outfits anymore, the shoes need to go to make some room in my tightly-packed closet.

Again one item of this outfit goes to the Mega Swap!
Can you guess which one it is?

It’s the Zara shoes, size 7. Since my wardrobe has lost most of its brown items, these shoes do not match anything anymore. A new owner is wanted!

I’m giving away two items from this look!
Try to guess which ones!

One is this great Trf Denim jacket, size Large. After I lost some weight, it became too big for me. It has spent two years hanging in my closet and now it is looking for a new loving owner! It simply deserves to be worn often.

The second is this stylish belt from L’Officiel, size Small. It will make a girl with a thin waist very happy. My waist is not thin enough, hehe.

Seen on a beach in San-Francisco…
One item from the beach outfit goes to the Mega Swap!

This time, it’s the Rocket Dog Converse sneakers, size 7.
The shoes are looking for a sporty yet stylish girl who is not afraid to look bold!

Come to our Mega Swap, and you will find these great items and many more!

Behind the scenes of The SWAP Team’s Spring/Summer 2012Look Book Photoshoot

By Flora Law

At The SWAP Team we have been super super busy making preparations to bring you the most fashion-tastic swap event on July 28th and 29th at the Place des Arts Montreal! We have been cooking up some pretty amazing stuff and pulled off quite a few great looks from the various swapped items from several donors and our awesome local and eco-friendly sponsors to put together a look book for spring & summer 2012!

We’ve even come across some rare gems, like a Christian Dior blouse, Gucci sweater and other unique pieces donated by our amazing local designers. We are not pulling your designer boot leg here. See for yourself:

Dress – Quartier Mode

Jean-François Brière, our very own talented photographer has managed to capture some really glamorously gorgeous shots! We went all out and gave our bloggers the fully-packaged star treatment, including hair styling and make-up by Martine Fillion (514-889-0001) and Susannah Rupnik (514-586-2656) and wardrobe styling by Caroline Alexander from Ludique with some help from Kimberly Maturo.

Oh, what fun the fashion bloggers had going through the various assortment of outfits and trying them on! Look at these hot poses below — it’s like they were born to be standing in front of a camera lens!

We couldn’t contain ourselves, so we decided to share with you some of the amazing behind-the-scenes shots we took:

Blazer – Cokluch
Pants – Ludique (Christian Chenail)

Kim Ninkuru, @FakionIshon of

Blazer – La Gaillarde (Jones New York)
Skirt – The SWAP Team
Bracelet – Cat, The SWAP Team
Necklace – Cat, The SWAP Team
Top – Annex Vintage

Lisa Kisber, @LKiSStyle of

We hope this inspires you to clean out your closets and get excited about the things you might find at the swap! You never know what treasures you will discover while updating your wardrobe in an environmentally and fiscally responsible way!

Special thanks to our sponsors BijoutiaQuartier ModeLudiqueCréations Encore, PwarkCokluch, ChikiboomAnnex Vintage, La Gaillarde, Tomate D’Épingles, Meemoza, Jennifer Glasgow Design, 4 Elements, Éthik BGC, Atelier Tri Cycle and Créations Compulsives.

Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the look book delivered to your inbox!


Look forward to your likes, shares and comments! Sharing is GOOD 🙂

VIDEO: Behind the scenes at our Montreal look book shoot!

We’re so excited to have our very first Montreal event look book underway! Come hang behind the scenes with us and check out some of the best looks up for grabs at our upcoming swap, modeled by some of Montreal’s most stylish bloggers (of course)!

Our look book is for our email subscribers only and will be ready next week — so make sure you sign up now to get it delivered to your inbox:

Look forward to your likes, shares and comments! Sharing is GOOD 🙂

30 Swaps in 30 Days

By Caroline Alexander

30 swaps in 30 days – For the next 30 days, leading up to the SWAP Team’s 2012 Take Off Your Clothes event July 28 &29 2012, I will swap one piece of clothing a day with you! Become part of a swap chain and refresh your wardrobe. Would you like to be the new proud owner of my Max Studio skirt/dress (see below)? Then show me what you would like to swap for it! Post the picture of what you want to swap on The SWAP Team Facebook wall to see if at the end of the day you are the lucky one. Keep the swap chain going! Tomorrow your piece of clothing could be the next item to be exchanged in the swap chain, so choose something cool and funky without stains or holes. Let’s get the swap on together.

For those of you who do not know me, I am a Montreal based fashion stylist, co-owner of Ludique Personal Stylist and SWAP Team volunteer since 2010.  All of this to say I LOVE clothes.  I love dressing up, and dressing other people up.  I feel that clothing gives everyone the opportunity to delve in to the realm of the creative on a daily basis. Such clothing play does not mean endless shopping, but rather experimenting with what you already have, trying new combinations, and improvising. Swapping is a great way to extend the possibilities of one’s wardrobe, and change it up a little.

Swap Number 1: Black and white Max Studio maxi-skirt/dress.  Have I mentioned I love clothes? What I love even more than clothes are clothes that are multi-purposed – “wear me as a dress, wear me as a skirt, heck throw me over your bathing suit and look fabulous.” This particular item has a black bandeau waistband that can also be worn as a top.  It is a size small, but as it is made of a rayon jersey with 5% spandex, it stretches to fit anyone from size 2 to 8.  It measures: 28 inches at the bust or waist, but can stretch up to 38 inches, the hip is flat 44 inches, but can stretch to 52 inches.

Please note, on offer for Swapping is the Max Studio skirt/dress.  The white tank top and accessories are just styling suggestions.

Swap ’til you drop for 30 days! Join me for this great challenge! 

Save These Dates: Our Spring/Summer Event Schedule!

Save These Dates: Our Spring/Summer Event Schedule!

It’s time to get your SWAP on! Clean out your closets and save these dates:

Winnipeg, MB          April 21, 2012          Delta Winnipeg Hotel
Ottawa, ON              May 6, 2012              Mambo
Toronto, ON             May 11, 2012            Enoch Turner Schoolhouse
Calgary, AB             June 3, 2012             TBA
Montreal, QC          July 28-29, 2012       Place des Arts

Sponsorships & Partnerships:
What’s a clothing swap?
Press inquiries & all other questions:

Ticket information and more details to come – stay tuned!

The SWAP Team

Take Off Your Clothes (Montreal, 2011)

photo: Ian Woo

Take Off Your Clothes – Montreal


UPDATE: plenty of tickets available for Sunday! Buy your ticket at the door for $12. We’re inside the St-Catherine Street entrance. See you there!


1. BUY your ticket 
2. BAG your clothing, shoes and/or accessories for men, women or children
Download, print and fill out this handy label and attach it to every bag of clean and folded clothing you’d like to swap. (Want to know what not to swap? Click here for some tips, or see our laundering policy below.)
3. DROP OFF your clothes BY JULY 22 (Missed the deadline? No problem! Bring up to 10 items MAX with you to the event to swap!)
4. COME to the event, pick up your exchange coupons at the entrance, and start swapping!

Volunteers get in free!
Want to join our fun & fabulous volunteer team? You’ll get free admission throughout the event. Join our group here:

We do not accept:
Bathrobes, hoodies, sweatpants, pyjamas, t-shirts, underwear, lingerie, swimwear, sports gear, tank tops, socks, leggings or stockings. Likewise, we do not issue exchange tickets for ripped, faded, torn, stained, scratched, dirty, frayed, missing buttons, broken zippers or otherwise worn/damaged items. Items received that fail to meet these standards will be donated to Renaissance for recycling.

Laundering policy strictly enforced
As a courtesy to fellow swappers, please wash all clothing items you’d like to swap in hot water and dry on high for a minimum of 20 minutes (or: have them dry cleaned and keep them in the original plastic covering with a knot on the bottom). When the laundering cycles are complete, the clean laundry should be placed in new, clear recycling bags and sealed. We inspect everything that comes in and reserve the right to reject any item or bag of clothing that does NOT appear to comply with our policy.

Many thanks to our event partners Zoofest, GoBac, Communauto and Renaissance for making this event possible!

Volunteer at the event:
Frequently asked questions:
Press inquiries & all other questions:

See you at the swap!

The SWAP Team

Take Off Your Clothes — I Heart Piknic special edition

Take Off Your Clothes — I Heart Piknic special edition

UPDATE: We will open early at 2PM on Sunday, September 4. Thanks!

Ready for a style remix Montreal?

Come swap with us back where it all began: at the Piknic Electronik on Labour Day weekend!




  • Clean out your closet, and set aside the nicest things that you aren’t wearing anymore (see what to bring below) and get them cleaned.
  • If you have a lot of stuff to swap, then you should drop it off in advance before the swap starts (see save these dates below). Otherwise, just bring up to 10 items with you to the swap.
  • Please download and print this label and place one on each bag of clothing you bring with you to the swap.
  • We will look over everything and decide what to accept — if it’s clean, undamaged and fits our theme (see below), then chances are we’ll take it.
  • Every item we accept earns you 1 exchange coupon, valid for any other item at the swap.
  • When you find things you like at the swap, bring them and your exchange coupons over to “checkout,” where we will charge a $1-$2 transaction fee per item swapped (details below).
  • Sorry, we do not sell clothing or exchange coupons. You MUST bring acceptable clothing to swap in order to participate.
  • All clothing remaining after the event will be donated to Renaissance, a Montreal-based charity.


  • Clothing drop offs @Piknic: August 28 4-8PM and September 3 from 4-8PM
  • Swap on September 4 and 5, 4-8PM (please bring no more than 10 items to swap if you plan on bringing your clothing with you on these days)

WHAT TO BRING TO SWAP (note special Piknic theme!):
ONLY clean and undamaged sunglasses, cool t-shirts, jeans, shoes, casual pants, belts, hats, scarves, jackets/blazers, skirts, dresses, handbags, clubwear for guys and girls.

  • For every item accepted into the event, you’ll receive one exchange coupon per item at the entrance of our tent.
  • If you are bringing clothing with you on September 4 or 5, please bring no more than 10 items so that we can process them quickly.

Are you a TOMS shoe wearer? TOMS will be there to give you FREE insoles for your TOMS shoes at our tent! Just show off your TOMS to get your insoles.

Thanks to these Montreal artists who will be painting on TOMS shoes live for our charity auction: Clint Lewis, Cathy Coufakis, Susannah-Mercedes Rupnik, Nicole Picard, Christian Major, Celia Cobb, and Wai-Yant Li

Admission to the swap is INCLUDED in your paid admission to the Piknic Electronik ($12). We will not be charging a separate cover for the swap. However, we will charge a modest transaction fee:

  • Use your exchange coupons and pay just $1 for every regular item swapped; $2 each for new or vintage with the price tag attached

Want to volunteer? Join our group here:

A few photos from our 2009 Piknic event:


See you soon!
The S.W.A.P. Team

Take Off Your Clothes — SWAPTEMBER U. special edition

Take Off Your Clothes — SWAPTEMBER U. special edition

SUIT UP for fall! Join us for our first on-campus university event at the John Molson School of Business, in collaboration with the David O’Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise.


  • Clean out your closet, and set aside the nicest things that you aren’t wearing anymore (see what to bring below) and get them cleaned.
  • If you have more than 10 items to swap, then you’ll need to drop it off in advance before the swap starts (see save these dates below). Otherwise, please bring no more than 10 items with you on the day of the swap.
  • Please download and print this label and place one on each bag of clothing you bring with you to the swap.
  • We will look over everything and decide what to accept — if it’s clean, undamaged and fits our theme (see below), then chances are we’ll take it.
  • Every item we accept earns you 1 exchange coupon, valid for any other item at the swap.
  • Sorry, we do not sell clothing or exchange coupons. You MUST bring acceptable clothing to swap in order to participate.
  • All clothing remaining after the event will be donated to Renaissance, a Montreal-based charity.


Any day before September 14:
When: During regular business hours
Where: The David O’Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise offices: 1450 Guy, office 6.325 or 6.323

Wednesday, September 14:
When: 11AM – 3PM and 5PM – 7PM
Where: Molson Building Atrium (1450 Guy)

Thursday, September 15
When: 11AM – 3PM and 5PM – 7PM
Where: Molson Building Atrium (1450 Guy)

WHAT TO BRING TO SWAP (note special business attire theme!):
ONLY clean and undamaged suits and business casual attire for men and women, including: suits, neckties, men’s dress shirts (long and short sleeve), cardigans, blouses, skirts, dresses, shoes, blazers, belts, dress pants, dress tops, dress scarves/kerchiefs.

  • For every item accepted into the event, you’ll receive one exchange coupon per item at the entrance of our tent.
  • If you are bringing clothing with you on September 15, please bring no more than 10 items so that we can process them quickly.


Want to volunteer? Join our group here:

See you soon!

The S.W.A.P. Team

Gentlemen of Style -An interview with Simon Law

Gentlemen of Style -An interview with Simon Law

by Allison Gryski

The following is one of a series of email interviews with men on their personal style perspectives. This week’s inspiration comes from:Simon Law

Simon Law, 20-something
Montreal, QC
Resident Geek for The S.W.A.P. Team

Tell us about yourself!
I’m an optimistic twenty-something who dabbles in fashion photography, smartphone technology, and Canadian banks. I’ve lived in Montreal since I visited one day and forgot to leave. When I’m not busy swapping clothes for The S.W.A.P. Team, I find time to teach the fine art of bow-tying (it’s like tying your shoes.)

How would you describe your approach to fashion/style in the past vs now?
Like lots of other guys, I didn’t care too much about how I looked when I was younger. I would throw on a shirt and some pants and walk out the door. As long as I was warm and comfortable, what did I care?

These days, I’m a little more choosy with my outfits. I like to look sharp when I’m going out, throwing a party, or just to grab an ice cream. But you know what? It’s still important to be warm and comfortable, so I’m not ashamed to wear whatever I want, whenever I want.

How would you describe your current aesthetic?
I dress a little older than I actually am, mostly because I’m lazy. It’s cool to be able to keep up with the latest trends, but I don’t want to worry about collars and buttons and the like. My rule is to find clothes that are well made and timeless, so I can feel confident about putting anything on.

How does your job influence the way you dress?
Since I write software, I’m well aware that the geek uniform consists of witty T-shirts and jeans. That’s a popular look nowadays, as men have rejected the business attire of the previous generation. I’m a little too eccentric for that, so I’d rather have a more interesting wardrobe.

What would you say to convince other men to join in clothing swaps?
It might seem a little intimidating to walk into a clothing swap. There are racks and racks of clothes and people are picking stuff up and lining up for the changing rooms. At The S.W.A.P. Team’s events, you won’t be alone — there are quite a few men who participate, too! In the end, it’s all about having fun and meeting people. Swappers are friendly people who like to look good and want to be part of a community.

Simon LawWhat do you look for when shopping/dressing?
I try to pick stuff that I’ll really want to wear. It’s no good getting clothes that you never feel like taking off the hanger. Sometimes, this means getting whatever it is you like, even if other people hate it. Other times, it means wearing stuff that makes you look good. It’s fun to look good and it’s not too difficult to do so.

When I look for clothes, I find that picking high-quality basics and matching them with fun accessories can make it easy to find an outfit for any occasion. I look for good shirts, sweaters, vests, and pants that are well-made and will last. Guys typically wear the same clothes more often than women, so spending a little more for a shirt is fine if it’s going to last. I’ll open up packages and touch the fabric to make sure that it doesn’t stretch and feels good. I’ll always try on clothes, preferably with a fashionable friend, to make sure the colour looks good on me and that the fit is fairly close.

For colours, there’s the basic black and brown. If you’re not clumsy, white is also a great background colour. Then I’ll stick to a few accent colours, like bright blue or a classy red. When I first started, I was really conservative about colours, but as I developed my sense of style, I’ve gotten a little more daring.

Simon LawAny advice to other guys aspiring to dress with more style?
Guys should consider mixing formal wear with casual.  You can definitely make things interesting by wearing one informal item, like sneakers or a casual hat, with a sharper look. Or vice versa. The point is to find stuff that you feel like wearing all the time and put a little bit of your own personality into it, whatever that is.

Another point, that I think is often overlooked, is that caring for your clothes is the key. If you’ve bought quality clothes, you don’t want to just throw them into the wash and pull them out crinkled. If you’re lazy, look for clothes that don’t have any special cleaning instructions and take a little time to hang up your shirts to dry. If you’re really lazy, bring your nice clothes to the dry cleaners. It may cost you a couple dollars per shirt, but they keep their colour and shape for a long time.

Speaking of shapes, a lot of guys don’t get their clothes altered. If you do go to a great men’s store, they’ll do alterations as part of buying clothes. And if you pick up clothes at a swap, you can bring them to a dry-cleaner or tailor to get them changed. It’s amazing how fitted clothes can make you look incredible.  Plus, getting quality clothes and having them altered is often cheaper than buying expensive brand-name luxury.

What are your personal clothing challenges when shopping?
For me, I’m often a different size than other guys in North America, because I’m Asian. My little secret is that I buy women’s socks, because my feet are too small.

Do you own lots of clothing or a minimal wardrobe and why?
I don’t own a lot of clothing, but I do own a lot of accessories.  Hats, scarves, ties, handkerchiefs, and such don’t take up a lot of space.  Plus, it’s a great way to build your wardrobe if you hate the ordeal of shopping.

Accessories are also a good way to play with colour. A lot of mens’ clothes come in ugly colours; they just seem to make more colourful clothes for women. But us guys don’t have to be all drab. If you’ve got a fun pair of sneakers, you can even liven up a suit.

Simon LawFor dressy events, do you prefer ties or bowties (or neither) and why?
I know a lot of guys hate the tie and I can see why. It’s really corporate-drone and you don’t want to wear one if you’re having fun. But the bow-tie is versatile! One with a quirky pattern is great for drinks at the bar and the classic black bow-tie looks really sharp at a formal event. And if you do have a black bow-tie, you’ll be ready for almost any gala.

What do you think about hats? Outdated and impractical or trendy and trying too hard or stylish and useful?
I think that every guy should wear a hat. Somehow, the hat fell out of fashion and I’m not saying you can’t go around bare-headed, but they’re very practical. They keep the sun out of your eyes and the rain off your head.

And they’re not just practical, they’re also fun. I recommend finding a hat store and trying on silly hats with a friend. Even if you don’t find one for you, you’ll get a feel for what hats flatter your head and which ones don’t. And who knows, you might walk out with something you like! Don’t be afraid to match a fancy hat with jeans or something casual with a suit.

Any advice to other guys heading to a thrift store or clothing swap for the first time?
If you’re not a fan of clothes shopping, bring a friend who is. Maybe he’s someone whose style you respect? Or maybe she’s someone who likes dressing up her guy friends? It really helps to have an honest opinion of what looks good on you and to have someone who can help you choose clothes that will flatter you. Don’t forget though, you have to like what you wear, so don’t get pressured into choosing something that will hide in the back of your closet in the end.

Any other final words on Style, Fashion, or Swapping?
You can be stylish and feel good about how you look, but you definitely don’t need to be a slave to fashion.

A big thank-you to Simon Law for taking the time to answer my questions. Know someone perfect for this interview series?  Email us!

Want to find a clothing swap near you? Check out the Happenings page.

Allison Gryski is a Canadian living in Amsterdam. She describes herself as a bookish artist, exuberant baker, usability snob, discerning gourmandise, and occasional freelance dragon seeker. She’s also passionate about thrift store bargains, bicycles, and afternoon naps.

For me, I’m often a different size than other guys in North America, because I’m asian. My little secret is that I buy women’s socks, because my feet are too small.

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