Saturday, July 21, 2012

Make Do & Mend

mended and embellished:
my old cashmere cardigan gets a new look
to complement retro spring frocks
It is the dead of winter, short days, cold chilly days, and when there is sunshine, it seems to be accompanied by a biting wind.  In the evenings we have a nice roaring fire in the firebox, and it is a nice place to have dinner.  And for a bit of time before I have to do evening work shift calls and emails, I have a bit of time to catch up on things in the mending pile.  This year it just happens to be a convergence of many wool items needing a bit of attention.  Of course, if these were items I did not wish to keep, I might not bother.  But they include ultra fine merino knits (feather weight, no bulk, excellent next to skin layer).  And some nice wool socks, still good for fitness workouts this time of year.  And also, a cashmere cardigan twin set that has had an encounter with something that left small holes in it !

The under layers and socks don't show, so a tidy mending stitch is fine.  But for the cashmere, the stitches, even fine ones, do show.  In a tiny row of ribbing, but noticeable.  So after mending them, I had to consider what to do to embellish or cover the mending stitches.

bird appliqué on back of the
sea green cashmere cardigan
First, I tackled the sleeveless shell.  Mending stitches ran down the front.  I found a pink stripey ribbon that looked cute and covered up.  I stitched that on and then considered my options for the cardigan.  It had mending middle of the back and also on one front side.

I decided to swap the green matching colour buttons with pink ones !  In a candy pink colour to match the ribbon.  In fact these buttons are not from a set, and do not match one another.  But they are similar tone and in style, so I have done them on this cardy as a mismatch set.  Then, a solution was needed to cover the mending stitches.  What, what ?  I got out several fabrics, to consider the options.  I found one with very cute bird motifs in pink, coral red, and blue.  I used Steam a Seam two sided fusible webbing to make the birds into appliqués.  Fused the bird fabric first, then I carefully cut out two of the birds.  One for the back and one for the side of the cardigan.  Then each bird was carefully fused onto the cardigan, placed to cover up mending stitches.  I knew they needed to be secured on the cardigan though.  But, with a fine weight cashmere, doing this by machine around such an intricate pattern did not seem the right method.  I thought it could pull or pucker the cashmere too much.  So each got carefully stitched with tiny little hand stitches, using button hole stitches.  It took awhile, but came out well and looked very cute.
iridescent seed beads in pink and soft cherry red
embellish the bird appliqué

I had some seed beads in pink and soft cherry red.  And embellished the front panel bird with them.  Now that took forever !  But it did look very nice and added a nice touch.

cashmere shell on left with stripy ribbon and cardigan right
with mismatch candy pink buttons and
embellished bird motif appliqué

The cardigan will look very cute with all three retro 50s style dresses I bought at Cath Kidston in London earlier this year.  And the shell and cardy will make a super cute set as well.

Now, I can't wait for spring !

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