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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    San Francisco

    when is craft work too much work?

    so last week, i saw a lovely dress at goodwill. it was $14, a dusty rose color. vintage. hand knit wool top with lace insets, and a solid wool skirt. it had a silk (or maybe synthetic, it had been dry cleaned a lot and i couldn't tell) matching lining.

    3/4 sleeves that had several holes in them. i picked it up and thought, this dress is gorgeous, *exactly* the style i like, and i could unravel the sleeves, and reknit them as short sleeves.

    i carried it around for twenty minutes, and then decided it would just be too much work. of course, in retrospect, i should have tried it on - that would have sold me one way or the other real quick.

    when do you draw the line at acquiring things you intend to refinish, alter, etc? i take home lots of stuff from NLPs that need some work, but what about actually buying stuff?

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  3. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    That does sound like a lot of work...

    But, I am so bad at this. I have fabric and buttons that I have cut from thrifted clothes I could not use as i bought them. I've recut ballgowns. Not promdress shit, but a velvet and taffeta full skirt fitted bodice ballgown with crinolines. Massive amount of tailoring and some inventive sleeve finishes, but it was just too great a deal to pass up and I knew I could use it. Since it was 25 years ago, I can say I looked fabulous. Drop dead fabulous. Heh.

    I also have a tendency to imbue thrifted items with a soul of their own. As if the previous owner and all the hands that had touched it since left a spark of life. That is now my job to reinvigorate.

    I'm way too OC to detail stuff here, but the first thing that comes to mind after clothing is all of my lamps and lamp shades. I can refinish, rebuild, rewire, retrofit, etc, and I can strip a wire shade down to rust and cover it with elegance it never had. But that takes time. And it's just easier to buy more than I can work on than actually work on them. I have Stiefll lamps on my porch fully dismantled. They've been that way for a year now. My nephew is now selling the house I bought them for.

  4. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    92,999,999 miles from the sun & counting
    I have this bad habit too. Not so much buying things that need a lot of refurbishing work before they can be used (though I do that too), but mostly keeping old, broken-down, worn-out things I already have, with the full intention of "fixing them up someday".

    My most recent project-in-progress like that is a pair of pants that were part of an expensive suit. I spent so much money on that suit, and still wear the skirt and jacket often enough, that I can't bear to ditch the pants even though they were always an unflattering fit and are now also way out of style. My bright idea: Remove the high waistband, take out the front pleats and back waist elastic (which never looks good on any garment, ever), and cut them down to a more flat-front, straight-leg style. Easy enough in theory, but they've been sitting dismantled in my office/craft room for weeks now. I'd really like to wear them again, if I can ever get around to the measuring, cutting and sewing part.

    I also have a pair of little end tables that my grandma gave me, which belonged to her mother—meaning they're antiques, but they were kinda cheap quality even all those years ago. Now they're almost falling apart, not to mention being a style I'm not fond of and matching nothing else I own—but I can never get rid of them because they're family heirlooms. I keep saying I'll restore them somehow, but who knows how or when.

    Then there's the thrift-store long satin skirt I bought a couple years ago and have never worn because the hem is coming down. Easy to fix—but if I did, I'd have to face the fact that I have nothing that goes with it, and also no occasion to wear it. So lately I've actually been planning to knit a top specifically to match that skirt, so I'll have a reason to fix the hem, and then hope to be invited to a wedding or something to wear it to.

    If much of the enjoyment you're getting from the item is in the fixing/restoring, and you're not under any time constraints for when you need to use it, I don't see anything wrong with this tendency. On the other hand, the first step is admitting you have a problem, and I think with that last paragraph I just proved I did.

  5. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    I think you're better off, it's hard to unravel sleeves, then again if it was handmade maybe they were done on circulars or something, but it's also hard to knit with yarn that needs to be joined together every 3 rows...

    I also keep stuff around that I'm waiting to fix...alot of the time I'm scared to try to make something on my sewing machine b/c I'm convinced I'll screw up. The funny thing is, then it just looks bad and i have cloth sitting about. It's amazing I fix/do anything.

    But in a success story I took a cashmere sweater that had too long/fraying cuffs and a hole in the tummy and cut off half of the cuffs and unraveled enough to make thread to fix the hole, it's not perfect, but it got done and I wore the sweater several times in the cashmere sweater...great deal :) but since it had been knitted and sewn into a tube i kept getting mini pieces of yarn which were not at all helpful had I wanted to reknit it into something else.


  6. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    I used to bring home chairs without leggs,tables missing corners or bases etc.
    Now I only bring those peices if I already have something that will resolve it(a different base or a cool spindle for oposing leggs etc) or if I don't have any huge looming projects.

    I got rid of alot of my 'i'll do someday' pile this year because I had all the same items in the 'fixit and decorate it' pile as I did in the 'new stuff/projects' pile.

    I LOVE to do over furniture but it was becoming a burden.One piece at a time and no regret(well mostly) for not picking up pieces I saw on a past trip because they are not piling up taking up my air!

    In Short:If its been left undone for a year,time to let it go...unless it is such as the cross stitch and you can work on it for years without 'unfinished' angst.

  7. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    phx, az
    i collect vintage mexican leather purses - the kind with the ornate aztec calendars on them. one night, out of the blue, i got the grand idea of painting the *entire* thing in detail. i got as far as base coating one of them. it is still sitting in my studio, poor thing. i can visualize how fabulous it will look when i'm done with it, but i also can visualize how many hours it will take!


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