Monday, August 11, 2014

Killer Vintage Dresses

So I wrote about how I love vintage shopping... so I'm going to share some of that love today.  I had nothing to do yesterday-- my husband was flying his new glider, and I was stuck at the airport, waiting for him to land.  So I drove over to the nearby Goodwill and tried on some vintage dresses.  Check out these gems.

To start with... this is a painting that just had really interesting, pretty colors.  I guess it's sort of art deco inspired, in the shape of the clouds and the colors.

This dress was one of my favorites.  I'm not sure when this dress is from or what it's supposed to be worn for. Early eighties power outfit for a working woman?  Ladies who lunch ensemble?  Dinner party?  I would wear it to a dinner party, but I didn't buy it because my friends already think I'm weird enough.

It's got huge shoulderpads.  I love how conservative it is-- 3/4 sleeves, tea length (below the knee), mandarin collar.  It's pale pink-- a really strange color to wear head to toe.

But check out this detailing on the neckline.  It does sort of remind me of Michael Jackson, but I think it must be early eighties because it's not as dramatic as later eighties.  Its got nice front pleating and self covered buttons

This ruffly ensemble has giant shoulder pads.  I really liked the curved shape of the belt-- its very ladylike and flattering.  Despite the absurdly large shoulder pads, I really liked this one.  I even think the large upholstery floral works head to toe in this silhouette.

Ok this blue dress had the largest sleeves I've ever seen.  They were way longer than my arms and only stayed on with little button cuffs.  But with so much fabric, how is it they couldn't cover the chest?  Are you supposed to wear it open?  What's the plan there?  I draped this modestly so you can only see a hint of my bra, but it's totally open in front.  This must be late 70s?  All 3 above dresses were polyester.

This reddish thing is an overcoat?  I think it's for wearing in the Seattle rain.  I thought it seemed pretty practical, and it has really pretty trapunto stitching on the shoulders, but I found it too shapeless and bag-like.  No idea when this is from.  70s?

This plaid dress is clearly from the 90s.  It has about ten thousand yellow plastic buttons down the front.  There's something sweet and prairie about it.  A little bit it reminds me of Electrick Children, a good movie about a mormon girl.

This 90s long denim dress was pretty fun, but the placket isn't long enough in front, so it was nearly impossible to get on and off.

And this hilarious pair of culottes with matching top was from Nordstrom.  You an see the green tag which read $70-- I'm sorry to see this ensemble was never worn.  It reminds me of the matching skirts and crop tops that are in style now.  The cool blue and purple floral print was nice, and the shoulder pads were enormous.  Early 80s?  By the way, Nordstom is still selling culottes.  This is the other one I really thought about buying.

I just thought this orange and yellow matching outfit was really funny, quirky, kitchy, but it doesn't have any pizazze in the silhouette.

Flight suit chick?

I like to image wearing this dowdy thing on a date.  It screams "I'm not that kind of girl, but I cook a mean apple pie"

and this vintage nightie set is adorbs.

as is this grandma nightcoat.

I didn't buy any of these gems because I just got a ton of new clothes at Nordstrom sample sales-- but next time I need new clothes, I'm definitely going the vintage route.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Baby Goat Photos to Cheer You Up

A friend of mine is having a rough time, because her dad has been in and out of the hospital.  I sent her these adorable baby goat photos to cheer her up.

insert me here:

this is an otter and a goat

and these are baby hedgehogs:

My experience with Knitwear

I'm a knitwear designer.  Right now that means I design socks--first for Smartwool, then for Peony and Moss-- there I am above with some Peony and Moss designs.  I've had a life long love of knitting.  My grandmother first taught me to crochet when I was 8 or 9.  I practiced a lot, and it was a fun project, but I never learned any special stitches.  I mostly I made green yarn doilies.  I think I started a few scarves but never finished.  I would love to make beautiful crocheted lace.
In high school, I was really into cutting up t-shirts and sewing them back together.  I would do things like lace up the sides or back, make a cool neckline, add lace ruffles or fringe, etc.  I made probably 50 t-shirts.  I would buy big oversize shirts with cool designs at thrift stores.  I loves shopping for cool vintage clothes at thrift stores.  I learned so much about clothing that way-- all the different cuts and styles from the past few decades.  Honestly, my extensive fashion history knowledge is like 90% from all the time I spent thrift store shopping.  I would carefully look at each item an notice all the details.  I always wanted to look different and have clothes no one else was wearing-- because I loved interesting clothes.  My grandmothers were like that too, though both had completely opposite style, one a socialite, one a farmer.  Pretty much every day someone would stop me on the street and tell me they liked my outfit... I dress much more normal now, but I've been trying to re-find that same love of  clothes.

I just got a bunch of vintage dresses, and it's been fun wearing them-- I got so many compliments on this shimmery gold and green Indian-inspired dress.

At RISD, we did a whole year of knitwear design-- it's so embarrassing to share my college project, but you can see the cool knit swatches I made.  First we did pattern making with cut and sew knits, then we did machine knitting.  Machine knitting was so cool, and much more instantly gratifying.  I knit a whole sweater right away, before it was even assigned.  Later I made a quilt from all my sweater swatches.

For my thesis, I bought men's sweaters and knit shirts, and made them into women's dresses.  It was such a nice collection.  My friend Erin, in the yellow dress, also models Peony and Moss-- she's so cute and has adorable little feet.


After I graduated, I made a bunch of stuffed animals from old sweaters-- LOL I made the little tree scene for my etsy photos... ROFL.  I sold a lot of them, and the rest a keep around for when little kids come to my house-- they're a big hit, and I feel proud knowing I made them.

Then I designed cashmere sweaters for Macy's.  That was really fun-- I was only on the Charter Club team a year, but it was incredibly influential for me.  I loved designing cable stitches and approving the printed cashmere swatches.  ( I also loved sourcing buttons).  Thousands of copies of our designs were produced-- I learned how to create a high volume, high quality product.  It was so different from the one-off handmade pieces I had always made before that.  I wanted to do more of the graphics, so I move to men's wear, and then later to baby clothes.  I worked both in-house and freelance, gathering experience with a wide range of companies.  Now I take all the little things I've learned to design beautiful pieces for Peony and Moss socks.  I love choosing the novelty stitches for each design, and creating the artwork to be knit into a pattern, and choosing the Pantone colors.

  The one thing that's missing now is a more fine art practice, like I had at RISD-- I've been making these nature mandala's which is pretty awesome.  I'm not sure what that is going to look like.  Maybe I create fiber art pieces for art shows.  I don't know.  I've been thinking about applying to the University of Washington Masters of Fine Arts in Painting.  I don't really like to paint though, so I'm not sure if I would love it enough.  They do have a fiber focus... maybe that's where I should go... if they want me.  Whatever I do, I'm going to continue following my passion for knitwear.