Monday, December 02, 2013

There Should Be a Law Against Whipstitching. For Some of Us, Anyway.

Not a lot of excitement here; I'm still trying to finish up everything I had on the triage table back when I showed y'all this:
I have done a GREAT job, if I do say so myself, and have finished a bunch of projects, weeded out others that I realized I didn't need to finish, and decided that still others were never going to be keepers and so shouldn't even be in the house.

I have learned a lot during the course of all this, in large part about clothes I will actually wear and love as opposed to clothes I feel I should salvage and make fabulous but will never actually, you know, put on my body. I am, in short, learning to say "no" and walk away from clothes I would previously have bought, brought home, and worked on.

I have taken that table down, and the projects on the rack
are minimal. No, I don't have current photos because until this minute  didn't think of it. Instead, I have photos I took this weekend of stuff I've finished up in the last week.

First of all, this, which I bought (gasp!) new. On sale, of course, but still: new. Brand, spanking new. The question is why, since it's linen gauze, although not too thin. I do not like gauze, and I don't wear black. But the shape. The shape! I fell in love with it and bought it and brought it home and hung it on the rack and then kept looking at it and going, "What the hell was I thinking?" 

Because—and here I'm making a confession that, frankly, makes me sweat, literally—even on sale, it was over $100. I know. I KNOW! Because I don't shop in any traditional sense and because I buy 99% of my clothes (except shoes and underwear) second hand, I can, theoretically, buy something if I fall in love with it. Good for me that I seldom do—maybe once or twice a year. But why I fall for the things I fall for is beyond me. I had this hanging on the rack for months, kind of kicking myself when I passed it. But then I'd try it on again and go, "Oh, yeah, that's why." Because there's just something about the way it drapes. So finally I got out the embroidery floss and fixed it up:

 Yes, it even has a FLOWER on it. Yikes! (Yeah, OK, I added French knots in the center of the flower.)

 I like it, I will wear it. I have a dyed green cotton dress—the long-sleeved "play dress" from Dharma Trading—and will wear it over that. Maybe. Or who knows what else? (I have kind of more than one of those dresses, dyed in the colors I like and wear, so mixing it up and trying combinations is way too easy, just like playing dress-up but without the admonitions to stay away from The Good Stuff).

Then there was this silk/rayon velvet coat I got years ago from an estate sale. The label says Carmen Marc Valvo , and I loved the coat because, well: velvet! But it had an issue: the lining hung down just a smidgen below the hem, which made me nuts. In fact, it's why I didn't buy it the day I saw it and why it was probably still there the last day of the sale (50% off, or maybe 75% off) when The Ever-Gorgeous Earl, Man of My Dreams, went back and bought it for me. I think I tossed it in the washing machine, and then it hung around for a couple years because, you know, I didn't want to *ruin* it. And then I smacked myself upside the head and just got in there and fixed it. I started out thinking I'd fix it with subtle black beading, adding a touch of elegance while tacking up the lining. But I realized along the way that that's not me. I don't need a beaded black velvet coat-thing. Frankly, I don't need *anything*, but if I'm going to have something, it has to be something I'll actually wear. I had a skirt and top that had bias-cut raw silk ribbon, and I took that off, ironed it, cut it in half lengthwise, and sewed that around the edge.
 What doesn't show up here is the sheen, both of the velvet and of the ribbon. That's what makes them work together, in my eyes. In these photos, it looks like the bottom is all wonky; the wind was blowing out on the porch, and I had a hard time getting good photos.

 It brings it down just enough for me, rather than kicking it up to frou-frou, which I just can't do.
 Then there was the HomeFrocks green silk duster. I over dyed it, and I loved it, but the facing flopped open and the hem was wonky, and the way the collar was attached was a little iffy to me. So since I had a ton of the raw silk ribbon, and I'd tossed some in the wash to see how it was going to hold up (perfectly fine), I used it on this, too. Again, I was struggling to stay as far as possible away from frou-frou and perfect, trying to edge more toward funky. Yes, I tried for randomness in the placement of the ribbons down the front.
 I want to switch out the buttons, but I don't have any that will work (and, honeys, I have a ton of buttons, and I don't mean collected buttons, I mean buttons that are to be used, mostly brightly colored plastic ones).

Then there was my Thanksgiving Day Experiment, one project from start to finish. I wanted to see if I could make a scarf out of dyed cotton jersey. No pattern, no measuring. I had to piece the purple side—I was trying to use up smaller pieces of fabric. 

 I used orange floss and a Cretan stitch to piece:
 Then I used a running stitch to join the green and the purple, and then I cut the fringe and tugged on it to stretch it and get it to roll up.

It's too wide and too long for a regular scarf, but either of us can wear it folded in half. I'm trying to figure out how to make The EGE one in every color without any frou-frou-ness. I think I need to make them single layer and just roll and stitch the edges, but that sounds like not much fun, you know? I could whipstitch them, but I get a little compulsive with whipstitching and start getting the stitches too close together and too tight and then start taking them out and doing them over and AIEEEEEEEE. When you're me, you learn where to go and what neighborhoods you should avoid. Whipstitching is mostly to be avoided, like the neighborhood with the junkies on the corners. Sometimes you need to go through there to get to the library, but if you stick around too long, you'll be getting a bad tattoo of a Tasmanian devil and selling your little sister for crack. 

This is your brain on whipstitching. So, so not pretty.


jinxxxygirl said...

Rice i had a big smile on my face when i sat down at the computer with my cup of coffee this morning and saw you on my blog roll and the smile grew larger when i saw how looong your post was and all the lovely, scrumptious pictures! And you made me laugh out loud at the end! :)

I was gobsmacked ( love that word)that you would think nothing of altering a piece of clothing that you paid over $100 for ... gobsmacked! I tell you but.... i love you for it at the same time. :) And the scarf! Love, love, love it Rice! Its fabulous... a little wide for me but like you say you can fold it over , i would just rather not have to do that...... Absolutely love the colors your working with Rice.... So nice visiting with you this morning! Hugs! deb

Zom Osborne said...

I LOVE the scarf-shawl, it is fabulous! The fact that you had to piece it just made it. It brings in just enough funkiness. The colours are BAD (meaning good, hehe) and just rocking. (I don't actually talk like this, the scarf has taken me over.)
The size of it is right on fashion, with the big scarves people are wearing. It makes a statement that you or EGE could rock. I can totally see EGE wearing it, not too frou frou.
(Why am I commenting on your post in the language of a 20-year-old? I have no idea.)

Barbara Smith said...

Gawd, how I love reading your posts, Ricë. You make me want to refashion some of the crap in my closet but I'm afraid I would just turn it into worse crap. lol

I am really digging the chartreuse (it is chartreuse, isn't it?) ribbon you added to the black velvet jacket, but you always make things look so much better and funkified. And the scarf is fabulous...I love the fringe.

peace & love,

Sharon Robb-Chism said...

I like all the pieces, but I REALLY like that fringe!

Ricë said...

Thanks! Zom, I love your Temporary Twenty-Something-Ness. Groovy, indeed.

I love the fringe, too, Sharon, and I'm interested in seeing what it will do through the laundry: will it shrink up more? Twist more? Flatten out? Will I need to work with it after? I have no idea what will happen, which is always kind of cool.