Still, after three years of such steady wear and regular washing, the sweater had felted a bit, was pilling, and had even attracted some moth love. Having established the need for a classic navy v-neck, I replaced it next trip to France during a Bompard 20% off sale, but I never got 'round to passing the old one along to a thrift shop. In fact, I hung onto it because it was so gorgeously comfortable, so broken in (and a bit broken, for that matter!) that I didn't have to fuss about it care-wise. To pull it on over a pair of pj bottoms on a chilly evening -- such a treat!
And I've been following Katrina Rodabaugh on Instagram, thinking about Slow Fashion, about making or buying garments we love enough that we want to extend their lives. . .
@londonoeil had sewn an embroidered date-of-birth patch on a thrifted sweater to, in her words, "challenge the marvellous 1970 Bella Freud pullover." I started thinking about doing something similar, and then came across this DIY video for embroidering a quotation or favourite phrase across the back or front of a sweater.
some decorative stitchery on after it suffered some damage.
And months after making that resolution, I bought some lovely shades of Vineyard Strandable Merino needlepoint thread in a stitchery shop in Portland. Honestly, I'd have done just as well with the plain Merino thread, non-strandable, but I didn't know that at the time, and I'm not even sure the shop carried it. In fact, I probably could simply have raided my stash of leftover knitting yarn, but I wanted a range of colours in a consistent, strong thread, and that's what I got.
I cast about a bit for what I'd like to write on this well-worn sweater, and finally fixed on Tant Mieux, the French phrase meaning "So Much the Better" or "All the Better" -- my subtle backtext being that both sweater and I are all the better for our, um, experience.
Above, a quick summary of my method -- I'd first tried drawing the words on the cashmere with a white tailor's chalk pencil, but between the nap and the stretch, that didn't work. So I wrote the words on tissue paper and pinned that to the sweater, stitched right through sweater and tissue guide, then ripped the tissue paper out afterward.
As I noted when I posted about my sashiko mending, this isn't everyone's aesthetic -- and perhaps most of you would have been so careful with the cashmere that it would have withstood hundreds of wearings, never needed resurrection. But if you've found ways to extend the life of a beloved garment -- or of a thrifted one -- I'd love to know about it. And if you've got a favourite phrase you think is perfect, should you ever decide to needle-doodle on the back of your sweater, perhaps you'll tell us what that might be.
I'll await your comments -- for now, let's pretend I've embroidered Happy Tuesday!! on the back of my sweater, just for you. . . Happy Tuesday!