Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October 25, 2016: A More Complicated Upcycling Project

Finished front
Finished Back

I bought an interesting Ralph Lauren man's shirt at a thrift store.  I liked it because it combined plaid with southwestern motifs.  Unfortunately, it didn't close around me, so I had to enlarge it besides restyling it.

I cut out a 3" strip from the middle back of the shirt (about 3/4 of the way) and inserted an 8" piece of black fabric with embroidery on it in complementary colors.  After I tried the shirt on again I thought that the addition looked too jarring.  It needed to mesh with the rest of the shirt more.  So I appliqued the pieces that I had removed back onto the fabric insertion.
restyling the back of the shirt
 I didn't cut the shirt all the way to the collar because the shoulders fit fine and it would be too much trouble to redo the shirt collar.  That left a space that needed to be filled.  I covered it with a piece of black lace from my stash.

Of course, then the front needed something more.  I added more black lace above the pockets.

Before - front
Before - back
When I first started restyling clothing I enlarged tops by adding fabric to the side seams.  I've found that it works better to simply add to the garment back.  That preserves any darts besides being an easier, better looking solution.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

October 1, 2016: My Poodle Shirt Refashion

I bought a t-shirt from The Mountain that had big poodle face on it.  The shirt was light gray.
I lowered the neckline and shortened the t-shirt.  Then I dyed it pink and added a big silver bow.

Now I have a shirt that looks like my little Sweetsie-poo! 

 I think my grandkids will enjoy looking at their Grandma wearing this silly shirt.

Sweetsie and me

October 1, 2016: My Poodle Shirt Refashion

I bought a t-shirt from The Mountain that had big poodle face on it.  The shirt was light gray.
I lowered the neckline and shortened the t-shirt.  Then I dyed it pink and added a big silver bow.

Now I have a shirt that looks like my little Sweetsie-poo! 

 I think my grandkids will enjoy looking at their Grandma wearing this silly shirt.

Sweetsie and me

Friday, September 30, 2016

September 30, 2016: Another Refashion Completed

While I was cleaning out my sewing room a couple of weeks ago I came across some batik pieces that I had purchased at the Quilt Show several years ago.  The colors went perfectly with a blue plaid shirt I had recently purchased at a thrift store.

I placed the large piece on the back of the shirt.  I selected 2 small pieces and appliqued them to the front of the shirt.  I did blanket stitching with brown embroidery thread around the 2 front pieces.

I was inspired by a plaid shirt that I saw in a Soft Surroundings' catalog. That shirt had flowers on the back but the front was only plaid.  I thought the shirt would look better if some of the design from the back were repeated on the front.  So, that's how I made mine.

Shoot!  I can't believe I forgot to take before photos.  Oh well, it's easy to imagine the shirt minus the appliques.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

September 29, 2016: Refashioning

Before - short tight dress
On September 10 I led my sewing group to a couple of thrift stores.  We went to fulfill a group challenge.  Each member was to buy a piece of clothing at a thrift store and then refashion (upcycle) it into another piece of clothing.

I remade several tops last weekend but I'll just show you one a day.

This first one was the simplest.  I bought an size XL sweater dress that actually fit me on top but was too tight and too short for the rest of me.

I cut off the bottom of the dress where it started narrowing.  I tried adding
lace to the bottom edge but my lace wasn't stretchy so it just didn't work.

I didn't really need to finish the hem since it was a knit and wouldn't ravel.  I just did some stitching at the side seams so they wouldn't come apart.  Then I used the bottom of the dress that I had cut off as an infinity scarf.
I think it came out cute.  Unfortunately the best photo of me wearing it is red-toned but you can get the idea.
After- hem is visible

Sunday, September 4, 2016

September 4, 2016: Clean Out Time

I've been cleaning out my sewing room - again. This time I'm emptying the walk in closet so I can rip out the carpet in it. I had 2 huge bins that I called my memory boxes. I was able to toss out enough to get it all into one. Plus I cleaned out 2 smaller boxes and put the remains into that remaining one, too. I threw away high school yearbooks, old film negatives and tons of handwritten letters. My recycling bin and trash can are now totally filled up.I remember looking through my mother's old photos when I was a kid. Everything looked so old. Now my high school and college memorabilia look ancient. I had papers from my first year in college. There was a letter in the box that I wrote in 1970. I was home from Albany State for a weekend. I described how horrible I felt. My father would be nice one second and horribly nasty the next. I swore I would never feel homesick again. I said that I had no home to be homesick for. I swore that I would not feel homesick when I went on my semester abroad in 1971. That was a very important letter in my life. It explains why I stuck out my semester in Austria until the end. During my first 2 weeks in Graz my roommate and I went on a date with 2 guys that we met in the student cafeteria. I was beaten and my roommate was raped. We reported them to the police. I had to be x-rayed to look for a concussion. We had to go through a court hearing and then shake hands with the 2 of them at the end of it. During the last couple weeks of the semester we would run into them around town and they would taunt us.
It was very hard because I had no one to talk to. My roommate didn't act upset like I did. She barely spoke to me after that episode. I tried to speak to other students in the program but they just seemed to blow me off. I was traumatized. I had just met Ken in October of 1970 at a frat party. I felt like I had gotten over my fear of boys. So, naturally after the that experience in Austria, when I returned home I stuck with Ken.
Then I married him. I ended up marrying an emotionally-absent man who acted like my dad had in many ways. I couldn't share with him. He just wasn't available to me emotionally. He hadn't listened to me while we were dating. He knew that I was handicapped when he married me. But, after we were married he wanted to play tennis with me, ride horses, go skiing. He bought a man's bicycle for me that was so hard for me to get on and off of that I would have to ride up to something and hold on to it in order to dismount.
In the last cruise we took together I couldn't jump down into the Isle of Capris shuttle boat. I climbed back up the stairs and spent the day alone on board. He was so angry with me about that that he brought it up at our marriage counseling.
Anyway I'm digressing. I meant to write about cleaning my closet. The trouble is that I read so many of the papers in the memory box so I could decide what to keep and what to discard.
An avalanche of memories are bombarding me. I kept diaries from 1962 on. There weren't continuous day to day accounts. But, they were consistent. One includes my early marriage. I was never happy in that marriage. I was so thrilled when I had babies. Finally someone to talk to! I welcomed his parents' visits because I loved having company. I enjoyed my parents' visits, too. But, my dad was always a problem. The kids wouldn't play games with him because he made fun of them when he won. He just couldn't connect with them, or me. I was surprised that when my brother did our father's eulogy that he was so upset. I was not at all unhappy about his death, other than feeling sorry for my mom being alone. I knew she was better off alone. Then she could come live with me.
I threw out a lot of the memorabilia from my marriage with Jim after the divorce in 2012. I do have the shutterfly photo albums. I still don't look at them. I'll never recover from the injuries that he caused me. It's hard to believe that he could turn from such a loving man to someone so nasty and underhanded. I know it was from the traumatic injury he suffered but still....
My memory boxes, diaries and this blog show how I came to be who I am today. I am now a single 65 year old woman. I try not to think of the future. Life scares me. What will happen next?
I try to take care of myself so I will stay as healthy as possible as I get older and older. I used to think of suicide. I don't anymore. It would hurt my children too badly. The antidepressants keep life tolerable and even happy at times. I hope I don't live long enough to be a horrible burden. The trouble with my generation is that we know what it is like to get older. Many of us took care of our elderly parents. I loved my momma. I felt bad putting her into the assisted living home. But she was just too difficult for me to care for, especially after my husband became an invalid, too.
I think assisted dying should be an option. I don't want to go through senile dementia like both my parents. Old age is scary. I might have another 15 to 20 years of keeping my mind in tact. Can't I just exit the planet after that?