Archive for the ‘fashion’ Category

The "Pittie in the City" bag with removable flower/bow

My latest — a one-of-a-kind tote bag, created for the upcoming auction to raise money for the outstanding pitbull rescue group, Even Chance. The San Diego-based group is devoted to re-educating the public about these exceptional dogs and helping temperamentally sound, abandoned pitties get a second chance at forever homes.

The “Pittie in the City” tote bag is an homage to the over-the-top style of “Sex and the City,” a show I rarely watched but wrote tons of ad copy for back in my copywriting days. The show was okay, but the clothes were so much fun!!! And if there’s one thing people should know about pitbulls it’s that they are FUN! Smudge, my pit-mix (looking unusually serious, below), is just as much of a puppy now, at age 9, as she was at nine months. Forget the nonsense about them all being dangerous. When they’re treated with love and respect, it’s just their nature to be little clowns.

My dog Smudge, part pit bull, part goof ball

Anyway, back to the tote bag …Not long ago, this bag was a pair of vintage velvet pants, just begging to be deconstructed. The front of the bag (shown up top) can be dressed up or down, with the removable flower and bow, all made of scrap fabric. It’s lined with recycled black fleece, so it’s pretty durable and easy to clean.

The other side (below) has a cell-phone (or dog treat) sized pocket with a hand-made “button” closure. I embroidered the pocket with cotton and metallic black and gold yarn, so it wouldn’t get lost in the black velvet surroundings.

Bag from the back showing pocket

At the last minute, just as I was about to mail the bag to the organizer, inspiration struck — how about a matching dog collar decoration? So I made one (below):

but wait, there's more ...a matching flower for your dog's collar!

The dog collar flower is equipped with a velvet cord loop on the back. You can slip it on (or off) easily, so you and your pupster can get some style on together.

And now the bag and decoration are in New York, where they’ll be photographed for the Even Chance auction. As soon as there’s a link, I’ll post it. Thirty-plus other artists have designed bags for the fund-raiser, so there are going to be  some fabulous pieces! In the meantime, you can check out all the contributors’ bios at artforpitties.

Or Why I Cut a Big Chunk Out of a Brand New Beaded and Embroidered Skirt

Pretty nice little skirt, and NWT, in eBay speak (New with Tags). Check out the beads and detailing:

I’m pretty sure the reason someone got rid of it is because, the way it’s gathered at the top, it would make even a thin person look like a Weeble. I was planning on using some of it on a cami. But then I read the care tag. The only way to clean it was with spot cleaning — no washing or dry cleaning. Personally, I don’t want a camisole that can’t be washed or cleaned somehow. So I put the skirt aside.

And then one day, I was in a flower-making frenzy — picking out this and that and experimenting with turning them into flowers. I even made a flower out of a used dryer sheet and, to tell the truth, it wasn’t bad. So when I spotted this skirt in one of the boxes, I just went at it. Ta da!

The backing is soft black felt without cardboard or stiffener of any kind, so it’s completely floppy, kind of like the clocks in the famous Salvador Dali painting, “The Persistence of Memory.” There’s a standard safety clasp, so it can be put on pretty much anything — jacket, sweater, hat, etc. (Apologies for the crummy images, they’re from the camera I swore I would never use again and now I remember why.) Anyway, as soon as I get some better photographs, it’ll be listed at etsy. Now to find a new camera ….

WANTED: Thirty artists with a vision and love for animals to create one-of-a-kind tote bags to raise funds for Even Chance, a San Diego-based Pit Bull Rescue.

If you’re thinking something like, “But pit bulls are scary, dangerous dogs, ooooo, run away!” then it’s time to get acquainted with the truth. Example: Here’s one of the most famous “scary, dangerous” pit bulls ever:

That’s Petey the Pup, from the Little Rascals. Back when Petey was a star, in the 1920s and 30s, pit bulls were famous for being smart, energetic and great with kids. But of course, in those days, breeders were cautious about which dogs were paired, and kept a close eye on the temperament of offspring. More recently, bad breeding practices and owners who value the dogs for fighting rather than companionship have resulted in the current horrible situation, with thousands of pit bulls being mistreated and euthanized through no fault of their own.

Even Chance rescue group is working to change that image. Because the truth is, pit bulls are sweet, funny and loving dogs. Take one look at this face and tell me you don’t want to get a smooch from that pooch! (By the way, that’s Alaska, one of Even Chance’s recent happy adoptions.)

You can help Alaska and dogs like her by supporting Even Chance, especially if you’re artistically inclined. One of my favorite websites, GirlieGirlArmy, is teaming up with the group to sponsor Art for Pitties.

Here’s the deal: “Art for Pitties needs designers, pit owners, painters, animal advocates, illustrators and artists to personalize tote bags with one-of-a-kind artwork that will be auctioned online for charity.”

You can help by creating a tote bag, donating, or just passing the information on to others who may be interested. More details are available at the GirlieGirlArmy website (link above). And while you’re there, sign up for their free weekly newsletter, a great source of information for anyone interested in compassionate fashion (i.e., vegan) and other enlightened hipness.

Full disclosure: As you might have guessed by now, two of my best friends are pit bull mixes, so in this case, I actually know what I’m talking about — for a change.

Some days I avoid the news like the plague, especially lately. It’s profoundly distressing to read about all the horrific things going on in the world and feel like there’s nothing you can do about most of it, other than write a letter to some politician, and we’ve seen how effective that can be (not!).

The best antidote, for me anyway, is to make something. It’s probably a control thing, I admit it. But it’s nice to feel like you’re doing something to make the world a little better, a little more beautiful. That’s especially true when using something that would otherwise be trashed.

And that’s one of the great things about the people who sell on etsy — the amazing wealth of talent and creativity devoted to reuse and repurposing. Which brings us to my latest find — JustineJustine.

When a store describes itself as “handmade colorful jewelry and upcycled bottle caps,” how can you not check it out? Here are a few of Justine’s wonderful creations:

Bottle cap earrings! They’re so cleverly designed, it takes a while to figure out exactly what they are. And here’s another pair, also from recycled material:

Broken mirror bits and wire — brilliant! Not just because she’s reusing material that would end up in a landfill, but also because they’re so stunning.

Last, but not least, here’s a sample of one of her many items made from acai berries:

Gorgeous! And this is just a little taste of Justine’s work. Where does she get her ideas? I asked her that recently, and here’s her reply:

My travels! before I settled down in Mexico I traveled a lot … I saw so many beautiful colors and different materials in each country! I wanted to capture that colorful exotic vibe and I think both bottlecaps and açai do that pretty well.

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.