Saturday, 12 February 2011

I, Zoe of 'So, Zo...' sign up....

Let's kick things off with a confession. I massively planned on announcing MMMar '11 weeks earlier than I actually did, so apologies to those participants who would have prefered a little longer to plan and stitch. I've been spending so much time and head space on Brighton Craftaganza since the year began, that it was a shock to me to discover it was February already and I'd, in reality, done f-all about MMMar '11. Thankfully this clearly hasn't put many off because, as I write this, a (lucky) 69 people have signed up so far!
So, before I get even more behind schedule, I really should sign-up myself!

'I, Zoe of 'So, Zo... What do you know?' sign up as a participant of Me-Made-March '11. I endeavour to wear all handmade clothing and refashioned knitwear each day for the duration of March 2011. I am excluding bras, socks, tights and shoes'

There, done. The keenest eyed of you may notice that I've changed my approach a bit this time around. Whereas for my three previous challenges I wore nothing but me-mades from scratch, this time I'm including refashioned knitwear which, by my definition, includes sweatshirts, jumpers and cardigans (I believe the collective noun in the US would be 'sweaters'). This decision may look like I'm actually lowering the ante, rather than upping the handmade stakes, so let me explain.

By particpating in Me-Made-March (2010), Me-Made-May and Self-Stitched-September following my previous rules, I think I've adequately proved already that I can get by in only me-made clothing, which includes my (incredibly limited) selection of me-made warm tops (Saint Cardigan and the ruffle front jumper, to be precise). I haven't made any more jumpers or cardigans suitable for a British March, and to be honest I don't really want to. The reasoning behind this is kind of three pronged. 1# I'm just not that into modern knitwear styles and by association, most of the selection of contemporary sewing/knitting patterns available. These days, I'm mostly (though not exclusively) into creating things from vintage patterns, and I have never found a mid-century cut-and-sew vintage sewing pattern for knitted fabric. I just don't think they'd developed cut and sew knitted fabric at that time, at least not for retail. I think that came further into the 60's and into the 70's.

2# I still can't be bothered to learn to knit. It'll happen at some point in my life, but it's not on my list pf priorities right now. So if I want vintage-style knitwear, I either have to be incredibly inventive with cut and sew knitted fabric and my own pattern cutting (for which I have limited patience for), or I have to do some....

3# Refashioning. As you may have read, towards the tail end of last year, I begun to get back into refashioning as a concept. Of course, greatly inspired by the activities of my new job, I've been seeing the creative possibilites in existing old clothing with fresh eyes. Also, I'm not sure I can justify the environmental impact of buying new cut and sew knitted fabric, or balls of wool, when I have ready access to lots of used and very unloved exisiting garments which are otherwise going to be pulped to become polar fleece or something.

I have built up a small pile of used jumpers, cardis and sweatshirts that all could use some re-working to make them wearable. I've been slacking on that recently and relying on some old RTW warm tops I have, but I would really like to get these vintagey inspired pieces done and in my wardrobe, so by including them in my MMMar '11 contract, I might actually get round to it before the UK's fleeting summer shows its face!


I have hoarded these RTW garment images in my inspiration file to inspire future knitwear refashioning. These garments on the mannequins are from Mod Cloth, the rest are by Orla Kiely. Time to take a closer look at them, me-thinks! Happy stitching peops.

9 comments:

Tilly said...

How lovely! I'm very excited to see your refashioned knitwear. I can't knit either (it's reeeeeally boring... shh!) so it'd be great to get some refashion inspiration.

tanitisis said...

Yay! I recently cloned a fifties vintage shrug (pattern on my blog ;) ) and was interested at the construction---it is made entirely by overlocker, which certainly wasn't available to the home sewist at that tome. Fortunately it is available to me :) I, too, look forward to seeing your refashions. Me, I need to make more pants for MMM... Er, that would be trousers. I haven't ventured into self-stitched undies yet...

Steph said...

I have a few mid-century cut and sew patterns for knit fabric, though admittedly not for sweater-y type items.

Good idea to include re-fashion. I'd count those as Me Made anyway.

Irene Bullock said...

Zoe, you may like to check Grosgrain blog, she had an "Embellish your knits" month not so long ago. Some of them are too crafty, but others are awesome.

Carlotta Stermaria said...

That sounds great. MMM makes me long for the day I'll be able to participate to such a challenge (I have too few handmade items even for a light version at the moment).

I'm eager to see your refashions, too! I have some vintage knitwear I'd like to make at least fit better in a near future (but I'm too shy to cut into knits at the moment), at best refashion with prettier necklines and sleeve lengths, so hopefully your "brand new" knits will give me some good ideas!

On the inspiration chapter, I also found this 50's cardigan on Etsy recently : http://www.etsy.com/listing/67817298/vintage-rockabilly-cardigan-sweater ... wouldn't it be nice to make the same kind of thing with a sparrow beading or appliqué?

Gail said...

I sew knits from woven patterns all the time. Just remember to pin fit as you go because in general you don't need as much seam allowance. You can sometimes eliminate the darts, depending on the style.

Fourth Daughter said...

Yes, definitely do all you can to prevent the proliferation of polar fleece! It's my most hated fabric in the WORLD!!!
As much as I love sewing, I've been doing a lot more remaking recently - it's just a lot quicker and easier than making things from scratch and there are some poor old things out there that only take a little inspiration and stitching to become amazing. Love your knitwear choices, I always have trouble with jumpers and cardigans too.

Eddie said...

i do love knitting but I'm not very good at the knitting-to-fit bit. My last cardigan can only really be used if I am pregnant. I stick to shawls and socks and toys. So I am looking forward to seeing some of your ideas for refashioning knitwear.

And if you want to share some of your refashions you are so very welcome on the Refashion Co-op, as is anyone who refashions or is interested in refashioning.

take care,
Eddie

Shabby said...

I'm so sad I never learned how to knit! Excited to see how you refashion it though.

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