Monday, October 29, 2012

Hunkering down...and eating!

As we brace for Hurricane Sandy here in New York, it brings back many childhood memories for me. Growing up in south Louisiana, the threat of hurricanes was just part of life. I feel very grateful, that instead of just remembering the destruction and hardship these storms can bring, my memories are mostly of quality time with my family and good eating. Our busy everyday lives were halted, and we spent the dark hours under a little battery powered light playing cards, eating gumbo, making crafts. Post storm, if we were still without electricity, we'd clean out the freezers, and get together with neighbors for big cookouts. Not exactly canned goods, but really good food- fried fish, bar-b-que, etc.

In one particular memory, my maw-maw(she often stayed with us during hurricanes) brought over a bag of old yarn, strings, and ribbons to me. To some, it may not sound like the most exciting treat, but for me it certainly was. I dumped it all out on the living room floor under the little battery powered light, and made all sorts of necklaces and bracelets during the duration of the storm. Not much has changed with me. There's something quite nice about staying in with the one you love, cooking good food, getting to work on my many sewing projects, and not feeling the pressure to be out and about in the city.

Since I seem to be doing more eating than sewing, I thought I'd share some of the tasty menu:

Breakfast potatoes with green pepper, onions, garlic, butter, cheese, bacon + Fried Eggs

Homemade Black bean salsa 


French Onion soup- made with rich homemade beef stock  

Oh...and more wine :)
 And it's only 5 pm here...

Hunker down and stay safe wherever you are!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Just go with it...

Happy Wednesday!

Hunting for materials, planning, designing, constructing and finishing can get overwhelming at times when you're a one woman operation. I usually work best when I work on more than one piece at a time, so I can jump to another project when I'm getting stressed out with the one at hand.

Recently, in an effort to get through some mental creative blockage, I decided to clean up around my workspace (yes mom, I do clean up occasionally). Since I am such an avid recycle-r of materials, not much ever really goes to waste. When I have tiny scraps of fabric, I save them to use as stuffing materials for pillows etc. This particular time in my fabric scraps I found one small piece of a special vintage print, and I couldn't bare just tossing it in my stuffing pile. I noticed two graphic diamond shapes; after staring at them a while it dawned on me- earrings! I've toyed with jewelry making in the past and did buy a pack of earring hooks with aspirations. I then plopped myself in front of a good movie and put the earrings together; making up the construction as I go. I thought they were neat, but bold and little quirky. I put them away for a few days, unsure and afraid to share them at first.

This past Monday, I sleepily got dressed for a very early morning freelance stylist gig. It was rainy outside. I threw my sneakers on, and felt my basic outfit was lacking a bit of creativity. For some reason as I was running out the door I thought about my crazy earrings and put them on. I thought whether people liked them or not, at least they'd distract from my sleepy face and boring outfit! Then to my surprise, I started to receive compliments and inquiries on them from the crew I was working with, as well as from folks on the street and in the little bodega where I sometimes pick up coffee. It's very meaningful when a NY stranger takes the time to stop and ask about your earrings...

When I got home, I felt energized and inspired. I began sifting through more of my fabric scraps and pulled out some great graphic prints. I was so excited to find a way to make the most of these awesome vintage prints and leather remnants. I also now have a great side project that I can work on when I need to walk away from a more involved clothing piece. I love when things sometimes just fall into place and you have no choice but to just go with it!
 The original prototype; the beads were from a broken necklace.

Some of my vintage fabric remnants

My mini-jewelry assembly line- yes, it's on my kitchen window sill, making the most of space here.

Thanks for taking the time to read about my journey.
Now back to work :)


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Coffee Talk and Craftsmanship

It's October, where does the time go. I have been quite the busy little bee.
It generally takes long days, many late nights, and lots of coffee for some of my clothing designs to be completely done. I am patient because I know that all the little details will be meticulously finished, and I am certain I would not be content with anything less. When my mom taught me how to sew, it was more than just a basic construction lesson. It changed the way I analyze clothes and the quality of the craftsmanship.   

My mom and I always love to shop together and still do. I think it was often just the two of us because not many others would not want to put up with our tedious critiques. Often, when I would pull something I like and show it to my mother, it would be followed by,"Erin, but the front is all sewn crooked" and then me "Oh yeah, your right mom." I use to find these moments annoying at times during my teenage years, but in hindsight I am so grateful for this type of education. Another big pet peeve is when certain items were overpriced without lining or proper under-construction. In most cases, these 2 aspects have everything to do with how something looks, fits, and feels against your body.

Our fitting room sessions could often turn into fit sessions. If we loved something enough, and thought it was a great deal for the price, we would be content to actually purchase it and alter it slightly to be perfect. Women often complain that "nothing fits" when shopping for certain items, but often this is really true. Clothing manufactures, although they try, cannot accommodate every person out there. Every body type is different, and so every item you try on may not fit you perfectly. Find a good tailor, make a few minor adjustments and you'll see the difference. Also, if you ever have the opportunity, collaborate on something custom made for yourself. Nothing beats something tailored made specially for you. Then you'll have a one-of-a-kind garment you can pass down to your family.

At my previous corporate fashion job here in in NY, I was responsible for the overall fit and look of each and every garment we produced. I saw all this past life experience come full circle. Now, I am pouring ALL of this knowledge and experience into my own work. I am as passionate about the inside of each garment as I am the outside, and I hope that comes through in my work.

Here's a sneak preview of one of my latest projects- inside and out. A big thanks to my dear friend Jessica for sending me a box of vintage materials with this awesome, inspiring print! Other materials in this dress include more fabric from a vibrant, purple linen jacket and and a few pieces from a leather jacket.
 About to sew down the front bodice lining

Still trying to decide how dramatic the sleeves should be...

Slightly stressful learning experience: Inserting an industrial zipper from an old leather jacket into a a dress. Mission accomplished!

Stay tuned for the the finished piece! To find more of my work, check out my website at and click on the Shop the collection link.