Interview | Marisa of New Dress A Day

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing the talented and hilarious Marisa from New Dress A Day. After being laid off, Marisa turned full time to her passion for fashion, sewing, dying and chopping and created a blog that chronicles her awesome dedication to remaking a flea market or thrift store find into something imminently wearable, every day. 

Her popularity grew as more and more people learned about her awesome blog, and now I'm pleased to say that her craft book New Dress a Day: The Ultimate DIY Guide to Creating Fashion Dos from Thrift-Store Don'ts is available online and in stores. I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of the book, and had an opportunity to revisit the past few (booming!) years with Marisa. Check out our first interview here if you want to. I hope you enjoy! 

Q. You mention MacGuyver pretty often; what's the craziest, craftiest alteration you can think of?
A. Ooh, the craftiest alteration I can think of would be the first piece I turned around and wore the back as the front. A last minute tweak has become one of my favorite switch ups!

Q. Which item of your remixes is something you wear over and over?
A. I have a dress from my first year that I’m obsessed with and wear to meetings as well as a blouse I dyed red!  The basic pieces tend to be the ones I wear over and over, just because of the versatility! Pair with jeans one day, then under a sleeveless dress another to bring it from summer to fall!

Q. Have you discovered any new haunts to find raw material?
A. I’ve definitely found a few new favorites, many which have come from readers!  When I’ve been visiting different cities, I’ve used reader suggestions to check out local stores and their favorite spots. I love scouring downtown LA – there are so many fabric stores and I have my faves (Michael Levine is amazing!) however it’s fun to just browse and see the treasures in all the little, mom & pop stops. I’ve found amazing deals on thread and ribbon in these little joints!

Q. Do more people on the street recognize you now? What's that like?
A. Ha, I do get recognized every once and a while and it just seems so weird because, who am I, you know? I’m no celebrity! People are just so lovely, so it makes me really happy to meet readers who enjoy what I do!

Q. As you've grown more and more focused on refashioning, have you incorporated any new tools or machines into your life, or do you stick to your old stand-bys?
A. I definitely stick to my stand-bys, but I’m obsessed with Simplicity’s Bobbin Winder (such a time saver!) and have bought myself a stash of Fray Check, for those fast tweaks! I’ve started to use a rhinestone applicator as well, for the smaller stones – saves my fingers from getting glue all over them!

Q. What are your favorite colors? Favorite candy? Favorite book?
A. Favorite colors – hmm, such a hard question! I love melons, emerald green, cranberry, and cobalt blue. You basically get a little bit of the rainbow with that question! I’m obsessed with Reese’s Pieces and Twizzlers, and on the book front, I love David Sedaris, have a special place in my heart for Jacqueline Suzann’s Valley of the Dolls (not just for the cover, either!), and love The Great Gatsby. I’m from Long Island too, so it’s like a little homage to my hometown in an era I always wanted to live during!

Q. What do you do to overcome "sewer's block," if you do get it?
A. I’ll take a break and sort through magazines if I get “sewer’s block”. Usually when I’m at the point of sewing, I have an idea of where I’m going.

Q. What's it been like transitioning from snapping your own photos to being filmed live and professionally "done"?
A. It’s actually been a rather easy transition! I still snap my own photos for the blog; however shooting professional pictures for the book was great! One of my dearest friends, Jordan Whitley, was my photographer, so it was easy, fun, and super casual!!

 Q. Do you ever dream of sewing or thrifting or buttons?
A. Ha! To be completely honest, I have nightmares about my old jobs (I used to be a waitress years ago and still have dreams of being in the weeds!) or going on stage without knowing lines, however I don’t recall any sewing dreams.  Perhaps I was so sleep-deprived I just didn’t remember!

Q. What's on your inspiration board right now??
A. Ooh, I just made a brand new one! Aside from my horoscope from this October (book release and birthday), I’ve got a ton of chunky knits, oxblood, velvets, brocade, and a whole lot of Dolce & Gabbana embroidery pieces. Trying to gear up for winter, even though I live in LA and it’s still 80 degrees in October!

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For those hardy and crafty souls in New York, Marisa is visiting with her book this coming week!
And Bostonions, she'll be hanging out on Saturday night (Nov. 10) with Shoestring Magazine and DIY Boston at 40 Berkeley for a little photo booth/DIY demo/book signing/vintage consultation from 6-9pm! For the rest of the book signing schedule (Phoenix, SF, Charlotte), check here. I'm planning on going to the San Francisco signing! San Diego is coming soon, too (should be Dec. 4) but firm plans will be released on her blog this week.