Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fabric Reconstruction

Clothing reconstruction. Clothing remodeling. Alterations. I don't know what you call it, but I'm getting quite excited about it. In the fall and winter I love to wear cotton knit skirts made out of higher quality fabric then I can't get at the two fabric stories in my town. My solution is shopping at the second hand stores. I get so excited about this because I love to keep something from going to waste that I can reuse. I disagree strongly with the prices in the department stores for clothing. And I find myself disagreeing with modern styles pretty strongly too. I'm not ready to sign a pledge to not buy anything new like the ladies Wardrobe Refashion are doing here. I will buy something new if it's a reasonable price and I really do need it and can't get it another way within the needed amount of time. For example tee shirts, turtle necks, sweaters. They put them out early in the season, and once they are gone in your size and color, they are gone. If I see something like that in a color that is good for me, I do buy it, and then wear it for years. By doing this, I am gradually making a collection of clothing that fits my style and fall coloring.

But back to the idea of clothing reconstruction. I go to the second hand store looking for something that would work for me in my size or larger. I found the above outfit on the 75% off clearance rack at a consignment store. Yipee! The skirt and matching jacket cost me a little more then $3! The tee shirt was already in my drawer. The problem was that the skirt and jacket were too big for me. I'm sure the lady at the counter was wondering why I was buying it. But how could pass up a cotton knit skirt that was going to be so comfortable. I wasn't sure how the jacket was going to turn out, but I was ready to give it a try at that price. If it didn't work, I knew it wouldn't be a waste, because I would also gain experience and knowledge about what I could do. On the skirt I took in the waist, side seams, and hem. I just pinned up the sides with it on me, wrong side out. Then sewed it up, and zig-zagged the raw edges. Then my husband helped me pin up the hem and it wasn't long until that was done.

The jacket turned out to be easy. I just took in the seams 1 inch on each side from hem all the way to the hem of the sleeves, zig-zagged, trimmed the excess and was done.

Monday afternoon I met a girlfriend at a second hand store, and we had a good time looking for things that fit, or things that we could work over. I came home with a flannel tiered skirt in reds, greens and black that just needed a hem. I fixed that this morning, and it is already to go. I found a lovely navy blue cotton knit skirt that needs to be shortened. I don't wear a lot of navy, but do have some sweaters that would go nicely with it. I also found a deep red corduroy jacket with flowers and navy colored leaves, but the sleeves are way too long and I will have to take in the sides. It is going to be really fun to wear brand names that I can't, or don't want to afford at a fraction of the price.

Do any of the rest of you do any fabric construction or reconstruction? Would you like to but just haven't got brave enough? Let me know what you think.

4 bouquets of wildflowers (Comment here):

La Tea Dah said...

Great idea --- and yes, I grew up reconstructing clothing. I actually don't enjoy it, but my mother was a master at it. Someone in your town whom you might know is a year or two older than me. Each spring and autumn her mother would drop off a huge box of her daughter's clothing on our doorstep. My mother would remake them for my sis and me (not changing the style, but altering them to fit). I find that I still 'shop' that way --- knowing that I can make changes --- a tuck here, a pleat there. Recently one of my best friends had a son who was marrying and she hadn't yet bought the mother-of-the groom gown. It was Friday afternoon when I went shopping with her in a small town (Roseburg) to find a dress. Nothing was suitable. Finally we found a beautiful beaded gown --- very expensive --- but it was too large. The shop keeper said there was 'no time' to alter it to fit, but I told my friend that I would do it for her. The wedding was on Sunday. I spent Saturday night doing alterations. I pinned and tucked it to fit, as she wanted. But once it was done she thought it 'too tight', so I undid the stitches and found a happy place inbetween. And I learned that if a child is to marry soon, don't put off finding an appropriate gown!

I imagine the thrift shop you are going to is that totally awesome one between CP and WW? At the sharing center? It's the neatest place!

Happy stitching and altering! You are so tiny, I suspect that the 'not buying new' would not be an appropriate method for you --- as new things can be bought for great prices sometimes --- and I'm sure that finding things you like are sometimes difficult in your size. If only I had the same problem (mine's the opposite! LOL! But I'm doing better --- I've lost 30 lbs. since I saw you last!).


Pamela said...

everything in the store is made in sri lanka, china, or mexico.

In the very early 50's (we were poor) my mom cut up her winter coat and made a coat for my brother so he could go to school.

Carla said...

I have an aunt who is quite wealthy and passes her clothes on to my mother who passes them on to me. I wouldn't even know where to buy clothes with these labels, so I feel very blessed indeed to receive them. My aunt, however, is several inches taller than I am so I have some slacks and jackets and blouses that I am going to attempt to shorten myself. To pay for the alterations is just too much! I'm nervous since I know how expensive they were new, but I'm going to jump in and give it a go. Hopefully, I'll do a good job! I LOVE the concept of reusing items. We need to not be so wasteful and that's one of the many reasons I love garage sales and thrift stores so much. It's a true win win.

Elizabeth Joy said...


I'm not sure who you are, but I'm glad you stopped by my blog.

I know it is hard to cut into nice clothing, but start with the one you love the least, just so you can build some confidence before you do something to your favorite one. And get a friend to help you with pinning hems and stuff. I just can't do that myself. I figured out today that it is much easier for me to cut into something that I didn't pay full price for then something that I bought new. I just remade a nice jacket and it turned out great. Somethings are easier to do that to then others. I still haven't attempted to do anything with a lining. I wouldn't know where to start there.

Have fun! It is rewarding!