I wonder how many words we process in a day. Spoken, heard, read and written – it must amount to thousands or quite possibly tens of thousands if you are a Wordy Rappinghood like me! Sometimes a single solitary word begs to be repeated more than a few times – pronounced with different stresses, in different accents, elongating the syllables – toying with it until it’s meaning is lost.
One such word that presented itself one day was ‘fugitive’. A word I’m sure I’ve only read and heard and unlikely to have ever spoken or written. But I dwelled on it because it seemed very relevant at a time when I was feeling a sense of change in my sewing life.
I’ve been sewing for what seems like forever. The contents of my wardrobe are almost exclusively made by me and I used to say ‘except for undies and jummies’ but that has changed up too! And so my need for sewing basic clothes to wear isn’t half as urgent as my new need for exploring clothes as art.
In the two years since joining Kindred Studios my craving for creativity has just exploded. I mean, how did I not see that coming when I was surrounded by so much talent and such inspiration from all the artists here?
As the beginning of 2024 pulled me into the usual analytic state, assessing all that I do and all that I want to do, the vision was so clear as I set about my first project – a refashioned man’s jacket.
Red pin-stripe suiting has always been a fave fabric but is more difficult to find in fabric shops than one might think. So when I found the jacket in a charity shop, I snapped it up without even checking the fit, which was terrible btw – shoulders too wide, sleeves too long, waist too low, and a horrid bum flap to boot! Refashioning was the only way I was going to get that fabric on my back!
I cropped it to waist length and cinched it in with a wide elastic casing, leaving a single closure at the front waist, swapping out the remaining button for an enamel pirate button. I cut paulettes from the discarded pieces and sewed them to the shoulders to further accentuate and make sense of the wide and padded shoulders.
Rather than simply shorten the sleeves, I thought it would be more interesting to drape and hand-stitch them to a cropped three-quarter length – Miami Vice eat your heart out!
Red thread accents to the cuff buttons were a must. I just love how all the buttons overlap. I didn’t know this was a standard thing.
‘Fugitive’ as chain-stitched on the reverse, represents my escape from safe practices and the beginnings of more adventurous experiments with wearable art. I’ve also looped a red metallic chain from one of the epaulettes so that some of the party extends to the side and front.
This is the prologue, if you like. A gentle easing in for what’s to come next, because chapter one is shaping up already and there’s lots more words to come.
It’s taken a while to organise the shoot because I had a face full of cold for what seemed like the whole of January, into the beginning of Feb. But it was worth the wait because in the meantime, Dan evolved his photographic set up and has produced what is probably my favourite set of photos yet!
I’d love to know what you think. Do let me know in the comments and I hope to show you my next reveal real soon.