Monday, December 3, 2007

more trash into treasure

Princess Mitzy, the Five and Diamond shop cat,
became very attached to the snowman costume last week.
Yesterday I had to choose between making a bed for her, or having her return to sleeping and shedding all over the merchandise again, once I put Frosty back into storage.

Meanwhile, back at home, I have a pile of non-biodegradable items always hanging in limbo, waiting for a second life; an old polyfill mattress cover, and some corrugated plastic political lawn signs (I'd been feeling especially pissy about what to do with these, and wondering how many were already in the landfill...).

Long story short, the princess was pleased.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Gingerbread Boy Costume

When you're out strolling this Saturday at Hudsons Annual Holiday Winter Walk, don't forget to say hello to the Gingerbread Boy.

This is a costume I made here at Five and Diamond two years ago ---especially for the Winter Walk event.

Of course I can't say I designed the basic pattern--a cookie cutter did that-- but the construction details were all my own idea, and -if I do say so myself- my Gingerbread Boy costume is better than anything I can find anywhere in the google universe.

(for example, hmmm):

And --all for about $40 (try and rent one for that!).

First, I drew my pattern onto two layers of interfacing (I had a big roll of it lying around, but it probably would have only cost about 5-6 bucks). Then I got 3 yards of Brown felt (ack! Wal-Mart again!), and 3 yards of 1-inch-thick polyester batting from a local upholsterer. The interfaced cut-out became the pattern for the felt and batting cut-outs, and became the lining that keeps the itchy batting off the wearers skin.

Then I sewed all three layers together on the sewing machine, leaving about 1+ inch seam allowance. When the brown seam allowance is trimmed away, the batting becomes the edge icing!. (This part was a real bitch, however, because you need a lot of space to move a big costume like that through a sewing machine - I did it on the floor).

Then I sewed the front to the back at the head only. The rest of the costume gets attached together with plastic pricing-gun bullets. After that, it's just decorating; stuffed buttons and eyes made out of felt, attached with a glue gun...and of course an opening at the mouth so the wearer can see and breathe.

This costume turned out to be very flexible, warm and cozy.
Last year, I made a snowman costume in the same manner. Look for him too.

Dec 2 update. Me and my boys:
Special Thanks to Alex and Evan for doing such a great job in the costumes. I hear the gingerbread boy got chased all night...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Darn it!

The basic darning kit:
darning kitdarning kit

First, Don't let your holes get this big, as I did.le hole

Circle hole with running stitches and place parallel stitches across hole. Stay loose; no knots, and don't attempt to close the hole up by bunching it together. This will only create bulk and thus Blisters! IMG_8520.JPG
Weave back through perpendicularly, alternating over and under, just like when you made those cheezy potholders in summer camp. very sock monkey

(In this case I was going for the red/grey sock monkey look.)

Fin.21st century gulch

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I collect old photos, especially if they include fabulous vintage fashion. One day I was in the Whatnot Shop here in Hudson and saw these girls peeking out from a big box full of old photos.
I was struck by the wild, asymmetrical deco polka dot pattern on the blouse of the girl in front.

As it turned out, the photo had been splattered with coffee. Hmph.

I bought the photo anyway, and used the idea for this pencil skirt I made last year.

The polka dots are reverse-appliqued and are added only when the skirt is worn and a friend commissions a new dot for it (thus making the skirt something of an ongoing work of communal art). So far the skirt has 2 on front and 2 on back.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Madonna Head to Toe

I would have preferred to be the "Blonde Ambition" Madonna for Halloween this year, but this costume was still fun and relatively easy to assemble. The combat boots I borrowed from my shop Five and Diamond Vintage, in Hudson NY ( keywords for you search engines out there--). The jacket, which I had to butcher somewhat, was $3 from Sals. I made the collar and cuffs from a remnant in one of my many rag bags--it was a pretty lucky near-match to the original "Desperatly Seeking Susan" Pyramid Jacket trim.

I did have to spend about 2 bucks in the craft department at (*gasp*) Wal-Mart to create the back of the jacket, and, had to hit the dollar store for jelly bracelets. Everything else (including about a dozen rosaries) I had lying around the house.
Oh wait aminute, that's not true. I also drove 25 miles to a special junk store across the river to buy exactly the right pair of shitty plastic 80s sunglasses for $1. But hey, it was a beautiful autumn day.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Kooky Rain Suit!

Sometimes people walk into my shop with clothing that has been hanging in their closet for 30+ years ;clothing that they are finally ready to part with. They know I'll find it a good, proper home.
Saturday a woman came in with her prized Italian ca 1970 Vinyl Rainsuit. This is one of the more unusual ensembles I've seen in a while.
Very fitted zip front slacks, with a matching CULOTTE-PONCHO....hey, isn't that an oxymoron?
You have to step into the poncho after you get the (teeny) pants on! What the ...?!
An absolute nightmare when you have to pee!
You might as well be in a straight jacket!

I wonder if it had a matching floppy hat or umbrella....

Sunday, October 14, 2007

October at Five and Diamond Vintage

Autumn is finally here at Five and Diamond. My favorite season and color palette.
IMG_7943(bigger on flickr if you clickr)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

strike a pose

When WAMC radio interviewed me a couple weeks ago, one of the questions they asked me was "Do you ever find a piece that you like so much you decide to keep it?"

(Actually, I said "All the time, all the time..")

This dress is one of those times. Acquired 3 weeks ago ($5!), it has that
perfect rayon crepe drape, awesome colors and some crazy pre-mod mod pattern. I'm thinking late 40s -early 50s. The skirt has swags that form into pockets, with a big fabric-covered buttons--one just below the bustline and one just below the belly button. Killer.

And, it fits me like a glove.

Monday, October 1, 2007

When life gives you schmattas

The five and diamond label ( a rubber stamp on silk ribbon), gets put on every original created-on-premises piece.

When I find a garment that has a great print, but is otherwise pretty hideous style-wise, or has "issues" (as we like to call irreparable damage in the vintage clothing biz), I turn it into something else; usually a halter top or an apron. Sometimes I get more ambitious....Sometimes.

Here's a schmatta I turned into a halter top:

An XXL housedress

Whose skirt I turned into a bikini, from a vintage pattern:

Here's a $10 sequined evening gown, it's issue being that it was gag-me powder blue:

I turned it into a prize-winning halloween costume:

A Stained Mammy tablecloth from the 40s became a halter top:This was more ambitious than it looks, as it is lined, made from a 60 year old pattern, and I was trying to place a mammy on each mammary.

oh yes and PS I almost forgot to mention: I am the upstate NY expert on vintage clothing. :)

testing one two three

Oct 1 2007 testing testing. Blog about Five and Diamond Vintage CLothing, at the corner of FiftH and DiamonD streets, HUDSON, NEw York.

Business is great, but everyone loves to tell me how to make it better, promote it more, be a big star in the vintage fashion world, blah, blah, blah. How will I ever keep a tidy blog that is only about vintage fashion? I'm not about tidy. I couldn't do it on myspace, why would this be any different? ....