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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bad 90s Green Screen Playlist

A couple of days ago, I was struck by the sudden, inexplicable urge to hear a dance track I remembered loving back in college called "Move Any Mountain". I couldn't remember the name of the artists, so I popped the title into a search and came back with a hit on YouTube. Eureka! The band was called the Shamen, and the track was even more awesome than I remembered. The video, however, was unintentionally hilarious in it's desperately earnest attempt to be avant garde. The director used just about every crayon available in his early 90s box, including the green screen. 

Then YouTube led me down a virtual rabbit hole of 90s green screen videos when it popped  Technotronic's "Pump Up the Jams" into the sidebar. I couldn't resist a look, and as I watched, I was suddenly reminded of how ubiquitous this particular effect was in videos of that era. So I decided to put together a playlist just for grins. It also serves as an excellent early 90s fashion primer. Enjoy!

Like I said, excellent song.

While Felly Kilingi may not have performed the actual
vocals on this track, she sure could rock a fanny pack!

This video prompted my very own Lady Miss Kier
phase- polyester mini, headband, flip, and all.

I do now realize that this track kinda sucks.

Nenah Cherry manages to make the 'round the way look classy.

I will always have a soft spot for De La.

What did I leave out? Feel free to comment and let me know.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Recent Listings

The weather in Middle Tennessee has been rater gloomy lately, so I haven't been able to post as many new items as I would have liked recently, since I rely solely on old Mr. Sun for lighting, but I was able to add a few new listings in the past week. Especially notable (at least I think so) are the Etienne Aigner belted trench and the red plaid Pendleton wool bomber jacket, both of which are in fantastic condition. I am also really digging the color block blouse, which would make a killer outfit with some riding boots and leggings.

Oh, and you can still get 20% off your entire purchase at my shop with coupon code BLOG20 until I can close the closet door in the office again. It should take at least a couple of weeks, so let's just say until December 21st.

Vintage 1970s Etienne Aigner Belted Trench Coat - $62
Vintage 80s Red Plaid Pendleton Bomber Jacket - $56
Vintage 80s Colorblock Equestrian Blouse - $32
Vintage 80s Sheer Floral Blouse - $24
Vintage 90s Little Black Body Con Cocktail Dress - $38

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Legendary East West Musical Instruments Company

Apparently, I've been holding on to a rather exquisite piece of leather goods for many years now. During my college days I acquired a particularly badass looking leather vest that I lovingly referred to as 'Chachi' (after Scott Baio's usually sleeveless character on Happy Days). I was a good bit thinner in those days, so Chachi and I were able to spend lots of quality time together barhopping, bowling, and generally getting up to no good.

But as the years have passed, my waistline has gradually expanded, and Chachi has been relegated to the lonely purgatory of the Closet In The Spare Room. Even though I knew it was doubtful I would ever be able to zip it up again, I had a hard time thinking about parting with it. Then earlier this year I started my own vintage shop, SadieBess, and I thought Chachi might make a nice addition to my inventory, and probably bring in lots of views, especially if I labelled it 'Steampunk' ;) So I began researching the name on the label to try to place a value on it. It was only then that I realized I had been sitting on a veritable vintage holy grail.

The East West Musical Instruments Company originally opened as a music shop in the Castro district of San Francisco in 1967. Legend has it that the owner decided to make a leather jacket with an old sewing machine they had on the premises, which wound up being purchased by none other than Janis Joplin. After that, the shop made leather jackets it's main focus, and went on to create amazing designs until it's closure in the early 80s.

I was fortunate enough to speak with East West fanatic Romulus von Stezelberger, owner of South Paradiso Leather, who was kind enough to tell me that the name of this design is Eucalyptus, and that East West never made vests, that this was, in fact, a jacket that someone had removed the sleeves from at one point. Sad face!

Even without sleeves, I still think this is an incredibly wearable piece of leather. It's fitted silhouette  is extremely flattering, and the organically shaped appliques are truly beautiful. I did not feel comfortable placing a fixed value on it due to the sleeve issue, so I've decided to place it up for bid on Ebay.  Check out the auction here.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale

I'm far too lazy to set up and promote two separate sales, which means that I will be offering 20% off everything in the store from now through Cyber Monday with coupon code BLOG20.

Also, I have some really fantastic sweaters and jackets just sitting around right now because the weather has been so gloomy here lately, but if I'm very lucky I may be able to take some new photos tomorrow, which will mean fresh listings over the next few days!

Friday, November 11, 2011

"I am an ever changing dance of emotion..."

I went out picking today and found the most amazing neon purple and orange aztec motif turtleneck sweater by a company called IB Diffusion. I had come across this label once before, so I went online to do a bit of research, and boy did I get a treat! They made a promotional video back in the day, and it is pants wettingly hilarious in it's earnestness. This is a must watch for anyone who enjoys shoulder pads, baby tigers, bangs that stand three inches straight up in the air, and/or gratuitous posing.

Sadly, IB Diffusion went out of business in 1993. Death by Grunge, most likely.
Vintage IB Diffusion Aztec Print Sweater

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Amazing Power of the Felting Needle

Anyone who's a connoisseur of vintage fashion has probably come up against the issue of moth damage more than once. I myself was becoming more and more frustrated each time I found a gorgeous vintage wool piece that seemed immaculate but for a tiny little hole or two. So a few weeks ago I began searching around the interwebs for a solution, and that's when I learned about the amazing restorative powers of the felting needle.

Of course, being a long time Etsy customer, I had seen lots of adorable little creatures made of felted wool, but it hadn't occurred to me that felting needles and wool roving had a much more practical use until I stumbled across a couple of references to it in different online forums. I decided to give it a try myself on a tiny (less than 1/8") hole in a vintage felted wool coat. It is a heathered gray, and I had no trouble finding the right color wool roving at my local craft store. I was also able to pick up a kit with a couple of felting needles and a foam block for less than $4.

The process itself couldn't have been easier. I just placed the foam block inside the coat underneath the location of the hole, then I put a little tuft of wool roving on top of the hole. The gray wool I bought came with two shades, and I mixed them together a bit to get a better match to my coat.

Then I just poked the barbed felting needle into the coat repeatedly until the roving became flush with the surrounding wool (Sorry for the blurry photos, it's harder than I thought to hold a camera steady with my left hand).

Towards the end of the process I sort of "groomed" the fibers of the roving with the tip of the needle so they were going in the same direction as the fibers of the coat to make the repair blend in even better.

As you can see, the repair is pretty difficult to see now. I don't think anyone could spot it unless they knew to look for it.

I am super freaking excited about this new tool. I have even been able to repair damage to a cashmere coat where a moth had chewed the nap down by poking the roving in from the wrong side of the coat, and then trimming the fibers down to the same length as the rest of the coat. The trickiest part of the whole process is finding wool roving in just the right color to match your garment. The rest is cake.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


I've been very busy doing work for clients of my sewing pattern tracing and PDF creation service these last few weeks, which is wonderful news for our bank balance, but no so much for this blog. I did finally get a chance to add some new items this past week, and I have a few more in the pipeline.

My favorite new item is the 1980s sequined jacket by Modi, which has got the be the single most amazing thing I've found all year. Every scrap of fabric is covered in bright sequins and beads, and it's actually quite heavy. I would so wear this to a New Year's Eve party if I were me from ten years ago.

Vintage 1980s Modi Sequined and Beaded Jacket - $120

And to go with it, I have these killer black suede Nina stilettos which are adorned with polka dots of gold glitter. They've never been worn!

Vintage Suede Stilettos with Gold Sparkle - $38

I have to say, I am really pleased with the way the pictures came out of the shoes, but not so much of the jacket. My photography has definitely improved over the last few months, but it is still a bit hit or miss. Maybe Santa can help me out and bring me a DSLR this Christmas?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Oxfam Donation

This August and September, I had pledged to donate 10% of my profits to Oxfam to aid in the current humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa. Well, today I finally had time to sit down and crunch the numbers, and thanks to my lovely customers I was able to donate an extra $51 to Oxfam.

I made a similar pledge to donate to the Red Cross back in May and June, and I plan to do more in the future. I hope that as my shop finds a wider audience, I can make an even greater impact.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Badass Style Inspiration

This song will never not be on my iPod. Sonic Youth. Chuck D. Nuff said.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Shop Update

I've been taking photos like mad this week and I'll be adding several new items over the next few days. Unfortunately, these may be the last updates for a while since PayPal, in it's infinite wisdom, has decided they need to hold all my funds for 21 days despite the fact that I have never had any disputes filed against me, and have had only positive feedback. Needless to say, I'm a tad miffed right now.

At least I have  quite a few items in the pipeline, including two more London Fog trench coats, one from the 60s and one from the 80s, an awesome checked 80s blazer from high end clothier Austin Reed, a pretty pink pointelle sweater (for my girls in the Southern hemisphere) and a handful of skirts and dresses.

I also managed to add a very pretty 1990s wrap skirt and a really high quality fair isle boyfriend sweater yesterday.

Just added:
Vintage 90s Ornamental Stripe Wrap Skirt
Vintage 90s Fair Isle Cabin Sweater
Coming soon:

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Rare Night Out

Last night I got to fly the coop for a little while and take in an Elvis Costello show at the legendary Ryman Auditorium here in Nashville. He is reunited with his backing band the Imposters this tour, and they have revived the Spectacular Spinning Songbook, a humungous wheel with the names of 40 songs on it. Audience members were escorted to the stage by his lovely assistant Lola to spin the wheel, and either sit at a vintage bar on the stage and enjoy the performance, or become part of the act by dancing in a go go cage (I was a bit surprised how many participants took him up on that, considering how short the line at the bar in the lobby was). The set was a fantastic blend of retro living room and old school carnival.

This was my fourth Costello concert and so far my favorite. In addition to the selections from the Spinning Songbook, he did a short set of Americana tunes for his first encore and his delivery really blew me away. He even strode away from the mic at a couple of points and sang unamplified, taking advantage of the Ryman's unsurpassed acoustics (better even than Radio City Music Hall).  I don't know how he does it, but the man just gets better and better with age.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mad Men Style

I am really missing my Mad Men this summer. Apparently, the show missed it's slated July premier date due to a contract dispute between creator/producer Matthew Weiner and AMC, and now the show won't return until March of 2012. Sigh...

At least we can get a style fix by checking out the Mad Men fashion flipbook on AMC's website. This makes great inspiration for me, as I've begun visiting estate sales recently and I'm really hoping to add more clothing from the 50s and 60s as a result.

I do have a few items from the period in the shop already. Here's a sampling:

1960s Kelly Green Pumps

1950s Green Bouclé Coat: $72

1960s DeLiso Debs Stilettos with Rhinestone Accents: $54

1960s Metallic Brocade Maxi Skirt: $59

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Welcome Fall Sale

Cozy up to fall by taking 10% off your entire purchase at SadieBess through this Sunday with coupon code WELCOMEFALL.  We have fabulous vintage pieces befitting all the latest fall trends in the shop.

Earthy Plaid Blazer: $32

Pleated Plaid Skirt by Brooks Brothers: $36

Cream Mohair Sweater: $42

Woolrich Striped Button Up Sweater Vest: $36

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

10% Shop Donation to Oxfam Through September

For those of you who are not already aware, SadieBess is donating 10% of all profits for the months of August and September to Oxfam to aid in the ongoing food crisis in the Horn of Africa. I picked Oxfam because of their high scores from philanthropic rating agencies.

For more information about Oxfam's current programs in East Africa, visit

In the interest of transparency, I'll be posting a PDF of my donation receipt at the beginning of October.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Music Inspiration: Anna Calvi

I really can't say enough good things about British singer/guitarist Anna Calvi.  Imagine if Siouxsie Sioux and Jeff Buckley had a baby, and that baby was about ten times more talented (no offense to the late great Buckley or dear Siouxsie). Throw in some heavy reverb and a touch of flamenco, and then you're getting close to describing Anna Calvi.

Her eponymous debut album was released in the US in January 2011. Unfortunately I didn't learn about her until about a month ago, but she has been playing almost non-stop at my house since that time. Not only does this woman have serious pipes, she is also a guitar goddess, and her first release is also one of the best produced records I think I have ever heard. I've even been keeping my eye out for turntable on my frequent jaunts to the local thrifts because I am dying to hear it on vinyl.

As incredible as Ms. Calvi is, I wouldn't care if she turned up at her gigs in a burlap sack, but she also happens to be incredibly stylish to boot. I mean, no one rocks the red like Ms. Calvi.

Photo by Ivo Kendra
Red 80s Puffed Sleeve Trench: $38
Navy and Cream Striped Tank Dress: $34
Navy and Red Ferragamo Heels: $46

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Brooklyn Twang

Today I have an outfit inspired by independent country artist Andi Rae Healy. She's a singer/songwriter based in Brooklyn, NY, and I think her track Little Flame is amazing. Andi Rae's music is available on iTunes and at

80s Flutter Sleeve Floral Mini Dress: $26

Distressed 80s Dingo Brand Cowboy Boots: $44

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I can't seem to shake this Fetchin Bones earworm...

This song has been haunting me for the last few days. I think it's because of all the 80s clothes I've been collecting lately. Maybe if I listen to it just one more time...

This North Carolina band should've made it big, but they were probably just a couple of years too early to ride the wave of popularity that alternative music experienced in the early 90s.

Not only is this an awesome song, but the video makes for great 80s fashion inspiration. Just keep your eyes on singer Hope Nichols and bass player Danna Pentes, I'm not so sure about the looks the guys are sporting here. There are also tons of great candid shots on their Facebook and Myspace pages, if you want to see what 80s rockers really wore when they weren't being styled for music videos.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lots of New Listings Coming

I'd been holding off on making new listings for a few days while I awaited the arrival of my new display form. Then I got a big 'ol box from UPS yesterday, so I was able to take tons of photos today. It will take me a while to create listings for it all, but here's a taste of what's coming to the shop over the next few days...

1970s vest and dress set, 1980s genuine camel hair coat.

The 80s does the 40s- navy blue peplum top/skirt set and maroon wrap jacket/skirt set.
Romantic fall skirts- a handmade prairie maxi and a tailored paisley pencil midi.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

80s Attitude

This tune by 1980s alt rockers The Godfathers always gets me going in the morning. 
I've picked out a few 80s pieces with a little edge to go with it. Enjoy!

1980s white leather double wrap hip belt with silver studs: $26
Ladies 1980s new wave blazer: $36
1980s plaid mini kilt: $24