There are many ways to cope with mistakes or the unexpected. Sometimes you just have to plow through, even if the end product is disappointing. Like a batch of sugar cookies that are just slightly misshapen or a little too brown on the edges. It’s OK. They will still taste good. Sometimes, you have to back up a bit and fix the error because a crooked seam means a misfitted garment. In rare moments, a total do over is the only choice. And still other times you find a way to create something totally new from a bad moment.
I had a favorite pair of flannel pajama bottoms. I wore them often. And one day as I was shoveling snow from our driveway, the rear seam ripped. I was so disappointed. And grateful there was no one, but the cold wind, to witness my exposed behind. Back inside the house, I discovered the fabric itself had failed, leaving me no easy option to restitch the seam. I did not want to just toss my favorite pajamas bottoms. In an instant, I had an idea – to make an infinity scarf.
I cut off the waistband, leg hems, and side seams and salvaged two long pieces of flannel. I further cut the irregular edges to create two even rectangles. Then I stitched them together along the short edges to create a loop of fabric. So simple.
What can you imagine and make from the unexpected?
With cooler weather finally arriving in Central Oregon, I was motivated to finish some sweater alterations. Both were originally large men’s wool sweaters from thrift that I felted by washing in hot water and drying at the highest temperature.
The gray sweater had a zipper and mock turtleneck collar that I simply trimmed off, leaving a scoop neck with a u-shaped cutout. The beauty of working with felted wool is that you can cut it without the edges fraying or unraveling. With my sewing machine, I narrowed the sleeves by a couple inches so they are fitted. Then I cut the bottom hem on an angle. Hi-low hems may be passé but I like the look of this sweater.
The mustard color sweater was first altered a few years ago; the modern flower pattern added by needle felting. But the original turtleneck collar and rolled sleeve hems never seemed quite right, so the sweater was forgotten in my closet I simply cut off the turtle neck and sleeve hems, and added a small notch to open the neckline. The end result is a simple sweater with three quarter length sleeves and a scoop neck collar.
Are there unworn wool sweaters in your wardrobe? Consider simple alterations by felting and cutting to create a new look!
A while ago I happened upon a way to make a simple skirt from the top half of a XXL t-shirt. I literally just stepped inside the giant neck hole and said “Hey, this could be a skirt.” The sleeves were flipped inside and sewn shut to form giant pockets and the skirt hem was a simple raw cut edge. It was just that simple. I wore it a few times in the summer. It was funky for sure – even for me. So recently, I decided to alter it a step further and make some low crotch harem pants. Using a second complementary gray t-shirt, I created tapered legs and a folded waistband. They are super comfortable, but clearly an experimental part of any wardrobe. Pants are much more practical in my wardrobe, so I may actually wear these as a funky, feature piece now and then.
This infinity scarf is made from a large piece of soft cotton shirting found at a thrift store. I really like the modern use of a traditional material like plaid. The edges of the fabric are straight-stitched at ¼ inch so there is a controlled fray.
Using the gray fleece leftover from making the mouse ears and tails, I created a couple easy fringe scarves. I’ve previously made and posted pictures of this scarf design in various colors and patterns. Being a minimalist, I prefer the monochrome gray.
The second of two gigantic t-shirts was transformed into a dress. The chest pocket remains in the original location so it wraps over the new side seam. The bottom edge is raw but the sleeves and collar hems were preserved.