The “Cake and Frosting” Combo

Project details:
Fabric: One grey turtleneck, a hand-me-down = free / One pair grey argyle socks… I think they were my dad’s = also free
Pattern: none
Year: n/a
Notions: Embroidery floss left over from previous projects = free
Time to complete: Skirt: 2 hours / Gloves: 5 hours? Maybe 6.
Sewing soundtrack: Mostly nothing, but the Radio Dept. a little bit
First worn: Work today. Okay, I didn’t wear the gloves actually at work–I do work indoors–just this morning on the way
Wear again: Gloves: definitely / Skirt: maybe, I suppose
Total cost: Free!

I’m not good at refashioning. I’m very visual, which is great when it comes to looking at a pattern or a piece of uncut fabric and seeing it as a finished garment. But once a garment is finished, that‘s how I see it, and I have trouble picturing it any other way. (Unless of course it’s something that I made and am unsatisfied with.)

So my initial refashion was not very interesting. We’ll call it the cake. I took a hand-me-down turtleneck (I don’t like turtlenecks); I cut the neck and sleeves off; I made a skirt. That’s pretty much it. The sleeves I reattached as a waistband that ties in a bow at the side, so there’s that detail. And I was originally planning to embroider little grey-on-grey flowers along the hem, but after I had it put together, I decided that with the slight flare at the bottom and the bow at the waist, it was cute enough. Flowers might be too much.

Plus, the skirt’s really not me, in a number of ways, and I didn’t want to spend that much time on something I’m not sure about. Don’t get me wrong, it turned out almost exactly as I planned and I’m very happy with it (I’m finally starting to figure out how to not hate my zigzag attachment!) but it’s much more my sister’s style. She keeps asking me to make her stretchy little skirts, and I actually kind of made this as a test to see if this kind of reconstruction would work. Well, it does. And now I know what to do next time someone gives me more turtlenecks…

But I’m much more excited about my other refashion. Also conceived of as a test-to-see-if-this-would-work (I had serious doubts about whether the knit would hold up at all to cutting; I wouldn’t have been surprised at all if everything had immediately unraveled), project two was also a success, and much more me.

So I made a pair of gloves out of some old socks. Yeah. I’m kinda frugal like that. But I also think they’re very cool. How many other people have handmade argyle gloves–that fit?

For the pattern, I used the only other pair of non-stretchy gloves in the world that properly fit my hands, and just traced off. There were nine pieces per hand (though I wound up cutting the front and back together on a fold). Since the socks do stretch a bit, I cut all the pieces slightly smaller than my tracings to account for that and keep the new ones from being baggy. That worked well. Next pair (and there will be a next pair), I’ll want to make the fingers even a little bit longer, and possibly taper the wrists even more, but otherwise–great.

The gloves were sewn entirely by hand, just a blanket stitch. This is something I’ve seen on vintage gloves, but perhaps those were made of materials with less ravelly edges. Mine are slightly messy. They will not be going through the wash.

You also can’t see them too close up because then you would be able to see (in addition to the unclean edges) the numerous runs that were in the socks before I even started cutting. I did my best to go around them, but there were a lot. Probably not the best material to start a new project with (the elastic around the cuffs was also totally shot), but hey, the color matched with the skirt.

Anyway. I know gloves are functional and utilitarian (and this pair, due to their construction materials, are perhaps even more so). Likewise, machine-knit grey argyle is certainly not fluffy or dressy or princess-like. But I think these are just frivolous enough to consider frosting. I’m definitely as excited as if they were.

And finally. Thank you, so much, to everyone who left a comment last week to the effect that I am not the lone shy, awkward person in the room. This really means a lot to me, and it is only because of your support that I am able to force myself outside to take photos, and to have the courage to post them. A year ago I never would’ve dreamed of posting on here.

Giving last week’s location another go–a bit better this time, yeah?

I suck at community, so even though I love the community on here and eagerly read all the posts, I almost never leave comments–which I know is awful, but I always feel like I’m going to say something wrong, or that what I have to say is repetitive/not interesting. I’ll try in the future to do a better job with that.

Anyway, though. Thank you thank you thank you.

Author

Z.

Z. has, much to her surprise, been sewing since 2007. She lives in Portland, Oregon, and uh 1955-fantasy-land. In addition to sewing, she likes words, music, and old things. Her life is a story.

9 Comments

  1. I think anyone who comes across your posting will be spreading the word and we will soon see lots of argyle gloves appearing on the horizon. They are so cute as is the skirt. Thanks for the info so I can try duplicating your creations.

  2. another job(s) well done! Your dress last week fit so absolutely perfectly and now this–can’t wait to see what you stitch up next. I’ve heard that sewing those gussets on gloves can be a tricky business, but yours are so beautiful I may have to give it a try. Eventually.

    p.s. I’m less introverted than I used to be, perhaps because if you fall down so many times you stop caring after awhile, but I still have a tongue that trips over itself on an almost daily basis. But no matter. Just know that you are not alone, and that you have many fans.

  3. Wha-?! These are both some of the cleverest things I’ve seen! Turtleneck to skirt? Genius! I also hate turtlenecks, but I see I need to look at despised garments from another angle. And those gloves are AWESOME!

  4. Very cool! I love both your refashion ideas!

  5. I live the both the gloves and skirt. I think I’ll try the skirt sometime soon. the gloves are amazing. I’m trying to figure out what all nine pieces were. I;m impressed that you were able to make them out of a pair of socks-

    • Thanks, Gina. The other pieces–I didn’t show them in the picture because they just look like scraps, but there are skinny little strips (I guess gussets) on either side of each finger to make up the remaining nine. Now I’m kind of thinking, though, that since the sock/glove material stretches so much, it might’ve worked just as well to leave those out… Maybe I’ll try that with the next pair.

  6. That is incredible! How did you do that? You are so clever. I love your last picture. Looks like you’re getting more comfortable in front of the camera. Have fun with it.

  7. They are both fabulous, and I’m glad to hear that the skirt will be getting some love and wear, even if it isn’t really your style! The gloves are fantastic. Most of the vintage whipstitched/blanketstitched gloves I have seen were kid, which won’t fray.

  8. Oh my googness they are so good. I’ve tried twice this year (and failed….so far) to make gloves. mind you, I’ve used a stretchy satin and a suede. The answer is clearly to start with socks. Those gloves and the skirt are fab!

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