Featherweight Trunk Shows in Oakland & Los Angeles!

Join me at Crown Nine for a trunk show!

I'll have brand new T-shirt designs, plus a batch of fresh new one-of-a-kind upcycled jackets.  Soft warm wools; hand-painted metallics; appliqued vintage textiles; the perfect pieces to stand out from the crowd & wear your individuality on your sleeve.  BONUS: this upcycled style is sustainable, so you can love the earth and look good too.

And if you're in LOS ANGELES, you can shop my jackets at these events:

DEC 3rd:  A Current Affair  Cooper Design Space Penthouse (860 South Los Angeles St, 11th Floor) **Look for Kime Buzzelli's booth (The End Yucca Valley)

DEC 10th: Bitchcraft Winter Faire  Kinship Studios (5612 N. Figueroa ST.)  **Look for Kime Buzzelli's booth (The End Yucca Valley)

DEC 17th: Goldmine Holiday Party 5-9pm @ 4225 San Fernando Rd Glendale CA 91204 ** I'll be there in person, come by & say hi!

Inspiration: Vintage pompoms

Often my inspiration for a new design comes as a full picture that pops into my mind.  When I'm not thinking about it, not looking for it.  It pops in my mind, complete, and then I have to translate that mental image into the physical object. 

The past few weeks I've been making fresh batch one-of-a-kind jackets out of repurposed, upcycled & vintage materials. (I'm preparing for 4 pop-up events in December.)  I've been following my inspiration and started out with a couple of neutral colors and tone-on-tone effects, doing a lot of painting.  Then one day, I think I was walking somewhere, a totally off-the-wall image popped in to my head.  I almost ignored it, because it didn't resemble any of the materials I had, and it had a bold, simple color combination.

But these images, when they pop into my head, they don't leave until I create the physical object.  (That's how Featherweight started; two images rolled around in my head for almost a year until I finally gave in and figured out how to make them into T-shirts.)

So I put this colorful image on the backburner and went about my business.  Today I was in my studio, after finishing several jackets & shipping them off.  I was a little keyed up with energy and I needed to calm myself and clear my head, so I started straightening my studio.  As I was straightening, I remembered a vintage trim I bought awhile back.  One of those "I don't know what I'll use this for, but I need it" purchases.  

I rummaged around and found the tangled yardage of vintage royal blue pompom trim. I'd gotten it at a thrift store.  Then I remembered the vintage red wool jacket I hadn't customized yet.  And then THAT off-the-wall image came back into focus.  See, I told you. I had carried that image around in my head for about three weeks before I realized what it was showing me.  

So I'm about to customize a cherry red wool blazer with royal blue pompom trim. Hopefully it's awesome.

Time Lapse Video: Sewing an Upcycled Leather Pouch

I've been working on my second design collaboration with Crown Nine, and decided to film a video of me sewing one of my upcycled leather pouches from start to finish.

This is a pattern I created myself. I made a lot of the design decisions based on the fact that I don't have any tools or machines that are made for leather work; these are all sewn on my Singer Featherweight sewing machine from 1947. I designed the pattern for durability, usefulness, uniqueness and of course I wanted to make the final product beautiful and stylish.  You can't necessarily tell from the video, but I pay special attention to tying good, hidden knots.

For those of you who don't know, the leather is considered upcycled because I sourced it from a pre-existing garment, but I manipulated the material to add value.  Basically I'm putting some hideous 90's leather garments out of their misery, while not contributing to the waste stream and environmental hazards of using new leather.  Check out all the UPCYCLED items in my web shop.

I wish I could work this quickly in real life!



Repairing & Embellishing Shirts for Davíd Garza

My dear friend, musician & artist Davíd Garza, called me a week ago and told me he was mailing me three shirts to repair and embellish, just days before he was coming to my town on tour with Sara Watkins.  I used to do alterations & repairs, but I stopped doing it because I prefer the creativity of embellishing, rather than utilitarian repairs.  Knowing that Davíd is an artist and a free spirit, I knew these repairs didn't have to be boring, and that I could get a little weird with my embellishments.

When I opened the box he sent me, I was shocked at the state of the shirts.  I should have taken "before" shots so you could see what I mean.  I was *this close* to calling him and suggesting he retire the shirts.  One cream-colored button down was riddled with black mildew spots on over half of the shirt.  The sweatshirt was stretched out and had varying sizes of holes throughout.  A gauzy black pullover was faded, stretched, and looked like something had been chewing on it.  The fabric was so thin that I had a hard time picturing how to repair it.

I spent several hours repairing and embellishing the shirts, and here's how they came out:

This was the shirt that was half-covered in black mold dots.  It's a Mister Freedom shirt, which retails for a few hundred dollars when it's in good condition. I bleached the hell out of the mold stains, going through three treatments and washes until they came out to my satisfaction. Then I patched a big red stain on the front with some fabric that Davíd had sent.  I sewed some arrows on the top of the patch to add some subtle interest, and then I sewed an arrow on the opposite pocket. He mentioned wearing this shirt "at a nice dinner" so I kept the embellishments somewhat subtle.

Davíd wore this shirt on stage the night that I gave it to him, which made me really happy.  

This gauzy black pullover was the biggest challenge, so I got really creative with the patching.  The green patches on the side and elbows were already there, so I chose two fabrics that complemented those & added some + increase + symbols.

This shirt was never going to be fully restored & perfect, so I went more for a more mysterious soulful vibe.  I used two fabrics to create large patches over several larger holes.  The fabrics each had linear visual elements and some texture, so they fit right in with the textured, gridded main fabric of the shirt.  I added increase symbols via a large back patch, with subtle stitching over the square patches & also with some metallic paint.  The paint was another method of reinforcing a few holes, because it added strength to the fabric.

The final shirt is a Free City sweatshirt that had seen better days.  I patched a handful of holes, then painted two of my gold arrows on it, per Davíd's request.

I've never patched a knit garment before.  I found a knit fabric in my stash (all these fabrics were in my stash) that added some contrast and interest, then used an accent color (maroon) and a zigzag stitch to create the patches. For a few of the holes near the collar, I hand-stitched them with the maroon thread to reinforce them, using a bit of a darning technique.  Then I painted on the gold arrows, just two.

Davíd changed into this sweatshirt immediately after the gig.  It looked great on him.  You might catch him wearing one of these shirts on tour with Sara Watkins.

It's funny that two of the brands have the word FREE in them, as freedom is one of my biggest values.  These shirts were a challenge but I love the way they came out!