Saturday, September 26, 2009

Old Navy Jeans

I so thoroughly liked how the denim birds sewn into the American Eagle jeans worked that I decided to do another piece where I sewed directly onto the inside of a leg in a pair of jeans. To the right is how they looked like from outside - a denim so dark that I could use black thread without it being noticeable, and then below that is what they looked like inside out.

This time they were from Old Navy, but doing something seafaring themed was a little literal even for me. Instead I went with an abstract pattern made up of little circles cut out of different materials:gray corduroy, blue wool, pink fake fur, and the sheet paintings that I've been making with scrapings from my palette encased in gel medium. The pink fur was the most difficult to sew into the denim without it showing from the other side, because the needle would pull little tufts of pink fiber through, that I would have to cut and pluck after I was done.

Before the pants were returned, I showed them to a friend, and got a different response than I usually get. Either because of the general demographics of the people who become my friends, or because of a uniform desire to be supportive, they are usually enthusiastic at the idea of unknowingly purchasing one of the items I'd altered. In fact, most say, "I wish I could find one of those." Not this friend. She said that if she ended up with these she would return them. Not because the utility of the pants were in any way changed, but because she didn't like the idea of some unknown person having touched the inside of her clothing so intimately as to have added things. It is interesting to me, because although it is a response that I can understand once explained, I would not have intuited it. She said that she would think an alteration of the sort were interesting if she found it in an accessory, a handbag or a hat, but in the context of actual clothing it is too unsettling.


  1. That's what I love most about your project: You've discovered a way to leave remnants of a slow, private act in a place that will become intimate to a stranger in a world where our hairdresser touches us more than our friends. Your interception is in a place between the mass production of factory clothes and the adoption of meaning at the moment of first use, not at the point of sale. This is beauty.

  2. Thanks, BiaBP! That is a lovely way of putting it, and in fact, I may well rip off that penultimate sentence when writing about my work in the future....