Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pattern Manipulation and Thinking Outside of the Box

You know what I love, love, love about patterns?  They are marvelously versatile.  You just have to look at them with a keen eye.

Take, for example, this Simplicity pattern:

Would you believe it could be used to create the child-sized alb picture above?*  I kid not.  That's versatility, my friends.  I was able to take a girl's pattern for a coat and turn it into a boy's priest costume in a snap!  All it took was a wee bit of pattern manipulation.

I am not a master pattern manipulator.  In fact, I think I forgot everything I learned about it in fashion design school.  However, I am usually successful at simple pattern changes and that was all it took to repurpose this pattern.  The key was to look at the structure instead of the style.

I used Coat pattern A pictured above.  It had (almost) everything I needed - front closure, raglan sleeves, high neck, boxy-structure, back pleat, and proper sizing for a child (plus a bit of extra room because it was originally sized as a coat).  Most of the manipulation that took place was achieved by subtraction.  I ditched the fru-fru's (trims, pockets, buttons, and elastic), inserted a zipper, lengthened the coat, added a couple of loops for a belt, and attached a simple mandarin collar.  It was, I confess, a much simpler process than it sounds.

I do so encourage you to attempt it, should you need a priest costume for a little boy in your life.  (Tip:  Use a 14" zipper and something that doesn't wrinkle as much as the 100% cotton sheet I used.)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Making Space - Closet Curtains

Originally this room had bi-fold closet doors that were noisy and cumbersome and in. the. way.  As you can see in the next pic, there was not enough space to get into the dresser with the closet door open:

Always eager to find a way to open up space and make life easier, we relegated the doors to the garage (where they will no doubt live and full and happy life infested by spiders) and hung a simple two-panel curtain made out of fabric by-the-yard that was 45" wide.  I turned the selvage edge over once to hem the sides and  made a wide (1.5 inch) hem at the bottom.  I actually had to shorten my panels after I hung them the first time because I learned that the pleats hung best when the curtains did not touch the ground.

(I probably should mention that the curtains hang nice and straight when there is nothing on the floor underneath them like, say, laundry.)

The closet is larger on the inside, so instead of spending money and finding a long rod, I hung them from the door frame.  Actually, I handed the finished panels to my husband and he did all of the dirty work.  Stellar job, doncha think?  If you don't have this type of door frame, you could attach all of your nails/screws to a piece of wood and attach it to the inside wall.

The little hooks/tabs/whateveryouwanttocallthem are made out of 1/8 inch elastic.  I think next time I'll use something more durable than elastic....maybe double-fold bias tape?

I didn't want a whole lot of drape and was pleased with a more tailored look.

Now that the curtains are hung, I'm starting to wonder if this room might be begging for a nautical theme.  A swordfish hanging over the bed, perhaps?


For those of you interested in the nitty gritty details, the nails are three inches apart and the loops on the fabric are about 6 inches apart. I used 17 nails total for two panels of fabric that were about 44.5 inches wide each (finished size).  Both curtains share the middle nail so don't forget to center it in the opening!

P.S.  Good news.  You will never again have to endure a blog post featuring this dark blue seersucker fabric.  Bad news. I have four yards left of the light blue stripe and I make no promises.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Caddy Sack

Anyone else have a car console that insists on looking something like this?

Yeah, me neither.

Well, okay fine, I used to have an embarrassing car caddy, but no more!

Kinda cute, huh?

It's just a sack with a clear vinyl bag inside of it.  Voila - a glorified trash bag for your car.

And it's reversible, too!

Had a little fun switching the fabric for the bottoms.

I may or may not have messed up the measurements and created it a tad bit too big and I may or may not have shoved it in the caddy anyway and called it good...

Works for me!

BTW, have you seen this fabric before?  It's home decorator fabric I used for demonstration purposes in a beginner sewing class I taught last winter. We made aprons.  (Apron pattern mentioned in this post.)

Yet another reason to love left-over fabric scraps!

And another reason to love sewing - you get to make practical things look pretty.