Sunday, November 27, 2016

DIY: dyeing an old dress to make it new---BRICOLAGE: teindre une vieille robe pour la rendre neuve

This outfit has me feeling all sorts of holiday vibes...but it wouldn't have used to the way that I originally bought this dress.

I was making a random stop at a neighborhood Goodwill (can't remember the initial purpose of the visit). Then I spotted this very homely looking fabric poking out of the dresses "clearance" rack (the ones that have the colored tag for that day's promotion). I pulled on the potato colored material and out came this cutely shaped handmade vintage dress (I am guessing it is early to mid 1950s). The dress had clearly seen better days, there were parts that had a sort of oil based staining on it, and the seam where the zipper was sewn in needed some reinforcing. I took it to the dressing room and tried it on to make sure it would fit it. I basically fell in love (I mean for a few dollars what wasn't there to love) but immediately started brainstorming ways by which I could make it more wearable.

A packet of raspberry red dye, hot water, and a bathtub later I got a lovely new wardrobe staple!

A great way, in my opinion, to "save" or reuse something older that you might be tempted to overlook or toss out is to dye it. I have some tips on how to go about that below...

Here are some things to keep in mind when dyeing fabrics:

AGE: The age of any fabric will affect how well it takes to dye and how much it is at risk for deterioration. This dress is about 60 years old and the fabric is still in good shape, so I wasn't too concerned about its fragility. I have another dress from the 1920s which I have thought about dying but am still hesitating to do so because I worry about the age of the fabric. If you are looking into dyeing a garment any older than 50-60 years I would take some serious precautions and look into cold water dyes or non-acidic dyes which react a little differently and tend to be gentler on older fabrics. Tulip and RIT which are the two main brands found in the U.S are acidic dyes which should be used with caution on garments which are 70+ years old. You will probably have to go search online or to a specialty fabrics/dyeing store in order to get the appropriate dyes.

MATERIAL: Natural fabrics tend to take to dyes very well, so cottons, linens, hemp, bamboo and silks will usually turn out evenly dyed. Wool and cashmere are tricky because most dyes are heat activated and you will end up shrinking your fabric if you expose it to the temperatures required for most generic dyes. Synthetics are VERY unpredictable. While most synthetics CAN be dyed, you must do your research and make sure you don't set your expectations too high. Now the other thing is you need to be familiar with the look and feel of different materials because chances are, vintage and second-hand items will not have care and composition tags. This dress, as far as I can tell, is a cotton-linen blend. I knew it would be a fairly safe bet in terms of dyeing it to give it new life but I think a lot of it was luck and the fact that I was willing to take a risk because it was so inexpensive to begin with. 

EXISTING COLOR: Naturally, you can't buy a black dress, get a box of light blue RIT and dye it expecting a lovely sky blue result. If you have a dark item you want to take to a lighter shade, you will have to run an additional risk of bleaching the garment first, and then re-dyeing it. Additionally, unless your item is PURE white, do not expect the dye job to come out looking like the box or packet's description.  The theory of color and mixing does apply to dyeing clothing; a light green dress being dyed blue will yield a turquoise shade of sorts. Just be realistic in what your expectations are. The longer you dye the item, and the more dye you use, the higher concentration of pigment in your end result. 

EXISTING PATTERNS: Something a lot of people overlook is whether or not there are designs, pattern, or even stitching in a different color or material. I dyed another dress once and the stitching was a synthetic in pure white, and while it didn't end up being a big deal, the dress ended up being navy and the stitching stayed white. You need to take into account what features your item already has and decide what you are willing to live with in terms of changes to those details. 

EXISTING ISSUES: My dress had oily looking stains on it, this was something that I was hoping would be masked by a darker dye job and it was a risk I took, knowing full well the dye might cling to it and make it look even worse than before. Make sure you launder whatever item it is you plan to dye ahead of time to try and address any existing issues. If there are worn, frayed, areas or missing buttons decide whether or not you want to make the repairs with the existing colors or the ones of the new dye job. While dyeing can salvage a myriad of issues, sun fading and bleached spots are ones that can be unpredictable and difficult to fix. Make sure you understand the provenance of the damage and how they will react to dye. 
EXPERIENCE AND WILLINGNESS TO TAKE A RISK: No matter what, dyeing is a risky business. Keeping in mind I had already dyed quite a few things before attempting to dye this dress, I have repeatedly seen success using dyes in different projects and felt fairly confident I could get a favorable result. I was also very willing to take a risk what with the dress being so inexpensive. I figured if I did end up ruining it during the dyeing process that it would be sad but I could reuse the fabric as rags or something. You should probably pick a low-risk project as your first one to ensure you feel successful. 

Dyeing old clothes to give them new life can be rewarding and so fun! It can even give YOU life ;)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

how to fall for autumn hats---comment craquer pour les chapeaux d'automne

My husband hates this can't even tell me why so I don't really care. 
 I've never really been one to wear hats much because they kind of intimidated me; I always admired them on others from a distance. Until I stumbled upon this cute vintage hat and I just had to have it. It is perfect for *finally* brisk Texas fall days. 

If you are feeling a little stuck or uninspired by your wardrobe I am always 
an advocate for stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something a tad different. For me it was this hat.

Here are some things to keep in mind when selecting your new favorite fall accessory:
  • COLOR: think about which color would coordinate most with the rest of your clothes. I selected a chocolate brown because brown is an earthy neutral and goes with most of my other fall and winter clothing which tends to stay rich but rustic. Neutrals are easier to work into *most* wardrobes, but sometimes the best accessories are in bold colors especially if the rest of your wardrobe IS composed of neutrals. Just do what works for you and your clothing. 
  • HAIR: your haircut, color, and texture can affect the way hats sit on your head as well as how it looks. Though I love the way tan hats look on other people, tans and camels tend to be too similar to my hair color and it does not offer enough contrast. My curls also need a more relaxed band otherwise it warps their shape when they are under the hat.
  • FACE SHAPE: for this one you will need to make sure you try on some hats in the store. Right now Target has a great selection with different shapes and styles of hats. While I love cloche hats, they just don't work for my face shape. Those are well suited to you if you can rock shorter haircuts! Huge floppy hats also tend to overwhelm my face as it is small. You can try many on and I promise there will be at least one that you love the way you look in it :)
  • MATERIAL: This hat is 100% wool, which is actually too warm for the majority of the year in Texas. If you live in a warm climate, felt or a cotton blend might be better as it doesn't keep heat in as well as wool. Wool is perfect for those of you lucky enough to live in places with seasons :)

vintage brown wool hat from Vinted: $7 (similar)
vintage denim overall dress from Etsy: $15 (similar)
goldenrod tights from ModCloth: $12 (similar)
brown ankle booties: gift, unsure where they came from (similar)
plum striped long-sleeve: hand me down (similar)

Mon mari déteste ce chapeau hahaha, et il n'arrive pas à m'exprimer les raisons pour ses sentiments donc j'ai décidé que je ne vais pas m'en soucier et je continue à porter mon chapeau tranquille...

Avant j'hésitais un peu à porter les chapeaux; ce n'est pas qu'il ne me plaise pas, c'est juste que je les trouvais un peu intimidant et donc je me contentais de les admirer de loin. Puis je suis tombée par hasard sur ce magnifique chapeau des années 1970s et j'ai craqué. Avec sa belle couleur marron chocolat et la laine de haute qualité qui me garde au chaud sans être étouffant, il est tout simplement parfait pour ces premiers jours où il fait *enfin* un peu froid ici au Texas. 

Si vous manquez d'inspiration dans votre garde-robe et que vous cherchez à retrouver l'étincelle je vous lance le défi d'essayer quelque chose que vous n'avais pas encore porté. Pour moi c' était ce chapeau. Ci-dessous je vous donne quelque conseils pour selectionner votre nouvel accessoire d'automne:

  • COULEUR: j'ai gardé en tête le reste de mes vêtements d'automne et d'hiver, qui sont pour la plupart des couleurs vives et riches. J'ai donc choisi un joli marron chocolat, une couleur neutre qui va bien avec la plupart des couleurs dans ma garderobe. C'est à vous de décider si vos vêtements seraient mieux compléter avec une couleur neutre ou vive pour votre chapeau, et si vous avez des palettes de couleurs particulières que vous portez souvent. 
  • CHEVEUX: puisque j'ai les cheveux blonds foncés les couleurs caramel et beige fondent un peu trop das le décor si je les porte sur ma tête. Il faut penser à ça ainsi qu'à la coupe et la texture de vos cheveux. 
  • FORME DU VISAGE: pour ceci il suffit d'essayer différents styles de chapeaux au magasin. J'ai découvert que les cloches ne me vont pas bien du tout, je suppose que cette forme de chapeau irai beaucoup mieux aux femmes aux cheveux courts. Les chapeaux aux bords large et souple ne me vont pas bien non-plus car j'ai une toute petite tête et cette forme de chapeau ne fait qu'empirer les choses. 
  • MATIÈRE: Si vous habitez un climat chaud il faut songer aux meilleurs matières pour ne pas crever de chaleur en portant votre chapeau. Le mien est 100% laine donc je peux le porter seulement quand il fait froid. La laine est vraiment idéale pour les climats froids, et je suggère plutôt le feutre ou un mélange coton pour ceux qui n'ont pas la chance d'avoir plusieurs saisons :) 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

sartorial therapy--thérapie vestimentaire

I have written and re-written this post so many times.
The first time it was angry and sad and hopeless and I just spilled all my guts in a pretty ugly way. The second time it was rambling and confused, trying to piece together what I what I was feeling with how I wanted to continue to portray this blog. So all I am going to do in this, the final draft, is tell a short story and issue a challenge. 

I told someone who I love and respect deeply what I have been struggling with in my personal and professional life. I was bitter and hopeless when I spoke to this person, and they could sense I was teetering on the edge. All this person said to me as we tearfully parted ( I did not want to return from that visit) was not to let life make me hard and bitter. 

Those words have been tumbling around in my head as things continue to go from bad to worse. I have tried not to become hard and bitter. I have tried to stay sweet and positive. Seldom do I feel like I am succeeding. But I keep trying.

 Something seemingly shallow and trivial, that never fails to boost my mood, even if only a little or for a short time, is wearing something beautiful like this dress and these shoes.
I feel even better when it is vintage for a few reasons: 

1. I get to wear a piece of history which is such a cool feeling
2. I love the way that vintage clothes look and fit (the silhouettes and fabrics are beautiful)
3. I get to help the environment, because the clothing industry is said to be the second biggest polluter outside of the oil industry. 
4. Ethically speaking, the modern clothing industry (especially fast fashion) is a controversial and shady business for the most part. 

I don't even want to get into the debate of whether or not climate change is valid, or answer the question as to why the environment is so highly politicized. To me, a resident of the planet Earth, it really is a simple point of view. Why wouldn't I do my best to keep the planet as nice as I possibly can? It is about being responsible, and a good person, and conscious of how my actions can impact others (plants, animals, and other people). 

I challenge you to be more responsible with your clothing. If thrifting or second-hand, or vintage, isn't your thing then do something else with the clothes you no longer want. So many people just throw them out and that is wasteful beyond belief. Get creative and use the old fabrics for a project or use them as rags to clean. Donate clothing that is still gently used to shelters, try to resell them using apps or websites, take them to a resale shop or a thrift store. H&M even has a program which will take your old clothing and actually recycle them, then give you a coupon to purchase clothes from their eco-friendly, ethically sourced lines. 
Your problems won't go away, but I can promise you it will bring your heart a small amount of joy knowing that you made the world a better place!

J'ai écri et réécri cet article plusieurs fois avant de le publier. Le premier brouillon était plein de rage, et de tristesse et de déséspoir. J'ai décidé que le monde n'a pas besoin de plus de pensées et d'énergie négatives, et le deuxième et troisième brouillons étaient donc un mélange de mes sentiments avec d'autres pensées légèrement plus inspirantes. Finalement, je vais juste vous raconter une histoire et vous lancer un défi. 


J'ai visité quelqu'un que j'aime et que je respecte profondément. Je leur ai tout raconté, toutes les difficultés que j'ai en ce moment dans ma vie professionnelle et personnelle. C'était tout comme mon premier brouillon; remplie de rage, de tristesse et de déséspoir. La personne a ressenti que j'étais presque au point de rupture. Le conseil qu'elle m'a offert; ne laisse pas la vie te rendre dure. 

Depuis que l'on s'est quitté, je pense souvent aux mots que cette personne a partagés avec moi. J'essaie de rester positive et de rester douce. Je fais de mon mieux pour ne pas m'endurcir. Je n'ai pas l'impression d'avoir beaucoup de succès, mais je continue d'essayer. 

Quelque chose de simple et d'un peu idiot qui m'aide à rester de bonne humeur, et de porter quelque chose de jolie comme cette robe et ces chaussures des années 1940s. J'aime tellement porter des choses d'époques comme celles-ci parce que:

1. Porter un petit morceau d'histoire est une sensation assez spéciale.
2. Je trouve que les vêtements plus anciens sont mieux fabriqués et plus flatteurs.
3. Je peux aider l'environnement en réutilisant les vêtements car les textiles sont les polluants les plus importants après le pétrol. 
4. Parlant strictement d'éthiques, la fabrication des vêtements n'est pas souvent un processus très net.

Le défi:

Je ne veux pas parler de manière politique du changement de climat, ni même essayé de comprendre pourquoi l'écologie fait partie du discours politique. En tant qu'êtres humains vivant sur la Terre, je pense qu'il suffit de prendre conscience du fait que si nous vivons ici, pourquoi ne pas s'occuppé de cette planète? C'est un point de vue très simple à mon avis. Qui trouve cela agréable de vivre dans un endroit sale, pollué, ou sans végétation ni vie animale. N'oublions pas que ce sont les plantes qui en grande partie nous permettent de réspirer. Qui se dit sincèrement qu'il n'y a aucun besoin d'être résponsable et d'essayer de s'améliorier et d'améliorier le monde autour de soi? Certainement pas moi. 

Je vous lance le défi de ne pas gaspiller vos vêtements. Parfois il est tentant de simplement les jeter à la poubelle si nous n'avons pas le temps de s'en débarrasser correctement. D'autres on du mal à se voir en train de porter quelque chose qui n'est pas neuf. Essayer de faire quelque chose de différent pour aider la planète. Donner vos vêtements à différentes organisations pour les démunies. Utiliser la matière de vos vêtements pour en faire un projet de bricolage, ou même des torchons pour le nettoyage. Vous vous sentirez mieux après avoir fait quelque chose de simple pour rendre le monde plus beau, je vous le garantie!