Monday, December 24, 2012

The World Didnt End............

So have yourselves a very Merry Christmas, Yule, or whatever you like to celebrate!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Deidre Anaid

 Deidre Anaid makes the best Evil Queen ever.
A very stunning and confident woman,  she always has a vision and knows what she wants when she comes to me with her ideas. We always come up with something dramatic that she can work with in her performance. On top of being a very innovative dancer, the lady's got the visuals DOWN!

Its a bit difficult to see, but there are two skirts for this costume. A Rattie Tattie Style skirt of paint spattered lace goes under a tear away overskirt. I had fun with this one - I got to do some fabric painting and fabric distressing after the fitted garment was done.

Head piece by Snake Church
Photography: Dark Soul Photography

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sherri Wheatley

  Ive made many costume components for Sherri over the years. This was a quick one where she needed a skirt and there wasn't much time to send swatches back and forth. I lucked out on my first shopping trip and found a great rayon with a copper sheen. Its got lots of buttons and loops. She can bustle it, wrap it, or leave it down. I love the print and the drama of the length. She wears it well!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Inactive Here, But Active Nontheless

Lordy, but the blogging has been severely neglected! But once Halloween is over, I hope to be able to catch my breath and write a few posts about some of my more interesting projects and adventures this year!

My blog needs overhauling, Im working on a website, Ive got things in the works, there just has not been a lot of time for sitting and writing!

Stay tuned and check in now and then! I haven't gone away!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

OOOps I did it again!

Im having a Once In A Blue Moon Sale!
Yes, I said I wouldnt have any more sales...........
But that was a whole different world back then........

Just go to my Etsy Store and when you purchase something, you will be instructed at checkout to enter this code::
You'll get 15% off your purchase!

Yes, once in a Blue Moon! It can happen!

Friday, August 3, 2012


Ive got some lovely cholis going up in my Etsy shop right now! I wasnt focusing on the store for a while, but thats all changing now, and I'll be listing garments as I make them.

There are a few smalls offered although I have mostly larger sizes at the moment.  I had sold quite a few of the smaller sizes at Tribal Fest this Spring. But I will be making more cholis in a variety of sizes, fabrics, and styles as materials come my way!
- keep checking in!

Ive got some pretty green lace Rattie Tattie Skirts cut out and waiting to be sewn up. Perhaps I should make some matching tops!

Come by my Etsy Shop and check out whats going on! Ive got your classic Sampants, a few of this and some of always!

I Love My Life!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Finally Some Curtains..........

Its that time of the year when sunlight floods into my studio and I feel exposed to the world without curtains. I have been in this studio almost two years and have never been been able to get more than some lace scraps and borrowed Christmas lights up in the front widow above the door. Ive been waiting for the right fabric and the right hardware and could never decided just what to do with it.

But yesterday, being July and all, I just had to take those lights down and get on the ball with this. I needed more of a feeling of privacy and I just had to get the thing done. So I measured the area, took some fabric that was hanging off the wall, borrowed a rod from the back room, dug out a bunch of those little cafe rod clippie thingies, pressed out that fabric and got to it.

I would have rather had something more dramatic and romantic as a window treatment, but maybe I can accomplish this in another two years or so. (just kidding) In the meantime, Ive got a nice white brocade keeping out prying eyes and giving me some privacy. It doesn't look great, but it doesn't look too bad. It doesn't fight with anything. It gives me some peace of mind until I put up better curtains (I actually need a taller ladder to do something nicer, so that's next on the list)  and I didn't hurt myself putting them up.

I am continually hearing people these days lamenting the price of sewing lessons and workshops. Well, my dears, those people deserve a living wage as well as you do. There are online classes and there are books and there are people who teach at lower rates also - so if you cannot afford for someone to come out and measure your windows and then make drapes that hang properly and create a pleasing ambiance for your environment, go make your own! YouTube is chock full of tutorials and little classes! You might not have as much fun as you would have in a hands on class, but you can learn useful things. There really is nothing more satisfying than having made something with your own two hands! Not only will you take pride in your accomplishment, you will understand what it takes to make something and to make it well. And hopefully you will understand that people with skills need to be compensated well for those skills. We don't just wiggle our noses to make it work. There is some expertise involved and lots of overhead. We all need to earn a decent living.

Ive got some info here about classes that I offer. Please email me if you would like to learn some sewing skills that you can use to get that great feeling of accomplishment! My prices are very reasonable and I like to laugh - so we'll have a good time as you learn! I look at this photo, I see now that I'll need that taller ladder soon. Ive got ideas.....................shirred short shears (say that 5 times really fast!) on two thin rods in the back and I want to replace the short upper curtains with drapes that go to the floor and puddle over the already puddling drapes - not practical - and who cares! And I need to find a chandelier, but one of those HUGE  paper lanterns would do.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Old Califronia Charm

Usually when I set appointments for the weekends, I try to have people come in after noon. Its not because I need to sleep in. I give myself a morning or two to come hang out in Port Costa to have coffee, cornbread, and hang out with friends in  Earls' storefront cafe! There is a lovely community of diverse people here. People from all walks of life happen by. I have had conversations with tourists visiting from other countries, new neighbors, old neighbors, and Ive even found old friends from back in the day that disappeared. This is one of those magical places where you just end up and keep coming back for more! It has the flavor and vibe of an Old California - a time we'll never have again.

A few weeks back, I wrote a post about some pillows that I had made for the Burlington Hotel .  I call it my Pet Pillow Project. This hotel is a true hidden and relatively unknown gem of the San Francisco Bay Area! The hotel really should be recognized and preserved as a landmark. Through the efforts of a wonderful group of people, this old lady is being spruced up and revived. I am so pleased that I get to help in my small way with this sprucing up - for I love this old lady with all my heart! Port Costa is pretty popular on the weekends. I'm very sure that soon, this area is going to be visited quite a bit more!

My photos cant quite convey the charm of this place or the work that is going into it, but come by and take a look, have some strong coffee and cornbread, have a beer over at the Warehouse Cafe, peek into the windows over at the Theatre of Dreams, stroll through a little town that is surrounded by wild countryside and farm land, and walk the tracks along the Carquinez straits................and then if you plan ahead and let me know you are coming, you can drive back through Crockett and come visit my studio! Perhaps you'll end up going home with a new pair of Sampants! Perhaps you'll find a treasure that you cant resist!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

2010 Tribal Fest After Party

Brad Dosland takes such beautiful photos!!! Just snagged a couple that were recently posted on his
Taboo Media Facebook page.. Brad does most of this on his own dime for his community, so we wait for the documentation when we have to - and gladly! This was the 2010 Tribal Fest After Party. My model, Steven was wearing the white wedding attire. Medina Maitreya made the fascinator and collar.

Model: Steven Eggers
Designers: Right to Left: Rachel Thomas, Medina Maitreya, Kathleen Crowley, Lee Kobus, Katherine Summer

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Lets not forget what this day is all about.
It appears that we have done so.
Speak out.
Stand up for your rights and take back the right to do so without punishment from the law.
Stand up for your fellow man.
Demand liberty and justice for all.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I made Colette Todorov's  wedding dress back when I was living on Fell St. in San Francisco - quite a long time ago now. Ive been digging through old photos and pictures that have been sent to me. Colette's popped up and I thought I would share. This lavender dress has a chiffon overlay trimmed with  ribbon of a darker hue. Its a perfect color for her complexion! Don't be afraid to choose a complimentary color for your wedding dress! Especially for a less formal venue. White does not suit everyone. Show off your personality and have fun!

I dont know how she does it, but she still looks the same!

Colette now lives in Oregon and is the director of Scarlet Thistle Studio.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Few Words About Quality

Here is a video made of my friend Erika who is a clothing whore   fashionista of the finest degree. She has impeccable taste and knows quality when she sees it. I made a Poiret inspired silk velvet opera coat for her wedding day, and Ive repaired some of her precious vintage. I do believe that the black fringie beribboned coat was one of the coats that she brought me to work on. There is nothing more exciting than keeping these old treasure alive and wearable! Here is her SF accessories boutique!

Erika Von Petrin for from StyleLikeU on Vimeo.

Most people have no idea what goes into making clothing. They usually don't understand why certain garments cost so much when they are used to purchasing  mass produced clothing that can be worn and thrown away in a season or two. And with incomes going down and the cost of living going up, it is harder to justify purchasing expensive clothing.

Better clothing is usually more expensive because more time and money goes into its construction. But if you purchase things that are made better, they will generally last a lot longer with care. I have altered, repaired, and constructed many garments over the years. Ive worked on a lot of vintage clothing, which were usually made with better care and attention to detail. The ONE thing that I have seen with the older clothing in contrast with the newer clothing is that the older clothing is made with a much tinier stitch length. This has held these garments up to the test of time. The most time consuming part of repairing or altering these garments has been ripping out those tiny little stitches. They often do not rip out easily. Rarely do I see modern clothing sewn with tiny stitches. And it usually falls apart quickly with wear.

A garment of superior quality will look like more care and consideration was taken into its production. The first thing to do would be to go do some window shopping and inspect low priced garments and then compare them to higher priced garments. The item or items should stand out  above the inferior clothing. There may be more detail, seams will be straight or sewn with more care. Bust seams should be smooth with no puckering. Buttons are sewn on securely. Button holes should not be frayed. There will sometimes be smaller machine stitching in the foundation of the garment ( but this is a trend that has mainly died out due to manufacturing costs). Pockets flaps will lie flat. Lapels will lie flat. Inner seams may be bound with bias tape. Threads will be clipped. Linings and interlinings and padding may be used. There may be more curves to accommodate a female body Seam allowances will be clipped so that the seam lays flat against the body. More consideration may be taken into giving a hem or hemline that is flattering. Hems  should not pucker. There may be a bit more weight and drape to the garment. There may be bigger seam allowances to accommodate possible alterations. More finishing techniques may be used to add more life and structure to the clothing.  More thought will be taken in the actual design of the garment. Better fabrics will be used. The inside of the garment should look nice also. Try on the garments and see how they fit. See how they make you feel when they are on your body. There is a reason why some clothing makes you look and feel like a million bucks - much more time and thought went into its' making.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

What To Wear To The Beach

Its summer now and I found myself recently in a situation where I was expected to don a bathing suit and lay out in the sun.  I don't do that. I don't even own a bathing suit. But nonetheless, I would wear one of these, I suppose, in an emergency.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pet Pillow Project

Throw pillows have to be the easiest things to make and the best way to utilize all those scraps of fabric piling up! These will go to the Burlington Hotel in Port Costa which is slowly but surely being given a little spruce up. This is my pet project at the moment. There is a story here, but I'm having a hard time sitting down and blogging right now. So you'll have to wait.......................don't you just hate it when people do that?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Advice From A Singer Sewing Manual

I snagged this off of Facebook. I think I stole it from Adrienne Rice. At first I was kind of disgusted at the old sexist tone of it, but when I thought a moment, its actually pretty true. When my studio and home is fairly clean and straightened up - when I've bothered to fix my hair and put on some lips and put some thought into my appearance, I just work better.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Donner Party

My sister Tricia took her kids and I up to Tahoe where we had a great time hanging out at Squaw Valley for a few days. As we were leaving, we decided to head over to Donner Lake and check out the Emigrant Trail Museum and learn more about the Donner Party.  I used to be pretty fascinated with this true story of adventure, bad judgement, bad luck, suffering and cannibalism. Its a kind of suffering that we can only shudder and guess about. The event is really just one of the hundreds of stories from those times, but it has remained one of the most notorious. And some of these survivors contributed to some serious molding of the state of California. Vallejo was in the running for becoming the state capitol! (Its the town over the bridge and next door to me!)

The wild, wild west is full of these stories of adventure and hardships. And depending on whose side you are on in the "taming" of this country, its pretty fascinating to look back on how we got to this point in time........what they wore, what they did, how they managed if they managed at all......................

Having grown up in California, having had ancestors that got in their wagons and headed west, having family that headed over to California during the last Great Depression, and now having  lived through a time of opulence and fortune to sadly  be entering into a new period of potential decline of our Super Power country, I am being drawn back once again to stories of courage and .hardship. Stories of what people are really made of when they are forced to make do with what they've got. Stories of never giving up. Stories of living and dying for a dream of a better future. It helps me to go on when I have one of those days of not being able to see the glass half full.

I do love an amazing gown. I love sequins and faded velvet and all the sumptuous clothing that were worn by the well to do from other eras, but it seems that these are the garments that most focus on when we think of the Olden Days. And understandably so. The real clothing isnt very glamorous. It is functional  with maybe a frill or two. You can tell so much about a people by what they wear. Its how I learned a lot of world history.

Tricia and I had fun comparing ourselves to the pioneer clothing worn by the real women of the mid 1800's. What a joke. We wouldn't last a day on the trail like this in our leggings, cute shoes, cowboy hat from Ross and designer capris. Of course, this isnt what we would wear on a cross country hike, but its really hard to imagine walking across rough country in a long dress. Hundreds and hundreds of miles of it. There was no sunscreen, so they had to wear those huge bonnets to protect themselves from sun and insects. They were hot and miserable. There were no lightweight cross trainers or hiking boots. They had hard soled shoes. Their feet must have killed them. They got real old before their time.

And bringing along children...........what spoiled modern child would be able to survive this? The story of little Patty Reed is so sweet. She had to give up her toys to lighten the load but she hid this little doll in her dress. This is just a copy. The original is in the Fort Sutter Museum in Sacramento because those were the guys who came to rescue them and she donated it to their museum.

A few relics. A few textiles. An old sewing machine. Native beaded garments, books, and guns. Lots of dioramas full of facts and visuals. Its not a fancy museum and you might not be very impressed as they get little funding ( I'm sure). It does give you a very clear idea, however, of how it was back then and what happened to those poor stranded  adventurers. There are lots of books on interesting subjects pertaining to the area and since one of the women working there used to be a librarian, she was able to give us a wealth of information on which were the best to read.

  I just finished this one. Its a quick read and he tells it like he supposed it must have been - not a dry read at all. Yet filled with facts enough to appreciate the soft lives that we lead.

If you are in the area, check it out. And here are some wonderful reenactment photos from Fort Sutter.

 Sorry about the vintage iphone photos. I wasnt thinking about using them for blogging at the time. But hopefully its a bit informative and entertaining!