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!)

10842016_10102090659248956_1672660884239170401_o

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!

10903954_10102090659383686_1351215079462528349_o 10921645_10102090659169116_2439669297218774381_o

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)

10900177_10102089440426486_2532414552549379002_o

10911427_10102089440276786_7242464742493091494_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.

1522968_10102089440391556_712561534936759878_o 10887482_10102089440256826_4253376556688347008_o

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.

10915222_10102089454084116_5059166264145971393_n

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

Making Old Good // Decorating @ Home

About six weeks ago my boyfriend and I took up residence in a 122 year old Downtown Jersey City apartment, relocating from Brooklyn after ten years for him and seven for me. It was a big and well-needed shift and we love it. Despite the fact that our building has survived several wars, yes, It’s a trendy Pre-pre-pre-pre War… (It’s been around since before the Spanish -American War), it has needed some TLC, which I love doing.

After moving in, I couldn’t wait to do research on the building and found that it had been a saloon in 1900, owned by a German named Gustav; and our landlord told us that it went on to become a boardinghouse….. Not to start the idea train, but I am thinking saloon+boardinghouse = whorehouse!

Photo: IFC Films // House of Pleasures

Back to renovations….The hugest undertaking to date has been the re-modeling of a pantry closet off the kitchen. Flaking paint, rounded walls, poor workmanship to seal off what used to have been a shared bathroom complete with ancient flooring kept past tenants from using this large walk-in pantry off the kitchen, yet without much storage in the entire apartment, we found it necessary to bring the space to utilization, we had to fix it. I, being a Bob Vila/Norm Abram fan since I was around nine years old, with parents who fix everything, dove into this/these projects.

I bought paneling, paint, and with a lot of sweat c/o a handsaw, I managed to cover the possibly lead-inflicted surfaces with the white paneling and also painted the existing bead-board a lovely light blue. Lastly, I brought in inexpensive black and white tile laminate flooring, which transformed the space to a whole new look. It’s a lot better. We still are in disbelief that no other tenant had touched some of the antiqued space since the ’60s.

More to come. ;o)

Kollaborating With Kollabora

So I have been involved with the great company Burdastyle since 2007, working for them & with them and am so proud of how huge the site has become. Check it out, if you haven’t already. Nora Abousteit, (one of the co-founders of Burdastyle, a woman of all trades, author, founder….), just c0-launched her newest creation, Kollabora . Propelling the DIY movement to a whole other level along with those who have also fostered it (Etsy, Threadbanger, etc.), wooooooo

“Kollabora is a social platform for DIYers, consisting of a craft supply marketplace and multiple maker communities linking to projects, supplies, and how-tos. Kollabora soft-launched sewing, knitting, and jewelry making communities with fashion-forward projects, and plan to expand into many more DIY communities, including home decor.”

They graciously send me a beautifully packaged and wrapped “Sewing Kit”, which came complete with a paper pattern in a variety of sizes, some fabric yardage, and a booklet of instructions.

They sent me some beautiful black and white dot cotton/silk blend fabric from Mood Fabrics. There wasn’t enough fabric to do the front and back in the dotted print, so I brought out some red raw silk and made the back and bias tape with it, respectively. I also used some black woven silk for the little bitty pocket and decided to do a lined pocket verses the suggested simple layer hemmed pocket.

The pattern was super easy to use and the instructions were super easy to follow.  I went with the Large size because I am 5’10” and it fits pretty well!  There was also an option to do a dress or tunic version, which I will try next time.  I think this is a great pattern for a nightgown! I will make hundreds.

WHAT I LIKED:

**The inclusion of french seams, versus a regular seam.  French seams are very strong and I am happy that users can learn how to do them because they are rather easy. They are not only for more advanced garments either!

** Photos in the sewing guide, which are great for those who are visual learners

**nice thick pattern paper, great for re-use (tissue really falls apart after a while)

**It’s a fast project! If you’re an advanced seamstress, you can really whip this out fast and who doesn’t love that! If you are a beginner, you should have no trouble finishing this in a day.

** The wonderful thoughtful packaging

**How easy it was to upload photos to this site!

So, my top is a little 101 Dalmations or “What’s black and white and red all over?”, but I love b&w and red! Silk city, baby!

Thanks, Kollabora!

Duvet & Flange Are Strange Words

I moved into a new place June 2nd and have been obsessively sewing for home, as opposed to my usual fashion/accessories endeavors.  I just can’t stop!

A few months ago I made a duvet cover for my comforter out of lovely robin’s egg blue cotton and cream for the underside.  For a closure, I made simple ties.  Today I just finished some semi-matching flange pillowcases for accent.

I think I might start selling housewares in my Etsy shop.

Next project: cafe curtains to let some light in from my huge windows, while maintaining some privacy. :o)

Home

Sometimes it bugs me how I often make really brightly colored clothing and good, and yet I don’t always wear these things myself.  Also, when it comes to home design, I have always been a disciple of a Martha Stewart aesthetic.  I wrote the woman a letter at 11 years old professing my adoration of her for godsake. With that said, I was just perusing the woman’s website, as I do often, and found this:

Martha's Take

Now, for the last four years, I have held up the same design in my three apartments I have lived in and here is the present:

My Room!

So, yeah, we’re totally on the same page. I love lawn prints and pretty things to surround me in my home, be it pillows, duvet covers, or eucalyptus arrangements, so I want to do the same for my Etsy Shop. I want to keep up the aesthetic I have, but also include dainty home design items and dainty accessories as well. I’m a 1920’s and 30’s architecture girl, as well as a Rococo, Art Nouveau, Eastern textiles, swirly nature-loving person. I do really appreciate modern design and sleek clean lines and this kind of design, but I feel coziest in cozy places.

Love this Room with pops of bright color!

 

Even mobile cozy!  Alright, now I am so excited thinking about pillows, that I am going to go to my studio and make some. New designs coming soon!  Happy Weekend!!!

xo Desira

DIM Do It Myself

I really like this stuff:

So I decided to make it fresh every day and avoid spending loads of money on pre-packaged varieties.  I literally have spent over $100 on LaraBars in the last year and probably a few hundred in the last five years. I bought a food processor, loads of nuts, dried fruits, coconut, seeds, and got to work.  You blend them and just add a tiny bit of water to bind them all. HIGH FIVE!

Now, I have severe celiac disease and severe erosive gastritis because of it, so my stomach is constantly in a state of owwie or eeeeeeee.  Ginger, the stellar almighty sacred plant of the stomach gods is the perfect natural antidote to any kind of gastro-induced blues.  It takes great, makes me feel great, and is all-around AOK, alright, happening, and groovy.

desira_pestaIMG_2899

MAKING THINE OWN TEA DIRECTIONS:

–chop fresh ginger into small pieces

–bring a pot of water to boil and “boil the shit out of the ginger”

–after the water has turned a slight golden yellow, remove from heat

— once cooled, add honey to taste, put in a jar, shake up and serve hot or cooled

I actually really like it ice cold in these summer months.

desira_pesta_IMG_2901

HIGH FIVE

The DesiraBars, LaraBars version aren’t as amazing as the real thing, but saving lots of money and time is a good thing.