Friday, December 31, 2010

Top Five Posts in 2010

Can you believe it's the last day of the year? I can't. This year felts like it's been two, but the last two months have felt like only one. I feel like it was November 1st just yesterday; it's been a crazy year. So much has changed since this time in 2009. And I've come such a long way. Personally, professionally, emotionally. 
It's been one of the hardest years of my life with the loss of my stepfather in July. Adjusting to a new part of the country, since November 2009 when I moved to Georgia from Michigan. Having my sister move away in October this year, and being alone without family for the first time in my life. On top of everything that happened in 2010, I can say I am proud of what I have accomplished regardless. 
I can be proud of my year without retail shopping. Not a single piece of new clothing in an entire year. I can't believe I actually did it. A year of only thrifting, repurposing, and resale shops. It changed the way I view my wardrobe, the way I buy clothes, the way I dress. It was fantastic. 
I also sold clothing on my website for the first time this year. As I've been making custom clothing for years, I finally took the leap into clothing for purchase without a particular customer in mind. Another huge step. And I can't wait for my new lingerie line to premiere in February, and a few bridal gowns I'll finish for spring (next year will be insane).
I also became a professional seamstress in 2010. A reader of my blog, my current boss, contacted me about doing some alterations. In responding I found that it was a potential job that would be primarily sewing. I now work on bridal gowns at a major bridal chain. My mom couldn't be more proud.
To recap 2010, I've picked my five favorite entires from the year, in no particular order. Hope you enjoy, and thank you for reading!

Front fly zipper tutorial - One of my favorite pair of red shorts. The zipper split while I was having cocktails with friends at Bees Knees, a local tapas restaurant, on a Sunday night over the summer. It was extremely embarrassing! Luckily, being a seamstress 24/7, I had safety pins in my purse and was able to keep the zipper closed so that no one noticed. The tutorial was so much fun to do, since I was already planning on fixing the zipper. The shirt I wore in the post was also a shirt I'd made over a year ago out of jersey cotton.
Rachael In Red - The tutorial of a dress I repurposed for my sister, Rachael. It was the dress that came with my mannequin I've had for years. It reminded me so much of my paternal grandmother, and the reconstruction was perfect for Rachael. We had an amazing photoshoot and she looked beautiful! I don't know how she was able to look so good with all that long hair in the 100 degree, 100% humidity that day. She looked beautiful!
Trip To Valueland - While home in Michigan in July, my sisters and I spent a few hours at my favorite thrift store in the entire world, Valueland. Located in Muskegon, Michigan, I've been shopping there since I was a kid. We found some amazing clothes, cat figurines, greeting cards, and more. Plus, getting the chance for me and my two sisters to spend time together doesn't happen anymore with the three of us living in Hawaii, Florida, and Georgia. It was a great day. (I'm holding a vintage Avon perfume bottle shaped like a Winnebago haha)
Meet Kaitlyn - If you read my blog, you've definitely seen this lady's beautiful face. Kaitlyn. She's 17, a senior in high school. Since early October, I've been her "mentor", teaching her how to sew to create a line of repurposed clothing for her senior project. I photograph all of our lessons and post them here. This yellow dress below was our first reconstruction! See more posts with her here.
Sound of Music tutorial - A dress I repurposed that Rachael bought me. We had a great time with the photo shoot, in 100 degree weather, the same day as her red dress photo shoot. I was so proud of this reconstruction. This post makes me very sad my sister doesn't live here anymore, she was my photographer for the better part of the year. Constantly pushing me to do more, work harder, she's a great motivator, like a drill sergeant, in a good way. See more posts with her here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

High waisted shorts

One day last week, when I was feeling very under the weather, Kaitlyn came over to work on some clothes. These amazingly hideous pleated pants have been on Kaitlyn's work pile for a while. Turquoise, size 12 or so, long. From my bed in the next room I'd instruct her what to do next. It was quite comical. Kaitlyn brought me a glass of water, put on Iron & Wine, and tucked me in with a blanket.
Kaitlyn's pictures of her progress. She detatched the waistband all the way around except the first inch at the front zipper on either side. After measuring that they were 6 inches too big, she pinned the center back of the waistband and sewed, taking 6 inches off. 
To take 6" from the shorts, she added 3" of pleats on either side of the front of the shorts, nearest to the center line, by the zipper. Adding pleats where there are already pleats is a very easy way to size down shorts like this! I do it all the time. High waisted shorts are my summer staple.
Then she sewed the waistband back onto the shorts.
Next, to make them shorts. She cut about 7" of inseam. We both have a habit of cutting things too short, so it's best to start longer and go from there. Realizing she doesn't like how wide they are in the legs, Kaitlyn, still without my help, took the shorts in at all four seams!
She then found her desired length and sewed up the legs. DONE!
Wearing my t-shirt from Mixed Species.
Another successful reconstruction. She's so talented! A little over one month until the fashion show! 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sisterly love

The craziest thing ever happened this year at Christmas -- 
my sister, Rachael, and I both bought each other cat rings! 

As if we weren't crazy enough cat ladies, right? She gave me mine as soon as she got to town, and I freaked out! When I gave Rachael hers later that night, she exclaimed, "I'm married to George!" and put it on her ring finger. George is her black cat that gets into everything. My ring is like Clementine, she chases mice and is a big brat.

She bought me my ring of a cat chasing a mouse when she visited our other sister, Sarah, in Hawaii in October. I bought hers at the mall last week. When I bought hers I hoped there were two rings so we could both match, but the vendor said he only had one and couldn't even order more. Rachael's is a cat just sitting on her finger.

Then of course Thursday night we had a dinner party and we opened all the other gifts we'd gotten each other. Everything Rachael got me was cat themed. Cat jigsaw puzzle, cat cheese knives, cat painting that was painted by a crazy cat lady, you get the idea. All my friends that were there thought we were nuts. But honestly, I didn't start collecting cat things until a few years ago as a joke and now it's out of control. She even gave me this awesome vintage Marushka style silk-screen wall hanging.

It needs some work. It's dirty, and there's a small tear right by one of it's back feet along the wood frame. I think it'd be a pretty badass pillow. I was thinking about taking it off it's frame, backing it with interfacing, and making Rachael a pillow for her house. I definitely don't need more cat stuff ha. We decided that either way, regardless of what I do with this wall hanging, we'll trade it back and forth.

But my craziest "cat" thing in my apartment is the ceramic cat my friends Jonathan and Luke gave me in October. Luke insisted I name her "Persey." When I brought her home after our ritual Sunday night at Bees Knees, my cats arched their backs and poofed their hair, thinking Persey was another cat invading their house. Even my boyfriend's dog thought it was real! When he came over for the first time, he barked at it and approached it cautiously.

It's probably from the 80s. These large ceramic cats were used to prop open doors. I have her sitting at the end of my hallway as you would walk into my living room. Anyone who doesn't know of my love for tacky cat decorations definitely does when they come over to my house.

Monday, December 27, 2010

60s linen dress reconstructed by Kaitlyn

Another successful sewing reconstruction with Kaitlyn last week! This one turned out so well! She turned a boring 60s linen dress from Salvation Army into a cute little dress with puffy sleeves, a v-neck back, and changed the detail to the front.
 Before, looking like she's ready to take her kids to school in 1962.
Grumpy Clementine lying on the curtains I'm making for Americana Tattoo Parlor while Kaitlyn dances around in the background eating Oreos.
 She shortened the skirt about 6 inches.
She then used scrap fabric I had, took apart the dress using the original front flat for a pattern and made the detail brown instead of turquoise. She then changed the bow to her accent fabric.
 Sewing interfacing to lower the neckline a few inches in the front and make the back a deep V.
 Sewing the hem.
Adding most fabric to the back. Taking a rectangle the width of the zipper to the shoulder and sewing it on so it has a cowl look to the neckline in the back. She then used the other fabric to do the same thing on the left side.
 The dress was a tad short, oops. Maybe Kaitlyn's just too tall ha. It looks amazing!
I'm a little behind on my Kaitlyn posts, this was from early last week. I have another from last week, she turned high-waisted linen pants into shorts and made them her size. I'm going to try to post a few more tutorials this week. One on my New Years dress! I repurposed a prom dress from the 80s into an amazing little cocktail dress!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to all!

I have completely turned my Christmas scrooge spirit around and embraced the holiday. Finally! My sister, Rachael, arrived on Wednesday to visit for a few days. We exchanged gifts, had a dinner party with friends, went dancing, and showed downtown Augusta what it's been missing since she left. 
Such a great week. A long week, but amazing having my sister here. Rachael moved to Pensacola in October after I had moved here to live with her. I'm sad she's leaving today. At least I'll be spending Christmas with close friends.
I made Rachael an amazing stocking, well, I embroidered it to spell her name correctly. But regardless, I think it's amazing! And she loves it! I did it the other day when I was working happy house at Stillwater. Kinda strange when your bartender is embroidering a thrifted Christmas stocking. Haha.
I still have to finish mine, I've finished the "S", and a tiny one that will say "CATS". Clementine and Stella's names are way too long to embroider and I'm barely a novice with this. I'm glad I'm taking on another crafting skill. 
It's a difficult Christmas having had a recent loss in the family, but I'm so fortunate to have at least had these last few days with Rachael. I'm thinking of my family and close friends back in Michigan, and looking forward to the new year when I will be able to go back for a few weeks and visit. 
I hope you are all enjoying the holidays with your loved ones. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My new/repurposed winter coat

 eorWhile shopping at Salvation Army last week, I found this amazing purple wool coat, only $8.95! Since I live in Georgia, winter coat shopping at the thrift store is slim pickings. I was humoring myself and looking through the coat the are mixed in with the blazers there are so few, and then there this was! It was meant to be! It's vintage, a kids coat, with black velvet collar and bow on the back.

Unfortunately, the sleeves were way too short and the buttons were missing. Using this velvet blazer I bought for $3 and some buttons I found in my massive button jar, I made this coat absolutely perfect!
I started by cutting off the last 11" of the sleeves of the blazer. This will be the extension of the sleeves on the coat!
Matching up the raw edge of the velvet and the edge of the coat, sew them together.
I added some silver buttons, eagles holding anchors, and it's perfect! Kaitlyn and I took a lunch break, went to Nacho Mama's for tacos and stopped by James Brown's statue on Broad street to snap a few shots of my new coat.
James Brown celebrating the holidays.
My awesome photographer for the afternoon. Thanks Kaitlyn.
I did this reconstruction for only $11! Questions? Comments?