Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Thanksgiving Sweater

Definition Kitsch (from wikipedia) - An inferior, tasteless copy of an extant style of art or a worthless imitation of art of recognized value.

I am not sure I would define it that way. I would define kitsch as unique, a piece of artwork that only a select group of people would buy to display or wear.

The reason I bring up the word kitsch is that one of my sisters loves kitsch holiday sweaters.

You name the American holiday and she has sweaters or shirts to wear during the holiday's season. For Christmas alone she has a different sweater or shirt she can wear for every day between Thanksgiving and  Christmas without repeating.  
I have checked, I have two of them and both of them are from my pre-France days. The French don't "do" kitsch.

I was informed lately, by my sisiter that of all of the holidays, the most problematic holidays to buy a sweater for is Thanksgiving. It is easy to find really cute Halloween or Christmas garments, It is not too difficult to find "Harvest"  but to find a cute Thanksgiving sweater, now that is a rare find.

I own an embroidery machine, and met with the request, I started to think about it. Thought is a dangerous thing, at least for me.
To embellished a shirt or sweater, this may sound obvious, but I would first need a shirt or sweater to use as my palette for embroidery. Sometimes this is the hardest thing to find.
Two weeks ago I found the sweater. It was in Germany at a store on the sales rack. My type of purchase, nice sweater and sale.

Now for the embroidery.
I began to look at what possibilities are out there.
What I found surprised me.  
I found turkeys. Domestic turkeys, wild turkeys, Baked turkeys, turkeys in a roaster, turkeys on a platter, turkeys wearing pilgrim hats. turkey faces, turkeys with axes, turkeys with cornucopias, turkeys in redwork, the flag of Turkey, turkey tracks.

By now you get the idea.

I found "Happy Thanksgiving" in every font imaginable. I found pilgrims and lots of them. I found Indians.

I found I was getting frustrated.

How do you make a holiday sweater for Thanksgiving? I mean the turkey with the axe, that goes beyond my definition of Kitsch.

Finally I found it, the design, the perfect design, the one to make a sweater original. True Kitsch. This was it! My sense of humor was about to be showing. I could not enter my credit card number into the site to buy the designs fast enough.

Before I could us the designs, I first had to do some research to answer some questions of the type one would think would have nothing to do with Thanksgiving.
The question that needed to be answered was what are the school colors for the University of Wisconsin Madison? While I was at it, who is or are the rivals to said university?

Internet search yielded that the University of Wisconsin's colors were Badger Red, white and gold. Badger red? What is Badger Red? On line I found a Hex value and from there a pantone number. Cross referencing it I found out it was basically Christmas red. I did the same for the rivals. It appears that the Big 10 has multiple rival teams. Who knew? Finally I had my colors and I was ready to go.

The sweater is fine gage so it would not work to embroidery the designs directly on the sweater. I decided they needed to be appliqu├ęd on so the designs had to be stitched out first on water soluble stabilizer (Super Solvy) with two layers of silk organza on top.

The design I wanted to use, yes, I admit it, involved turkeys. I first needed turkey tracks, and lots of them.

Then I needed turkeys.

 Hours and hours of trimming everything and finally I was ready to sew them all on to the sweater using the same color rayon thread as was used in the embroidery design.
So here it is, Kitsch at its best!
The designs are from Embroidery Library
I removed turkeys from the frame and the tag for use on the sweater. The tracks came from the frame.

Without further adieu, here it is:

Right Front

Left Front
I hope she likes it because off in the mail it goes!


  1. How cute! You do the neatest things. Prissy

  2. Very original. If I was your sister, I would love it. Jadene

  3. Brilliant, in imagination and colors and research and ... Oh, just brilliant. I'd say that you are above that 'kitsch' standard by (turkey) leaps and bounds! Yes!