Sunday, July 26, 2009

American Eagle Jeans

I need to remember not to do Shell Game with American Eagle anymore. They require ID when you return something. As an attempt at subterfuge, I gave them my old college ID, which doesn't list any address, and then when they asked for my address, I changed one of the numbers when dictating it. Not a terribly smooth deception.

One thing I did like at American Eagle, was that although I didn't notice it until I'd taken them home, the cut of jeans that I chose to alter was called "ARTIST". Someone suggested that I should have added a question mark after the word, but unfortunately I'd already returned them.

Perhaps the ARTIST jeans got me in a literal mood. I made a flock of bird silhouettes cut out of denim, which I then sewed into the inside of the pant legs. This proved to be some of my most challenging seamstressing yet - instead of sewing into a lining or a seam, I was sewing directly into a single layer of fabric.

I used a dark color of thread and very small stitches, and without knowing what you were looking for, it was very difficult to perceive my work from the outside. To the right is a picture of the pant leg turned right side out after my alterations, and perhaps if you look carefully you can see a couple of greenish dots (one toward the bottom left of the photo is most apparent) which are my stitches.

Here's a picture with the legs inside out, of the denim birds close up. After sewing them into the jeans I felt like the denim on denim look was a little more subtle than I wanted, so I went back and painted some shadows and highlights on them with acrylic, to give them that ARTIST touch.

Here is a full view of the completed pants turned inside out. The flock seems to be moving from one leg to another - and here's what I mean when I say I was feeling literal - as I made them I imagined them to be a flock of smaller birds, hiding from the eponymous Eagle.

My Shell Game garments tend to fall into two distinct categories. There are the more representational or graphic ones, like these jeans, or the pants where I added lips, or the tiny acrylic paintings sewn into seams, and there are the more sculptural / structural pieces, like the pants with elongated pockets, or shoulder pads added at the knees, or pockets lined with pink fake fur. I am curious: do you have a preference for one vein over another?


  1. A question mark after "Artist" would have been brilliant! But your work is already brilliant so why blind anyone with your shining light?

    I have no preference for the type of play you practice with each garment, but this, the elongated pockets, and the fur are my favorites precisely because they seem the most playful and mischievous. Artist? Rascal? How about both?!

  2. "ARTIST"...that is too funny.

    I like both categories of "Shell Game". The graphic ones are cool because I think they actually add aesthetic value to the clothes--I would be delighted if I found those pieces in a store, and I think people who buy them and notice would likely assume they're supposed to be like that.

    The shoulder pads-type stuff is more prankster-ish, and I like that too, from a fucking with things perspective.

  3. I must concur with the other commentors, I like both, I think both should continue based on mood. The fake fur pockets seem a lot funnier and more subversive, but I feel like the artsy ones are like doing someone a nice anonymous favor...I know I wish I could buy the bird jeans...