Archive for the ‘clothing’ Category

Here’s a little trick I discovered recently that has made a big difference in my work: Photograph your project at various stages to get an “objective” point of view. That’s not very clear, so let me explain a bit. One day I was embellishing a camisole, decided it was done, and took some shots so I could put it online. When I looked at the images, I realized that it seemed incomplete, so I added a few things, reshot it, and decided it was really finished this time. And it worked! The cami sold and now I photograph quite a few pieces as they’re being put together.

Here’s another example — this sweet little camisole needed some help, so I added pale green lace and some pretty yarn around the neckline. Cute! Then I photographed it:

cami before

cami before

In real life, it looked quite nice, but in the photograph, it just sort of sits there. I realized that since visitors can’t see the real thing (duh!), all they have is the image to go by. And so far, this camisole doesn’t have enough going for it to get anyone to hit the “Buy” button.

After dithering over what to do next, I decided to get rid of the attached ties (you can barely see them hanging on either side) and add a pretty ribbon instead. Here’s how it looks now:

cami afterBig difference, yes? I plan on getting rid of the bow in front and using a fabric flower instead. Then it will be really and truly done. And I’m photographing everything as I work on it, to get a better idea of how pieces look to visitors.

One thing I love about creating new clothes from older pieces is that you never really know how they’ll turn out until they’re done. At least that’s been my experience. And here we have Exhibit A: a great little denim jacket that I appliqued with vintage denim, adding a flower and two leaves.

Kind of sad looking — not at all what I was hoping for. But that just meant it needed more work, right? The floppiness of the flower petals was fixed by stitching them into place, but it was still missing something. And then this arrived …

Yes, hand-spun art yarn from one of my major etsy faves, FromMyArtToYours. Pictures don’t do this yarn justice — it’s soft as a cloud and such a dreamy color. Originally, it was going to go on a pale blue camisole, but as soon as it arrived, it was obvious that it was destined for that denim jacket. Are these the perfect couple, or what?

Adding yarn vastly improved the little flower, too.

There’s a little more yarn on the front:

Plus, there’s enough left over to make something else. Or not. When yarn is this pretty, I just want to keep it in a bowl by my desk to look at. In this case, “art yarn” is an absolutely accurate description!

Because I found a not-too-bad denim jacket that’s already got the embellishment process underway. Here’s the front:

And the back:

Now to figure out what to do with the rest of it. My first impulse was to add something right below the fabric that’s already there, like a lace ruffle. But I’m afraid that’s going to make the person wearing it look like a linebacker, since that’s already the biggest part of the jacket.

So most likely the front panels, collar and cuffs will be where new stuff ends up. Heading for the red, blue and purple fabric stash boxes right now …

Beautiful, yes? And my camera isn’t even doing justice to the colors. Unfortunately, it was also missing the pin thing on the back.

I checked with my IO (Insignificant Other) to find out if it could be soldered. He suggested throwing it away, because it was not fixable. Of course, he thinks the world would be a better place if all costume jewelry completely vanished, so naturally, I ignored him and started thinking about how to repair it.

Step One: Clean it

Toothpaste,  an old toothbrush and a tiny bit of water are the best. Just scrub gently to avoid loosening any of the stones and pat dry. I wanted to do this first because my fix involved a piece of felt, and I didn’t want that to get wet. After the cleaning, the piece was allowed to completely dry overnight.

Step Two: Make a Backing

Very simple! Just cut a piece of felt the size you’d like on the back of the piece. Done!

Step Three: Hot Glue

This is actually two steps, but let’s not drag it out. First, hot glue or sew a new brooch pin to one side of the felt. Then hot glue the other side of the felt (duh!) to the brooch.

You’re done! Go do something else and let it dry for 24 hours or so. Not so bad, huh? This little brooch is going to go on a new top I’m altering. This is what it looked like before I got my mitts on it.

Those things that look like white blobs are actually sweet little pale pink crocheted flowers.

Other than sticking with the pink/black theme,  the “after” shot is going to be quite a lot different than this “before.” But that’s the whole point of altered couture, right?

Very cool little bracelet created by designer Tara St. James. You can make your own with nothing more than a broken zipper (who doesn’t have one or two of those around?) and a needle and thread. The complete tutorial is at Ecouterre, a fabulous online resource for anyone interested in sustainable fashion design. Enjoy!

I was so excited to find this great dark red corduroy Juicy Couture jacket at an estate sale a while back. It’s such a beautiful color and the corduroy is so soft … yum! Plus, I had a gorgeous piece of embroidered cotton that looked pretty good with it. The fabric was hideously expensive — something like $112 a yard!!! But there was a small section that was being sold as a remnant for a significant discount, so I bit the bullet and brought it home.

Here’s how the embroidered cotton looks on the jacket from the back …

And here’s the front …

Not too bad, huh? But here’s the problem. Hand-stitching the fabric in place like I usually do wasn’t working, because the edges of the cotton were just not looking very good. So now the whole deal is being restitched around the edges with recycled silk sari yarn to cover the edges. In other words, I’m going to have about 300 hours of work (okay, maybe not that much, but a lot!) into this jacket by the time it’s done. And I don’t think anyone is going to pay what it’s really worth, from a labor standpoint.

On the other hand, some projects have turned out to be much easier than I expected, so maybe it all comes out even in the end. Who knows? Anyway, back to work … it’s too nice not to finish, even if it is a labor of love at this point.

Ready for a refreshing take on handmade clothes and accessories? Then Come Shop Pink Lemonade with me, and check out a fabulous fellow etsy BESTeam member!

One look at the dazzling palette in this store, and you know that shop owner Paige has a gift for eye-catching creations and fearless use of color. Her embellished ladies’ tank tops and t-shirts are all standouts. For example, I love the “Wow!” combination of black and turquoise in this tshirt.

And that color confidence carries through to equally inspired combinations like this tone-on-tone purple/lavender top, too. Gorgeous!

But even though Paige’s tops are clearly a specialty, the details on this little black bag knocked me out.

The first thing that crossed my mind when I saw that bag was “WANT!” Actually, that was the second thing that crossed my mind, too. I love the intricate ruffles and the way she arranged them in unexpected ways. Plus, that gorgeous bright “peacock” blue lining could take your breath away.

Then there’s this adorable little gold satin flower, perfect for adding some shimmer to your hair on a hot summer day.

Did I mention that Paige is fourteen years old? If not, it’s probably because I’m so jealous. I’ll get over it. But I hope she doesn’t get over her interest in making clothing and accessories, because this is one talented designer with a spectacular future ahead.

You can connect with Paige at her blog: http://www.comeshoppinklemonade.blogspot.com
and on her Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pinklemonadeFB.

Isn’t this sweet? So much interesting detail on the top — even the little spaghetti straps are great. Maybe because it’s already got a lot going on, I don’t have a clue what to do with it.

Then there’s this one:

Love those little posies or pansies or whatever they are. But they’re so one dimensional. They just don’t have that “ZOMG, that’s so great!!!” thing going on. Unlike the blue one above, though, I know exactly what I’m going to do with this one. Stay tuned …

The oversized ruffle removal team (in other words, me and my scissors) came in and performed an emergency ruffle-ectomy on the green camisole (for “Before” shots, see earlier “Today’s Project” post, from May 29). The patient has recovered and is back at etsy. Here are the “After” pics:

It even looks better from the front, or at least I hope it does:

I like to think she’d wear the new cut-offs I’m working on. Let’s face it — Daisy’s been wearing the same outfit way too long.

Unfortunately, no preview of her new look until later today, when the camera battery is recharged. So for now, all I can say is that the deconstruction/upcyling/repurposing has begun … stay tuned!