Friday, November 30, 2012

Sweatshirt Reconstruction #1: Cut Out

I am really digging cut outs lately. I did this cut out sweatshirt reconstruction a couple of weeks ago. It was inspired by a shirt I made my friend with a sliver of skin showing. I loved it so much that I decided to make myself one. I didn't make my friend's with sweatshirt material so this was quite a bit of an experiment. Sweatshirts and t-shirts are my go to fabrics for experimentation. 

I absolutely  LOVED the way it came out. It really elevates a plane sweatshirt. This one was actually an X-large. I took it all apart and re-sized it and then added the cut out before I re-attached the sleeves. I wore it twice already; once, with jeans,  to play pool, and a second time with a skirt to a parents meeting at my son's school. See how versatile it is?  

What do you think? Leave me a comment letting me know. I always appreciate feedback!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Comite Noviembre Puerto Rican Artisan Fair 2012

I had a wonderful time at the Comite Noviembre Puerto Rican Artisan Fair last Saturday. Thank you all who came out to support me and a special thanks to Luis Cordero Santoni for organizing this event year after year. Luis designed the image of Pedro Albizu Campos that I print on my designs. You can find more of his great designs at

This year I unveiled my new Pelo Bueno t-shirt design inspired by my curly, kinky hair. It was a big hit and I sold many.

My beautiful friend Felicia helped me set up. She is also an amazing hair stylist. I don't let anyone else touch my hair, she manages to get the whole curly/straight dichotomy that is my hair life. I will blog about her and my hair soon.

Felicia, wearing my Pelo Bueno shirt.
I met this beautiful lady, Leeanda, and very talented artist, Luis Pagan on Saturday. They had the table next to mine. Leeanda is truly a creative soul, she makes interesting bottle cap earrings, oranments, and these amazing tostone sculptures! I was going to eat them, they look so real! We also share a love for sewing. Luis is a great abstract painter, you can see his work in the picture and you can also "like" his fan page on facebook (Artist Luis Pagan) to see more!

Leeandra (Little Red Cart) and Luis Pagan. I bought some of her yummy candles!
This is Nanette. Her table was also near mine. She makes wearable art inspired by Mother Earth. I enjoyed talking to her. We also share a love for sewing! Check her out at  
Nanette makes beautiful leather belts, earrings and Tainoshikis, among other great items!

Halfway through the crafts fair, there was a wonderful Bomba y Plena dance presenatation. Bomba y Plena is a traditional form of Puerto Rican music and dance, featuring the use of the drum, other percussion instruments, and an African-derived call and response vocal style. 

The next two ladies bought Nelesc Designs wear in the past and were a special treat for me. The first is Wilda Gonzalez, a wonderful artist. She came to my table to show me the Pedro Albizu Campos cuff she bought from me last year. As I was leaving, I spotted this beautiful activist woman that I met last year at an event celebrating  Puerto Rican women. Her name is Esperanza Martorell and she was wearing my Julia de Burgos shirt. I would love for part of my legacy to be that I dressed poets, artists and activists!  I am glad I am on my way!
Wilda Gonzalez is a multimedia artist and painter

Esperanza Martorell is an activist, educator, and community organizer born in Bayamon, PR

My friend Sheila (on left) helps me every year but couldn't this time because she had to work. However, she surprised me by showing up at the tail end of the event. What a great show of  love. Thank you Sheila! Nydia (on right) has always encouraged me on this creative cultural journey and came with her cousins. She also drove me home! Thank you Nydia! I am truly blessed with great friends.
Sheila, me, and Nydia
All in all, it was a great night. I always have to give a shout out to my hubby who lets me be me and happily takes care of my kids while I participate in these events. He is such a treasure in my life and I am so grateful for him.

Can't wait for next year!  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Save the Date: 7th Annual Puerto Rican Artisans Fair this Saturday!

If you will be in New York this weekend, make your way uptown to the Bronx for this wonderful event, the 7th Annual  Comite Noviembre Puerto Rican Artisans Fair and Exhibit. This will be my 3rd year participating and I always have a blast. Artists come from all over the U.S. and Puerto Rico. If you decide to come, make sure to stop by my table and say hola!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

X-Large Men's Hoodie into Ladies Hoodie Mini-dress

I love it when my husband gets into donation mode with his clothes. He donates most of it but I always get a couple of pieces that I could tranform into something cute. This is one of them, X-Large Florida Hoodie.

It started out like this:
Sorry, for the pic, I was trying to get the entire sweatshirt, but I think you can figure out what I was working with.

I basically took a sweatshirt that fit me well, turned it inside out and measured, seam to seam, for a bust, waist and hip measurement.  I then took the Florida sweatshirt apart, cutting the arms and side seams. THAT IS ALL, I CUT NOTHING ELSE. Then I applied the measurments to the Florida shirt and stitched with a sewing machine as you can see below. With a shirt as large as this one, it required to sew up some of the arm hole. 

As you can see from my measurments, I am quite a pear! lol. I also serged the seams for durability but you don't have to.

I like the fit because it is comfortable without being tight.
It looks great with leggings and boots. I have also worn it with skinny jeans. Oh, and it's oh so warm!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Go Out and Vote!

I love this dress! It's right up my alley with Nelesc Designs which feature cultural icons on stylish tops and dresses.  Perfect combination of form and function.

In this case,  I actually wished it didn't have a candidate filled in because all that I want to say today  is "go out and vote!" It's your right, it's your voice. No matter who you vote for, go out and vote!

Nuff said.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Tutorial: Transform a Small Shirt into a Draped Top

So here is a short tutorial on how I tranformed my too small top into a cute draped top!

Here is what you will need: 1)The shirt you want to make bigger 2) an XL or larger shirt in the same color or different one for a color block effect, 3) scissors, 4) sewing machine or needle and thread (although I have not tried it with the latter). 

 1. Here’s the shirt I wanted to make larger. When I bought it at a thrift shop years ago, it was gigantic and I had to make it smaller. Now it got too small and I have to make it bigger (sigh)

2. So here you have another black X-large t-shirt. I had already cut out the neck line.

3. I start by cutting the side seams and the sleeves off of my Evita shirt.

4. This what I am left with.

5. I cut further to make it look like one long, straight, column

6. I cut the sleeves off the other XL black t shirt.

7. Then I start cutting out the entire middle section

8. Until the entire middle section is all cut out. DO NOT CUT SHOULDER SEAMS.

9. Line up shoulder seams of XL shirt to the shoulder seams of the original shirt. Begin pinning going down.

10. As you pin down, also line up the bottom seam of both shirts and pin. You will definitely have more fabric from the XL shirt that you can begin pleating and pinning. This will make for a nice drape effect.

11. Turn it around to see what it looks like and make adjustments.

12. Now do the same thing to the back.

13. Place it over your head, wrong side out and, on each side, gage where it feels comfortable to start your arm hole seam and pin on each side. If it’s too difficult to do by yourself, have someone pin it for you or pin on a mannequin. Then stitch side seams all the way down.

So here it is! I have a fancy hem sewing machine so I did stitch the neckline and arm holes but you can definitely leave them unfinished as t-shirt material does not unravel.

I  wore this shirt everywhere; baby shower, kids birthday party, brunch with a friend. I just love it!

Here I am with our good friend Radesky at his sister's baby shower. Radesky was about twelve when my husband and I met him. He has turned into a fine young man.

Here I am with my good friend Karen at her son's birthday party. She is a wonderful friend and caring, compassionate public school teacher. And also a natural curly head like me!  
 This shirt is comfy, stylish and makes a statement in image and design. I will definitely make more! So what are you waiting for? Don't frown if your shirts got too small! They will look way better with this draped effect!

Tell me what you think!