Thursday, May 2, 2013

“I am certain that a sewing machine would relieve as much human suffering as a hundred lunatic asylums, and possibly a good deal more.”

I've been trying to spend more time in my studio lately, but it is hard because of how hectic my schedule is. However sometimes when I work from home I can do small things like work through my pile of "to be altered" clothes that have been sitting there since the beginning of time.

A few different kinds of things go into my "too be altered" pile. There are, of course, some things that need actual alterations- a hem here, a strap shortened there, a small tear corrected. Then there are things that I want to take apart and use in other things, like a dress from GoodWill that doesn't fit but is in a fantastic fabric. Finally I have things I just want to improve, for example a simple cotton dress that needs a little something extra.

So here are a few things I have altered lately. These are all super easy alterations- I hope they inspire you!

1. Problem: too high neck, stain on front

I got this dress on discount and loved the green polka dots, but I hardly ever wore it because the neck was so high- that's a lot of polka dots! My inclination was proved correct when I finally wore it and got a terrible stain on the top front. I couldn't get it out so into the alterations pile it went. (I had already cut the front out before I remembered to take a picture so it is just laying there in this shot.)

I simply put on the dress and marked where I would like the front to hit my chest. Then I cut out the portion- and the stain!

At this point you could just finish the edge on your machine and call it a day. But I wanted something extra. 

I was trying to decide whether to do a collar or a lace inset.  The decision was made for me when my lace didn't really match the white-offwhite of the dress. So I took a piece of calico and sewed on a lining and created a little collar.

Ta da! I put on a pocket on the front as well to tie the yellow calico into the green polka dots. 
Now the dress is more casual, more whimsical, and way cuter! 

2. Problem: no straps, hole in the front
I got this great little summer dress at a consignment shop and I love it! But there were two problems- no straps (not ok for a top like mine!) and it had a small hole in the front from what looked like a drawstring or ribbon.

I stitched up the hole by hand and cut some straps wide enough to cover my bra in this great ecru linen with gold specks (just like the dress with its gold threading detail!)

Ta da! Fully functional for only a dollar and 15 minutes!

3. Problem: small holes, boring

My favorite alterations to make are just sprucing up something cute and simple. I managed to fix a small hole in a cute tshirt by ironing on a patch made from a cotton calico from my closet, and I embellished a simple cotton black sundress with an Elvis face that was on a pillow-making pattern:

I hand-stitched some little keys to the umbrella patch to give even more character. And I suppose I could have even made that Elvis head into a giant pocket by not finishing it all the way around. 

Making some progress on my 'to be altered' pile! Now back to work!

PS that title quote is from Margaret Atwood in Alias Grace

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