Sunday, January 10

Save That Baby! A Woolens Salvation DIY Story.

As you know, I'm a rabid Up Cycler, Recycler, DIY person, so this project will not surprise you.  I've had a gorgeous, stretch wool Ralph Lauren blazer for probably 20 years and all of the sudden it sprang a few holes.  It's such a classic and fits so well I couldn't bear to pitch it.  
The venerable Dame Vivienne Westwood wrote somewhere that she notice mending spots on the Prince of Wales wool jackets, so I thought - YES!  If it's good 'nuff for Charles, grandpa to those beautiful Wills+Kate babies, it's good enough for me.  Here it is:
The beloved Ralph.  Just curvy enough.

One of the nasty buggers.

What to do?  I chose my favorite Mod 1960s/70s bathtub no-slip sticker shapes to applique out of scraps from a brighter blue cashmere sweater.
Reducing/enlarging stencils on the printer gives you several sizes to chose from.

After I had the templates (stencils) cut out I practiced placing them on the jacket like so.  This is a very important step in making the decisions on what sizes look best and how to achieve overall visual balance.  In order to make an exciting design I added more than was required to cover the holes.


Next I ironed the cashmere onto my favorite fusible, Heat n' Bond Lightweight.  (Their heavy weight ones are too stiff and gum up sewing machine needles - don't buy them!)  Whole bolts from fabric stores or online if you appliqué a lot, as I do.   After I cut out the "posies" I began pinning them over the holes and wherever it made visual sense.  Once I was happy with the "layout" I ironed them on using a thin cotton pressing cloth so as not to burn the cashmere appliqués or the jacket fabric.  Where the seams and curves around the shoulders are I used a tailors egg-shaped pressing form to make the iron-ons conform to the shape.

The next step was to start hand sewing them on with a simple embroidery edge stitch.  A  fairly thick needle was necessary to go through the layers of fabric.

I chose heavy black embroidery floss because I thought it framed the shape well and stood out just enough from the navy jacket.
Now, a commitment caveat - this is not a 10-minute project!  I reckon it took about 5 hours to finish all of the appliquéing.  If it were possible to do them on the machine I would have, but that also wouldn't have produced the same textural, shiny effect achieved with embroidery thread.  If you want to take on an act of salvation get into your best zen mode and relax, just do it:-)


The finished blazer elicits all kinds of compliments and "Wow! You did it yourself?!" comments.  You can do it too!

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