Monday, January 24, 2011

The Journey Back

Let me begin by saying, for the record, that migraines suck.  Especially when they last for two or three days (or in my son's case, often for weeks on end).  Mine are often accompanied by ridiculous little sound tracks that loop through my head with abandon, at approximately the decibel level of a jumbo jet.  This weekend, though, the pickaxe through my skull was brought to me by this sponsor: The Ugly Little Voice That Raises Ugly Little Doubts.  We all have them - the nagging voices saying that we aren't good enough, aren't prepared enough, aren't who we really put ourselves out into public as being (you Poser, you!).  Normally, I know better and ignore that voice (for the most part).  When the point is being repeatedly driven home by, well, what feels like a REAL point, it's a little harder to shake.  So while I continue my bobble-headed recovery (physical and psychological) from this weekend's double-edged torment, let me offer an apology for not updating with more crafty goodness.  I meant for this blog to keep me on a daily creative track, to monitor my progress, and to make me somewhat accountable since other members of the world would be paying attention.  That doesn't always happen, even with the best of intentions - when the migraines hit either one of us, all we can do is batten down the hatches and ride them out.  I did manage to get some hand-sewing done, but since it was just putting patches on a jacket, I figured that wasn't really fitting the Creative Aspect I was striving for with this blog.

So here are some photos of some creative goodness I was able to muster right before Christmas, when the Migraine Fairy was apparently called elsewhere.  These are jackets that I purchased from my local Assistance League, a delightful thrift shop that the volunteers call The Bargain Box.  And bargains, indeed - I can get jeans there for about $4.00, t-shirts from $2.50 up, dresses for $3.00 to $4.00, and on.  I have also bought sweaters, wool jackets, purses and other items with the intention of remaking them into something unique, a la Stampington's Altered Couture (  I had seen these little unfinished jean jackets there, prominently displayed up front, for the ridiculous price of $1.00 each.  And they weren't selling.  Imagine that!

So one day, while perusing the newest donation glut in the store, I took a look at the rack and just about fell over.  Sad to say, even though some of the volunteers had tried to spruce up a few of the jackets & sell them at a reasonable price, no one was interested.  So the volunteers decided to let them all go - at 50 cents a pop.  That, my friends, was an altered clothing explosion waiting to happen at my house!  Without further ado, I asked one of the volunteers to help me gather up ALL of the jean jackets.  They made me a very generous offer (threw in quite a few for free), but wondered what on earth I was going to do with all those jackets ranging from a 2T to about a size 10.  I still need to take some photos into the store to share with these lovely people, but here are the three that I got finished so far (there are about 25 others waiting in the wings):

The first one off the assembly line.  The lavender velvet parts were from a recycled t-shirt bought at the Salvation Army.

Sometimes I amaze myself.  After putting the collar on, I needed a way to fasten the jacket front.  The elastic loop here was made from what was left of the hem of the original t-shirt.  The button was fastened to the other side of the collar, and  Wham! Instant flower!

After the nifty button flower assembly at the collar, I knew I needed to balance it out; so I added matching flowers at the sleeves.  These don't have elastic, but it did balance the design nicely.  The embroidery you see here was originally on the t-shirt. 

Jacket number 2.  

Used parts of another velvet t-shirt I found at the Assistance League, as well as some satin I had purchased for another client (who decided against the prom purse - lucky me), and some of the most awesome buttons ever - I swear, they were made just to go with this jacket.  

Third jacket, made with a skirt I bought at the Assistance League for about a buck.   

A closeup of the neckline treatment - I wanted it to look sort of fairy princess-ish, so I serged these two leaf shapes for the asymmetrical neckline, then added pearl ribbon trim and a rosebud.  I liked it, but it needed something to balance out the shapes.  

That's when I hit on the solution - I used part of the existing embroidery from the overskirt to add to the other side of the neckline.  Voila, balanced, yet still asymmetrical & whimsical.  

Now if I could just have figured out how to keep those darn pearls from shifting while sewing the ribbon....

I will be periodically posting more jacket "do-overs" as I get them done.  These were a joy to make, even with the challenges they presented.  The best part?  Hearing about the little recipients strutting and dancing around the room after opening them on Christmas.  How could that get any better?

1 comment:

  1. I love the Assistance League, too. Their prices are amazing and I like that the money is going back to fund worthy causes in our local community up here in Santa Barbara. Looks like your AL is one I should check out in the future on my way to San Diego. The Ventura Bargain Box (AL) is small, but it also has great finds. Love how you refashioned those jean jackets. I am amazed they weren't selling at such a ridiculously low price.