Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Collaged Recycled Bathrobe

It was destined for the rag bag, my worn out bathrobe—one of those pieces of clothing that get used and used and fit your body comfortably, yet never get any attention. The fleece was pilled, stained, and worn thin in places.  I really didn’t care for the color, a purple, which I had chosen as the best of what was available on the rack—you know, best of the worst.
         However, a dilemma faced me--how to replace it. Obviously, I could buy a bathrobe, but probably not in a color that I liked. Or, I could make one, but, I would then have to find a pattern and go hunting for bathrobe fabric—if-fy at best. I started toying with the idea of sewing on top of the rag bathrobe. Nothing to lose.
         Then Melanie Testa announced that she was going to spend December 2011 working on and posting about a beautiful red velvet jacket that had seen better days (here). She organized a Flickr group that she called Rockstar Boro (here), “boro” being a Japanese method/art of recuperating and mending cotton fabrics by hand. The perfect motivation! So I tagged along in the Flickr group and began my bathrobe.
My color choices from recycled fabrics: 
                         I do like blue with green--and then a bit of purple snuck in:
At first, it looked like it would be my worst piece ever. This is the closest you will see of the before bathrobe. I don’t want to publicly humiliate myself.
The purple slowly disappeared under rectangles and triangles of various sizes that were machine appliquéd onto the fleece, raw edges showing. The fleece was surprisingly easy to sew upon. Very time-consuming, however—there was a lot of ground (or fleece) to cover. And to think that I considered going back into it and adding hand embroidery…
However, the appliqué did not appear strong enough to survive the washing machine. So I tested machine-quilting the arms with a scribble.
When that got boring, I started to put in simple shapes--houses, hearts, leaves, flowers,
                                                   and some wobbly cars.
With all that machine stitching, my soft bathrobe became stiffer, however, the washing machine should take care of that. Hand stitching would have worked much better, but would also have taken another 5 years. You have to choose your battles.
I thought about adding a lining, but now I like the purple with the black stitching.
So I put on bias binding, changed the buttons (old pewter ones from my collection), and did the buttonholes by hand. As the internet is so public, you see the headless photo of the finished product:

In the end, this isn't very boro. In fact, I’m just not a very boro person--I like playing on the sewing machine too much. However, the Rockstar Boro group was nice not to kick me out. In fact, they were encouraging (Thanks, everyone!). Still, I do like to admire other people’s work in the boro style, and Jude Hill’s Spirit Cloth blog (here) is a good place to see some exceptional creative work along those lines, and she lists other sites of interest.

Problem : my "new" bathrobe is now so beautiful that I don’t dare wear it!

48 comments:

dany said...

You did a great job in FreeMotion, the result is very nice! Compliments!
Ciao,
Daniela

CREATIVE MIND said...

My dear its Superb! No doubt Awesome! How smart you are..MashaAllah!
All the best my dear :)

claudia becker said...

What a wonderful job, I love your ideas! Would be happy to use her robe at a party, kkkk. It had been a while since my last visit here, you have worked divinely. Kisses cRAW

Els said...

WOW Nadia ! What a gorgeous "coat of many colours"!!!!! (I think all the "stage-Jozefs" envie your outfit !)

fiberchick said...

How fantastic!

Nifty Quilts said...

Wear it proudly!! It's really fabulous!! You can feel like a queen every day. I love your ingenuity at repurposing.

Muddling Through said...

And now you get to wear a work of art. It is truly beautiful!!! I love being able to transform a thing destined for the trash into something useable. Great job!

Connie Rose said...

It's gorgeous, and clearly no longer a bathrobe, but a beautiful coat of many colors to wear whenever.

Rachaeldaisy said...

What a wonderful story of repurposing! Your robe is amazing! The little freemotion houses, cars etc are so fun, little surprises in thread. It's the perfect coat to wear to an art opening except it would outshine the art!

JennyPennyPoppy said...

This looks so neat! Congratulations on finishing this big project. Love all the colours you chose and all the machine stitching on it makes it look really fun :)

Jeannie said...

Oh my gosh! I love your robe! I thought it was such an inspired project when you first showed it. The free motion stitching is so playful and fun - wonderful! I love the peek at the inside and I wouldn't like it either as it has such character. Wear you new coat of many colors proudly! (You have inspired me to leave the black hole of the computer and get back to stitching! :D)

Merilyn said...

What an incredible transformation!!!! It has turned out amazingly well, very creative and original looking!!!! Very well done!!!! A lot of work I can see that, but a great piece of wearable art!!!! It deserves to be worn, enjoy it!!!!

Vivian said...

The robe is FAN TAS TIC!!! It's wonderful! It's creative and unique and you have something that you can proudly call your very own. The free motion quilting is funky and adorable.

Emma said...

Absolutely lovely, just wear it...where ever! I'd like to have seen your proud smiling face above your achievement ;)

rtquilter said...

What a splendid idea, Nadia! It is lovely and you SHOULD wear it! Eventually, it will wear out and maybe you could go for a third incarnation. I winder how many times you could do that?

Carole said...

It's so beautiful I can understand you not wanting to wear it. BUT wear it knowing we all love it and are all green with envy!

Bonnie Hull said...

Nadia...great...really just fantastic. A friend "gave" me a Jude Hill tutorial and I'm loving it...it's about "making fabric"...xo from you know where...B

Aart said...

Wow, what a beautiful bathrobe, I want to wear that robe the whole day!
The machine quilting is excelent.
http://quiltaart.blogspot.com

khadijateri said...

All of my favorite colors in one place. Awsome! Awsome! Awsome!

Annefred said...

Wow, what a wunderful coat you made and all from "old" material, you are a true "recycler". I would love to have such a "bathrobe".

susan christensen said...

What a great project! I am in awe - and very inspired... love, sus

Marlynne said...

I like the idea of reworking a piece of clothing into something unique. Your robe is really neat! You will wear it surely! from Marlynne at mcreatesdaily.blogspot.com

Francien said...

Oh Its realy stunning Nadia...you have done good!!...it looks so lovely with those colors....i think its very beautiful!! well done on the quilting!!
greetings Francien.

Teodo said...

Nice, lovely, fantastic and BELLISSIMO.
ciao ciao Linda

jude said...

wear it for a while, wear it out, then mend it, it will be boro soon enough! thanks for the nice words.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

There is no possible way I would wear that as a bathrobe, but I WOULD wear it as a coat! It's too beautiful for use as a bathrobe.

Irma said...

comme j'aime ce genre de projet, bravo c'est une grande réussite.
bises

Michala Gyetvai (Kayla coo) said...

I love the little free hand images stitched on the shapes.
Beautiful project, a very posh bathrobe!

aracne said...

Amazing, just amazing: this is a fantastic coat, take it out of the bathroom!

Linda Stokes said...

How fantastic your ex bathrobe is!
I agree its too beautiful to wear as a bathrobe but it makes a wonderful coat.
Thanks for commenting on my humble efforts.

Manya Maratou said...

it must be interesting inside-out, too! wow, great work

Susan said...

This post is AWESOME! I have two very worn, quite stained, and totally dreadful bathrobes ... but I'll never do anything like your wonderful work! It is amazing! Thanks, too, for the comment on my blog!
Susan

Kim said...

Bathrobe.......heck no I'd wear this in NYC...very fashionable.

Have you seen Nat's blog in Australia? she does some serious boro, and getting ready to go back to Japan to learn more.

Happy sewing.

liz said...

That is a piece of art. Thanks for taking us along your creation. I have a bathrobe that is starting to look quite shabby. Am I brave enough to repurpose it? It was certainly exciting watching yours unfold.

Linda in Calif. said...

Wow! What seems a very strange thing to do, certainly turned out very pretty. Very modern and artsy!

Alicia said...

looks like you had fun! love the colors.

Radka said...

Oh Nadia, what a lovely post! How creative!I would have never thought of it. I think I will have to and look in my wardrobe:)
I do hope you are wearing your "new" bathrobe!

Anneliese said...

Nadia, your post is just wonderful. I found it now, late at night. You know I love mending and changing things, too. You get my mark 10 (best note) for this - it is so good to restaure and keep old things alive. And isn't Melanie Testa wonderful!!!
Your machine quilting is extra - and I like that you say that you change the design because it got boring - could be me!

Good Earth Quilting said...

Nadia,

What a fabulous bathrobe! You've inspired me again!!
Carli

Ro Bruhn said...

This is brilliant and when you're not wearing it you could hang it up as a piece of art, love it. Thanks for visiting my blog too.

bois-fleurie said...

Its true its amazing,I love the colours.Am looking forward to following your blog you have such fun idears.

Notjustnat said...

Wear it anywhere, wear it out and show it off. Great jacket! Love it-hugs nat

Tonya Ricucci said...

it's beautiful! will get even better look after its been through the wash several times to fray the edges and soften. Did you remove the sleeves in order to work on them with the machine?

bj said...

Just beautiful! Wow!

Ati. said...

You should wear it when you go shopping! A great coat, one of a kind !! Fantastic.

Minka said...

This turned out great! You should wear it all the time....don't save it...after all, you now know how to replace it, if needed.

Gurli said...

I really hope you are using this beautiful bathrobe. It would be a shame to just hide it in a closet.
Lovely colors.

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