New Years Resolution Winter Sewing Marathon

So since the start of January, I have been on a roll with finishing off old sewing projects and bringing festering ideas into fruition.  In the last four days I have completed the following and I attribute my immense drive and perserverence to the extreme cold we are having here in NYC. (8 degrees the other day!)


I got this Vogue vintage 1950’s pattern about a year ago and I was excited to use it with some blue floral cotton. The blue made me think of Grace Kelly and a delicate tea party. Finding the pattern pieces were very oddly shaped and I might not have enough, I improvised by using a lovely lipstick red cotton I salvaged from an old dress I never wore. The dress’ skirt was full and cut on the bias, so I had a lot of fabric to work with. I actually like the combination of the two and the red brings a more modern look to the shape, in my eyes. I am five hours into the project and it’s looking nice. I have a long way to go, as there are eight gussets in all, a full lining, horsehair braid to put into the hem, a zipper and hemming!

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Another garment I made was this simple silk blouse from some flocked cheetah print fabric a client of mine had me make a custom dress from in like… 2008. I have been sitting on this small piece for about seven years so it was nice to make a little shirt with a built in scarf. The pattern is original and I sewed a scarf piece into the shoulder seam and then it wraps around the neckline. French seams throughout and simple hemming. I would like to do one or two more in a different fabric ;o)



So I started this draped jacket from some awesome pink wool Kollabora generously donated to me last year and then I just stopped. The pattern is a plus size Burdastyle pattern that took me like six hours to grade down because of all of the angles of it and it was exhausting and I guess I therefore gave up. I bought that purple woven fabric at Paron six months ago with the intention of using it on the lapel of this jacket, yet the whole project sat in storage for months and months until this week. I hand-sewed the binding on the cuffs and tacked the collar facing throughout. I am pretty happy with how happy-looking the jacket is. It’s so damn bright, but who cares, it’s fun. I love pink.

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1399455_10102089440431476_3861571351132936964_oI also used this awesome Western shirt I got in Texas last year to make a much less masculine and heavy blouse with some shaping, waist cinching and a Peter Pan collar. I completely took apart the men’s shirt and used the flat fabric to cut out a vintage 1960’s pattern from it. I had just the right amount of fabric, and was even able to re-use the buttons and cut a smaller sleeve from the existing sleeves! The new shirt features a bowtie front, buttons down the back, and short sleeves. I loved the print of the old shirt, but that coupled with the back cape yoke and front cape and large bulbous sleeves was a bit…much. Hooray for re-imagining clothing!

Western Shirt Red-do

I also made this pillow from this awesome Indian shirt I have had for about six years and never wear because it’s skin-tight. I love the embroidery on it and the intense pink, but it was too darn small. I love Eastern textiles and have a lot of them in my home, so this made sense. I only used the sleeves to make the pillow, added some vintage purple pom pom trim and that was it.


Now,I have to finish the 50’s dress and I want to alter an amazing French suit I picked up at a thrift shop recently. It’s a wild suit. I’m excited to share what else I make in the next few weeks! Be back soon!

xo Desira


Pretty in Pink // Handmade one of a kind Picnic Dress

1970’s Purple Ruffle Dress

Royal Purple

Parisian Wrap Skirt // One of a Kind


Beautiful 1970’s Peplum Dress

and more in the shop



I Want Boots!

Some bitchin’ boots, yo.

The vintage scene, as I am sure you know, has really quadrupled in the past eight or so years. One of my regrets in life is not buying it up before it’s price tag become like antique furniture. I went to college in upstate NY and am from Pennsylvania AND often went on family vacations either up north in New Hampshire or Maine or down South in South Carolina or Tennessee. Why in the hell did I not buy it up? Stock up? Shit. I’ve been a vintage whore since I was probably 14 and used to adore California for the same loves– vintage cars, vintage furniture, and good old-fashioned vintage frocks!

Man, I used to daydream about moving to Cali and driving my 1965 Mustang Fastback to and fro furniture shops, fillling my 1930’s bungalow with treasures. I used to fill my last college house with some really fantastic vintage finds as well. I wish I still had some pictures. Actually, let me dig:

a-ha! Found some, thanks Facebook!

A vintage find that inspired a painting

My Last Apartment in Upstate NY's Living Room

Feigned Discomfort at a College Party in Vintage Pinks & Earrings

The Only Time I've Lived Alone: My Sitting Room With Vintage Finds

A Crazy Outfit, But Probably Cost $10

My College Bedroom, Somewhat Homeless-Looking, But Hey! It Was College!

Over-the-top, yet Vintage

Anyway, I miss the days of finding really stellar stuff for super cheap.  Nowadays, trying to find some sweet vintage boots online becomes a search for a bargain over the ones we really want. I always seem to find exactly the pair and then see that they are $148.00 Yikes. I totally understand why vintage is worth a lot and I am glad that people respect and care for old threads and shoes, yet sometimes people take advantage. On Etsy, I spent about 30 minutes this morning looking for a nice pair of vintage size 10 boots in any shape that strikes my fancy. I found over 30 pages worth and a lot of these boots were questionably vintage, in terrible shape, or waaay too overpriced ($115.00 for boots without a brand and without clear pics???) Yikes.  Anyway, yeah, I miss the days of being the weirdo amongst weirdo friends who wore vintage when everybody else shopped at Abercrombie in college.  BUT! It’s also amazing that people do now value vintage and antiques so much. Let’s use the quality items we’ve got already here on earth instead of producing IKEA IKEA IKEA and other junk that is constantly filling our landfills. UGH nothing pains me more than shit production than seeing beautiful, slightly bruised antiques in the trash. LET’S USE WHAT WE’VE GOT AND RESPECT IT!

Hitting Multiple Birds

I haven’t had a day off in THREE WEEKS, but that isn’t stopping me.  I have eleven orders to make tonight and I have a big audition on Saturday, so I am making myself something sweet and new to wear.  I often start with an idea and then see where my fabric and sewing takes me, so I am starting with this idea:

A rough idea

Forgive the horrible drawing.  It’s going to have a Peter Pan collar (my fav), a peplum, high waist and sleevelessness.

I’ll post the finished product. Wish me luck.

xo Desira

Dressing Up!

Glamour of the 50’s, A Lost Art

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.

The Sartorialist Captures Some Grace

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).

Wisconsin Stock Car Racers

Things fit better, clothing wasn’t manufactured for quick sale and even quicker disposal.  Clothing was often handmade, careworn, cherished, and flaunted.

We Love You, Lucy, All Dolled Up

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.

Happy Monday!

Here are some belts to bring you back to the days of corsets and fitted waists:

Belts on Etsy! Click for link.