Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tee-shirt Transformation

This summer there was a sewing challenge I participated in. The challenge was to take a cotton jersey shirt in any style and we were to re-style it anyway we wanted to. As long as it was out of tee-shirt fabric, it qualified. We could even make one new if we wanted to, what we did to it after that was the challenge.

In the spare bedroom I have a small pile of clothing that need to go to the equivalent of goodwill here in France.
In that stack, left by someone who visited me well over a year ago, was a Chico blue turtle neck sweater in a size XL.
It had no stains and was in very good condition. It was not really my color, I do not look good in that shade of blue, but it was perfect for the challenge.

On line, I had taken, or better put, watched the Craftsy class called Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric:Stenciling, Appliqué, Beading and Embroidery. The class is taught by Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin. The technique fascinates me. I bought her stitch books, all 3 of them, and read them cover to cover. I had a good giggle over the recipes. Some of the ingredients are difficult to obtain in France. My french friends found some of the recipes interesting as well. On my list soon is to try a couple recipes on them.

I pulled out some grey jersey I had in my stash and started to play making a small sample of the techniques taught in the Craftsy class.
Then there was the announcement for the challenge at the beginning of summer. Always up for doing something fun and creative, I joined.

I decided to make the Corset from book 1. 

In book 1, "Alabama Stitch Book: Projects and Stories Celebrating Hand-Sewing, Quilting and Embroidery for Contemporary Sustainable Style", re-use is stressed and the pattern and basic directions for taking an old knit tee-shirt and making something new with it are given.

In book 2, "Alabama Studio Style: More Projects, Recipes & Stories Celebrating Sustainable Fashion & Living", an interesting technique for appliqué is given where the design is enlarged so that when it is appliquéd into place, a wrinkled texture is obtained.

The blue shirt, not really being my favorite shade of blue needed something to make the appliqué stand out. I wanted to use the entire shirt (Where else would I find the same weight and texture fabric to go with the shirt?) 

I decided to dye some of the shirt so that the appliqué could be made darker. In my stash I have a number of procion dyes in various colors and one of them was navy blue. Perfect for the look I was trying to obtain.

Everything that was not used for the main pieces of the corset, all edge bindings and appliqué were dyed a darkish shade of navy blue. The entire shirt is sewn by hand using the recommended thread, Craft and Button 74% polyester, 26% cotton and uses the method spelled out in the books and in the Craftsy class. Grey thread was used for construction and beading rather than the blue thread since the blue thread did not coordinate with the blue of the shirt. 

Here is the final completed project:
Just a word about the sizing. The corset is meant to be close fit and low cut at the bust. I added an inch at the bust so that it was a higher cut and made a size medium. I normally wear a size small and now that the top is completed, it is still a close fit.

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