Friday, October 17, 2014

In praise of Mending and restoring the things we love to wear

Mend - verb
: to make (something broken or damaged) usable again 
: to repair (something broken or damaged)
: to heal or cure (a broken bone, a sad feeling, etc.)

One of  the creative things that I do for a little extra income and what I consider a service to my community, is sewing repair work and mending. I'm a pretty good seamstress and I can do more elaborate alterations, but I've found that I enjoy smaller mending, patchwork and repair. It takes less time commitment per item and it's SO rewarding.

In this world of of buying new wardrobes every season, or that is that the industry wants us to do, we are living in a time of throwing out or donating our "old" clothes to make room for the new. But we all have a least one piece of clothing that we really love: a pair of well worn jeans, a perfect pair of khaki shorts or a vintage coat that cannot be replaced.
Then there is that large hole or that place that is worn through or the lining is falling apart at the armhole. Now what do you do?

Just this week a neighbor brought over what was obviously her husband's most loved jacket. It was a a heavy canvas with faux sherpa lining. It had been repaired before but front patch pockets where unattached at the bottom and fabric where they were attached was threadbare.

Many times, the work I do is to patch favorite jeans. Sometimes I can match up a patch and it's not very noticeable, but in most cases people just want their clothing wearable again.

People are so happy when I mend their favorite things and restore them to a place where they can enjoy them for a few years more. Like I said I find this rewarding because I'm doing something that not many people are able to do and the ones who are charge a LOT.  Like I said, I consider this somewhat a community service, because I can and we all get something out of it.

Now if I can only get my hands on this!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Piecing together a Creative Life

I know it's been too long since I've posted here and so much has happened in the last YEAR and a HALF since I posted. Suffice to say, I've been doing more and more of what I love: cooking and sewing!

Last winter I started working as a personal chef, actually prefer to be called a personal cook, and I am so enjoying the culinary creativity it has brought again to my life. I have three clients now and one recent addition mentioned that she had googled me and read my blog. I admitted ruefully that it had been a long time since I posted. She said I know, but I liked what you had to say. So I decided I really needed to get back at it!

Another excited thing that has happened is that I have finished some large sewing projects that were standing in the way of my artistic endeavors in the sewing room.

So now I am free to finish up my most recent art piece, a mandala called "Say Yes". It is going into a community art show here in Durham at the Carrack Gallery June 12-14. Saturday June 14th is the reception, so come out and check out all the great art work the Durham Community has to offer. Above and below is a preview of my piece that I am finishing up right now. It is a mandala measuring 17" in diameter, made with a variety of cotton fabrics.

"Say Yes"
These intricate pieces are made by creating pie wedges, in this case 10 mirror image pieces.
Pattern from the back, this one is 2/3 of one wedge.
Full wedge from two mirrored pieces sewn together
Detail of beginning of sewing wedge.

It is quite a process, but very rewarding. As you can see sometimes, especially with the batiks, I have to choose how I cut the fabric to achieve a certain look I want. I enjoy all of it from design, fabric selection to the challengingly technical putting together of the pieces and finally quilting it.

 In this case the idea is for the quilting to not show and take away from the design. Getting just the right thread color is key. So now I'm off to my sewing room to finish this up and take it to the gallery. I promise to write more often! Have a great weekend!