The next bag I made from old denim has a story.
I put out the word out to people I know to save their old jeans for me. One day a neighbor that I know casually brought me several pairs. One was made from black denim, from Germany. I explained to her what I was doing with the denim and this lead to a nice chat. She intimated that she was in a very distressing situation with her adult son. He was in rehab. He was about to be released and she was very worried that he was not ready for the real world. She was right at the doorway of reality. She knew this was the defining moment…she could not cave….she must stay strong; but it was plain to see, she was terrified. She had to believe that what ever happened it was up to HIM, not her.
I could relate as I went through a similar situation not to long ago. This was the first person I had met that I could offer sound advice and encouragement from experience. I was surprised at how confident I sounded…that I could immediately cut through what she was saying and translate; her words and thinking revealed how unsteady her thinking was. My responses were immediate…I knew exactly what to say….the same things others had said to me….that I couldn’t wrap my brain around. Now I could see this clearly and be supportive in a kind way that enabled her see the reality from a new source.
During my struggle last year…I sought counseling. I went weekly. It was a constant acknowledgement of my pain and deeply troubling. I knew I had to face the truth…that I could not fix it. I was fixated upon impending doom. My counselor stood by me and relentlessly repeated what I had to do. Eventually, it came to a point where she made me aware that I had come far enough, that I knew what I had to do. My counselors parting words were:
If you don’t get out of his way…..he doesn’t stand a CHANCE.
Wow! That hit me smack in the gut. That became my mantra. I am so grateful for the wisdom of my counselor Erin Brower.
Thus, the chat with my neighbor was highly beneficial for both of us; we bonded through crisis.
I proceeded to use the denim jeans she gave me; her black jeans and her husbands well worn blue jeans. I used bleach to remove color using both liquid and a bleach pen. I enjoyed using the bleach pen but it didn’t go far. I wrote words and swirls. The black denim changed dramatically. The end result was a pinkish beige and black areas. How interesting! Now I a multitude of ideas about black denim.
I love it when I see something totally unexpected. This immediately jump starts creative thoughts.
I decided to make a bag for my neighbor with her black jeans.
As I thought about the style of a bag and how it could relate to her….I continued to think about her STORY. My STORY and hers had connected.
The black denim had wonderful character and I liked the overall effect thus, I decided to use whole chunks rather than cutting up the fabric which reduced the construction time a lot. The black denim was gorgeous but an accent color was needed. The blue denim was the perfect accent. The picture shows pieces of the bleached blue jeans. This doesn’t look like much to work with does it? This is how it starts.
The bag was developed with a front and back side. The front would have a functional pocket and details. The back would be subtle and personal.
I wanted to tell the STORY on the back without it being obvious. This way she could share the STORY to certain people when it was appropriate. The purpose of the STORY was to define life’s reality and option. The story is brief and to the point.
Your Chance-Your Choice
She could selectively reveal the STORY. It HIS CHANCE for a new start…as well as HERS and both had a CHOICE.
The construction of the bag went smoothly and as I sewed I continued to think about her, her son and my story. The design is called a knife edge, referring to the seaming of the front and back. This image shows the bag wrong side out with front and back joined and the darts on the corners.
I also made a large initial B out of blue denim.
The swirls were the perfect spot to write text. I made a stencil from freezer paper for the word CHANCE. I painted this in yellow to stand out. I used a small alphabet stamp set to write the other words.
I spent 30 hours creating the design and constructing the bag plus one week dyeing and planning.
I called her and told her I had something for her. I walked to her house and we chatted and she gave me an update. In the elapsed time her frame of mind was completely improved. She had managed to stand firm. Her son did leave rehab, he moved into a half way house and had a job. At 45 years old, he now had for the first time in his life a new start….a CHANCE. She beamed with happiness (as well as relief).
Then I knew it was the perfect time to present the bag to her.
She was completely blown away!
She cried and cried…she repeated: I love it…thank you…thank you….thank you. More tears and more thanks…it was truly the perfect gift. I then explained the process, my reasons and how she could share the story if she wanted to. She immediately said “I do want to share the story”.
We, who have been through something like this, know this is how we heal…through support and encouragement.
Her husband was in complete amazement….he said, “no one has ever done anything for her like this”.
A perfect ending to a perfect story.
P.S. I am proud my son has taken control of his life. He has come along way. I commend my daughter for taking a stand and initiating the recovery for are family. We are grateful this is behind us now. Thank You Erin.
If you would like a bag personally made for you or someone else…please contact me. I love making these bags.
**I ask that you respect my original design. Please do not copy or put any of my images on Pinterest. Thank You.**