June 11, 2012 § 3 Comments
Whims are dangerous things. They can lead you down disastrous, time-wasting trails or they can completely alter your life. And wardrobe.
On a whim one Wednesday, my friend Grete (who’s guest posted for us here) and I decided to dye some of our clothes. I in particular was inspired by the upcycling and thrift savvy New Dress a Day blog, where the author manages to turn out some fabulous outfits with just a bit of cutting, sewing, or dying. But since I need help just sewing on buttons, dying clothes seemed a much easier DIY project.
(The last time I visited my friend Anna, I told her it was because I missed her. Really I just needed her to sew these buttons on my jacket.*)
(*This is only semi-true. I did miss her. I did need a button sewn on. The two just happened to coincide on the same weekend.)
Grete’s project was a white lace dress she wore for college graduation but couldn’t wear to any other formal occasion without looking like she was showing up the bride.
Mine was a plain khaki dress that I picked up at a thrift store. It was cute, but the khaki color made me look washed out. So after some iphone finagling, we managed to find the nearest place that sold RIT dye and followed our hearts. And whims. Here’s our process.
1. Hem and haw over colors. This could take up to six hours. It’s good to do this right before dinner so that your decision-making time is curtailed by hunger.
2. Fill a bucket (or plastic trash can) with 3 gallons of water. Wear cleaning gloves. Add about 8 tablespoons total of liquid RIT dye (check out RIT’s color formula here). It’s better to err on the side of too much/too dark. When they dry, your clothes will significantly lighten up.
3. Wet your clothes and add them to the dyed water. Stir for 10 – 30 min using a broomstick handle. Crack jokes. Take photos. Pass the time of day.
4. Transfer your clothes from the bucket to the bathtub. Rinse and keep rinsing.When they dry, iron them to soften.
5. Before you toss out the dyed water, throw in random clothes you hadn’t thought about dying in the first place. It’s good to have your friend keep you in moderation. Friends don’t let friends dye everything they have.
6. Clean your trash can, tub, sink, and everything else. This wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. With a bit of soap and arm power, all the dye came out. But every activity is so much better when done to Pearl and the Beard’s “Douglas Douglas.”
5. Show yourself off.
(Remember? This was khaki and white before.) We are so stylin’.
What whims have you followed of late?
November 18, 2011 § 4 Comments
If anything, I’ve come to appreciate Pakou’s weekend posts for the sense of purpose or vision they give for the next few days. Yes, I think, it is the weekend. So much possibility. And somewhere to start. So wherever this weekend takes you, be it sprawled on your couch, partaking of your city, dining with friends or family, or traveling to Canada, may you start well by doing a few things.
1. Do hold onto your socks, your face, or anything else that might rock off because of Lisa Hannigan’s soulful tunes.
Doesn’t she seem like such a delightful person? I love that she can’t resist smiling when she sings. Her repertoire includes some lovely collaborations with notable male vocalists like Glen Hansard (of Once), Ray LaMontagne, and Damien Rice. Also worth listening to are her songs “O Sleep” and “Courting Blues.” Oh, I am loving her. I hope you fall for her too.
2. Do create a new piece out of something old. I’ve enjoyed some of these “block out” poetry pieces (where you create a new poem by highlighting select words on a page from an old book) and want to play around with it, but this piece is one of my favorites.
I love the stormy background, the highlighted “I” in the entire piece that suddenly switches to a “you” at the end. Me, me, me, but YOU tell the story best. And the title just wraps everything neatly together. I’m intrigued by the process of creating block poetry because you have to have a particular eye (no pun intended!) to see a new piece within so many other words, to know how to manipulate what’s there to reveal something different.
3. Do visit your local bookstore as so many are sadly going out of business. But beware! In an interview about his latest book Hope: A Tragedy, Jewish author Shalom Auslander says, “There is much more dangerous shit in your average independent bookstore than you are ever going to see in TV or film. You could do posters for Candide that would get banned.” Bookstores seem like such cozy, quiet, safe little nooks. And yet so much awaits within them. Not even our shock-value media can compare with our imagination combined with the written word.
4. Do rock your style at any age, like these lovely ladies who exercise their creativity through fashion, who hunger for color, surrealism, and leopard prints.
These women are indeed inspiring. I don’t know if I’ll be this bold or fashion-intelligent when I march into old(er) age (I’m hardly either now), but I do hope not to be a dreary old woman.
Ready for the weekend? Hop to it, folks. And listen to Lisa one more time.
September 12, 2011 § 3 Comments
The green dress with the black print screamed, “Pakou, take me home with you!” I walked around the store with the green dress in my hand pondering ideas for how I can make it more up-to-date. I tried it on and was convinced I could use my basic sewing skills to good use. Therefore, I did just that and have been working on the dress on and off for the past couple of weeks.
Below is the original dress with sleeves and shoulder pads.
1. The first step was to remove the shoulder pads. I used a seam ripper to take off the pads. A seam ripper is one of my favorite tools because it corrects sewing mistakes without notice (be careful not to use too much tension).
2. I used the ever so handy seam ripper to take off the sleeves.
3. Next, the seam was re-sewn to have a cleaner finish.
In three easy steps this vintage dress now has a fresh new look.
What projects are you working on?
September 7, 2011 § 5 Comments
Thrifting is one of my favorite activities. Some of my favorite outfits have been made entirely of thrift finds. About 95% of my furniture and home goods are second-hand. Although it all doesn’t match, each unique piece complements each other well. When I find something incredible for only a few dollars it makes this little heart of mine swell to double its size.
The other day I was at the local thrift store and saw the cutest button print maxi length skirt with a matching sash belt. I tried it on in the dressing room and it was two sizes too big, but I could not resist the cute print. I purchased it knowing I could work with it. It was only $3.99 for the skirt. Along with the skirt, I bought a navy striped top ($3.99) and various vintage picture frames for a home decor project (I’ll share this one later).
Out of my thrifted skirt I was able to make a few outfits. I hope you are inspired by these ideas on how to stretch your wardrobe a little more.
1. I paired the striped long-sleeved tee with the button skirt and brown boots for a cute “summer going into fall” outfit. Then I pulled the maxi length skirt high up and wore the long sleeve tee on top for a fitted look.
2. I wore the button skirt high wasted and the matching sash as a belt. A simple change in the waistline can make a big wardrobe difference.
3. To have the long layered look, the skirt was paired with a white long-sleeved tee and long navy sweater. The sash could be tied around the waist for a more form-fitting long layered look. This is a cozy, comfortable, and cute outfit for the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings.
4. For a more “night out on the town” look the skirt was worn as a strapless dress. I used the sash for an empire waist cinched with brown heeled boots. Fall evenings can be quite crisp and to warm up, bring a sweater that matches the dress.
A nod to my roommate who helped take the photos. Thanks M!
What is one of your favorite wardrobe thrift finds?
July 29, 2011 § 1 Comment
It’s been a great summer having guest bloggers fill in while Pakou traveled and hearing more creative voices in this space. So this weekend do is brought to you by our guest bloggers. If you’re loud enough, they may even come back.
3. From Laura: Do go to a local music festival (mine was the Darrington Bluegrass Festival) with friends. Enjoy the local cuisine (mine was pork sandwiches). Watch people make art all around you (dancing, singing, playing, drawing). Sit five-to-a-car, middle back seat, on your way home. Get the whole car to sing along spiritedly to Sufjan Steven’s entire Illinoise album. Insert hand motions. Love your life.
4. From Steven: Do listen to The Civil Wars. I especially love their cover of The Jackson 5′s “I Want You Back.” “
April 29, 2011 § Leave a Comment
An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.
When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for men.
- Out of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth, 70 percent are girls.
2. Do wear Sseko Sandals. Sseko Designs supports young women in Uganda to further their education by providing fair work for them to earn money towards their college tuition. The sandals are handcrafted and beautifully made by these wonderful women.
3. Do watch the video of the recent graduates’ (all employees at Sseko) from Cornerstone Leadership Academy reaction to passing their exams. 1.52 minutes of pure joy!
4. Do love on the women in your life and find a way to acknowledge the ones that are yet to be.
April 22, 2011 § 2 Comments
I’ve come to enjoy the well-designed infographic – especially ones with fake data – and I’m thrilled there are so many websites devoted to finding and creating them. The last few days have been particularly exciting as the weekly infographic my coworkers and I make (our creative lunchtime project) got picked up by I Love Charts and was a huge hit in the blogosphere:
As today also encourages good care of this groaning earth, here’s a nod to a few folks doing just that.
1. These plant-able comic books let you enjoy your superhero and a garden too.
2. Stylish sneakers from the Dutch brand OAT Shoes. After they’re worn and torn and you’ve tossed them out, they’ll biodegrade and (hopefully) sprout trees from the seeds packed in the lining. These won 2nd place at Amsterdam’s Green Fashion Awards this year.
3. I’m always inspired by the New Dress a Day blog, whose thrifting creator reuses some of the ugliest, oldest clothes around and somehow envisions a stylish and trendy new piece.
4. There have been quite a few spin-offs of the song, “Empire State of Mind,” but this mock music video done by volunteers for Green Sangha, an environmental organization in California, might just be my favorite.
April 6, 2011 § 2 Comments
Recently, I got to enjoy a few films at the Wisconsin Film Festival, which in itself is an interesting experience. I don’t often see movies in theaters, and I’ve never been to a cult classic on opening day – the Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, or Harry Potter kind of movie where everyone dresses up in long robes and camps out for tickets. (Hmm…I never realized how interchangeable those costumes could be. Now if only the Twilight vampires were less romantic and more Dracula-esque, we could turn those robes into capes.)
But I forget how you get caught up in the collective excitement of a full crowd, how impressionable you are to the mood of the audience as a whole. The audience comes truly intending to be delighted with what they see, and with that sort of attitude, it’s impossible not to enjoy the film.
However, even if I had watched Bill Cunningham: New York on a dark and stormy night all alone on a Friday after a bad hair day and burnt frozen pizza for dinner, I would still have been delighted. Not only is the documentary well done, moving easily from humor and lightness to more poignant moments, but the subject is a fascinating character.
Bill Cunningham is a photographer in New York who has spent the last 50 years chronicling fashion trends on the street. Reasons I find him fascinating:
1. He knows his fashion, but he personally wears a simple blue smock – even to a ceremony where the French awarded him the title chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres (to which he also brought his camera).
2. He’s not interested in celebrities, he’s interested in what people are wearing (whoever they are).
3. He’s genuine in his modesty and he lives simply (it took 10 years to make this film, 8 of which we’re spent convincing him to do it). Most artists will say they don’t do it for the money, but few turn it down when it’s offered to them on their success.
4. He’s a genius in his field. His weekly photographs reveal both the trends that influence fashion and the way fashion affects our larger culture and humanness, such as how men move in the winter or how ankle boots are changing women’s posture.
To be delighted yourself, watch these On the Street episodes below to find out why cork heels are god-like…
…and just how varied the basic trenchcoat can get:
In his words, it’s all marvelous, all on the street!