The “Make Do” Jacket
Fabric: Cream wool from Jo-Ann’s fabric, $12 (with 50% off coupon); floral cotton scraps
Pattern: Traced from existing bolero
Year: c. 1940s
Notions: embroidery floss, seam binding
Time to complete: 7 hours
First worn: June 2012
Wear again? Yes
Total Cost: ~$12
For me, this week’s theme was more about mending and making do than embellishments. My dress is alteration work from a creation from 2010 and my jacket is a UFO that I just kept on abandoning. Still, I’m quite happy that I was able to pull these two garments together and make them work for this week’s challenge.
The dress is my The “Hot in the City” Dress — one of my absolute favorites from the first year of The Sew Weekly. As you can see from the 2010 photograph and my hasty iPhone shot from last night, the dress didn’t quite fit me anymore. It’s been hanging in my downstairs closet awaiting alterations. Last night (YES, LAST NIGHT AGAIN!), as I tried to decide what to do for the challenge, I saw this dress and knew that this plus the bolero was the answer.
In true lazy Mena fashion, I simply stitched the back and took about six inches off the thing. I could have added a zipper, but who am I kidding? It’s still a bit loose, but a far better fit. Now, the second part of the outfit (and the actual challenge) involved me embellishing the sad and neglected bolero.
The bolero was originally intended for the Pantone challenge from this year. I didn’t end up participating in that challenge, hence the UFO. The pattern was drafted using the rub-off method on an existing bolero I have from the 1940s. Everything about the construction of the bolero was perfect. And then, disaster struck. The iron-on embroidery transfer didn’t quite work and I ended up with a cream wool bolero with blurry hot pink transfer marks along the front.
So the week of that Pantone challenge, I decided to just freehand little embroidery stitches along the front. When that became tedious, I tossed the thing aside and gave up. For maybe 2 or 3 later challenges, I tried to figure out a way to integrate the bolero without any luck. And then, for this week, I realized that the key to fixing the thing was to cover it with fabric.
That’s when the extra long hem of my “Hot in the City” Dress came in. I shortened the dress and used the fabric as a trim along the embroidery mess. Hence, my embellishment. To make it even more true to the theme, I embroidered a border stitch along the outside of the fabric.
And that, my friends, is how you make something work the night before a challenge. That’s a much more positive way to spin my laziness.
And finally, apologies for not getting to the red, white and blue challenge from last week. I intended to participate but when my dresses (yes, I tried to make 2 different dresses) didn’t cooperate with me, I decided just to give myself a break and take the week off. My absence has nothing to do with me being sad or any drama in my life (thanks for the ladies –especially Judy!– who emailed me to ask). I’m actually quite happy and everything is really good.
Somewhat related, here’s another embellishment project I took on in the last couple weeks. I didn’t make the shirt but the squirrels are my work. Actually, they’re from Sublime Stitching’s Forest Friends collection.