Fixing Things

It is funny how a simple thing like folding laundry leads to a cascade of events that end up with this sweet little shirt. This story is a little like “If You Give a Pig A Pancake“.

After folding several loads of laundry, we tried to put away some t-shirts, but found the baskets were too full. Hmmm. Time to cull the old shirts at the bottom that get ignored week after week. This was a shirt bought at the Cotton Caboodle outlet on Elliott; it had sloppy seams when we bought in 2002, and after five years of wear, there really were no hems left.


Since I didn’t have any thread to match the original stitches, I decided to add a little ribbon and stitch over the oddly colored hems. The warped sleeves didn’t look right by themselves, so this bit of stenciled fabric left over from here ended up in the middle. The irony is that I like this shirt so much more than the shirt I sent for Anna’s birthday, I may have to send it to her as well.

Can anyone give me suggestions for ways to sew knit fabric without stretching it out of shape? I’m going to pretend I wanted bell sleeves and a wavy hem for this shirt, but it would be nice to know how to avoid it in the future in case I wanted something a little straighter.

Working on the little turquoise ostrich was just practice for the real repair at hand: a “new” denim shirt brutally altered by a previous owner. I picked this up at the West Seattle clothing swap (didn’t I say it was a great day?) and have worn it twice, despite the fact that the sleeves were lopped off and the threads were left dangling. When I put it on this morning, I noticed that one sleeve was starting to rip vertically, making a nice little slit towards the shoulder. By the time I had finished folding all the laundry, the slit was getting dangerously close to bisecting the sleeve. Some repairs were needed, but what?


My success with the little t-shirt left me inspired to pull out this ribbon trim and add it to the sleeve after I had hemmed it (no coordinating thread, again). One of the reasons I love this shirt is because I can show off my favorite stencil, P. Edward Squidersons II.


Sophie kept me company as I worked today, ironing our best napkins. She did a great job, and said it was fun! I’ve got plans for you little girl… Actually, I hope she always enjoys ironing, so I’m going to resist the urge to use her helpful nature to my advantage.


4 Responses to “Fixing Things”

  1. 1 Maia Monday, May 21, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    To prevent the belling, could you use some iron-on stablizer before stitching? I believe that is how t-shirts are commercially embroidered. Afterwards, you can rip away the excess stablizer.

  2. 2 Regina Thursday, May 24, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    If you use a wide zig zag(or a straight stitch) and pull slightly as you sew, it will spring back into place when you’re done. I really like how the denim shirt turned out. Very clever. Love the P. Edward Squidersons II stencil. Way cool!!

  3. 3 kneek Thursday, May 24, 2007 at 9:50 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I’ll try both suggestions.

  4. 4 Claire Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 5:50 am

    Love the squid stenciled shirt and your clever fixing skills.

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