Thursday, February 27, 2020

Revisiting Early Work

I was working in my studio a couple of days ago, digging deep into storage when I found a few of my early pieces I had completely forgotten about. They're from 2006-2008, back before sustainability was a buzzword when repurposing was in its least in fashion.

Early on I took inspiration from the work of Christian LaCroix, Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood. I was drawn to their beautiful and ultra feminine designs.  I began searching thrift stores and flea markets for vintage corsetry and underpinnings to spark my creativity and reimagine them into pretty tops and dresses.

The very first piece I designed was this top created from a vintage 1940s cotton corset, a vintage hankie and a few buttons and ribbons.  Take a look at all of those gorgeous buttons running down the side. I'm pleased that I held onto this piece. It was featured in Belle Armoire magazine.


The piece below was upcycled from a Victorian era jacket that was way too small for anyone to fit into. I opened up the back adding a vintage lace panel. Unfortunately I don't have a photo of the back. Again...those buttons!

I redesigned this plain, simple corset using cuttings from a burlap coffee bag and various vintage ribbons and trims.

Here's a fun project where I repurposed vintage zippers, adding them to an existing black cotton corset.

My fascination with vintage underpinnings continued with more upcycled corsetry and vintage silk textiles...

This is the second dress I designed and it was featured on the cover of Belle Armoire magazine. (I still have this one.)

The dress below had a lovely tulle underskirt and was pieced from several Victorian era garments that were in disrepair. One of my dear friends owns it.

This dress was also featured in Belle Armoire and was always one of my favorites with the mix of embroideries, ruffles and lace. Another one that got away and I wish I still had. 

Deeply into my Vivienne Westwood period, the textiles got darker and the shapes more abstract. 😊 The next was a two piece garment - the skirt made up in a menswear inspired textile paired with a silk layered and ruffled top.

This was the first time I used upcycled leather in the mix of leather, and brocade. 

The final piece is a blanket coat where I mixed a wrap around skirt with cashmere pieces and leather remnants.


I don't own many of these garments- most went to what I hope are still happy customers. It's always fun to revisit the early work. 

Thank you for coming to my retrospective.  


  1. I just opened a back issue of Belle Armoire.I searched for you.I have put my creativity aside and wanted some inspiration.I found it in you and hope you are well and continue your fabulous work

  2. Thanks so much for stopping by. Your words mean a lot to me. To think that I might inspire someone in their own creativity makes me very happy.

  3. Forgotten work ... found ... is delightful!! Dana Graves....

  4. Hope to see more of your gr8 Art ...dana graves... long time passing


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