activities, adornment, diy, ecofashion, Fashion, recycled fashion, sewing

The Sewing Class

I was looking through some pieces that I upcycled and realized that I needed to add a new creative element to what I was doing. I’ve sold a few pieces, and I’m still looking at how to improve and enhance things that haven’t sold yet. I’ve been cutting stuff, and using patches and glue to remake things, but back in December I saw an instagram ad for Make Workshop‘s Sashiko and Visible Mending workshop and I pounced. Couldn’t get into a class until February, but pouncing did indeed occur.

February 22nd came and I jumped out of bed and hustled myself to class. Taught by Jessica Marquez, author of Make + Mend, the class is about using Sashiko embroidery to embellish and strengthen your items. Instead of throwing something away, you can use visible mending to patch it artistically. Instead of hiding the stitches, they become part of the piece. I had seen the book and was dying to learn how to recreate the cool patterns and patchwork techniques. The class is very hands-on, so you end up sewing right away. I had forgotten to bring a project, so I cut the pocket of my Levi’s jacket and used a piece of cloth to create a contrasting patch.

While we were working, a former student came in and we all got a good look at how Sashiko can be used to stunning effect. This woman had upgraded a pair of jeans to runway ready masterpiece using printed cloth collaged with exposed mending stitches. It was electrifying to see someone with a finished piece on, and she seemed really happy with her work. I tried to zoom in so you can see how the stitch patterns become one with the textures, colors and patterns of the patches.

The finished pocket. Jessica had us trace lines in the cloth to stitch on, you can see them under the thread.

Finishing a project in class empowered me to buy the book and use the stitching to finally finish a big, thrifted scarf that I was upcycling. I had painted it, but couldn’t go beyond that. As soon as I got home from Make Workshop, I pulled out the scarf and I could see how the stitching would transform it. I was shaky on how to space out the stitches since I just learned how to do Sashiko, so I bought a cheap graph paper notebook, drew the stitch pattern on it, and have been sewing through it then ripping the paper off.

The fabric is very soft, so the stitches get a little messed up, and yesterday I actually had to pull the needle back through the cloth because I had made a wild stitch in the wrong place, so it’s a process. But I’m loving how this is developing and I want to do a patchwork panel on it before I’m through. There’s a place called FabScrap that re-purposes garment district scrap into sewing supplies for crafters. You can order online or shop in person (check their website first, though. Currently they are closed until March 30th because of Coronavirus).

I’ve been staying in my apartment thanks to Covid-19, but I got stir crazy yesterday and went over to the Japan Society to see the Boro Textiles: Sustainable Aesthetics exhibit. I have been putting this off or too busy, and when the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced a shutdown, I decided I better run over quick. It’s also just one train all the way there, which minimized exposure to Coronavirus from changing trains and walking through multiple stations or standing on multiple platforms. It may not be foolproof, but that was my strategy. I needed a blast of inspiration to sustain me just in case this quarantine thing gets more serious.

Because Japanese fashion is so deified, I wasn’t prepared to be looking at rags. The fact is that boro is all about making do with what you have, and trying to literally stitch together bits and pieces of nothing to try and stay warm. It looks cool now, but the inspiration is poverty and survival. The program describes clothing as a ‘precious resource’, so these garments may have been mended and patched for generations of a family to wear.

The galleries are very quiet and it’s kind of eerie walking through the dimly lit rooms looking at the items lit from within. However, it’s a closeup look at the layers and layers of fabric, and the stitching. Since we live in a world where people have so much that they can throw away clothing and shoes that are barely worn, this made me take my upcycling and recycled fashion business even more seriously. While there’s not as crucial of a need to do patchwork or mend things right now, I want to be able to fuse this deeply held tradition of clothing conservation into my own practice of helping pre-owned items find new owners.

I you’re interested in taking classes in New York, you can sign up at Make Workshop. Instructor Jessica Marquez also tours, so you can hit up her site Miniature Rhino to purchase books or see if she’s teaching near you.

Until next time, wash your hands and stay safe!

Faith/SEBMarketBK

Accessories, adornment, art, denim, ecofashion, Fashion, model style, ootd, personal style, recycled fashion, streetstyle, Style, upcycled

The Feather Jacket

The one where I bought some chicken feathers and I had this denim jacket. Trying to get some use out of that time in art school that I’m still in debt for.

About to be hyped up.

I won a contest and got $100 to go shopping, I saw a plain, Old Navy denim jacket and I got so happy because I had a bunch of paint in colors that I never use ,plus some gold glitter that I got at Micheal’s. With Labor Day coming I was thinking that I wanted something that expressed that part of my culture (my family is from Guyana) without me having to wear anything that caused my bottom half to be exposed to all the world.

Prudish Yankee. I know. I don’t whine up and I can’t twerk. My soul is now bare.

I saw some feathers at the fabric store and the wheels started turning and I was like Eureka! or Irie…or whatever and even though I have no experience putting feathers on anything I knew my moment had come. It was time.

The fields of color are inspired by one of my favorite painters, Mark Rothko. It’s funny what the eye and heart will respond to. I went to a school where I was outnumbered and learned about artists who didn’t share my gender or race, but there you go. I love Rothko’s glowing, living fiends of dreamy saturated color. The idea of the color itself being the art, to force you to just contemplate the meaning and feel of a shade or hue is very powerful to me. This jacket needed gradations of tropical, vibrant shades that blend into each other like a layered frozen cocktail.

Once the paint was dry I added two rows of feathers for the win. Like the feathers on beautiful mas costumes worn by goddesses from places like Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad, etc. Gold glitter is dusted across the shoulders and feathers like highlighter on brown skin. It’s the whole West Indian Day Parade and Carnival and Cropover in one upcycled jacket. I thought about adding rhinestones or big fake jewels but I liked it this way. Business in the front, bacchanal in the back.

White guy art meets black female immigrant culture. It’s so fetch.

Shop the blog:

Handpainted denim jacket with feathers, size XL

Hand painted rainbow jacket with feathers. Lightwash, classic construction. 100% cotton. Front is plain, with distress area. Back is painted from shoulders to waistband. Shoulders are painted. A double row of feathers runs across the back, dusted with gold glitter. Basically a birthday party in jacket form. Measures 24 inches from shoulder to hem. 22 inches from armpit to armpit. 23.5 inch long sleeves. *Free shipping *Only ships in the US.

$250.00

Crystal ear cuff

Giant crystal ear cuff. Big rectangular faceted crystals outline the curve of the ear, with an underline of tiny crystals running underneath. Cuff has a clip for the top of the ear to hold it on. *Free shipping. *Ships only in the US.

$30.00

Topshop jeweled faux leather minidress, size 4

80s style strapless black faux leather minidress with sweetheart neckline. Large acrylic jewels are set into the surface like a glittering net. The back is plain. Buttery soft leather like polyester, fully lined. Top is boned to provide support and a perfect fit. Pleats at the waist. Zips up the back. Brand new with tags, never worn. 25 inches from bust to hem. 12.5 inches across the waist. 17 across the hips. 18 inches across the hem, so leg opening is 36" circumference. *Free shipping. *Ships only in the US.

$65.00

Steve Madden spiked stilletos, size 10

Steve Madden party heels. Matte black velvety spike heeled covered with metal points. Cutout on the sides. Worn once for a photo shoots, soles are lightly scuffed. Shoes are true to size. Heels are 4.5 inches high. *Free shipping *Ships in the US only

$56.00

adornment, beauty, hair, hair products, hair styling tips, haircare, wigs

The New Wig

So while I was gone I bought a new wig. It looks nothing like the old wig, and it does tricks.

The basic straight wig, 1B.

The lob wig that I wrote about makes my head hurt after a few hours, and the thick straight hair makes my neck sweat. So of course I go get another wig, which has more hair since it’s longer. Because I felt like I needed it. To expand my hair range.

I don’t know who I am anymore.

This one looks like what my real hair looks like after being heat straightened. The texture, not the length. It didn’t have bangs or anything, and it has a 3 inch lace front so I can just part it all over the front. And it had the baby hairs already done for wig challenged people like myself. When I got home I started playing with it, then became completely dissatisfied and was mad because I now wanted curls.

I found a youtube video on how to curl your wig and then… I had to figure out how to style a big head of crazy curls every day.

Basically, you can twist the synthetic wig hair or put it in curlers/rods and then dunk the whole thing in boiling water. BE CAREFUL. I handled it with salad tongs. I dipped the hair in the pot, then quickly transferred it to a towel on the kitchen counter, then folded the towel over it. I left that to sit, and then I carefully carried the wig in the towel to the bathroom and put it on a pant hanger to hang from the shower head. I took the rollers out and let it dry then finger combed the curls out. Magic. I have a detangling spray to make it easier to comb out, plus a spray that adds shine so it won’t look dull and dry.

When I got sick of the curls, I dunked the wig again and they simmered down to beachy waves. So this will be a fun game until I get bored again or melt the wig by accident.

See you next time!

Faith/SEB Market BK

Accessories, adornment, eyewear, Fashion, fashion photo, lifestyle, personal style, shopping, streetstyle, Style

The Glasses

Alberta and Brayden, my new glasses from Zeelol.

I’ve been wearing glasses since I was 12 thanks to reading under the covers when I was supposed to be sleeping. My mom has 20/20 vision. Unfairness! Anyway, I’ve never had more than one pair of glasses until recently. I thought it was time to start a glasses wardrobe, like a real grownup. It seems like the adult thing to do, instead of having to freak out if I can’t find my glasses or worrying that I might break them and be blind.

I saw an ad for these on some website and found out that you can get crazy, badass fashion glass for the price of a good meal or two bottles of decent pinot. Not only that, they allow you to upload your prescription quickly and easily. AND my glasses were ready almost instantaneously. Amazing. And they shipped immediately. And they showed up on my doorstep a week later. The easy, get it instantly 2019 life is working for me. And having these cute eyeglass cases, and a teeny two headed screwdriver. For $80!

I suck at taking selfies these days but I had to see how I looked immediately. After applying some eyeshadow (because glasses magnify your eyes) and lipstick, and of course earrings… I was going to do outfits, too, but I was too excited. The huge Alberta frames are super dramatic in black with tortoiseshell at the bottom. The oversized brow means that I won’t have to paint mine in, so instant win. I love them. They’re so Oprah!

I chose the Brayden frames because I’ve always been fascinated by cateye frames, but I always get rectangular or square. Instead of rhinestones, these have punk rock conical studs. I was intimidated by the size at first, but the frames are so lightweight I didn’t want to take them off. Both offer me crystal clear, perfect, sharp vision and the larger size gives me more range of vision, I think. I’m definite;y looking at sunglasses. I have never in my life had prescription sunglasses. The luxury!

Check out the affordable frames and sunglasses at www.zeelol.com. Buy a new outfit with the money you save.

See you next time!

Faith/SEB Market BK.