Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Vintage Sewing Techniques

I started sewing from the need to repair or alter vintage dresses. You know the story, weird sleeves, too long or too short hemlines, too boxy, a moth-hole ridden tragedy on top attached to a dream dress on the bottom.  Among all these dusty alterations and time spent fixing things, I soon found that making my own dresses solved a lot of my vintage problems. So, one day, I took the subway train to Target in Queens (too intimidated at the time to enter a store in the Garment district) and bought a little 10 stitch machine that I lugged all the way back to Brooklyn. 

Next, I purchased my first vintage 1940s dress pattern from Etsy along with a few yard of the cheapest fabric I could find. Little did I know that deciphering the cryptic and complicated patterns from the 40s was not so simple. It wasn’t even sure if the patterns were complete let alone where the seam allowance was! What was the proper seam allowance, was it standard, did it change from brand to brand?! I spent two whole evenings after my work (as a secretary), just trying to understand the front bodice portion. I somehow made two right sides, but if you knew me, something like that was expected. I took it apart, started over, and ended up to my surprise with a dress. 

After learning to draft and drape my own patterns and a lot of hours at the machine, when I go back to these vintage patters, I know exactly what they are talking about, but if you didn't already know these techniques, its not so clear from the punctuated descriptions. This is because women already knew how to sew growing up. So, for those of learning as adults, we need a little crash course here and there. 

I am teaming up with BurdaStyle to teach a sewing seminar: Vintage Sewing Techniques


• A better cutting method for silks

• How to mark your fabric for the most accurate sewing

• More options for finishing seams

• How to use buttons and button hole techniques to create a more couture look

• How to add basic embroidery and appliqué details to your garment

I hope to see you there on Monday! xoxo

Monday, April 21, 2014

Getting Busy

Its funny how not only the flowers and pollen seem to pop up out of nowhere from the winter freeze. Life, work and a season full of anxious waiting and projects put on hold also burst out of hibernation, bringing on Winter's last flurry: busy new beginnings. Its Spring, and life is back in full bloom. 

Im excited to announce a few projects that have been keeping me busy this Spring, but since they run on a longer time scale than my regular blog posts, I cant share the pictures just yet, but here are a few things to watch out for as we head into summer:

Im teaching another sewing course with Burda Style: 
Last weekend I was shooting a lookbook for an amazing new designer whose vintage inspired, immaculate, tailored designs will take your breath away. 

I have just finished the white dress Ive been making and will shoot and post next week.

My husband and I were working on a new beauty editorial for magazine submission, which I will share once in print. 

Two hair and a Makeup tutorial for my YouTube channel.


I have a few vintage pinup inspired shoots in the works for blog posts in the up coming weeks. Fun rompers, swim suits and a lot of red!

While I was doing some modeling work on Morgan Avenue, I snapped a couple pictures with my vintage Leica film lens. I love the recent revival in overalls, so here is the pair that I picked up on my first trip to Japan. Its not my usual vintage hair and makeup, just a quick pinback after work, and my bleached eyebrows from the shoot. I didnt use any filters or color adjustments, so you can see how sensitive the lens is to lighting. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Kenley Collins Vintage Designer

Vintage glams, pinup queens and retro chickadees, were all looking for that one thing. The show stopping, center stage, knock 'em dead dress. Whether its spending hours in the dusty nirvana corners of a thrift store, savoring a sunny weekend picking through flea markets or staying up way past bed time surfing listings and adding items to your cart, we all know that finding the dress, in your size and in good condition can become more of a fruitless hunt than a hobby.

For this reason, I love vintage inspired designers. One of my favorite gals on the block is Kenley Collins, a fellow New Yorker and the vintage sweetheart of Project Runway. She has an exciting line filled with bold colors, beautiful prints and a whole array of silhouettes.

I received this white, black and blue Gentlemen Prefer Dress from Kenley Collins in a lovely package last week. The fabric is a gorgeous printed cotton with a perfect semi circle skirt. You could wear it with a softer crinoline or just on its own. The best part about this dress is the structure and support given from the boning in the bodice. I am always pulling up my straplesses, or adjusting halter tops. This one is going to stay up and looking perfect and is super comfortable. I cant wait to wear it out on a summer weekend.

Kenley's newest collection comes out May 1st, so dont forget to check it out! 

In my previous post, I mentioned that I was at my friend's place to bake some cookies. She loves everything vintage and has the cutest retro appliances and perfect apartment. She snapped this post for me, thank you Lauren Duerson! xo

Dress: Kenley Collins
Shoes: French Connection
Earrings: Vintage, Pinup Queens NYC 

Monday, April 7, 2014

1970s Nautical

What a wonderful sunny weekend we had! Finally Spring is breaking through, the sun is coming out, and after another scare of almost snow last week, it was just what I needed. Now I begin the anxious, panicked wait for Spring blossoms. My favorite time of year is when the magnolias and cherry blossoms start blooming all over the city, turning Manhattan into a floral forest. So tempting to just be outside, finally free of the icy grey prison of winter, you almost dare to skip out of the office and stroll down streets scattered with petals, latte in hand, filled with a scent more delicate than the most expensive perfume.

I just saw American Hustle; loved the cinematography, the hair hot rollers and the glamor and fashion of the 1970s. I was inspired to do something a little 70s. When we think of that decade, disco, bohemian, groovy, peace and love comes to mind, but I adore the chic side of 70s fashion, the 70s does 1930s. I think of over-sized sunglasses, palazzo pants, James Bond and amazing hair. I found this vintage sweater from Incogneeto and knew it would be perfect to pair with pants, unusual for me, but perfect for the sweater.

Im always on the lookout for lucite heels, but they dont usually come in my size. These espadrille wedges with a touch of lucite were an exciting find for me, and gave my sweater a nautical accent,... paired with lots of bakelite bangles.

I was in the neighborhood visiting my friend to bake some cookies and catch up. She is another vintage lover and has the greatest style and vintage apartment. I was lucky to get her to take these pics for me, and to borrow her bakelite bangles, thank you Lauren Duerson!

 Sweater: Vintage 1970s, Incogneeto Vintage 
Trousers: Cartonnier from Anthropologie 
Coat: Vintage 1960s
Sunglasses: NOS Vintage 1960s
Handbag: Vintage 1950s, Whiting & Davies
Bangles: Vintage 1930-40s
Shoes: French Connection

Thursday, April 3, 2014

My New Stylist Editorial with Livid Magazine: Mid Century's Afternoon

I'm so excited to announce the release of Livid Magazine's Spring Issue, Seduction of Beauty. This is an exciting milestone for me as it is my first editorial print as stylist, model and art director. Yes, it was almost as hectic as it sounds, but so much fun.

I had the most amazing team to work with:

Photographer: Ryubun Yamashita
Hair: Taichi Saito
Makeup: Yusuke Okita
Model: Remi Kato
Art Director/Stylist/Model: Laura Okita

Here are a few exclusive images that you wont find in the magazine, but be sure to check out the full story here. Along with our spread, there are more editorials and beauty features to check out in one of New York's biggest emerging fashion magazines. xoxo

Image 1: 
Dress Remi, Vintage 1950s Lace Gown
Image 2: 
Dress Remi & Bolero Laura, Anna Sui, Body Suit Laura, American Apparel 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

CamdenTown: An Independent Artist & Designer Marketplace

I have always been drawn to history and world cultures. I think its something we all share as vintage girls. Its taking that adventure through the eyes of another person with different view points, encountering unique color pallets, finding old traditions to be alive in the new. Living history, integrating a fantasy into the modern world through fashion. That is what the online market place CamdenTown brings to us, a virtual window through which to explore independent artists and designers around the world. 

I had the please of learning more about CamdenTown and want to share the interview with you.

I love that CamdenTown was inspired by London's historical and still present Camden Town market. Take us to Camden Town, please tell us more about the history of this amazing place.

Up to the mid 20th century, Camden wasn't even considered a fashionable area. The Camden Markets started in 1973, showcasing really original and daring pieces, and begun creating their own identity regarding other markets in the city. It has grown since then and nowadays it is one of the most important markets in London. Camden is a tourism hot spot for many international travelers, it offers so much culture and attitude that you don't find elsewhere, its home to punk, goth, Bohemia, vintage, people who live and breathe the culture and also people who design for that culture. 

What about the town or the artists inspired you to open the online market CamdenTown?

Every corner in Camden Town, and London for that matter, is impregnated with character, something interesting and unique, and definitely lots of style and personality. It is a shame that nowadays, individualism is jeopardized by mass produced fashion, and truly talented designers struggle to showcase their creations. We wanted to open an online space that promoted all that talent and individuality that has always characterized Camden Town.

Its so wonderful to find a place where artists can share their unique work with the world. Tell us a little bit more about the artists and what type of pieces are featured on your site.

We have quite a unique selection of products from artists worldwide, but particularly designers from Eastern Europe, that have little space in mainstream, or even alternative fashion sites, and we are happy to have many of them on board.

We have a wonderful designer from Turkey who makes amazing bags, we find the best designers are ones who really love what they do and put everything into it, great work comes from practice but only a lot of practice comes with passion and discipline.

Another great team we just got on board are Bohemian Sister, which is a team of two sisters who got into Jewelry design when they were young, they have some fantastic pieces and we ship them from the US all over the world.

I am sure that you have must have some amazing stories from watching independent designers grow in your online market. Would you share some with us? 

We are so young, we only started in October last year 2013, we're just really happy that all these designers have chosen to be a part of what we're doing, and it's great when you take someone new who doesn't sell much and does it as a hobby and you can help them build a career out of it and drop the office job! We can't name names, but we're really happy with the team we have and we're looking forward to signing up many more partners and hopefully changing many lives for the better :) 

Some of our designers are in their early twenties, so it is great to see them grow, we help as much as we can doing Designer of the Week features on our blog and promoting our partners on our social media.

What else should we know about CamdenTown, any new projects, events or collaborations planned in the future?

We are constantly working on finding new designers that have something really special to offer, and bring them on board. So for us right now it is about expanding our range of products and giving as much visibility as possible to all our great partners. Next it's really about finding our customer base, building on it, and keeping loyal to them, we realize there are a lot of dominant players in the online fashion market but we believe there is a niche for what we do and to be successful we have to really get to know our customers, which we are learning more about day by day!

Thank you for a lovely sponsor interview. xo

Monday, March 31, 2014

Vanity Fair's Best Dressed Challenge

Hello Vintage Community. I recently entered a few looks into the Vanity Fair's Best Dressed Challenged. I was thrilled and honored to be chosen on the editor's best dressed list and am hopeful for the user's choice for the month of April. 

I hope my entries will give a voice for the vintage community and am so excited that even though we represent a love for the past, we can have a current voice in international fashion trends. 

I am so thankful for all of your support, comments and love in growing this blog over the past year. I would love your continuing support in voting for my look simply by following the image link below to Vanity Fair's page and giving me a little heart on the upper right hand corner. <3

Thank you! XOXO

My look on Vanity Fair's Internationl Best-Dressed Challenge:
Mad About a Groovy Print

Dress can be found at Halcyon Fair