Monday, June 23, 2008


If you've been following along in this journal, you know that I have developed a recent passion for altering clothes (despite my woeful lack of sewing skills/abilities), or as I like to think of it - my personal contribution to recycling. I have been doing all the sewing by hand, sometimes to things I bought at a thrift store and sometimes to things I actually removed from my own give-away (or throw away) pile. I have also been having trouble with my left shoulder which feels like it is perpetually a little out of joint and makes the faintest of clicking sounds when I move. I have been lucky to have been spared this little inconvenience until now, but I couldn't decide what I was doing to cause it.

Then it hit me! Of course, it's the sewing! (How bad a shape do you have to be in when crafting makes you sore!) I have been self treating it with aspirin and staying away from the sewing and it got immediately better. But with my new found passion, I just had to finish the yellow sweater this weekend. Isn't that pathetic? I just couldn't stay away any longer!
Here's the story on the sweater: I bought it several years ago at the Banana Republic Outlet(which among my friends is better known as the damaged/defective store). You can get some great buys there if you are careful that you do not buy a sweater without arms or a pair of pants with three legs. All BR sweaters were about $6.99 and there is actually a line outside through the parking lot when the doors open at 9:00 a.m. and then a mad dash to try and find items that do not look like they were designed for the freak show at the Carnival. I was lucky enough to find this bright yellow long sleeved cardigan (silk/cotton/Lycra) blend and several other 3/4 length sweaters in various colors (and truth be told, various sizes, I am nothing if not flexible). My haul on that day really made the approximately 200 mile trip worthwhile. I have gotten lots of use out of the sweaters, but the yellow sweater always had sleeves which were too long for my arms and I just dealt with it by pushing them up or cuffing them.

Then earlier this year, I noticed a faint gray mark on the back of the sweater. I tried, but couldn't get it out. Of course, this would occur in a year where yellow is really, really "in." I thought the sweater was headed for the dumpster, when I decided to try "altering it."

I cut off those annoying sleeves to a generous elbow length and the Lycra just made the fabric crawl up and form its own embellishment. I then cut out various flowers from a bright polyester piece of fabric I bought a few weeks ago at Hancocks for $2.99 /yd. I put one little piece of the flowers on the back to cover the offending "spots". Then I sewed on two other pieces on the front and kind of quilted them. They are frayed around the edges, but that just makes them cuter in my opinion. I sewed some vintage buttons into the designs. I did not use anything under the little flowers because it was a very gauzy piece of fabric and you can see the yellow sweater underneath which is fine with me. I think "dyed" a piece of crochet with Magenta Dynaflow for the color. I sewed this very odd citron colored velvet rickrack (yes, Deanne, if you are reading this, I bought the rick rack at Archiver's) and sewed 2 magenta buttons on the outside of each sleeve on top of the rick rack.

I think it made a bright and cheery summer sweater - especially considering that I was going to get rid of it for 2 little spots I have now completely covered. I've included some close ups of the details thought forgive me for posting them in the wrong order.

And - I continued sewing all weekend, even though I am back on an aspirin regimen for the pain. I have a gray sweater dress I have cut off and hemmed (which was a lot of hemming because it was really full and originally went all the way to the floor) and I am working on embellishing it. Then I am going to knock off the sewing (or most of it) for the next t-shirts I am going to embellish with paint and stamps.


Summer Gypsy said...

Hi Trish,
I love that top! I emailed you last night. Are you still playing in our Seasons Altered Tin swap?

leavesofgreen said...

Seriously cute! Our Grandmother, the seamtress, would be so proud. Can I just bring my stuff to you? Love,Sissy

woof nanny said...

OMG, whatever you do, don't stop sewing. Hello....shoulder pain, headaches..
Um, please find yourself a good chiropractor asap. I'm serious. I promise it's not hocus pocus, and is far more successful than what aspirin can temporarily provide.

Rachel Murphree said...

Trish -- your post made me laugh out loud! not at your shoulder pain, of course, but your writing style. you're a hoot. Never heard Banana Republic described that way...too funny. Cute altering, and I second the "find a good chiropractor" suggestion. I go to one, and it really helps me.

Deanne said...

we could never give up our passions!!That would just be wrong! get the shoulder looked at so you can continue your wonderful talents!

Staffordshire Garden said...

Hi Trish!
So glad to hear from you. I LOVE your new banner, and all the wonderful goodies you've been creating. I also read your article in Haute Handbags, Wonderful!! Hope your shoulder is doing much better.