by Laura E. Alvarez
Making new out of old is one of my favorite things to do. You could also just call it reusing because that’s really the point. Actually, now that I think about it, Transformation is really the point. Don’t you love it when one moment you’re taking out the trash and the next you feel your eyes unfocus and realize that taking out the trash is really a metaphor for the interconnectivity of all things in the universe? Maybe trash is a bad example. Trash should be illegal. Should. “Should” should be illegal. Wait, let me refocus my eyes again…
Here’s the story. Long ago, my generous and wonderfully encouraging friend, Chloë gave me a huge box full of fantastic fabric that had belonged to her husband’s grandmother. She had been quite a seamstress who used to sport her own homemade outfits back in you know, 1919. I have made many a bag, skirt, and other items from these wools and cottons over the last 15 years. I used to keep it all together, but I eventually assimilated what was left into the fabric shelves under the stairs at my dad’s house. The shelves were once where my mom kept all her fabric when she was making the above sewing machine whirr into the night over the sounds of tv shows and movies while the rest of the family sat on the couches eating ice cream, my dad reading his newspaper on the recliner. Good times.
I have a weakness for color coordinating. I like to do it to t shirts on shelves, Legos, you name it. So the fabrics are now color -coordinated. I love just going into that closet almost every weekend and just staring at the shelves even if I don’t make anything, but this particular Sunday, the men in my family needed handkerchiefs, and this colonial thin cotton that was part of Chloë’s gift to me was perfect.
All I had to do was a semi tight zig zag all around the edge of a square of fabric. Easy peasy. There was a request from one gentleman for a trimmed one in black and white faux vintage Hawaiian. That one took a little longer, but it’s so fancy. In the end, the handkerchiefs looked like they could be sold here, but they’re almost too special for any shop.