I know, I know – you’re all just DYING to hear how I salvaged the torn $10 bunny-tastic jacket from Green Village Junk Shop. Actually, “torn” is an understatement. Gaping hole is more accurate. Remedying the damage required far more than a needle and thread; it needed to be masked entirely; transformed by outside forces. The hole had to be filled, but with what? This wasn’t a typical patchwork job – it’s not like we’re talking about an effing pair of jeans here. Luckily, once I realized the material used to salvage the jacket had to be as fluff-errific as the jacket itself, the answer became abundantly clear.
I don’t own mink blankets or bearskin rugs; I’m not rich enough to be that ostentatious. Yet. I do, however, own a vintage fur scarf. At least I did, until I cut it up in the name of the greater score.
- Extra Fur in Complementary Color
- Industrial Strength Scissors
- Thick, Durable, Dangerously Sharp Needle
- Cream Colored Thread
- This American Life Podcast (Because stabbing into fur sans finger injury over and over again requires full visual focus, i.e. NO TV. A thimble probs would have been a good idea – Dear Hindsight, I hate you. Moving on.)
(1) Place extra fur on top of hole. Shift until piece of extra fur covers hole in its entirety. Trim extra fur into appropriate shape. Fur patch accomplished.
(2) Measure a piece of thread using the length of your arm as a guide. Snip. Thread needle. Use needle threader to avoid added frustration/aggression.
(3) Smart, patient people pin fabric into place before sewing it onto other fabric. I hail from the DIY school of thought that says imperfections/flaws are beautiful (Just like people! You can gag now). This gives me a stellar excuse to skip tedious steps a la pre-stitch pinning; to each her own.
(4) Sewing time! I started from the interior of the jacket and pierced through both fur pieces for two stitches to secure the patch to the jacket (this may or may not be called a basting stitch), then I realized going from the inside to the outside and back again was – on account of the thickness of the material – a massive beotch and a half. The remaining stitching was done exclusively on the exterior, on a diagonal of sorts.
Can I give you a more technical explanation? Eff no – this is sewing for the domestically challenged, 101. Just make it your biznass to secure the patch to the fur sans excessive heinousness, and you’ll be fine.
A big fat bonus of working with fur? It’s voluminous enough to hide mistakes.
My sewing skills are well below average, but I was still able to make sweet citrus juice out of this lemon of a coat. I actually dig the slight contrast of the cream patch against the white coat – looks like a badass back pocket, methinks.
$10.00 + 1 hour of DIY time = 1 fluffy dream of a coat. A worthy purchase and allocation of energy indeed. Loves it!
From a consumer standpoint, I’m a bonafide resale expert. I can wax poetic on guerilla thrifting tactics. I can ballpark the average price point differential between the retail and resale cost of most well known brands. I can use my own scores to motivate you to embrace the world of the gently worn. Alas, I’m all too aware of the difficulties inherent in transitioning from shopping retail to shopping second hand. There’s a lot of things I’d change about this industry, given the chance.
A month or so ago, that chance found me in the form of a phone call from my friend Kate Goldwater, founder and owner of AuH2O Recycled Clothing Boutique. Kate wanted to spend more time on her upcycled clothing line, but she didn’t want to leave her store in the hands of hired-out employees. She wanted partners. And on November 1st, she’ll be re-launching AuH2O along with salvaged jewelry designer Rose Kennedy, eBay power seller Rachel Rush, and resale foghorn Cheap JAP.
That’s right, beotches. I’m not just shopping for me anymore. I’m shopping for YOU.
Check out the new website (designed by yours truly, natch) to get the full deets on what’s in store. Follow @auh2oshop on twitter, and visit our facebook page too, if you feel so inclined.
I’ll be running AuH2O on Fridays and Sundays after the re-launch is complete. We’ll be busting our asses in the meantime, gearing up to give you the most kickass sustainable shopping experience in all of NYC.
So. Effing. Psyched.
I’ve been a fan of cross body bags for quite some time now, what with my guerilla shopping tactics and all. Effectively browsing the goods requires two hands and a full range of motion in the arm/shoulder area. Obvs.
Cross body bags are decidedly less spacious than their mammoth tote brethren. This is built-in insurance against acquiring things you don’t really need: If it doesn’t fit in the bag and you don’t want to carry it separately, you probs don’t love it enough to buy it. So ditch the ten pound carryall, and consider the below alternatives instead.
What Goes Around Comes Around is one of those boutiques that gives vintage a bad name: At its Soho homebase, prices under $200 are few and far between. Clearly, WGACA’s been hoarding the affordable goods. This epically awesome Pony Cross Body Bag goes for $118.00 online. It’s “vintage-inspired” (i.e. not sustainable) but it’s handmade in Mexico, so buying it keeps local artisans out of sweatshops. Word. To. That.
reMade USA has the upcycled thang NAILED, if these bags are any indication. At $180.00 a pop, they’re a bit steep for my liking, but I dig the fact that they’re made from leather jacket scraps and lined with recycled cotton. Hot colors. Cool beans.
Killer construction and recycled lambskin leather. Seriously digging AmeriLeather‘s Junior Julia Bag. Also Overstock.com’s price of $48.99. Niiiiiice.
If any of the above is out of your price range, I highly recommend perusing eBay’s vintage cross body offerings. Here’s a sampling of what’s currently up for grabs:
Coach, Longchamp, Fendi, Ferragamo, all with a starting bid of $30 or under.
My inbox is regularly clogged with press releases announcing new collections. Said press releases usually go straight to the trash folder upon receipt. It’s not that I’m against new clothing lines or whatevs. It’s that “new” alone isn’t enough to pique my interest anymore.
To thrift a Goodwill Outlet Center is to realize the overwhelming amount of unused textile excess produced by our material world. Is a lot of that excess uber fugly? You bet, and therein lies the challenge for burgeoning designers.
Sketching out a collection, outsourcing the labor, and producing the wares en masse with zero regard for the environmental impact of the endeavor amounts to business as usual. Making something from nothing is the norm. There’s nothing groundbreaking about what’s already been done.
Making something from something – breaking down or restyling fabric that’s already out there – is a refreshing, forward-thinking approach to fashion that improves on its checkered past.
De-materialization makes green more than a buzzword: ALIOMI suggests it’s the new black.
The concept for ALIOMI started years ago, with a few Sarah Lawrence undergrads too broke to shop retail. They became seasoned thrifters, then they took it to the next level, re-tweaking and embellishing their secondhand finds to suit their badass style and unique taste. Necessity truly is the mother of inventive fashion lines.
ALIOMI is a mishmash of vintage fabulosity and DIY gems. I mean, I can stud and scissor, but these girls can STUD and SCISSOR. I’ve seen the line up close: The embellishment might be done by hand, but there’s nothing DIY about it. It’s professional, artful, responsibly made and one-of-a-kind.
The goods pictured above range from $28 – $145 – in all honesty, I’m usually not on board with $76.00 embellished cutoffs. Had I not seen this line in person, I might have rationalized against a splurge of this ilk on the grounds that I could DIY something equally amazing for less.
Regardless of whether or not that’s the case, finding, distressing, and studding the shorts myself would take four hours, minimum. Six if I held myself to the perfectionism characteristic of ALIOMI’s DIY stuffs. The shorts in question, at $76.00, amount to $12.66 an hour for six hours of work.
My point? The thought, time and energy that go into crafting a kickass reconstructed item are extensive, hence the reason most reworked vintage lines have an average per-item cost of over $250. ALIOMI’s price points are uber reasonable in comparison.
Wanna help this stellar new line get off the ground? Donate a buck or two to their Kickstarter campaign.
Cheers to socially and environmentally conscious sartorial endeavors of this ilk. IMHO, up-and-coming designers would be wise to take a cue from ALIOMI, and use de-materialization to inform their future lines.
It’d certainly make for some inspiring press releases.
Just got wind of the latest Etsy-inspired endeavor, a.k.a. Indieshop. Think HSN, sans the overabundance of cubic zirconia. I haven’t seen it live yet, but I AM intrigued by the ability to text an order in real time. Muy convenient.
Indieshop’s online too, if you’d rather browse the products on your own time, and the selection’s rather tempting IMHO.
Here’s a few tidbits/end-of-day procrastination fodder.