April 17, 2010
Do you trace sewing patterns? I do. Always. Absolutely. But, if you were to ask me why I do this without fail, I would struggle to answer.
I could, however, tell you that the seeds of this habit were sewn early.
Take my very first project: a pair of child's pyjamas. I ever-so carefully cut out the size 3 from the multi-size pattern and painstakingly sewed the two piece set. It was my flannelette triumph. But approximately 5 minutes later, Argy was a size 4 and the pattern pieces all but useless to the nervous novice. I tried to buy the same pattern again, only to find it out-of-print. Ah, if only I had traced the original. Why, I could have made Argy the same pyjamas every year until he was 12. Awwww, cute.
Disclaimer: A-hem ... of course I would never, ever, ever do that. Cross my heart; hope to die; stick a sewing needle in my eye. Because as we all know the big pattern companies say blah, blah, blah ... you may only make just so many garments .... blah, blah, blah ... in just the one size from your pattern ... blah, blah, blah.
Following directly on from the pyjama pattern fiasco, was my first skirt. It was a lovely A-line number with a facing instead of a waistband. Again, I ignorantly chopped into the original pattern paper. I immediately sensed my mistake, when something labelled front-facing-cut-one-on-the-fold drifted from the table to the floor. A passing melee of children swept up the wafer thin paper and the pattern piece was, as they say, toast. (That is, if your toast is generally a piece of bread trodden on, then shredded by preschoolers). Ah, if only I had traced the original.
From then on, I decided that such calamities should never befall me again. No siree. Armed with an HB pencil and translucent paper, I started tracing. There is such comfort in having a back-up; a disaster recovery plan - especially when making pattern alterations.
So here I am two years later, with a thousand million copied pattern pieces. I haven't stopped yet. I trace everything. Large project and small. Patterns I will reuse and those I won't. Even patterns that come printed on the sturdiest of archive-quality paper, with single sizing. Sometimes I trace the children while they sleep.
Of course a small part of me acknowledges that I have a problem. The uncut fabric; the stationary sewing machine; the lost enthusiasm after pattern preparation. They all point one thing: the madness of traces. Or was that traces of madness?