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!