Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Reconstructed (and it feels so good...)

Recently I have had a renewed interest in crafting and sewing. Part of it was successfully constructing the Halloween costumes for me and Miss Thing, and part of it was being in a place again that inspires me and sparks my imagination. I took the plunge recently and bought a new (brand-new!) sewing machine because it was cheap and I thought the tension on mine was shot (turns out it just need a little love and a new needle.) The new one is plastic and very lightweight - I nearly tipped it over trying it out - and it doesn't have the solid sound or feel of my 40 year old Kenmore. It is fast, however, and the tension dials all work, so I guess that is something in its favor. I decided yesterday that its inaugural project needed to be something quick and dirty that I would feel triumphant about. I went with a sweater reconstruction that I have been contemplating for months.

I had forgotten about Sweet Sassafras (her real name is Sarai) for a while. I voraciously followed her when I was addicted to Craftster about two years ago, and I read her blog religiously. Then my computer went dark for a while and I had to reconstruct my bookmarks from memory. She was one of the ones that got lost. I rediscovered her because S. sent me a link to her patterns, and in researching fit and ease of sewing, I stumbled upon her website again. I remembered how much I enjoy her sense of style and her writing, and how much I lovelovelove her reconstructions. One was a recon where she did nothing but improve the fit of a particular cardigan. It reminded me of my own sweater I had been too lazy and uninspired to improve upon. It is the softest, sweetest dove gray cashmere blend - from Fred Meyer. It was boxy and unformed, and had developed a rip at the neckline and lost a few buttons. I followed Sarai's instructions for fitting it.

here it is pinned. you can see its basic non-shape.

Because I am lazy, I did not baste. Instead, I sketched the new seam lines lightly, with a Sharpie because I couldn't find my fabric marker.
I regraded the sleeve, to your left, because it was a weird angle at first.

It was a matter of perhaps three and half minutes of sewing to make it into an article of clothing I would be happy to wear out of the house. I ran up the new seams and mended to neck tear with a little satin stitch. Then I spent about 45 minutes searching for this particular cream colored lace, which I knew I had used TWO WEEKS AGO in the creation of the costumes. I couldn't rest until I found it. When it was finally located, I went about the business of embellishing it.

remember when anthropologie made things that were delicate and feminine and vintage-y? that's what i was shooting for.

In addition to the lace, I added pearl buttons in place of the plain faux-shell ones that were there, and I finally trimmed the neck in the last of this delightful French velvet ribbon in ivory. I couldn't resist adding a tiny bow, even though my first instinct was that is was a bit twee. I might remove it later; right now I like it.

I felt so good about finishing it that I put it on immediately and wore it for the rest of the day. By the end of the night, I was feeling so creative that I broke out some jewelry making supplies and made a necklace, too. I have two more cardigans that could stand a little love, and I have a bag of vintage trims someplace that, in keeping with my philosophy, I am not longer saving for later. Well, not much later, anyway.

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