The Delight in Handmade

It's that feeling during your visit to a secondhand store when, digging through the mediocre and the mass produced, the shining light of humanity beams at you through the hangers - is that... a handmade piece?? Like striking gold, the discovery of handmade items at thrift stores leaves me with feelings of a first and everlasting love, dropping everything to check out every stitch and seam and edge to see how this creator dealt with the challenges of making fabric fit a body - are there hand sewn snaps? Maybe an old fashioned sticky zipper, mended edges, mismatched buttons... these are the signs of life that come to me at the times when I'm most convinced fashion is actually dead.

unearthing something made by hand, outside of a factory, signs that someone pondered on what was just the right way to finish that hem or, how to turn back that edge or, should i place a tiny dart here or maybe a section of gathers there? How did this creator approach this fabric and this body... it's like stepping inside the mind of another creator.

While I've (slightly regrettably) sold many of these discoveries, I still hold on to some favorites. Here are a few of my dear loves that tell stories through slightly wonky stitches and give me hope that the art of handmade clothing will not be lost in our culture of mass production. 

This vest was given to me by Natalie Kelley years ago when I lived in LA. I have no idea what she was thinking, but knowing what a beautiful collection of clothing this woman has, I'm just happy she shared part of it with me! The way the embroidery shows through in the back through the fur is delightful, and I can't say I've ever seen this loose and free method of allover embroidery many other places. 

I discovered this kimono at People of 2morrow when they had a brick and mortar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It's a slightly sunbleached wool, with tie dyed acetate lining. It is the perfect weight and length for in between seasons, and the entire thing has been hand sewn. 

Recently unearthed this weaving turned into a jacket with the plans of turning it into a pillow (not a huge fan of the black lining) however, when I put it on I realized it's just right fit, and POCKETS, made it impossible to bring scissors to it. 

This kaftan was rescued from ending up boxed in storage forever, from the last place I worked in LA, The Pop Studio. We had it in the office for inspiration for Coast Wide denim shirts, and every inch of it gets my heart singing. The raw edges on the inside, the pocket only on one hip, the fact that NONE of the threads were cut on the back. This gem has never been worn by me, still waiting for the perfect occasion / cult ceremony / hippie wedding. 

Adornchristi johnson