Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rebirth

There are lots of posts out there right now about "refashioning" - that is, taking an old, seen-better-days garment or two (sometimes vintage), and altering it/them, with nothing more than talent and finesse, into a fabulous new piece.

To wit - and these are just a couple of the many great examples:
  • Patty's upcycled cardigan (This woman is a phenomenal, intuitive sewist who really sets the bar for sewing of all sorts, but particularly for the clothing rework...)
  • Zoe's knitwear refashion. (This blogger has energized the sewist community to undertake various "all hand-made clothing" challenges such as Me Made March.)
Strangely enough (given that I've never refashioned as much as a scarf), lo those many months ago, when I first undertook sewing as my newest passion, the first book I bought was this one:


With nary a scrap of ability or experience, even then I knew this was a perfect idea. Back then, mind you, I didn't know a soul who'd approached the concept, much less achieved it. God love the internet.

What's better than taking old garments that have stood the test of time - even vintage ones whose bones are awesome but whose edges have frayed by up to a century of use - and combining them to produce something a) new b) unique and c) tailored perfectly for you?

I dare you to find something suboptimal with this!

Needless to say, I'm not there yet. I'm afraid to disassemble my beautiful vintage (even the stuff that's not that precious - or even that vintage). Maybe it's the perfectionist in me balking at the unknown. Maybe it's a lack of vision.

The perfectionist in me is a freakin' pain in the ass. She stands between me and my sparky creativity, aggressively thumbing her nose (wtf does that mean, exactly??). What's the harm in taking a chance? At worst, I throw the result in the bin (or on the lawn for pickers). At best, I make the most gorgeous thing ever.

No doubt, I'm not suggesting that one disassemble her prized Balenciaga. But that no-name thing from the 60s that has never quite fit right in the shoulders, well...

So, Lovelies, do tell: How do you feel about upcycling? Have you ever done this for yourself? Are you afraid to work in the medium of pre-existing garments? Do you feel my fears? What do you think - those of you who are comfortable with this art form - is the easiest item to start with? What should I start with?

9 comments:

  1. I am afraid to but Martin isn't!

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  2. My brother, yes brother, is having one of his suits refashioned for his wedding, by one of the San Francisco Burning Man artists. His bride will be in Vera Wang:).

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  3. oooh- I'm going to a clothing-swap this coming weekend, and you've got me all inspired to look at those hard-to-wear dregs with an eye toward re-working them! love your blog!

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  4. Ah, the refashion. I really think these require an entirely different mindset from the one for creating regular garments. I kinda avoid it, at least at the moment. Not that I don't think it's a fabulous idea---but I just know I'll end up with a crapload of things to refashion hanging around and NOT GETTING DONE. And I don't even have ab

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  5. Susan: Someone needs to be bold!

    LPC: There you go. When guys are doing it, it's all the rage :-)

    Kimbersew: You see, you have moxy! I hope you find some great things. And thanks for your lovely comment.

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  6. I think it's a great idea. That's how I started, actually. I used to take my Grandmother's old things (some pretty gorgeous vintage dresses) when I was a teenager and make them cool! Or so I thought. Very often, vintage pieces are cut so tiny, it's hard to wear them as is anyway. I always find the armholes so small and restrictive. So... go for it! Chop 'em up.

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  7. I'm still waiting to be just blown away by a refashioned garment. And sometimes I'm just good and sick and tired of something I've worn a lot and prefer to put it in the give away pile.

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  8. Stacy: Your grandmother was very supportive! :-)

    Roseana: Oh, I hear that!

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  9. Taran: I know, that really is the risk - having tons of crap around waiting to be "finished".

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