An Indie Biz: Experimentation Elation

PIerogi Picnic: Handmade Eco-Friendly Clothing Design

Ooh – how I love playing around with new designs and processes! It’s one of the perks of owning your own handmade business, after all!

Inspired by the impending summer, I have been playing around with new swimsuit designs, vintage denim, loose fitting tunic dresses and airy almost scandalous office-bound  frocks. Whether it’s toying with new techniques, colors, textures or shapes, it’s the freedom to create-at-will that makes process such a delight. And boy have I been having fun!

So in the next few weeks prepare yourself for a cacophony of different designs. Though they may not seem to be united in exact aesthetics, I think you’ll find that the overall retro-inspired, breathy eco pieces will also make you think about doing a little more experimenting.

Pierogi Picnic: Handmade Revamped Vintage


Pierogi Picnic: Upcycled Denim


An Indie Biz: Small Batches

“The year of our Ford.” Doesn’t that bring back memories of reading Brave New World in high school? There was an ongoing reference to Ford, as in Ford Motors, throughout the book that told of a disturbing future dystopia where the auto giant was worshiped as a God. Why? It was Ford who invented the assembly line that would create the ability to create goods on a massive scale. “Fordism,” as it was known in the early 1900s, would become the basis for the creation of all kinds of products, from cars and clothes, to food and livestock processing. Thanks to the pervasive influence of this highly efficient means of creation we have sweatshops and planned obsolescence goods (can you hear my sarcasm?).

So how do we go back? How can we resurrect the quality and longevity of items? Continue reading

My Designs: The Birth of a Bathing Suit

One of my all-time favorite things to do is roll out of bed early in the morning on any given weekend and hit the studio for some sewing. It’s when my brain is freshest, my eyes sharpest, and the light is just right.

With a steaming homemade latte in one hand, and a sharp pair of fabric scissors in the other, I indulge in the stillness of a morning by cut cut cutting through textiles. The photo above documents one such dawn as I hand craft a custom order bathing suit. A delicate endeavor, each curve must be done with absolute precision to ensure a perfect fit for the wearer. And what better time to embark on such a project as a crisp cool Sunday morn.

Indie Biz: Revamping Vintage

One of my favorite design challenges is finding frumpy vintage clothing and re-imagining them into modern user-friendly pieces. What’s so satisfying about the process is that it’s completely spontaneous. I don’t pre-plan and go out to find fabric. The fabric finds me.

As I’m hunting down t-shirts, sweaters, lace, and other materials for my classic Pierogi Picnic designs I sometimes happen upon a 60s dress or 70s skirt that has an interesting shape or print. I immediately size it up, looking at the quality of the garment, and envision it in a new form.

Friends who have come along for my fabric hunting adventures always smirk in disbelief when I grab a pleated, floor length, shoulder pad-filled frock and pop it in my cart. Weeks later when they see the outcome they are amazed!

“How did you know?” – they ask

“It’s just me following my intuition” – I reply

Any indie handmade business owner knows that there’s only so many reproductions we can pump out before we become fatigued by our craft. That’s why having an outlet to let spontaneous creativity shine is so important! All of us need to take a step back, experiment, and enjoy the stream-of-consciousness process of just letting go and having fun with a creation.

So next time you’re in a creative rut and looking for a way out – grab some raw materials and start to enjoy your craft once more. Who knows – maybe you’ll find your own token eighties frock.

An Indie Biz: Sewing Process

The beginning stages of design are what get your creative juices flowing. But once you’ve worked out the kinks of a new form and how it’s constructed the true thrill lies in bringing that idea to life!

Lately I’ve been really inspired by old fashioned Victorian shapes. I spent all of July sketching new ensembles that would pull from the ideas of the era while remaining fresh and modern. It’s not just the lace that draws me in – it’s also the layers and volume found in the outfits from the period. Bringing the aesthetic into the current century with an indie twist was my main goal.

So first I started out with a set of 2 men’s t-shirts in varying shades of red. I cut and snipped each into the sections that would later be sewn together to create a shift dress embellished with an asymmetrical bustle.

After sewing the gradient of geometric layers together I stitched the bottom portion of the dress, adding elastic around the top edge to create a cinch at the waist. Then I attached the bustle to the right hip before bringing together the top of the piece.

The result is one of my favorite new Pierogi Picnic designs! A practical cotton dress with just the right zing to give it a whimsical and chic feel. The only thing left to do is come up with a unique name for the design. What would you call it?