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The Grand Challenge

Spent time in Georgia last week with my lovely older daughter. She is starting a new phase in her life and I wanted to be there to cheerlead. We had a great time. The first night we, at my insistence, attacked her closet.

Erica greeted me that day wearing a really nice maxi skirt. She bought it sometime before 1994. The girl takes good care of her stuff—and hasn’t changed sizes. I can change sizes in a week, so this impresses me.

During the process, Libby of likemymamasays came by to check in and stayed to play. See this  blogpost for her review of the evening. She was blown away by the 1994 skirt.

I made piles.

  1. You look phenomenal in this.
  2. This died years ago.
  3. Brown! You can’t wear brown.
  4. To be fixed.
  5. Mom hates this but I’m keeping it anyway.
  6. A bit snug, but will fit soon.
  7. Just plain ugly.
  8. Give to someone else.

I’m sorry I didn’t photograph the closet before we started. It was two rows of a double closet jam packed. No one really knew what was in there.

When we finished, Erica could see what she really had that she wears. I made two rules.

  1. She can only buy skirts that flip and flounce because these make her happy.
  2. No more blouses. Too many fit issues and they are too stiff. Drape is everything.

Well, fit is really everything, but that is another blog.

To make a long story short—too late, I know—-Erica's original jacket

We found an unstructured linen jacket that is never worn. Mama doesn’t ever throw away linen—too great a fabric. It had two major problems: the shoulders drooped down the upper arms and it was a dull plum color. (We had a discussion about color theory and that plum is not purple and has a brown tone to it. At least this one did.)

Then Libby piped up with The Challenge. (I love Libby’s creative mind.) She challenged me to take the jacket and make it a statement piece for Erica. Embellish it and make it unique. I accepted readily. Then I gulped. My taste and Erica’s are so different. We talked and looked at pictures. I shopped and bought fabrics and trims to brighten the piece and bring light and color near her face.

My first thought was turquoise, a color she has become obsessed with since moving into her new home. A color I also love. I bought perle cotton threads and practiced some new stitches. I considered fabric paints. A major consideration is that it should be wearable with different colors, so that problem negated some ideas.

When I tried things, nothing worked. Nothing brightened it. It just refused to look like a happy jacket.

The wonky shoulder seam that I will handstitch later.

The wonky shoulder seam that I will handstitch later.

Fit is my passion so I attacked the shoulder. I didn’t really want to take it apart, and I don’t have her body her with which to work, so I abandoned proper techniques and just went with changing the armhole with the sleeve still attached. I basted the heck out of it and sewed the seam. (I wish it had been as easy as that sounds.) I did not trim and finish the seam. I’ll do that after I see that it fits. I felt pretty clever. A nice treat for me.

Wonky shoulder seam I will hand stitch later.

Wonky shoulder seam I will hand stitch later.

Back to the color problem.

After dyeing--

After dyeing–

I bought some Rit. Purple Rit. A synthrapol bath and Steve’s top loader in the basement (another blog–) and success.

Thread dyed purpleI even dyed some embroidery thread with it.

Now this is a palette I can work with. I may be on a roll.

I’ll keep you posted as it goes along. Feel free to weigh in with opinions. I want this to be special.

More later–


3 Responses

  1. I knew you could turn this rag into an actual piece of art. Careful. I might be rummaging in my closet for a rag that I beg you to turn into jane prater arr

  2. Love the new color. Can’t wait to see the final renovation.

  3. I think I would like someone to do that for me.

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