Sunday, September 15, 2013

Meshed Up


  In honor of National Sewing Month, on line retailer Fabric Mart Fabrics is sponsoring a 2 month event with a fashion sewing related challenge every week.   One winner is chosen for each challenge, based on a combination of viewer’s votes and judges’ evaluation, and one is eliminated.

 The contest is called the Fabricista Fashion Challenge  and I have been selected as one of the initial 10 participants.



 I email my interest after a lot of waffling between “Boy would that be fun”   and “Girl, you have a full time job. Are you ready to dedicate your evenings and weekends to this?”   What the Hey!  I hit the "Send" button.   My baby, son # 2,  is now in college along with his older brother.  And Hubby is working on a big project that requires him to be out of town Mon thru Friday.  It is just me and kitty in the evenings.    When I found myself staying later and later at work, which will never be rewarded in any tangible way, I knew I had to do something drastic.
 
The first challenge started last Monday - The Recycle Challenge.

Make a garment out of recycled materials or materials that would have otherwise been thrown away, such as scraps from your sewing room or grocery bags. You can reconstruct a garment to make it more fashion forward and utilize unconventional items to add accessories and embellishments. Be creative!

This post is about my entry for the challenge.  It and the wonderfully creative garments of the other participants can be viewed on    Fabric Mart Fabrics Blog    sometime on Monday, Sept 16th.   Please visit and vote for your favorite, which I am hoping is me.

I keep my sewing scraps and I stock pile unique “found” materials for creative projects. Neat stuff like bottle caps, corks, packaging material, ribbons from candy assortment boxes, old lace and leather, moss, skeletonized leaves, palm fiber, shells, vines.  I always have lots of ideas, but not the time to execute or experiment. I was hoping this contest provided the motivation.

One of the items I have stockpiled are  the mesh bags that large quantities of apples,  oranges, onion and limes are frequently packaged in. I love the different  woven textures and the flexibility of these bags. They come in many colors, usually matching the fruit or vegetable they contain. They can be used as stencils or printing material and I often thought it might  be interesting to weave strips of fabric through them. I immediately thought of them when the challenge email arrived.


mesh fruit bags

Monday - Day 1

Somehow I get through work so I can rush home and get started.  I find and sort through my mesh bags. The largest ones are the orange and apple bags. (Orange and red).  I watch TV and rip out the serged stitches around the side and bottom of bags, so that I have large rectangular pieces. My next ”normal” sewing project would have been a bomber jacket, so the inspiration pictures and patterns are close at hand. I decide that might be good choice for this mesh fabric. A bomber jacket has no shaping and all the garment edges are finished in a way that will anchor the loosely woven mesh fabric.

 
 


I pull scraps from scrap bags.  I have fun remembering the garments I made from the original fabric. I decide to limit scraps to solid colors that contrast with the red and orange color of the  mesh, specifically browns to creams. Most of the mesh has openings of about 3/8 inch. I tear or cut strips roughly 3/8 wide or in a width that was a multiple of that if  the fabric was lightweight and would need to be folded to fill the space.

Sewing Scraps



Tuesday Day 2 - Researched material that mesh is made of  - polypropylene.   OK , no irons or prolonged exposure of UV rays.  I hold a scrap to candle flame to see what it does.  It melts away from heat source. A good way to seal loose ends that may unravel.  I trace bodice and sleeve patterns onto paper that can be taped to work surface and  mark some lines for suggested color changes.  I   put mesh on top of pattern. I overlap smaller pieces to make  them big enough to cover the pattern.




mesh over pattern


 I weave using  a bobby pin as a needle.  I learn that bias cut rayon chiffon shreds.Torn strips tend to have a lot of threads on the torn edge. Knits and  lace works great. The rougher the fabric, the harder it is to weave through the thin strands of polypropylene. I like the look of the weaving,  lots of texture, but pliable.  Note to self , extend mesh past edge of pattern because ends shred, and be gentle.  One sleeve takes 3 hours to weave .  I estimate the two front  pieces and back will take 5 hour each,  Start to panic about limited time. Decide to have a solid back.


woven sleeve piece



Wednesday - Thursday Day 3, 4 –  after work, weave my fingers to the bone,  over and under, over and under

Friday Day 5  I cut lightweight red fabric for underlining.  This fabric is basted to the mesh along seam allowances, then the raw edges of the  mesh/underlining  are serged  to catch the loose ends of the strips and mesh.  And to cover the mesh cut ends, which are a bit scratchy.




Sleeve underlining pinned to woven piece


Underlining pinned to front woven piece

 Finish assembling the  jacket. -  I need a separating zipper in a coordinating color.  Local sewing stores have a pathetic selection of separating zippers.  So  I find a boxy brown 90’s suit jacket, with a front separating zipper at the thrift store. I remove the zipper and cut the bomber jacket back from thrift store jacket back.   Red wool ribbing is from my stash.

Thrifted Jacket

Sat  Day 6 - I take jacket for its first outing,  to the  ASG meeting . This group of ladies is my sounding board.  Did I go too far into Bizart  - Art too (bazaar) to Wear?  Their reactions are favorable and they do not call the orderlies to come take me away. Our ASG group meets at a convalescent center, so this was plausible.
Mesh Jacket front


Mesh Jacket Back


detail





 

Day 7 – I take pictures and write blog post.  I discover the advantage of using scraps is that the jacket coordinates with other garments I have sewn. And guess what I found yesterday...decorative gourds in a purple poly mesh bag.   A new color way!

46 comments:

  1. I usually just lurk here but I have to say that is one cool jacket! What a unique and creative thing you have done here. Just love it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. OMG - this is positively awesomely amazing! I love that you recycled something that most of us throw away into a fashionable garment! Fantastic job!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wonderful recycle! Good luck with the competition. I can't imagine balancing this and full time work. I'll be watching.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Amazingly Awesome. You did a fabulous job.

    ReplyDelete
  5. WOW! That is impressive! This looks really chic!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, I love this post! Have been a lurker on your blog until now, but this calls for a response. What amazing work this is; I think you will get lots of votes tomorrow. Do you know of El Anatsuii? He's a Ghanaian artist -- if you Google him and then click Images, you can see some of his works made from bottle caps discarded from distilleries, etc. They look like tapestries or fabric art.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hold on as I pick my jaw up off the floor...Wowza this is totally awesome!! I would so wear this every.single.day!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ok, I was skeptical when I first read your idea, but the results are fabulous! Nice work. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I will never look at a mesh bag the same way ever again!

    Such a cool jacket, what a great idea and an even better execution. Really nice work. Impressive.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Super jacket. Lovely, colorful and so creative. Love the pattern you used, too.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Extremely cool jacket! Hard to believe it began as mesh bags!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love the woven look! Is it rustly to wear?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Amazing! Good luck in the competition. This is a much better way to spend your evenings than staying late at work. The outcome is very impressive. I do have one question thought....will you be able to wash this jacket?

    Off to vote for you....

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is amazing, I would never in a million years would have thought recycled mesh would look this good

    ReplyDelete
  15. Very creative. I love this sort of thing.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Love it! Very creative. If Project Runway wasn't such a bitch-fest I'd nominate you to be on the show! :o)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh wow! This is awesome and a bl**dy lot of work too! Well done and well recycled!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Wow, that is amazing. Who would have thought of doing that? Well you did! Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Wow, awesome jacket, amazing re-use of materials.

    ReplyDelete
  20. When I first saw the mesh bags I could not imagine what you were going to do with them. My jaw dropped when I saw the finished jacket. Amazing! Just...Wow!

    And I love the term "Bizart" :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wow! That is so unique and interesting! I would have never thought that mesh bags could be reused in such a way!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Great creativity produced an awesome jacket!

    ReplyDelete
  23. That is amazing. It's like you took this off an haute couture runway. This has to take the prize!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hey that is REALLY COOL! I had no idea where this was going until you showed the final pics. What vision you have! Very clever, and I look forward to following this competition.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Holy cow-- that jacket is impressive! I never would have thought one could make something truly wearable using those mesh baggies. So inventive and so very cool!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Love this! Wonderful use of a material I never would have thought of. Great results! This is going to be fun for those of us following on.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Oh wow, that is just amazing and so clever. The finished project is so chic and cool. Looks great with jeans but it would probably also really work with a same shade red skirt and boots. Good luck in the contest! You got my vote!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Bravo!!!! I wish I had come to the meeting so I could have seen it in person. You put a lot of work in this (all that weaving) and it totally paid off. I love it!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Amazing! I'm wondering if you can press the woven mesh once it's interlined, by pressing from the wrong side of the fabric and not using a really high temperature?

    ReplyDelete
  30. Very inspiring! Good luck in the competition - you have my vote for this entry

    ReplyDelete
  31. oh, Audrey, I am enthralled with this contest and love what you did with your jacket.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Very fun and creative! I'm glad that I'm on the observing end of this contest, because it's going to be so much fun watching what y'all come up with!

    ReplyDelete
  33. What an amazing idea! It's true, I'll never look at those bags the same way again. If you ever need dark green, check the 5-pack of avocados. :)

    I didn't know what to expect from the Fabric Mart contest, and I am just blown away by everyone's unique style and creativity. Thank you so much for participating! This is really fun to see. And hard to vote for just one person! I love your jacket and it fits you so well. Fantastic job.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Your jacket is amazing! Such a creative use of materials. I love it.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I voted for you, easily my favourite! Fingers crossed for you.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I cannot believe you didn't win the challenge! Your garment was by far the most creative and wonderfully made,

    ReplyDelete
  37. O.M.G. This is completely amazing. I'm just reading this now, and will pop over to see the rest of the garments. Love this, and what a great way to put a break on encroaching job hours: sewing!

    ReplyDelete
  38. That is an incredible piece, Audrey!!!! I am blown away by your creativity and by the stylishness of the final piece. I can't imagine the patience to pull all those scraps through those little holes...

    ReplyDelete
  39. There's no way I would have realised this was recycled. It's amazing and stylish.

    ReplyDelete
  40. This is so clever, I love the sort of ombre look that the finished mesh fabric has.

    ReplyDelete
  41. This jacket is sensational! Love it.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I was traveling when I first read this post. But, I needed to come back and tell you how AH-MAZING this jacket is!!

    ReplyDelete