Saturday, 6 March 2010

Liz Claiborne jeans size 14

So I bought this pair of jeans years ago for a pound. I tried them on, and they hung down from my middle like a fallen black sack. I put them in the cupboard. After a year I came across them while looking for something else. I tried them on again. Hey presto! While they were in the cupboard they magically shrank to exactly the right size! It is a magic cupboard, obviously, and I am going to try it again with a size 16 Per Una.

And I wore the Liz Claiborne jeans. A lot. They had just enough room not to feel too tight, and the pockets were big enough to hold spanners and nails and tape measures and hammers and all the household stuff a woman needs.

(Incidentally, no-one has yet bought this pocket-heavy woman a tool belt, even though she has repeatedly asked for one, so that she may avoid puncturing holes in her arse and thighs when she sits down on the nails stored in her pockets.)

But then, one morning, while wearing the thinning and fading Liz Claiborne jeans, I foolishly walked past the oven.

Readers of gritsday might know that the oven door fell off in 2004. It left a lethal metal stickouty prong at thigh height. Which tore a massive, unmendable gash, up and down the full length of the Liz Claiborne jeans left leg.

Because Grit is a swift thinker, she strapped up the jeans leg with an old scarf and went about her daily business.

Now she knows why pirates have bandanna-type scarves tied around their thighs. It is not so they can look dashing and daring and perhaps a little erotic like Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean. It is to stop their trousers falling off.

And this explains why the zip and other body parts to a pair of clapped out, worn down, torn and broken Liz Claiborne jeans ended up being sewn to a canvas bag.

I know it doesn't look much. That is because it is my first concealed pocket bag. Little things can be pulled out from hidden places and pockets.

Little things, like laces and snow leopards and shiny fabric. This time, no nails, no spanners, no hammers.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Denim skirt, brand x

All denim skirts are basically the same, so I can't even be bothered to look at the brand. This one caught my eye thanks to the blood red embroidered flowers on the hem. Looks like flowers at a funeral for your legs.

Don't ever wear denim skirts, that's my advice. Make them into bags instead. They make excellent bags. For this one I collected lots of red scraps and took the sewing machine for a walk all over the skirt, sewing in the red scraps as I went.

Creating a random art space skirt was quite satisfying, and set me thinking that if you are going to wear a denim skirt then you should sew on found items too. It gives you bits to fiddle with and pieces to play with while you sit on the bus. I rather expect this idea to be snatched up by one of the major fashion houses now, and soon you will be seeing Stella McCartney promoting this design as if it was her very own.

I just hope she doesn't sew on the label.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

A better use for your lanyards

I only found out what a lanyard was last week.

I sometimes go over to Matthew Taylor's blog. I'm forced to think when I go over there; then I discover I have to work out what a lanyard is as well.

Now I find lanyards are more complicated than ever. Whole industries and Special Economic Zones are built around these things.

Then I have the sudden illumination that while hundreds of them have been thrown away into landfill from this house, they'd make great bag handles.

There you go. Social theory into practical action. Send your unwanted lanyards to me.

So the bag handles are lanyards. They combine all kind of interesting pincer-type clips and plastic snap things. I bet those clippy things have technical terms too, but I don't know what. From where I'm standing, they can snap round teddy's ear, or clip onto gloves or other useful stuff a toddler needs to tow around the world.

The jeans are those dreadful Maine jeans I bought for 50p at the RSPCA. Really, I would find it difficult to go lower than those, what with the string. I think the bag is the left leg.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Tiger's old pink trousers and canvas scrap

The canvas scrap came from Scrapstore. Don't ask where they sourced it from. Looked like it should have been a scout tent from 1950. Fancifully, it could be stretched over a wooden frame and turned into an oil of the dales. It's turned into a playbag round here.

With canvas as the base, I stitched on a pair of Tiger's old trousers. She was none too happy about that, I can tell you, and immediately demanded their return. Since the trousers were sized for a six year old and she is pushing ten, there was no chance of that. Even if I could wave a magic wand round those John Lewis durables there was also the matter of the gigantic hole in the right knee. So the pockets are staying on the bag. They have big, sturdy press studs that would suit exploring fingers. Too good to waste.

The pig is looped on with red lace and hours of amusing fun can be spent shoving him in the pockets and taking him out again. OK, call it an experiment.

On the reverse I started sewing a variety of pink things in different materials, but became distracted, so there are not many. The canvas was also quite difficult to stitch by hand, and I am weedy.

Not sure about this bag, whether I like it or not. I ran out of steam with it, and I blame the canvas for that.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

The most fantastic playbag you ever did see

This playbag is the best one yet. It is really totally excellent and fantastic. Everything, just everything, you could ever want from a total colour-filled, sensory play experience, perfect for your toddler, all as a bag.

When ELC come knocking, you will know why. It is thanks to this, the one and only, playwiththebag bag.

I forgot to photograph it.

So you just have to take my word for it.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Cherokee demin skirt, size 10

Good grief, which insane woman would ever wear a denim skirt? Would she be drunk, mad, dead in a ditch? There is no useful point to denim skirts. Ever. They all deserve to be made into bags.

The main problem with heavy denim is that it does not fold, bend, or do anything interesting at all. It just is. A patch of dark blue. Wear it, and look like a kid drawing. It just begs to have legs coming out from the corners so it looks like a real table.

The bag, however, is exceptionally strong and durable.

But I could never really escape the denim. I suffered a failure of imagination at some point and starting sewing pockets on it at random angles.

Hope it comes in useful to someone, because I am so very glad it has left this house.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Cotton linen skirt, size 14

When I saw this skirt in the charity shop I thought maybe, just maybe, I could wear it. It's a natural fabric, inconsequential colour, and I could mix it with black.

When I looked more closely, I didn't even try it on. There was a pocket at the front. I don't mean at the front and to the side, I mean, at the front. What is the person who wears this meant to be? A kangaroo? Even worse, I knew that if I did wear this skirt, that pocket would be a perfect substitute for a tool belt. Then I would be seen in the outside world with a pseudo-womb busting with stuff like crayons, fabric offcuts, spanners, bits of paper and the week's TV listings, which I keep meaning to look at but never do. Aha! I know what to do! I'll shove them in my pouch and look at them later!

It made a great drawstring bag, anyhow. Thanks to the enormous front pocket I'm running with that idea of tying kiddy playtoys to bits of string and hanging them from the top of the bag. I'd like to think some little kid will have hours of fun putting teddy into the pocket and taking him out again.

That is fond fantasy rubbish. Teddy will be snatched off the shoelace and nailed to the local tree with a bag round his face sooner than you can blink.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Kid's denim tunic top, brand unknown

This top I bought for Shark at a jumble, 50p. She looked between it, and me, and felt guilty enough at the sight of my hopeful fizzog to wear it. Once. After that she declared it did not fit. I waxed lyrical about the embroidered neckline for a few days, then gave in. You can see where I've sewn up the neckline on that bottom pic. It looks a bit vaginal, which I'm sorry about, because the rest of the bag turned out fun.

Once I made the basic bag shape, we sewed on these beautiful touchy-feely shapes from an African-animal inspired upholstery fabric range; the sample book for that I found in Scrapstore. The bag is great to hold and feel, and it has a rather useful pocket I cut from a pair of Maine jeans (50p RSPCA shop).

I tried to wear those jeans, I really did. They looked foul. The zip didn't work. I held it up with a bit of metal attached to an elastic band hooked to my belt. You can bet I looked like Kate Moss. With string.

I might not give this bag away for a while. I like it.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Liz Claiborne fleece top size 12

I bought this cream fleece top in a sale in the 1990s when they were already marked at 75% down. You can judge what a hotshit fashionista I am. I was trying to replicate a top that I owned in the 1980s. Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse.

The top I bought in 1984 - somewhere in North London - I loved to death. At one point in my hormonal cycle I would have happily done myself in, so I could have been buried in it. It had a trendy gathered panel front and tapered sleeves.

Oh go on then, you have to take my word for how fantastic that was. Anyway, I thought I looked like the world's most fetching graphic designer. Even when I wasn't one. I finally had to get rid of my beloved when the proximity of my body just bust the seams.

This, the nearest cream fleece replicant I ever found, never worked. I still wore it, and despised it, and me, everytime I did so. It looked like a dishcloth, and so did I. Eventually I turned it into a bag to stop myself wearing it.

It's made a better playbag than a top. I put a variety of small patches all over it in different textures. I've also sewn in cream zips and pockets which don't come out in the photos. The zip, which doesn't come out in the pic, I cut from a pair of Dolce and Gabbana jeans. They always looked shit on me as well.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Green cotton BHS skirt size 14

It made a strong drawstring bag with laces threaded through eyelets. The pocket is functioning; the circles are of felt, fur, velvet, nylon, felt, leather, glued and stitched in place. On reverse is a similar mix. And there's a photo of Tiger, who's helped me create it. I picked up the skirt from the Salvation Army shop. I think I come to the conclusion I hate this type of skirt; I'm glad I didn't persuade my easily-led brain cells to wear it instead of making a playbag from it.