[september acknowledgment]

September was a month of leading away into the territory of a new pair of shorts, and a few alteration projects. The alteration projects were in one sense about random access, slightly dissolved variations of a few simple items re-generated into something other. The shorts were an attempt at beginning again with pattern making for denim jeans. The first alteration project was depleting a collar into the back-yoke of wildly colored but inoffensively muted plaid shirt. In the simplest terms the shirt was opened up to become almost shawl-like. It still required the user to insert their arms into sleeves, and it still hung about the body in a traditional sense, but all the fastening areas of the front were sewn back into itself creating an open front. This stitching continued into the collar and became a way to make a flattened faux-collar-collar. The other shirt was a simple dark-blue-wool-naval shirt. The alterations made to the second shirt involved extracting the collar, stitching the original hem (a standard shirt hem meant to be tucked) into a straight across jacket-style hem, adding two hand pockets on each side, and finally attaching an extra set of buttons to mate to two small loop on the cuffs. All of this happened with great care making sure not to lose anything in the jacket whilst the changes were made. The first action was to remove the collar, a simple seam-rip and re-stitch. Next we seam-ripped down the two seams of each side of the shirt’s tails to open up the usable fabric before re-stitching this from the already-existing double flat-felled seam of the armpit. The extra sewing here made it possible to have a slightly longer hem-line for what would become the new square bottom. Then it was time to square the bottom up, a bit of trimming, ironing, tacking, and sewing took care of this. Third up was creating two side pockets, using some new grey wool and a bit of matched blue wool, we had this going in a timely fashion. The pocket strategy for this was taken directly from the canvas shorts which were made previously. A small jig was made, and all the important cuts, incisions, and interfacing were placed to turn the pockets inside out and give way to a set of hand invite’rs. After this a few loops were added half-way between the cuff’s original button placement and the top of the split. With some buttons placed to meet the loops, the alterations were complete. The shorts are a more difficult thing to compress into an acknowledgment, so please be patient for further notes on that.

The alteration projects were a unique learning experience that will come up again. The thing about them that is unique comes from the sense of taking an otherwise non-unique item, and making it a bit different. In the case of the naval shirt, although it is hard to say for sure, but it could have been one in thousands made just like it. Not to mention the context in which it was meant to be worn is one of complete homogenization. While we are running with this shirt we begin to dissolve its form, thus dissolving its intent. The naval shirt is quite reliant on its form, as that is what signals this other entity called the Navy, or possibly even-partly mechanizes the Navy as network of individuals working in unison to create a “well oiled machine”. By taking the context out the shirt, we could be injecting a small virus that inhibits the usual system from completing its cycle to the highest degree. With this said, it is not to imply these alternating motions as deceitful, this is just a simple observation made from a distance. Of course one may say that perhaps this shirt/jacket when worn about will never be consumed by the eyes of someone associated with the Navy, but it will certainly conjure ideas of an adjusted Navy, spiking the system with great might little by little. In addition to all of this, by breaking down the immediacy of the naval shirt, it is also expanding the sense of the materials themselves; putting the materials ahead of the “symbolic” aspect of their combination and order. This is the most compelling argument for altering such a simple object. By re-ordering it, and transforming small inlets of its capacity, the change becomes a way of re-energizing the life behind the uniform. It supplies the materials with an advantage over its their past association, which calls attention to a deeper structure, one beyond human orientation and direction. How much the shirt/jacket’s alterations achieve this is questionable, and is possibly a tripping-stone backwards as an argument that it was only augmented, thus it did not make it beyond the “human orientation and direction” but rather fell ill to spiraling-spell. Going beyond the materials, going beyond the fabric, there is an inert harmony that these bits of wool and polyester inject into the garment. They are their own network, and by us shuffling them is only an example of their flexibility. Our invasion of the original designers intentions move with the fabric to explore other potentials within the garments perimeter. This shuffling creates an alteration, it breathes momentum into a new network of fibers.