Friday, May 23, 2008

Repurposed top

Re-purposed top
Originally uploaded by sassycrafter
I have two different silk knit tops that I love but that have gotten worn out from too many trips through the washing machine. I couldn't bear to part with these old favorites, but I realized that I wasn't wearing them anymore. What to do? Spruce them up and make them look new again, of course!

I'll lay out the steps I used to transform the short-sleeved shirt from slightly stained, drab, and worn out, to fresh, fun, and new again.

Start by selecting which garments you'd like to transform. The dye packages all say that natural fibers dye best -- I chose silk -- but I have a friend who has good luck over-dying polyester fabrics. (Sorry the photo is sideways -- technology is thwarting my efforts to straighten the shot for you.)

Then gather each shirt with narrow accordion pleats and secure each resulting snake-like bundle with rubber bands. Beware: you may experience flashbacks to tie-dye project gone awry, but you should grit your teeth and push forward. This will be way cooler than the tie-dyed shirts you made in summer camp.

Mix up the dye according to the package instructions. I used your basic Rit dye in brown -- you can see it in the measuring cup. It was hard to get all the bits of powder to dissolve, but it doesn't matter as much when you're doing a tie-dye since the outcome will be mottled anyway. The instructions said to wet the shirts and put them in hot water and then add the dye solution, so that's what I'm doing in this shot.

Dye the fabric for the recommended time and then rinse as directed. Here's what the short-sleeved shirt looked like as I removed the rubber bands.

And then as I unfurled the whole shirt.

I then washed and dried the shirt, according to the dye instructions. Then I embellished the neckline of the shirt by sewing on a gathered a section of hem tape that I had in my sewing room. Amazingly, it was the exact color as the dyed shirt! If you really care about matching, you can always dye your embellishment fibers when you dye the shirts. Then I added a decorative running stitch with a contrasting embroidery floss. I wanted another layer of texture and I thought old buttons would be just the ticket. Rather than sew them directly on the shirt and have them be droopy, I sewed them onto a piece of thick felt that I added a pinback to. That way I can also remove the buttons easily for washing. Here's a close-up of the embellishements.

Just think of what you could do with all that old stuff hanging around in the back of your closet! And if the dye process doesn't work out so well, it's no big deal since you had stopped wearing the shirt a long time ago.


Francesca said...

this is so pretty! I love reading your section in the Satellite.

Kim said...

Hey, thanks! It's always good to hear that people enjoy the stuff I come up with.

lovemaryxoxo said...

Awesome! How beautiful!

kim* said...

now that is stinkin' cool


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