Remodelling t-Shirts

t-Shirt With Lowered Neck & New Neckband

With the medallion quilt completed, today, I turned to clearing up the piles of stuff in my sewing room. At least six weeks ago I pulled four t-Shirts from my closet with the intention of lowering the neckline. The shirts had originally been high crewneck long sleeve t-Shirts which I’d bought so I could shorten the sleeves and end up with sleeves just above my elbow – that’s not something you can purchase, trust me.

I wore them last year, but realized I wasn’t wearing them this year because the neckline was too high. So I moved them from the closet to my sewing space intending to remodel the neckline. Finally got to that today. Started by cutting off the crewneck ribbing and dropping the front about 2″. Then I cut 1 3/4″ x 24″ strips from some t-Shirt fabric I have on hand, serged the folded strip to each t-Shirt neckline. Remodelling complete. The contrasting neckband doesn’t look bad at all. And it lays flat – I tried them on. (I should have used dark serger thread to stitch on the new neckband, but hey, the stitching can’t be seen on the outside.)

Remodelled t-Shirts

It’s true, t-Shirt weather is just about over here in Nova Scotia – maybe one more day warm enough to put on a short sleeve top. But these shirts are now ready for next warm season.

Dropped Neckline

Medallion Quilt – Completed!

Completed Quilt

Here, finally, is the completed, bound quilt. Just finished stitching the curlicues in the center of the medallion. In the end I straight stitched them on the machine, a couple of stitches at a time, in order to stay on the edge of the curlicue. I had set up a single run design to stitch them out as embroideries, but each of the four corners was slightly different, and I couldn’t align the first embroidery to stitch precisely where I wanted it, so I switched to plan “b”. It took lots of twisting and turning of the quilt (thank goodness it wasn’t any larger) to get each curlicue done.

Quilt Back

I used leftovers from the outer border strips to create blocks for the back. Their off center placement is intentional. I could have placed them somewhat closer to one another, but once the back was pinned in place I decided not to bother taking the whole thing apart to make that small adjustment.

Close-up detail of one corner – showing the embroidery in some of the “empty” blocks.

Corner, Showing Detail

The embroideries worked out well – I did seventeen in all (one a test run to make sure the design stitched out correctly). Doing the embroidery proved challenging, not because they were particularly complex designs, but because my embroidery machine decided, at that moment, to be temperamental – the touch screen stopped working properly and precisely positioning each embroidery took patience. (The embroidery machine is now in hospital being repaired and I’m working on a borrowed machine.)

The quilt still needs a label but that can wait until I get my machine back.

#3


Restored this pair last evening. Straightforward heel replacement. No fussing. I was even able to come close to the original yarn I used for the heels.

Now working on pair #4 – another full foot replacement. That’ll take 4-5 days. Then back to new socks.

Socks – New Again

New Again – Sept 2017

5-6 hours later and here’s a new pair of socks – restored with new heels (Click here for the socks before I reknit the heels). If you’re a dedicated knitter and want to know how I do it check out my instructions.

Knitting a heel itself doesn’t take long – each heel takes about an hour – it’s all the preparation, picking up stitches on a carrier thread, carefully pulling out excess knitting (from the cut edge), and then finally grafting the instep onto the new heel (this last step requires slow careful stitching – done loose and then tightened just enough for an even finish, stitch by stitch).

Obviously replacing heels goes a lot faster than reknitting an entire foot – but I can only get away with this easier repair if the holes aren’t too big. If the worn heel includes some of the instep, I have to cut off everything, retaining just the legs and building a new sock from there.

Socks Revisited

January 2008

Here’s a pair of socks I made in 2008. The heels were repaired once in the interim. I got them back again for repairs a couple of weeks ago – heels for sure, but when I went to work on the socks I thought the ball of the foot was too worn to keep, so full feet were needed. The socks are still worth salvaging – the legs are fine, and that’s half the work! Nine years of wear is pretty good.

Remake September 2017

For the remakes I use whatever yarn I have on hand that might sort of blend. I could always use a solid, but where’s the fun in that. I’m not into boring – what makes the sock knitting work for me is a constantly changing pattern which the variegated yarn offers. I decided on bright heels to offset the darker yarn I used for the foot. These socks will serve for another 5-7 years!

The reality is when these socks come back to me, they look like this – holes and full of nubbies:

After & Before! (Worn heels removed)

These socks are well used – they’re slept in on flannel sheets! You can see what they look like before I begin working on them. The first step in the restoration is to shave them – this morning, I used my electric clothes shaver to clean up the nubbies so I have a clean sock to work with. This pair has an intact foot, so all I need to replace are the heels. This is the pair I will work on next.

Here’s the original pair from 2010:

2010

When I’m done with the repairs these socks will look almost like the original socks. Seven years of wear before a heel replacement – pretty good!

I still have a couple of pairs of socks in my sock drawer from 2004/2005 (I began sock making in October 2003)! These socks live a long time when they’re cared for. That’s why I still find making them so satisfying. I know my sister Barb has some that are that old (her’s also get repaired when needed) Gotta keep these socks alive.

Striped Socks

Striped Socks

Not my favorite socks – boring to knit. Finished last evening. Into the stash.

Now on to repairing five pairs of socks – two for sure, and maybe three, are too far gone to save the feet. However it’s worth knitting new feet – half the work after all is done – the legs are reusable.

Improvising A Quilt

Yesterday, I dropped into Sew With Vision (my local Pfaff/Husqvarna dealer) to check on stuff in preparation for two classes I’m offering this fall. I also needed some variegated thread for quilting the Medallion Quilt. Sitting on the checkout counter was a 2m piece of Benartex fabric for sale at such a ridiculously low price it screamed “take me home”. So I did. Next step: go through the stash to see what might go with it – lots of dark and lighter greys, but nothing in the right shade/print style of the turquoise.

Benartex Cosmopolitan + Stash

So I checked the selvage – found out I had fabric by Benartex: Cosmopolitan. I checked online: Turns out there were I think three colour ways: turquoise, yellow, and lime. There appears to still be some of the lime prints available but almost none of the turquoise.

Benartex Cosmopolitan – Fabric Online

I did find a turquoise from the original collection at Fabric.com – 2 yds for $4.71/yard – it was the shipping that was horrendous! I walked away. But after shopping this afternoon for something that could possibly work (I found a Kona in almost the exact shade of turquoise as well as the turquoise with gold leaves at a local shop, both in the top photo) I came home and ordered 2 yds. To hell with the expense. That fabric is going to let me pull all the others together.

BTW, this is definitely NOT going to be a medallion quilt! Something simple and modern – an improvisation for the Improvise A Quilt class in a couple of weeks.