Monday, April 16, 2012

Week 15: Embellished Cardigans

 One of the first blogs I became obsessed with was New Dress A Day.  In case you aren't also obsessed, I'll fill you in a bit.  Marissa challenged herself to a year of crafting her own clothing, one item a day.  In the entire year she was only allowed to spend $365, or a dollar a day on these new items of clothing.  Nearly everything she made was an upcycled thrift store find, or something that she already had in her closet.  She has a gift for turning something hideously un-wearable, into something fab. She is my idol.  I want to be her. 

Anyway, her challenge is over, but I'm still inspired.  Unfortunately I am challenged by a few details: 1. I live in Turkey, where there doesn't seem to be any such thing as second hand stores. 2.  Fabric and craft stores are very limited here. 3. My sewing machine lives in America.

So.  Last spring I chopped into a few Banana Republic sweaters that I didn't love anymore,  and turned them into cardigans.  

Sorry in advance for all of the PJ pictures.  It was Sunday morning, and I didn't feel like getting dressed.  Or brushing my hair.  So I just cut my head out of everything.  

I embellished this one with some lacy trip that I found at a yarn shop. 

And I added beads to this one, in the shape of a flower.  

Close up on the flower.
Don't look too closely at anything else, because without a sewing machine, my  edges are pretty rough. 

Anyway, a few weeks ago my best Turkish buddy, Zeynep, was admiring my flowered cardigan, and asked if I would fancy up one of hers.  Heck yes.

So she brought a bag of cardis to work and told me to do whatever I wanted.  An hour later she ran into the office to clarify. "Don't change all of them.  Just one."  A few more hours passed, and she ran back in, "don't do anything too big or too noticeable. Maybe just a tiny heart."   

Seemed like Zeynep was starting to trust my creative eye a little less. 

So I sat on her bag of cardigans for a week.  Trying to figure out how to just add a tiny heart, and still make it super cute.  What's the point of that?  So I gave up, and ignored her request, promising myself I wouldn't be hurt if she wanted me to take it all off.  

Here's what we started with: Plain gray, shorty, cardigan. Super soft though.

I cut a bunch of tiny flowers out of Alan's old shirt.  (I'm getting lots of mileage out of that guy: flower wreath, birds, headbands, whale onsie.) And laid them out to get a feel for the placement. I ended up cutting out 8 each of 5-petal and 4-petal flowers.

I wanted to add some dimension to them instead of having limp flat flowers, so I folded the flowers in half and sewed a knot in the back, and then I folded them in half again and sewed another knot. 

This helped them to stand up just a bit. 

I sewed them on using seed beads left over from all of my necklacing.  

Final product.

Her reaction: "I love it it's perfect!... And what about the others?... Let's see the others!
Me:  You only wanted me to do one. 
Zeynep: But now you can do them all.  I changed my mind... Where did you buy these flowers?
Me: I cut them out of an old shirt. 
Zeynep:  Hmmm... We should open up a store.  In Istanbul.  People would buy these.  Think about it.

I guess she liked it. 

Stay tuned for the rest of the cardigans she gave me.  

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