March 24, 2011

Second Lives: The Skirt


Back in February The Textile Museum opened it's latest exhibit, Second Lives: The Age-Old Art of Recycling Textiles.  It takes a historical look at cultures across the globe and the ways they repurposed and refashioned textiles, rather be it due to scarcity of materials or money, or as a way to honor a family member.  There are some beautiful ikat quilts, kantha embroidered in ultra-bright colors, and a Japanese farmer's coat made from unwoven old kimono.

Carrying on my theme of making a garment to complement each of the exhibition openings, I, of course, had to give an old garment a "second life."  My grandmother passed away several years ago, and I saved this classic wool, navy-blue, lined pencil skirt.  It has been sitting in my closet for a few years now, never quite exactly my style.  When this exhibition posed me with the opportunity to refashion an old garment, I went straight to this skirt, determined to honor my always-fashionable grandmother.


I began by closing up a slit at the back of the skirt, then cut off about 5 inches from the bottom and re-hemmed it by hand.  But, being crafty as I am, I wanted to embellish it to make it more unique.  I figured my grandmother was my age, 25, in the 1950s, so I began doing some online research of 50's-era clothing and found that a simple loop motif was a recurrant theme. I crocheted this trim with a light blue, sport-weight acrylic yarn in a simple row of single crochet stitckes.  I attached it to the skirt with a machine zig-zag stitch.

I absolutely love the result of this project and I greatly appreciate how the skirt will always carry special meaning for me.  I am truly glad I was able to take my grandmother's skirt and give it a second life.

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