Do you make all these yourself?
All pieces are handmade in house. Martha carefully select the materials and designs the mix of elements, colors, patterns. It is sometimes like putting together a puzzle using up what fits. The team sews them under the designer's direction. Final touches are made by Martha.
What do you look for?
I look for authentic fabrics (love vintage) especially lace,unique colors and patterns, and quality, This includes good structure in a finished piece worth re-using. I like natural cottons, linens, silks, fine wools, rayons, and hemp(especially sustainable), generally no synthetics as they do not decompose. When I see a beautiful piece, the idea will come to me on the perfect piece to make!
Where do you get your materials?
From a variety of places; my collected library, estate sales, Good Will, thrift stores, consignment shops, and donations. I'm a textile "nut" often inspired by just experiencing the fabric, color and pattern I touch and feel - I'm not an on line shopper when it comes sourcing to my raw materials.
Do you just use preloved materials?
My number one goal is to be sustainable by USING UP excess fabrics, factory ends, handed down materials - collected treasures I call them. I look for unique preloved vintage textiles and lace. I will purchase new fabrics for specific customer's requests, as well as special projects (lately using hemp), usually visiting local outlets, New York City, and my favorite supplier 'Enviro Textiles'.
Do you take donations?
Yes, I love donated pieces. I am honored to preserve the integrity of the piece when I redesign/reinvent, using the best parts of let's say a wedding dress. Many people are sentimental about their clothes as they are from a special moment in their life. I respect this, definitely giving new life and TLC when designing this way. That's why I want to encourage people to donate rather than toss - it goes to a good cause!
How do you work?
Designing is problem solving, creating a new and better solution. I start with organizing my 'ingredients' - inspiration, color, fabric components, and the look! Then sketch to figure it out so I'm ready for cutting. A lot of final designing happens on the cutting table when I'm fitting the puzzle pieces together and adding my signature touch of lace. I work with clients in the same way.
Why don't you have a lot of sizes?
Each piece is carefully selected, one-of-a-kind with special touches unique to that design. My materials are limited, sometimes only enough for the one oftentimes influencing which size. It is always a tough decision - small, medium or large? The pieces available are representative of my boho feminine style - if you see one you like but I don't have your size, I'm happy to create a version for you. Please see the EXCLUSIVELY MADE FOR YOU SECTION for more information.
Will you do alterations?
I love to work one on one with clients who want to repurpose/upstyle a precious piece from their closet. There are a variety of exciting ways to transform by restyling or embellishing such as creating a pair of pants from a dress, a bolero from a. pair of pants, kimono from a wedding dress and so on... My business started from my own closet - either I up style or give it to Good Will. And yes, I do alterations as well!
How long have you been designing?
A long time - 30 plus years...I started sewing when I was 11, growing up in a creative household, I was always making things. I went to Nova Scotia College of Art & Design studying goldsmithing and textiles, graduating with a BFA. I had the good fortune of stepping into the fashion jewelry business in Providence, RI, designing for large and small companies. My career highlights were providing color and trend direction as Corporate Fashion Director for Trifari, designing and developing for Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, designing for Chico's, and owning my own boutique - truly my dream come true! I continue to feel grateful to share my expertise designing my collections as well as designing for private clients.
What happens if I don't like something or it doesn't fit?
Returns are honored within reason, common sense applies here. Authorization is needed. The piece must not be damaged, torn or soiled(in other words - not worn). Store credit only and exchanges are encouraged rather than refunds. If it is a custom made piece, all efforts will be made to adjust the fit within a reasonable amount of time. Our goal at Restored by Design is to have happy customers. Our return policy is on an individual basis.