Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Pablo Picasso said, "I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it."

I have new been good (or even adequate) at sewing. I have never had a sewing class and I don't currently have a sewing machine. I can put in a hem or sew on a button, but I dislike any sewing that means I have to cut something. It's just too final for me and I'm afraid that I will mess it up.
Yet, I tell myself, I never would have thought I would be able to do the things with paper that I can do now. And how will I ever know if I don't try?

And I like the idea of being able to design my own clothes, even though I lack the basic skills to carry out that desire. And, little by little, I have been seduced by the good folks at Stampington into thinking that I might be able to alter things already in existence to suit my own tastes. One of my altered purses was published in Altered Couture last year and I have studied all their editions of the magazine since then and I begin to think that buying things at the Goodwill and turning them into one of a kind garments was a great idea for several reasons: (1) My Scottish background and my own current circumstances have led me to be very thrifty; (2) I love the recycling aspect of making new clothes from old clothes; and (3) I would really like to learn to sew and I need a new challenge.

I adore clothes. I particularly love the little details of expensive, well constructed clothes. I loved the idea of planning my own little details. So it was with some excitement and some trepidation that I decided yesterday to try my hand at my own version of "Altered Couture." Last week I bought a couple of big linen shirts with this altering plan in mind and yesterday I was able to find a tiered rayon print dress that drug the ground on me. The prints all had some color of lavender in them so it was a perfect duo for the lavender linen shirt I bought last week.

I began by cutting off most of the third tier of the dress and saving it to use in the alterations. I then turned the piece of the third layer up and hemmed it by hand so that a little band of the original tier was left all around the dress. Then I cut off the bottom of the shirt until I was a little shorter than waist length in front and longer and swingy in the back. I was surprised how pleased I was with the shape. I then hemmed the shirt all the way around by hand. I made a little rounded pocket from the fabric cut from the shirt and closed it with a button and sewed it on the back of the now swingy shirt (Deciding where to place that pocket was the hardest part and required a lot of pinning and checking and repinning and checking until I finally decided that I had it in the right place.) I also made another pocket for the front of the shirt with a piece of scrap muslin and part of the tier I cut off. I trimmed that pocket with an old belt buckle and a piece of blue velvet ribbon. I used another piece of the tier scrap to glue on a wide bangle bracelet and attached a piece of the same blue ribbon with double sided tape to the center of the bangle. I used another piece of lavender velvet ribbon in the same width to make a little belt for the dress.

So far I have just cut off the sleeves on the shirt and rolled them up, but I am planning to attach a piece of the extra fabric and buttons to hold the rolled up sleeves. I am also thinking of making a tiny ruffle for the bottom of the shirt with the left over material from the dress.

I am pleased that I have been able to get this far. I'll post a pic when I'm finished. I think I may try stamping the tees I bought!


leavesofgreen said...

Since I got to see some of the basic parts to you clothes, I can't wait to see the end result!

obsessed scrapbooker said...

I cannot wait to see this! I have always been drawn to "altered clothes" at craft shows, you know, the ones with doilies and fabric and buttons and old quilts on them! It sounds wonderful!

Robin Krieger said...

Hi, I am looking for Trish Guthrie. If this is you please email me ASAP . Its about my group that you belong too. Vision and dreams @ yahoo.
Robin Krieger

Pocket Full of Prettys said...

Looking forward to seeing the final product!! Hope to see a post soon.