I started to learn to do proper textile stuff last year. And only now I’m finally starting to grasp – in tiniest baby steps – the basics of garment construction and textile properties. So this is a section of ‘look what I did to make this garment work better for me’ or ‘…to prolong its lifespan’. This post is a double feature of a t-shirt I loved so much I turned it into an applique for another well loved item and a blouse that kept opening at the bust so I sewed it closed.
A standard disclaimer: these are not detailed tutorials but inspirational pieces instead. However, my level is so basic that you can probably do this too. Here we go:
No pasarán t-shirt to jacket
No pasarán t-shirt depicting a ‘tropical uterus’ (as described by its author Elena Cuadrado) and the anti-fascist slogan from the Spanish Civil War ¡No pasarán! comes from a crowdfunding initiative that sprang as a resistance movement when the right-wing government kept threatening Spanish women with limiting their rights to abortion in 2014. Much care and love went into these, for example, the delivery to backers were delayed because the organizers had discovered that the t-shirt provider chosen didn’t have good enough labor standards, so they switched to 100% organic cotton from Stanley/Stella halfway through. If you love the design and want to make it into a desktop or whatever else, there are downloadable .png and .pdf at the link above.
So I loved it and wore it a lot. It got well over #100wears and it showed. After several fixes of the cotton jersey around the armpits, it became clear recently that something else had to be done. See, old fixed ‘welts’ in the background an a new hole + an overall wearout:
At the same time I was figuring out how to improve my old Street One jacket. It, being around 15 years old, was cut to early 2000s fashion – on the hip – as everything was extra-low waist back then. For real, I didn’t learn where my real waist was until the age of 25 or so! The overall design is nice, the fabric is pleasant and sturdy, but it lacked an ooomph:
First I added some patches Kristīne gifted me, but that wasn’t enough and the length problem was still there…
But at some point an idea of a feminist-biker-gang-jacket occurred, we did some brainstorming with Carmen at Opció Taller, and then magic happened. Scissor magic and applique magic, to be precise.
This is the result! Shorter hem without many complications because the lowest press button was originally a long way higher than the hem. Front patches. And the glorious back applique. My only little concern is how it will wear under the backpack, but I don’t wear backpack on my back that often (it’s mostly in the bicycle basket) and it’s great so far! So 15 more years for the jacket…
The ruffle blouse
I got this flimsy piece of plastic as a hand-me-down from Kristīne in 2015. It’s originally Asos, but knowing Kristīne I would bet that it has passed through a charity shop in Cambridge before she acquired it. It’s transparent, so an undergarment is needed. That’s one of the reasons why repairing the little lace blouse was so important, because I wear these two together.
I had worn it with no second thought about the buttons even this May. Then summer came and it’s too plastic for Barcelona summer, so we met again this week. And there clearly have been some body changes in between because I spent all day buttoning it up because the buttons kept popping. 0 fun even with an undergarment. Evidence below, May 2018 vs. October 2018. There is now just this little bit more tugging on the buttons now… that makes all the difference for the ease of wear:
Every busty person will have met this problem with button-downs, it’s one of the reasons why the only one I have is quite oversized… but this one, which is not even a true button-down because it does not button all the way down, now played this trick on me! See?
But I want to keep wearing this one! I like the cut, I like the pink hue, the exaggerated femininity of it, dude, it’s a nice little blouse for my brand of ‘tame-looking-librarian-that-will-crush-your-bullshit-once-you-have-underestimated-her’…
The only reasonable fix that occurred to me was to sew it up. I measured that leaving open only the top two buttons was enough for me to get it over my head, which meant that all the problem area can be neatly stitched together and nobody will know. And nobody will have to remark on my buttons ever again.
I sewed together the inside part of the button detail, as that was a neater way to do it. So the buttons can still be opened and the stitches are behind them. That’s why it’s not perfectly fixed from the outside and looks ‘natural’. The difference is subtle but I don’t have to monitor those buttons anymore. Great! More mental energy for the actual life.
Have you done any life-giving fixes recently? Made any garments? Or is there something you would like to fix and don’t know how to?