patterns ~ books ~ fabric ~ wearable art ~ accessories ~ purse kits purse handles ~ metal purse frames ~ purse closures ~ buckles buttons ~ bling ~ beads ~ and special limited edition embellishment
The trend of recycling through a COLLAGE of mixed fabrics, media, and ephemera is as strong as ever. It’s now labeled upcycling, functional fashion, organic creativity, and Eco-friendly. Items found in a thrift store is now called reclaimed and harvested. All these adjectives celebrate recycling.
These newly created items made from the not-so-new are described as artfully tattered, abundant layers of visible stitching, and combined with imperfect asymmetry to enhance the personality of each piece. Edges are left raw to gently fray over time. Each piece is unique and made spontaneously without patterns. With descriptions like that, how can you fail? There is no failure and there is no destination; it’s the journey of creating the artist’s story.
I’ve never stopped my mission of the remake. But can’t we do it with style, attention to color, and use the sewing machine too? Yes, go into your closet and recycle those clothes that you can’t bear to let go. Cut them up and make a lovely handbag or piece them together into a clever vest.
Take photos of each item and put them on your phone or print them out. Look for found treasure to embellish. It might be a trim, a brooch, or buttons. Take your time and let your ideas brew....careful, sometimes they just disappear during the brew if you’re drinking the brew.
Draw sketches, tear out magazine photos, and go back into your stash of patterns. Use them to re-cut your pieces or just go free hand. Think Project Runway or more like Chopped on the Food Network. What if you opened a sewing basket with unrelated items and created something wonderful in a short time?
Don’t forget to draw on your knowledge of sewing and tools. My favorite tools are sharp scissors and fusible stabilizers. I keep certain ones on hand: woven, wonder under, and tricot knit interfacing. Now there are a million stabilizers that perform specialized tasks. Use them. Now I’ve added netting to the list for an extremely lightweight base.
Consider using the stabilizer of choice as your canvas. Place the fusible side up and place your pieces of fabric, trim, and fiber. Rearrange (taking a photo of each arrangement) until satisfied. Since you have the photos you can go back to an arrangement you prefer. Pin and press into place. Add machine or hand stitching with decorative thread. Use as is or back with batting or a stiff craft-tex depending on the project. This way, the embellished piece can be removed and used in something else or the garment can be laundered.
A little bling always helps. Use beads and thread to attach the embellished piece. It may just be a “cameo” that can go from jacket to purse. Use a brooch or decorative safety pins to attach, use fabric glue for a more permanent placement, or use magnetic snaps to change up the style.
All of these supplies could already be in our stash or friends stash. Get together and create some art!
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Stephanie Kimura is the designer/owner of a wearable and decorative arts pattern company. She is the author of Altered Style, Bags With Style, Bags And Accessories With Style, and Art To Wear With Asian Flair published by Krause Publications.
Her goal is to promote creative sewing and embellishment through trunk shows, lectures, demos, patterns, books, and her website www.StephanieKimura.com.
Two of her projects, Flowers For The Empresss and Getting A Handle On Leather AndSuede, can be seen on Sew Much More on the DIY Network for HGTV, America Quilts Creatively and Living Well for PBS .