Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Meet the Fabric Piranhas

Did you miss me? Sure you did. I really need a sarcasm font.

Well, it's been some time now since I've posted and it's mostly because I had nothing really significant to say. Well, some would argue I never do but they don't count (at least not to me).

I've been collecting patterns lately. No, not specific patterns; more of the variety that are sort of "starter" patterns. They come in books with names like "The Magic Pattern Book" and "BurdaStyle Sewing" and "Basic Black. The books all have sets of basic patterns and the instructions for altering them in several ways. That has the effect of providing you with many patterns for the price of the book. It's also supposed to encourage you to add in your own alterations and style to really make each "basic" garment into your own special thing.

I like the idea because I am someone who never actually sews something together the way the instructions would have me do and I can't follow instructions for projects without embellishing or editing them to suit my experience or materials or desires. I don't even cook strictly to the recipe except for bread but that's not cooking so much as chemistry... well, and I'm careful when I can too.

The patterns either come as a really wacky looking pull out section that has a billion lines crossing over one another in different colors and will make you blind, or on a CD or a download. The first kind has all the pattern pieces labeled and the book tells you which pieces to trace out on paper and cut out. You never cut the pullout, you just trace the pieces you need and use your tracings. This allows you to pencil in design changes before cutting and you will still have all your basic pieces intact to start from again if you want to go a different way. This way, your altered pattern pieces can be kept and used again. The second way is one not for the faint of heart. Using CDs or downloads means you print the pattern pieces on letter sized paper and piece them together and then, theoretically, you use them as the pattern. I say nuts to this. I piece them with minimal tape, trace out my pieces onto large sheets of tracing paper, pattern paper or doodle paper and then take the printout apart, mark an "X" in red crayon on the printed side and reuse the paper printing on the other side for the next printout. Trust me, if piecing all that paper together tries your patience, you do not want to try to use it as a pattern and I can certainly not see reusing it.

It's worth the effort for the money you save to have the exact pattern you want/need but it's time consuming I admit.

I've made a few things using these types of patterns and I enjoy it a lot. I am getting ready to make a cape from the "Magic Pattern" book this weekend (we'll see how far I get) and maybe even a hat to match.

This brings me to the title of this entry. My bestie coined the term Fabric Piranhas to describe us. We will reuse every scrap of fabric we can get our hands on and often buy clothes at thrift stores just for the fabric or as a base for some other garment. I shamelessly buy sheets to dye other colors and experiment on. Several yards of 100% cotton for $3-$4? Yes please! I am not at all ashamed to say that my ottoman is wearing a little more than one pair of my husband's cast off jeans. Don't even get me started on t-shirts!  My beloved SIL shared this site on Facebook today and now I have a whole new stack of projects to do: 39 Reuses for T-Shirts

I am fairly certain my well meaning friends and sisters have effectively rendered me immortal because, with this much to do before I die, I will simply not be able to, maybe ever.


  1. LOL - Right there with you! I am a collector of fine fabric (well, o.k. - whatever I can buy for $2.00 from Goodwill, cut-up and re-use - and I get excited about thrift shop sheets for $.50). I thought making quilts was the answer to my fabric overload dilemma, but in my entire lifetime I will never be able to make that many quilts! Sigh.

  2. Thanks for the comment!

    I get in a blanket "mode" from time to time and start churning out rag quilts and sometimes this stupid complicated type of quilt that involves ragging the seams and this chenille treatment on the squares and takes 7 layers of fabric takes forever and a day to complete. I made on for my husband and I have another started and sitting in a pile of squares in the corner near my sewing bench. Yeah, that will happen some day.

    There is a certain thrill to taking an item that a person has said to themselves, "this is useless" or "I have always hated this" and turning that item from the Isle of Misfit Clothes into an asset to you.