Posts Tagged ‘recycled’

A big box of vintage doilies and lace arrived the other day. It’s amazing how much work must have gone into making these pieces, so I’m trying to use them in ways that highlight that. The first project is a bit of an experiment. I’ve had this vintage purse for a few years. It’s in excellent shape overall, but the beige jute, or whatever the fiber it’s made from is, is discolored. It’s not terrible, but it’s not very appealing, either.

IMG_1583

I’ve taken the bag to a shoe repair person, but he said it couldn’t be cleaned without ruining it. So here’s what I’m doing — covering the white portion with a gorgeous old doily. It’s a bit tricky sewing it into place, but it looks so much better than leaving the center section a dirty white. The only problem is you can still see the dirty white parts through the doily. Maybe this one needs to be put on hold until I find a better solution.

IMG_1585Good news! I found a purse restorer who was able to clean the white areas of the purse and now it looks great! Soon to be posted at my new TheCraftStar shop — Back in the Day Vintage.

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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.

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.

One of many, actually, but this one is in need of revisions. I love the front of this repurposed, upcycled camisole.

The back, however, is definitely a different story, one that belongs in the “what was I thinking” files.

That ruffle is just too big and too weird. I have some thoughts on how to improve it by repurposing the ruffle.  Stay tuned …

This little purse is kind of cute — at least in person. But for some reason, it’s not photographing very well.

It’s knit from recycled silk sari yarn, which I love to use, since it means income for women in remote areas of Nepal, who otherwise don’t have many options for earning money. Plus, it’s reversible!

The fuzzy pink material is from an old top I found at a thrift store.  It’s a nice little everyday purse, very eco-friendly and all.  But for some reason, it does not photograph well. I should probably fire my photographer, but since I am my photographer,  that’s not a really good solution. Halp!!

But in this case, the “we” is actually me. I’ve been so tempted to try combining various sweaters into a Frankensweater and finally just gave in and did it. The result (above) isn’t awful. In fact, I would wear it. Actually, I will wear it, because it’s not salable.  I don’t have a serger, so the seam edges are unfinished, and that’s not very professional looking.

But I like the little details you can do with sweaters that aren’t appropriate for lingerie. Like the funny pockets and the little felt heart on the sleeve.  


Yes, it’s a cliche. But remember, this is an experimental sweater. And then there’s the back, which could use a little more something or other, but what?

Meanwhile, I’m looking for advice on sergers. Suggestions are welcome!

Question: Is anyone really going to wear a partially see-through top?

Answer: I guess we have to wait and see.

This one’s nearly done, so it should debut at etsy in a day or two. It’ll be interesting to see the reaction. This fabric is so sheer it’s almost invisible. Perfect for anyone who doesn’t mind having the whole  world seeing their “bidness.” But that’s the beauty part of living in LA — there are people here who have built entire careers on letting it all hang out, as we used to say.

I bought the little shell top at an estate sale, and am adding the beaded flower fabric. This particular combination seemed to work best, out of the eighteen or so different possibilities I tried. Seriously! Upcycling isn’t as easy as it looks. Or maybe I’m  doing it wrong. But who cares? When you finally get all the elements in place it’s so gratifying that all those “Ewwww, that’s not working” steps along the way are forgotten. Sort of.

That’s not something I say very often — at least about my own images. But this one came out very nicely. Unfortunately, I have no idea why or what I did, so it may never happen again.

a work in progress — but what?