Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Make Do...

Last night I had my geometry set out; compass, set square, protractor. I was trying to design a pattern for a sunhat.  Send Max out for a minute in the sunshine without a hat, even if he's slathered in factor 50 and his ears start bubbling. It's not pretty, let alone healthy.  The past few years have seen lots of sunhats grace our home, but they seem to go missing with alarming frequency.  So rather than buy yet another one to lose to the wind, it seemed only right to turn to my bag of fabric scraps and my trusty geometry set.
Various parts of my super soft Seven jeans that ripped at the knees (and elsewhere...) have now been reincarnated in my attempts to patch up my childrens' clothes, and I thought I'd use the last remnants to test out a hat pattern.   And so the Recycled Seven jeans sunhat was born.
While I was pouring over my tracing paper and trying to remember some rusty facts about circumferences and radii (is that the plural of a radius?) it occurred to me that making clothing patterns would have been a much more sensible use of my GCSE Maths class than struggling with vectors, which always alluded me.  What about it Mrs Scott, in your apricot pencil skirt?
Turns out pattern making is, in fact, a lot harder than actually just sitting down and making a hat. 3D is somehow more meaningful than 2D. I cut a beautiful circle with a 16cm radius (yes, it is radii, but you don't need it in the plural) and then I fairly quickly abandoned the paper and mathematics and just got on with making the hat.
I think the finished article still needs some work but it's hot these days and we are in need of the hat, so it is prematurely off the production line and being put to use.  It was actually meant to be the 'test' hat that I would then remake in nicer fabric, but then Max gave me a hand at the sewing machine while Oli was sleeping, and decided he wanted that hat, his hat and no other.  Working at a sewing machine with a four year old is both enlivening and infuriating. There were lots of questions about the mechanics of the machine, particularly about the foot and the little jagged bits that help feed the fabric under the needle.  It reminded me that there are parts of the machine I still don't fully understand or know the names of, and it is especially useful having the very person you are designing for so close to hand.  His head was almost permanently in my way.  Less useful is it, when you look on the floor for a dropped pin and find your stitch and tension adjusted by the time you sit back up again.  Luckily the spool ran out half way through so we had the very exciting diversion of putting thread on a bobbin.
And now I'm feeling like quite a hat-making veteran.  Last Christmas my dad got a home-made version of a Breton fishing cap to replace an old, ripped, rotten one that had blatantly been loved too much. I stole it from his fishing cellar and set to work on a replica.   Today, recycler of old jeans; tomorrow, milliner to all the family...

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