I started sewing when Luke was a baby. Even though I did the required Home Ec. sewing classes in middle school, I didn’t exactly love them. But then I had an adorable baby boy and something in me wanted to make cute little outfits for him, and boyish bed spreads for his toddler bed. Of course, once I had Alix, followed by more beautiful little babies, the desire just blossomed. And it expanded from clothes to include furniture slipcovers, napkins, linens, curtains, pillows, etc. Although sewing isn’t necessarily inexpensive – and sometimes it’s actually more expensive than buying things – the ability to make something just how I want it, in the fabric or color I want, inspires me to keep doing it. Plus, I admit, I am a student. I like to learn. There are so many styles of sewing and techniques to do things, that I am continuing to learn year by year.
In the last few years, I have started to do more of my own pattern-making. It was intimidating at first, but I read a lot of tutorials to see how others were doing it. And I learned that taking careful measurements made all the difference in the final outcome.
The old adage, “Measure twice, cut once” comes to mind.
Initially I used tissue paper (the kind you tuck around gifts in gift bags) to draft the patterns, and then I moved on to wrapping paper, muslin, or old sheets. But recently I started using parchment paper. The kind that I also use to drop chocolate no-bake cookies on to set up.
When it comes to drafting patterns – parchment paper is perfect!
It’s flexible. It doesn’t tear easily. It is mostly transparent – so I can transfer lines for seams and darts very easily. It’s inexpensive. And best of all – I can even stitch it together! This means I can do a trial of the pattern, without wasting costly fabric.
For our ballet recital in May, I am making two little boy vests. I have no patterns, just one larger boy’s vest to use as my example. So I took one of Olivia’s shirts and traced around the neckline and the underarm seam down to the waist as my sample size.
Once I stitched the shoulder and underarm seams, I had Olivia try it on. She is about the size of the two little boys who will be wearing the vests. While she was wearing it, I was able to adjust the seams under her arm, which were a little too tight, by simply pulling the paper apart and stopping at a point which seemed more comfortable for her.
Then I took it off of her, and went back to make adjustments. When we tried it on her again, it was just right.
Now instead of making a vest which may or may not fit the little boys, I will take my parchment paper vest and have them try it on; make adjustments, and then sew the vests using the parchment paper pattern pieces over my fabric.
Here’s a look at the “vest”.
The front side – overlapping because I am going to put a couple of buttons on the final fabric vest.
And a look at the back, which will have two darts.
And I thought you might enjoy this one of my lovely assistant modeling the “vest”.
Although my assistant is indeed quite lovely, she was less than thrilled to be wearing this “scratchy” vest. What she really wanted to do was finish her Math homework.
Now how could I argue against such brilliance of preference and motivation for learning?
So she’s back to her Math!
Have a lovely day!