My neighbour Graziella gave me a bunch of pieces of leather out of her treasure storage… they were so soft and beautiful! Purple, teal, coral pink… she used to make patchwork leather jackets back in the 80’s and was excited to share her stash with me.
I made some bracelets and traded a couple pieces with my friend Karen for other leather… she used it to make super bow tie necklaces. Then I started patchworking some little scraps using the flatlock stitch and coloured thread on my overlock machine. That was at least a year ago… recently I showed it to my sister and she was absolutely crazy about it.
I made her a bralette and skirt a couple years ago with the same blue snake print leather… and so I started adding more scraps to this little patchwork with the intention of adding it to the bottom of her bralette.
This is as far as I’ve got so far… need her to bring me the bralette and skirt so I can use more pieces of the skirt. Still have some more purple and teal, and
Mike is going to Burning Man! Of course he is! And he brought me this nice black mechanics jumpsuit and asked me to “rape it” with patches… I tried my best! I didn’t have many patches in stock, so I had to print most of them, iron, edges, sew by hand! But 15 patches later, and he’s ready for the Black Rock City!
Been a few years since my sister and I celebrated PRIDE together in Toronto. Such a special PRIDE (in 2015 Gay marriage became legal in the USA!) and I also received my ruffler attachment finally from China… so I went to get some rainbow fabric to make my sister something special to wear (she is my biggest fan!) I wasn’t too impressed with the selection at Fabricville, but I did find a bunch of coloured tulle and figured a tutu would be a good test for this ruffler.
Unfortunately, the ruffler is a piece of junk and it damaged my brand new sewing machine 🙁 le boo!!
Anyhow… the tutu, which is actually shorts, turned out amazing! And Kyla rocked the shit out of it!
I don’t remember where I got this denim from, but it had a slight stretch to it… which is why when I tried to make a box cushion cover for my couch with it that it didn’t work at all. This was before I was working at the upholstery shop where I learned that upholstery fabric is stiff and not stretchy for very good reason. It looks like crap. SO… despite all of it being cut already for cushions, I managed to scrap it together to make this skirt. The patchwork style of the skirt inspired by “lagenlook” dresses I’ve been “studying” on pinterest. I finished it just in time for my sister to visit, and of course, I gave it to her… even though it fit me perfectly!
This was a custom creation for my sister’s BM 2011… it was an awesome find, real leather but printed to look like snake skin. I made a bustier with shoulder straps, added a LOT of eyelets (to attach a leather/chain trim that could be removed).
My friends Mike and Nico were going to BM 2014 with a theme camp, the “Dusty Beavers”. Mike wanted a full beaver suit, but the fabric he chose didn’t want to cooperate and so it ended up a beaver hooded vest. I also pirated a logo for them and made a silk screen and about 100 patches for them to give at the festival.
My friend Nicolas asked me to sew patches onto his playa jacket… here is a photo he sent me to show him riding his bike on the playa proudly showing the patches. He said people were constantly asking where he got it, and the following year asked me to make a bunch of patches for him to take there and gift to people.
My friend asked her to make gifts for her niece/nephews in France, something appropriate for young children that would make a good impression for “the cool aunt”. I made two stuffy animal bags… only have a photo of this one. The second one was a beaver (I think?) and was “creepy” so I don’t know what happened to it.
I don’t think making children’s toys is my calling.
Halloween 2013 I was taking care of Naira (my dog’s momma dog) and watching them chase each other around the back yard I was inspired to dress them up as the clearly obvious characters they are, Peter Pan and his Shadow.
Mila bought a black and white art corset the previous summer and wore it tramping around Europe, falling into pools and gutters… wore it till the fabric disintegrated! She said people were always asking her where she got it, and she wanted another one to wear on her next European vacation.
She liked blue, and I had a DSP print with blue on a thicker canvas with some circle shapes… yay bubbles!
Been developing this idea in various forms, made from leather, upcycled brocade, sparkles, neon… basically really short, with pockets, some ruffles or pleats, grommets for laced size adjustment (butts get smaller after a night of dancing, and you maybe need to tighten up a bit so your skirt doesn’t fall down and pull your tights down with them! true story), and snaps. sometimes buttons…
I made one for myself out of denim, and it is hella short, but I love wearing it in the summer over some tights to go shake booty. Some girls though would prefer them to be a little longer… I still make them really short. Oh well!
My lovely sister and her friends went for their second year on the playa and asked me to help with their wardrobes. Two outfits per day, for a week, for 3 girls? plus a tutu and leather vest for her boyfriend? no problem! Unfortunately I was in such a rush that many of the outfits did not get photographed 🙁
I did a couple bloomers with wrap crop top hoodies… and a couple corsets, some wrap skirts, some fun fur (of course)… my favourite piece was a snake fringe collar and leather belt skirt with more snake fringe… it was spectacular! still hoping someday to get a photo of it.
I found this fabric in a fripperie in Pointe St Charles neighbourhood of Montreal called “Madame Prend Conge” which translates to “Lady takes leave”. It sounds very old. Something a Victorian lady might say… but being an organization for helping women, in the middle of a rather poor neighbourhood… I guess it is supposed to be an encouraging statement similar to “you go girl!”.
Anyhow, it seemed to me like a lady had donated her entire fabric stash which included a bunch of antique cushions, drapery, and even couches that were torn apart. I took a bunch of it with the intention of making romantic ruffle skirts and corsets… maybe I had been watching too much Game of Thrones?
So this corset, which I started and then stopped… went to work at an upholstery studio for 6 months… and when I came out of there felt I could do a better job of matching up the pattern of the fabric. I ripped the whole thing apart and re-cut it, and did it again. Considering it is very old and brocade likes to move around a lot, and I didn’t back the fabric with any stabilizer or anything, it turned out pretty nice.
I posted photos on facebook and it was sold almost immediately.
My sister Kyla is going to Burning Man 2012, her second “burn”, and asked me to help her make a colour coordinated collection of pieces she can mix and match. This is what we came up with this weekend…
pink and orange spike faux fur lined bolero with long bell sleeves and orange grommets for attaching satchels and tie-up
lavender faux snake skin PVC apron with front pouch and orange grommets, with matching satchel and tie-ups
orange satin with geometric embossed design and pink elastic mini bloomers
black satin with flower embossed design and green iridescent accented lace mini bloomers (to be worn with green faux fur halter top made last year)
orange yoga shorts with extra tall waistband (matching jacket lining, can be worn up to keep tummy warm at night, or folded down like mini skirt in day) including matching orange arm bands and sleeveless mini shrug with pink edges
Anna chose some pink fabric I had, and wanted a sarouel that she could wear as a jumpsuit. I added a bunch of grommets with a strap that can be worn around the neck or waist. Together we did some screen printed flying pigs and WOW… is it not the cutest little thing EVER!!??!
The photos could be a lot better, with different light, and the neck strap further apart in the front… and needs a photo of her wearing it at the waist. But I think it’s super cute!
I feel like a whore, working on the floor, all day… pads.
My friend Piotr asked me to help him develop a “new” knee pad for construction workers. The standard strap design he doesn’t like, and the pants with the built in knee pad pockets are expensive, and are not positioned properly for guys who like to wear their pants lower on the hip.
We took some foam knee pads, created a leather and canvas case holder with snap application strips on the side. The top snap has an elastic so that when kneeling there is some pressure ease for the pants.
These are pants I made for friends and family, a few were gifts and the others were sold. I make them using a traditional sarouel pattern that is very easy to do and does not waste any fabric. I will do a tutorial here soon…
I thought I’d try making some stuffed animals with scraps… this was an experiment that turned out really great. When I went to New York City with Cat and Lysandra we stayed at Eeah’s loft in Brooklyn, so I gave it to her for hosting us.
This corset top was made with a sample of fabric I picked up in Toronto. It is a printed faux fur… not really sure what it’s called. But I took all the guy had and have not seen anything like it since.
I made this reversible corset and a matching aviator hat, and one other cropped corset (no photo), and some bracelets. Wish I could find more of this fabric!
The grommets in the back were replaced and I added grommets on the top/front to attach the hat. I gave it to my sister Kyla for her birthday to wear to Burning Man 2011. She has worn it every summer since.
Using the same process as the Berzerker Pillows, I patchworked some scrap silk pieces from Peach Berzerk into these cute bags. I sold both of them… Julia has the purple one, and Raphaelle has the pink one.
In November I interviewed with Peach Berserk, legendary Toronto screen printed punk-rock frock shop on Queen West, for a sewing position (“Head Sewer” sounds like a horror movie right?)… anyhow, after two awkward interviews I didn’t get the job, but they put me “on the list of super star sewers” for future projects.
It’s now February and I saw another post on Craigslist from Kingi asking for a Creative Accessories Designer. I wrote to her with some photos of my new bustiers saying “Hey! Remember me?” and she invited me down to discuss.
So… I go down Saturday afternoon, with somewhat lower expectations, she shows me some pillows and a bag in the showroom, tells me what she likes and doesn’t like about them, and tells me to pick out some scraps from two overflowing bins in the back room for a “sample” pillow. I grab a few pieces, trying to get some in colours I liked, with decent prints, and of decent size… show them to her, and OOOPs! I’d picked up some satin, polyester, and a couple bits of raw silk. My bad. Mixing fabrics is apparently not ok… and the pieces are too big! Okie dokie… so I go back and quickly pick out as many small or odd shaped pieces of raw silk I can find without much attention to the prints. With a mitt full of edges, misprints, and dirty scraps I tell Kingi I’ll be back Wednesday with some pillows.
Back at home I’m questioning my mission, purpose, etc… is this a cruel joke or a job? I sketch some ideas, do a bit of research on sewing with raw silk, find some funky quilting and patchwork inspiration and remembering Lada’s alteration insanity (she was a designer in September @ heartbeat960 who liked to sew out front on the sidewalk) decided to try a patchwork collage. Took me a while to get into cutting up the fabric… not sure why exactly. Maybe worried I’d waste the bigger piece. But when I realized I didn’t actually have to quilt it, and I could use iron-on interfacing as a sticky foundation, I knew I was going to nail it!
She warned me about using “patches” of incomplete prints, messy prints, or no print. And when I asked about unfinished edges, it was alright as long as it was done nice. She also told me never to throw anything out, and she wanted “more” funky than the other pillows she had already. So, I took some of this, some of that… and baby this is how you turn shit into gold.
Upcycled… Raw Silk… Patchwork… Collage… Berserker Pillows!!
In January I decided to jump on the bandwagon and cash in on people’s insecurities… did you stick to your new year’s resolution to get skeletal? on the no-sugar diet with Ellen? if you did, or didn’t… here’s something to highlight your mid section (over or under other wares). Warning! May get you a TV appearance on “What Not to Wear”.
During my first month working at Heart Beat with Jodie, we experimented with bleach and spray bottles on various pieces of used and vintage clothing. Sadly, the best pieces were sold before I could get some photos!
ok so I’ve been “working” on this bag idea for ages now, well ok a month. I acquired a bunch of old vinyl beanbag chair covers (dollar-bag sale score again) and cut them up saving the zippers and as much area fabric as possible.
the colours are not too terrible, muted red, blue, and orange with some cool fading and discoloured spots. personally I love blue and orange together, don’t know why, I never wear it, but I like looking at it.
I started out just sewing random bits together. that was great fun but ended up with a big patchwork thing with no specific shape or idea what it had become.
the plan was a hip bag pattern from scratch… so at least I tried. after pages and pages of sketches, tests with pieces of newspaper, pattern paper pieces, and a pile of failed attempts at gusseted pockets… I got almost half-way with this one:
…but my sewing machine couldn’t handle 6 layers of vinyl to finish it.
So feeling a little discouraged, I figured I’d make a couple bags using a pattern to strengthen my skills and feel like I accomplished something.
not that pretty… I used fabric I didn’t want to save for something else… well except for the multicolour one, that’s from an old tshirt and a pair of stretch denim short shorts that I’m sure the world can do without. but I made three in two days and now feel a little more productive. and, the hip bag pattern has a fresh start.
I picked up some snaps, buckles, and eyelets today with money from selling some other junk, so I’ve got everything to make 10 or more belts next week.
Sometime ago, in my grandma raver era, I developed an affinity for aprons. Handy pockets to put stuff in, a touch of femininity with back bows and that skirt-over-pants look, and some protection from the elements… what’s not to like?
So I started a collection of standard kitchen aprons, house-cleaner-granny aprons, and some kitchy sweet designer aprons. Then I found some patterns and started making my own.
Although some may disapprove of the integration of service industry uniform into high fashion… I hope eventually to make the apron a staple in every wardrobe.