Friday, 13 February 2015

Garment 11: Opportunity
First off, I will disclose that I had no part in the design or making of this lovely, so-light-it-could-almost-float-away raglan-sleeved top. That credit is all due to a talented friend, Zoe Welch: "slow fashion" creator, writer, photographer, movie-maker - amongst other gifts - and first-rate source of encouragement, whom I met through OSF.

It doesn't belong to me, either, though it's adorable and I think I could totally rock it. It is owned by another friend and fellow OSF board member, Kat Siddle, who bought it from Zoe one night when we were picking up a donation of fabric from her home.

So why are you looking at pictures of it, you're wondering? Enter Kat's teal winter coat. It's a really cute coat, with a really badly-behaved zipper. One evening Kat's beautiful Zoe top became so completely stuck in the zipper of her coat, that after a 2-hour struggle, she had to have her fiance finally cut her out of it. Aw man. Was it ruined forever? Hmm. That might require a little side-ways thinking. That's where I came in.

I love a good side-ways think, especially when it involves giving purpose to useless, potentially ruined stuff. The hole itself was nicely placed, and nicely shaped - kind of heart-like, I thought. I happened to have, sitting on my sewing table, the left-overs from a recently finished piece - scraps from a twice-abandoned cashmere sweater, pink and deliciously soft, which I had originally lifted from Zoe's Sally Ann donations bag. What's not to love about cashmere? Or pink. It seemed a fitting material for a heart-shaped patch.

The running stitches were done with yarns from those hopeful little packets that hang on better-quality new clothes and may contain one or more of the following: a spare button that will almost certainly never know a buttonhole, a neatly-coiled length of yarn with even less hope of ever darning a hole, a symbolic sprinkling of loose beads or sequins. In rare cases - and a sure sign of the purchaser's elevated taste level - one might find two metal or plastic collar stays: remedy for the even less likely event of that uncommon, though annoying, affliction: Unequal Collar Point Orientation.

I've been saving the packets since I can remember, and most "estate" donations at OSF contain an assortment of them. I expect most of us hang on to them out of obligation, at least until their original garment has passed from our lives, when we are finally released from the responsibility of keeping them around. But by then, they've found a semi-permanent - though never entirely satisfactory - home in the junk drawer, or, more likely, the button box, mixed in with a thimble or two, a couple of dome fasteners, a corroded penny, and a few random nuts or screws, quietly living out their tasteful, but pointless existence. It was very, very satisfying to put some of them to use.

I usually bring along with me a bag of hand sewing (or un-sewing, more often than not!) whenever I have to ride the bus, wait for the doctor, sit through the kids' extra-curricular activities, or spend more than 20 minutes in a passenger seat. Two neuroplasticity sessions later, and voila! Survey says, definitely not ruined!

Considering the higher quality of garments that generally merit spare parts hang tags, I suspect the yarns used for the stitching are likely mostly real wool. I'm hoping the patch might felt up a little with washing, in a jaunty smocking-esque sort of way. We shall see.

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