Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Thrift Report

Over a year ago I publicly committed to buying Only Used Clothing for a year, underwear and shoes were the two exceptions. Here is my report:

Although I am a long-time thrifter, and sustainable fashion is my business, I was a bit hesitant to go sans new entirely. If I knew then what I know now I would have fearlessly charged ahead sooner. Finding great pieces for myself while I'm hunting down materials to recycle is like the homemade icing on the all natural cake.

It helps being the size of a modern day teenager. I have a woman's body, but thanks to hormones in the milk so does the average teen girl and most of them live for mall consumption. Cute Forever 21 top $2.99 and Anthropologie skirt $4.99, found months apart at the same Goodwill.

Not to give away trade secrets but a friend of mine turned me on to The Bins and I am hooked. If you have a Goodwill Outlet in a 50 mile radius you must take the trip. You should bring gloves and hand sanitizer, and don't skip breakfast because it is a workout, but paying by the pound is the next best thing to free. 

I found this lightweight Blue Dress a couple of weeks ago, brand new Target, took a chance for less than a dollar and when I got it home it looked fantastic on me!

"What about jeans?" My dearest friend asked me.

I have actually had better luck finding jeans at the thrift store than anywhere else.

My two favorite pairs that get the most action were both thrifted from the same Goodwill about a year apart. The pair pictured above were Brand New Converse jeans $5.99. A little long, but everything is long when you are 5'3" ish. The other pair are Nine West skinny jeans $6.99! These were like new but had a splash of house paint on the knee which didn't come off when I washed them. Hello Sandpaper, a few rubs and good as new.

I am all about an Off-Season deal! You are way more likely to find a sweater half-off during 90 degree heat than in December. Take Advantage. I don't ever pass up a great garment because of season. 
I found this Brand New Ann Taylor sweater in July when we were hitting record temps everyday. I swear the original owner bought it for it's belt because that was missing, but I had no problem finding one in my closet. 
Did I mention it was also Half Price! That's right, I paid $2.50 for a great wrap sweater that I am loving wearing in my chilly studio, right this minute actually.

Speaking of not passing up an off-season item... This is another new Target dress that I found last December when I was on the hunt for a New Year's Dress. Knowing that I had two warm weather weddings in my future I didn't even think about passing up this party dress for $6.99. I got a lot of compliments and couldn't wait to tell girlfriends where I got it and what I paid.
I am clearly having Way Too Much Fun in this picture snapped by wedding photographer friend Nick Kessler. (ps. the man leering in the background is my husband.)

I did find that New Year's dress after all at Clementine consignment boutique in Carytown. My brother-in-law gave me a generous gift card for Christmas and I wasted no time in buying the dress I had my eye on the week before.
 Note: if you ever find a great party dress at a second-hand-store right before the holidays consider yourself extremely lucky.

To conclude, thrifting has actually made me more stylish. It's great to spend five bucks on something I could never afford at a mall. Like this Anthropologie skirt for $4.99 that fits beautifully and looks great with brown boots. Not to mention that I am keeping all of my clothing budget in my own community. 

I can't believe how easy it is to keep it thrifty or local. When I leave the house I want to be wearing something handmade or thirfted, my Old Mall clothes have become second-class citizens. It is hard for me to imagine shopping any other way now.

Monday, November 1, 2010

We Can Do It!

The last Halloween that I wore a store bought costume I was 2.

My mother was great and would rummage through her closet to transform me into Cleopatra, a punk rocker, or a lady wrestler in under 10 minutes.

On a thrifting trip in August I spied a pair of brand new coveralls relatively close to my size. I was a little hung up on their high price tag, $12.99, but once I had the vision it couldn't be ignored. 

I had to be Rosie the Riveter.

Sorry to deny you the pleasure of seeing my actual bulging bicep but I was a little chilly.

I had to do some simple alterations for a better fit which included taking in the waist (this sounds hard but I cheated.) I made a quicky head scarf from scrap fabric in the studio, set my hair on curlers and hit my nails with some vintage looking pale pink polish.

I searched through my collection of punk pins looking for something that would do the costume justice and I almost couldn't believe what I found. Pinned to the right side of my collar was a pink pin that read : A woman's place is everywhere. Rosie couldn't have said it better herself.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Great Pumpkin Surprise or Another Reason to Compost

It's been a grueling 3 and a half weeks without my camera, but it's back and I can commence with reporting on all of the eco-goodness in my life.

Last Fall we were in NC visiting family where we were treated to a trip to their farmer's market. I was hosting Thanksgiving and so I purchased 6 tiny white gourds to substitute for candles on my dinner table centerpiece. 

They looked great, but when the season was over we threw them into the garden (our lazy winter composting) to break down and nourish our soil for spring. We never expected to they would plant themselves and grow in the garden this year.

We ended up with about 17 total pumpkins! All much larger than the originals but no bigger than 8" in diameter. We've given some away and I think a couple even made their way to Maine.

I love a compost garden surprise. Just in time for Halloween, best day of the year.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Crafty Bastards! All I ever dreamed it would be.

 WOW! What a fantastic day at Crafty Bastards we had! Met great people and had great sales, totally worth getting up at 5 AM ! I heart DC shoppers! Here is a short, but happy, recollection of our day.

Smiling, but still sleepy. Enjoying the crisp air and stealing a zen moment minutes before show time at 10am. Finishing off my first cup of warm local coffee delivered by my husband on his way back from scoring free DC parking.

It wasn't long before the scene looked like this, and Woo Hoo, remained that way all day.

Selling so fast we spent most of the day rearranging racks.

Thanks to everyone who came out to CB!  We had the best time!
Don't forget you have until October 8th to VOTE to make me this years Craftiest Bastard!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Labor (of love) Day

I spent my Labor Day with these vintage apron scraps of my grandmothers' that have been waiting me out, for a decade. Now that I have sworn to never bake from a box mix again it was time to bring them out of the scrap drawer and into the kitchen where I could show them off, 1960's sauce stains and all.

Pink was apparently a popular color for ladies in the 50s and 60s kitchen.

A little inspiration from my local library.

And... TA-DAAAAAA!!!
It took a lot of piecing together but I got there. Now to track down more scratch recipes, hmmmm.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Subtle Details

I thrifted this dress the week before I went home. It wasn't horrible but it needed some help if it was going to be wardrobe worthy. The hideous metal belt buckle (which was also bent) was the first thing to go along with the excess pleated fabric that ran through it.

I removed the entire waist piece and replaced it with a similar fabric that I had craft swapped 2 years ago. I had been hanging on to this fabric for just the right garment because I love it so much. I also took advantage of the deconstruction process to replace the acetate liner fabric with cotton, much better for the summer heat.

After shortening the dress 5 inches I added lilac lace trim to the liner fabric and lilac ric-rac to the dress hem. I love secret trim and subtle details on any garment, it makes me feel extra pretty.

I removed some green silk pieces from a top in my closet (it had bad karma) and made ties for the waist to form a bow at the back. More silk was added to define the V-neck and the last extra piece was ironed into a pleated ruffle for a feminine touch. I completed the dress with found buttons sewn onto one side of the V for my signature asymmetrical look.

I was so excited that I finished it before we went up North. Here I am showing it off at a family cookout.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New Favorite

Presenting the Bluebird Belle, my new favorite dress.

Although it may be a wee small on my dress form it fits me perfectly and I am having some trouble parting with it. It's not easy making one-of-a-kinds, I can't make a second one for myself to wear. This particular dress uses recycled pieces of the following; a man's shirt, tank top, skirt, scrap fabric, found buttons and ric-rac trim.

The Bluebird Belle will be for sale at ecologic until August 6th and if she hasn't sold by then she will become the star of my closet. I think that's a good compromise.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Recycled Wonders

Ms. Erin Taylor rocking my recycled wonder at Worn Again on Friday night. This mini-dress with removable skirt was recycled from a pair of jeans, vintage jumper, dress shirts, pillowcase, and vintage drapery fabric.

More of what you missed...
Check out the awesome headdress on the right made from book pages by Julia Dent.

I LOVE these three. Definitely my favorites of the night.
Check out the video and pick yours.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

the It garment

Sometimes a piece of clothing in a woman's closet is so notorious it comes to have it's own title, becomes an It garment.

In the late 90's my friend Maria had this gorgeous blue silk dress that she referred to simply as The Donna Ricco. Although not as glamorous, the It garment of my life is Gram's Yellow Sweater. Or as my mother calls it, that ugly yellow sweater.

I'm not quite sure when my Grandma Angie bought the Sears sweater, maybe before I was born, but I know she wore it to Mount Rushmore in the 80's. I love gram's yellow sweater. I coveted it so much as a teenager that I would pretend to be cold in summer just to wear it at my grandmother's house. Always crafty herself, she caught onto my game and gave me the sweater, to my great squealing teenage delight.

In the past 16 years I've worn it with everything and almost everywhere. I cherish it like couture. I won't wear it camping or take it on a plane for fear of lost luggage. When I first acquired it I spent the summer pairing it with jean short cut offs, red flip-flops and a matching headband.

There is no doubt that gram's yellow sweater is the It garment star of my closet and will remain so for years to come, or at least until it gets a chance to visit Mount Rushmore again.

What is your It garment???