I have always loved giving vintage garments new life with a modern look and I have been re-doing a lot of vintage dresses over the holiday. Here’s the first one, now available in my etsy shop
It’s beautiful outside these days! There is a cool breeze and yet it’s sunny and the flowers and plants are springing up from the depths of the earth!
I started sifting through designs I had in my studio, either unfinished or just started and came across something I did not remember making. I have made so much stuff since 2004 that I literally was like, who the hell made this? Slowly, memories came back to me and I ironed it out, added some rickrack and a belt and voila! I love it! Now it needs a new home:
One of a kind red and white check sleeveless dress with high collar, front bow tie, raglan sleeves, and rickrack around the bottom hem and armholes. A separate one a kind belt is included with three layers of vintage deadstock elastic in black, red, and pink respectively. Black hook and eye closures at back (or can be in front)
click here for more details.
This morning my alarm went off and finished my nutty dream. It was the nuttiest one I’ve had in a while and I must say that I wish I could synopsize all of the details. I can draw it probably, but then I will be late for work!
I had a dream that I was riding a motorcycle really really fast up an endless escalating parking garage ramp for an hour and then wound up at a garage guest house where my friends Tygar & Delaney lived. Tygar greeted me into the kitchen and I kept trying to leave because I thought she didn’t want me there. Then I wandered into Delaney’s bedroom, which was “the big bedroom” and the size of a Kmart. To the right, she had at least ten giant ornate antique wooden beds in strange shapes (one was triangular and reminiscent of the Addams Family. She also had brass beds to the far right and I commented on the fact that I always wanted one, which I do. Delaney also had tons of grand giant furniture & she said that she had had to buy a dumptruck to get all this furniture from PA. I thought to myself, oh she’s a furniture conneisseur. I followed her over to the left where there was a loft above us and a tight space below. She started smoking a cigarette and I turned to look at what was beyond the loft and saw a giant projector screen, which was screening a video on bugs atop very very green vegetation.
The weird thing is that I can pinpoint exactly what in my day yesterday spawned this dream. For instance, after work, I passed a garden supply store, which had green green grass and plants. I also went to my friend’s house for the first time and he has very large grand antique wooden furniture. I also saw Tygar last night and walked home with her. Before I fell asleep last night, I thought about how I should make a fabric covered faux headboard for my bed, and lastly, I saw an amazing motorcycle two days ago and almost wanted to get on it.
It’s so incredible how the brain then creates a map between these things and thus, a story. High five, brain! I was thoroughly entertained.
It is fifty freaking six degrees in New York today and I took a walk during my work break. There is a HUGE American Apparel wholesale sale down the street so I finally went in to see how marked down everything actually is… I got kind of sickened by how much stuff was in there. Like 6,000 sq. ft. of neons and meshes and sweatshirts. I wound up being able to find some underwear that might fit me in seas of XLs everywhere for $1/pair?!?!? Woah.
There were a lot of good prices, but I almost never buy new clothes. (always vintage or gently used from thrift shops) I also paid and left and then got immediately mad at myself. I have so much stuff. I don’t need more, but everybody needs underwear, right? Even still, within ten minutes of buying undies and a long sleeve tee, I vowed that I would only make my own clothes or alter what I have from now on for a while.
I’m a vintage whore and I have enough to wear a different outfit everyday for six months. The end. Its beautiful outside though and being a nerd, I found a seat in an outdoor park with a giant screen showing a movie about marine life and promptly planted my ass down.
I LOVE Planet Earth and watching sea creatures do their thang…
Off to teach a sewing class! Happy Tuesday! It feels like Monday !
I was just published today in the great storytelling blog, Loop. I wrote a story corresponding to the theme of “running away”. Originally, I was going to write the gory tale of getting myself lost in NYC alone at 9 or 10 but seeing as it’s holidaytime, I opted for something more bittersweet.
Here it is and then a link to the rest:
by Desira Pesta
Growing up an outcast in Scranton, Pennsylvania, I’d often dreamed of running away and being someone else. I ran away often. My family owned a suburban home in our large town and sandwiched between other homes belonging to people we couldn’t stand, I felt trapped.
At school, I traversed the halls with my head down, picking it up only to answer questions in class, to be engaged with my studies and nearly nothing else. I ran away constantly to the minds and bodies of others in works of fiction and non, burying my head in books, sometimes laying out in the sun and finishing a whole novel in one sitting. I also ran away through my own works of fiction, by the time I reached sixth grade, I would complete one nearly full-length novel with characters who were on physical journeys, the journeys I would take with them. I played other people in my spare time as well. Years and years before Twilight and Harry Potter would debut, I hunted and escaped bites from my vampire neighbor who kept a garlic wreath on his door; and used my amulets and amethyst stones to procure magic in my neighbors yard. I was constantly bobbing up and down between fantasy and reality, tying real life into the dreams and fictions I lived out in my head. I sometimes had accomplices in my journeys, a best friend named Michael who was equally in need of escapism. I once ruined a brand new outfit after dunking myself in a pool of mud as I was tried as a witch in Salem and found guilty, my mother ready to punish me as I emerged from my dream.
The beautiful thing about my hippie family was our large property in the woods just a few miles from our home. We planned to build there one day, but until then, we just spent 2-4 days a week in the woods. It was here that I lived out my greatest escapes. I ran blindly through the fields of trees I knew as well as the back of my hand; and took off at lightning speed escaping imaginary captors, wicked warlocks, and sometimes just a life as an orphan. My parents let us roam far and wide in this woods, knowing we knew our way, but once, I went too far. For hours I walked and walked, weaving in and out of paths, following no clear direction and after the sun was lowering in the sky, I knew I was lost. Weaving this reality into my tale du jour, I decided that I would sleep in a burrow I would carve out, eat some of the plentiful teaberries and raspberries I knew the woods grew, and drink from the cool clear creek that undulated and turned through the length of the acreage we had. I was not afraid, I was an experienced warrior in the forests of my ancestors and I would emerge a hero at journey’s end. As the sun was setting, I grew not scared, but despondent, the thought that my parents would freak out broke my excitement and fervor for my adventure. I wasn’t afraid of the dark, or so I thought. Taking up screaming “hello!??” for a while, while walking in what I felt was the direction towards the car, I somehow reunited with my parents and made my way to my home, my fantastic journey thwarted by stoplights and radio banter.
A few months later, during the summertime, my sister, her friend and I set off on an epic adventure, following the creek that ran northward through our property and up to the next. We forged the creek, which sometimes poured down rocks and sometimes merely trickled. We climbed up steep embankments, braving the 90 degree angles using all fours to continue. At one point, the path grew perilous and the steep walls that we would have to cover to continue following were very difficult to cross. As I groped and footed my way across the wall, I started to slip.
Grasping for leaves and roots around me, I found no savior and tumbled into the cold pool of water below. Fully under and splashing, I emerged to hear my sister screaming for my help above, despite the fact that I had already reached the place she was afraid of heading. Her friend grabbed her and helped her to safety further on the bank and I made my way out. Fully drenched from head to toe, my thirteen-year-old self declared that I would get frostbite and I removed my pants. We decided that in efforts to save my life, we should head back. An hour later, we caught site of my father up ahead, chopping wood. Seeing my pants-less legs, he yelled “What’s wrong with you?” Weird people were living in the woods and I would be an easy target for foul play.
I proudly declared that I didn’t want to get frostbite and he brashly replied, “you can’t get frostbite in 50 degrees”.
I hated my town and left for college as soon as I could, but over the years, I have gotten a pain and it’s deepened as time goes by. Since leaving, I have found myself, found “my people” and ideologies and adventures in real life; and as much as I wanted to escape the place I found to be so unbearable as a young person, I come back to it. I miss it. I miss the things that plagued me as a child, that I wanted to replace. Our shabby chic home, I wished was more grand, the tractor I had to drive to cut the grass or the two ton duel wheel pickup truck of my dad’s that I drove to high school when everyone else drove BMWs, Mercedes, and Lexus’. We were different, I was different and it took running away from this place to make me come to a realization that this is just fine, in fact, it is awesome.
HAPPY NEW YEARS EVE!!!! I don’t know what everyone has planned, but I hope it’s a great night for all. Here’s a moment I love from a hell of movie:
Last night, my friend Chiara and I gushed over how much we like clothes on our way home from a dinner party. She and I both agreed that playing dress-up as a grown woman is one of our favorite things, yet it’s also hard to pull off sometimes. She has several vintage Chanel suits that she would love to don with her vintage white gloves, (so popular in the 50′s and a necessity for any woman going to Manhattan for the day from Brooklyn, like her mother did), but she can’t quite bring herself to do it. Perhaps it’s the somewhat extinct convention of dressing up for going out everyday that is no longer exactly embraced on say, the Manhattan-bound F train from Brooklyn. With ample stares from her fellow travelers, I could imagine Chiara appearing to be a fish out of water in the seas of black peacoats from Macy’s and denim jeans.
I know that there are scores of brave men, women, and children who do go beyond the vernacular and have a really wonderful style (the Sartorialist has proven this), but it’s still, tough.
I am one of those people who tends to have lost her filter as to what looks normal versus kinda nutty, but even still, I would love to go bigger and more over-the-top when it comes to dressing. I had an ex-boyfriend who once claimed that he was embarrassed by the way I dressed and that I was just doing it “for attention”. This marked the end of my feelings for him because he obviously didn’t get me. I don’t dress up for attention, I dress up because I freaking love clothes! I love costumes and color relationships and sculptural clothing and fantastic details and incredible fabrics and costumes and period clothing and architecture and “putting together a look”. Like Chiara, I wish the times when all women took extreme pride in the way they dressed, when fashion wasn’t just for movie stars and the cultural elite, the art fringes or off-kilter subcultures were still here. Everyone participated. People in 1940′s Upper East Side might not mirror those of say, 1940′s Wisconsin stock car racers, but they all sure as hell avoided wearing pajamas to the mall (happens in my hometown in PA).
Things fit better, clothing wasn’t manufactured for quick sale and even quicker disposal. Clothing was often handmade, careworn, cherished, and flaunted.
Even on television shows like, I Love Lucy, the characters were always dressed, even when cleaning at home. Culture has changed and I shouldn’t bash it, but leaving a cocktail dress for a fancy event instead of just cocktails, well that’s no fun. I have SO MANY dresses and outfits in my clothing arsenal, but I can’t seem to find too many occasions to flaunt them. My roommate has spent thousands of dollars on beautiful independent designer pieces that she views as art, but they decorate her closet complete with original tags. She never finds a reason to actually wear them and resorts to jeans and tshirts every day. What a shame! I always implore her to go for it and swathe herself in her beautiful things, but she feels too shy, they aren’t what everybody else wears. She should bite the bullet and showcase these wonderful and just slightly unconventional wares. I think she should. I think I should. I think we all should.
Here are some belts to bring you back to the days of corsets and fitted waists: