Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Bountiful Source

I thought I would tell this story now, while I have time (kids & husband asleep).

The two jackets mentioned in my post "Don't Fence Me In" came into my possession in the following way.

A very good friend of mine asked me to help her sort boxes & boxes & bags & bags of used clothing that, for some reason known only to herself, her mother had brought over in a container with her furniture when she 'moved' from New York to Brisbane.  The lady in question returned to the USA approximately 12 months later (about 5 years ago), leaving all the furniture & clothes behind (correct me if I am wrong A).
The clothing had belonged to various people, my friend (when she was in her teens), her two sisters, her grandmother, probably her stepfather, and her mother.  Who really knows how another mind works?
Being a keen op-shopper & having just got into refashioning, you can imagine what I said.  YES! of course.

It took several sessions, over a number of weeks to go through them all.  We sorted into the following categories.
  • A to keep (not much went in this pile)
  • Rags for A
  • Op Shop
  • Rags for Op Shop
  • Me to keep (stuff that was the right style & size).
  • Me to refashion (stuff that basically fitted & had great fabric, but that needed a bit of restyling).
  • Me to repurpose (especially woollen jumpers, but more of that later).
  • and lastly to sell, probably on Etsy.
This last group consisted of items that I said "No way are you sending that to the op shop!", but that really weren't my style, didn't fit, or were totally unsuitable for Brisbane and deserved a loving & caring home.  Things like
a calf-length, pure silk (lining too), heavily beaded cream dress or;
a pink bolero length Vogue of Paris jacket or;
a fur cape.
The list goes on - for three BIG bags full.
Aren't I just the luckiest girl?

I took the items home & put all of the ones from the last four categories that were made from protein based fibres (silk, wool, fur etc) into bags & then the freezer.  Like with my flour and rolled oats, this will kill any moth eggs and caterpillars that might otherwise damage the fabric.

After sorting them again (reclassifying some items) I checked the state of them & sent ones that were stained, but that I thought could be rescued with careful treatment, to my mother (I trust her skills far more than my own in the laundry department).  The rest went into those vaccuum bags, to seal & protect them from mould, & moths, until I get around to refashioning them, or putting them on Etsy .
When I do photograph them, & put them up, I'll let you know.  Might even post some photos here as well.

Now, back to those woollen jumpers.
These I cut the arms off & then put them (in light & dark batches) into the washing machine.  Temperature turned as high as it goes (I usually wash in cold water).  They came out beautifully shrunk & felted, even in my gentle front loader.
One of the items, which had started out as a long, daggy, grey cardigan, came out looking like quite a trendy short sleeveless jacket (when I dress it up a bit with some appliqué) - potential for my brother's partner in Tassie.  And the sleeves were sooooo soft they called out to be made into a soft toy for a friend with a baby coming due.
This is what eventuated.

Now, normally I am anti-rabbit (they are just too big a pest in this country) but, with those lovely long ears to grab & suck, it just had to be.
Completely my own design I call him 'Recycled Rabbit'.
His body, arms, legs & back of ears are made from that lovely soft felt; the tail & front of the ears are made from the sleeves of a lacy jumper I felted at the same time; the jacket is from a felt calendar, double layer with the writing inside so you can't see it; the face is embroidered with thread left over from other projects, he is stuffed with scraps of wool & cotton batting left over from my quilts and the bag is a piece of fabric that was wrapped around a present I received.  How's that for recycling / repurposing?
I am thrilled with the result, and I really hope R's new baby girl J grows to love him!

Bye for now.

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