Process

So, the last few days have been a bit strange, and I’ve not had as much time to sew as I would have liked.  As a result, I’ve only got one thing to show for it after thinking I’d have a whole arsenal of potential products to share with the online community…!  Still, it’s one pretty thing, so I guess it’s okay…

I’ve finally figured out how to insert one picture at a time into a post, so I can properly narrate the process of how I do things!  Hooray!  Here we go on my first stab at drafting a pattern and creating something new…

So, a bit of back story: arm warmers are something that I’d like to carry in the Etsy store, and I figured, okay, these will be pretty easy to make.  Ha!  There was a lot of hair-tearing over these puppies.

They began life as a beautiful grey skirt that had sadly seen its last days.  It was torn and stained in places so I thought cutting it up for smaller articles of clothing or accessories would be okay – I’m all for recycling old clothes to make something new!  Here’s the skirt:

As you can see, lots of fun textures and shades of grey going on here.  I fell in love with the idea of using the purple triangle details and spent a LONG time trying to rip them off the skirt with my seam ripper without damaging them.  Then I made up this extremely basic pattern (for the first trial, I thought starting as basic as possible was a good idea) and cut out the pieces:

(the lovely pin cushion in the corner is courtesy of my friend Emily, who gave it to me one Christmas to replace the pincushion I’d made for myself when I was six or so… needless to say, this one looks and functions much better!)

After cutting I spent a lot of time wrestling to make the basic pattern conform to the shape of my forearm.  Doing this all (effectively) one-handed was a pain; I wish I’d had someone over to pin on instead of trying to pin on myself (have you ever watched someone trying to touch their elbow to their ear?  It sort of looked like that.).  But eventually I got it to work pretty well, and a pair of pretty arm warmers were born:

I wanted to stay “true” to the skirt and use as many of the textures in it as possible, so the straight-up grey rayon is the bottom of each arm warmer while the weird woven part is the top.  I’m also really glad that I got to use those purple triangles after spending so much time trying to salvage them!

Here they are in full.  I got sneaky (smart?) and used the bottom edge of the skirt as the bottom edge of each piece of the arm warmers so that I didn’t have to made a hem there.  ^_^

A small, stitched detail.  This is function; the underside of the woven fabric has a thin bit of muslin underneath (to make it less transparent, I think) which was fraying, so I tacked it down with a teensy pink spiral.  I’m also thinking that this will be the logo for Which Stitchery, so it will most likely appear on everything I make from now on.

Detail on the thumb holes: I hand stitched both thumb holes closed using heavy weight embroidery thread.  Just something to make these even more handmade-feeling!

Here I’m trying to give a sense of what these look like on (sadly, no one is here with me to take really nice photos of these puppies in action).

The final verdict on this pair, I think, is that I need to re-work the pattern a bit.  I’m satisfied with these as a first try, but they’re too slouchy and they roll strangely around the fingers.  I think the thumb holes could be a bit bigger so that the hole rests comfortably below the first knuckle (right now they’re a bit tight, and sit on the knuckle instead of below it).  They are incredibly soft, though, and aside from the rolling and slouching, very comfortable.  Plus, they’re recycled!  I like them a lot, but I wonder if it’s possible to make really nice arm warmers from anything other than a jersey knit or an old sweater, as those have some elasticity to them.

These aren’t very patchworky, except that they are made up of three different types of fabric with different textures and shades.  Still, when I think patchwork, I think something that looks more… patchy.  ^_^  I want to play around with different ideas before I start tweaking and perfecting patterns; next project will probably involve a more patchworky bag or some sort of kitchen supplies (like coasters, or pot holders).  As soon as there are pictures, of course I will post them!

Until then, I’m going to go stick my hands in some clay and get dirty!

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About Which Stitchery

For almost as long as I can remember, I have been in love with fabric and all of the amazing things you can do with it. I've made costumes, hats, and dabbled in corsetry. I made quilts and I knit and I crochet and I wonder what sort of crazy things I can do with pretty much every scrap of fabric I come across. Next up: learning how to batik! Welcome to this happy little blog, which will chronicle my projects as I work on various new ways to make the world around me a little more colorful!
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