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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Substitution 101: New workshop and a parsimonious project

I am moving to the yard for this project. The sun is warm to my skin on this day early in March. The problem: I am trying to figure out what size camisole fits my 9-year-old granddaughter. I am sending three. First, I will make a pattern for each. Otherwise, I will know nothing when my daughter tells me which fits.

This way, I can make another camisole from the pattern that fits. My daughter, having been reared by a mother who sews, follows my directions exactly. She knows how to measure. You might think this is simple. It is. But, some people do not do it right.

Rather than use messy newspaper or go purchase paper, I have other solutions. Cutting apart a paper bag works for a pattern. It is nice and strong, but rather small sometimes. Okay, just tape two together. However, I get few paper bags and value them in their bag state!

Buy the paper from a school supply bookstore that teachers use on bulletin boards. It is cheap. This is my last resort. Get end rolls of newsprint.

Gift wrap is my pattern paper of choice. Of course, I only use rolls I do not like from my stash. Sometimes a roll gets dirty or bent or torn. It still works for a pattern. Since I shop for Christmas paper only from yard sales, the cost is minimal.

Usually, I put the pattern side down. However, I am working on a white table with a white camisole. Today, I placed the pattern side of the paper up for the sake of clarity in the pictures.

Notice the kitchen knives. These are to weight the camisole and hold it in place. These knives are not part of a set, just odd knives. I usually use knives to hold a pattern to cloth for cutting.
Notice I turned back the garment to mark the line to cut a piece for the shelf bra in this one camisole. 

All three camisoles fit on this four-foot end of the picnic table! Life gets good sometimes...just kidding.

I did invest in two of these camisoles. The third was attached at the shoulders of a sheer blouse. When I hear which camisole fit her the best and how I should alter the pattern, I can make camisoles for her year round for wear under other garments or as a garment for summer wear. If she were here, the two camisoles would not been necessary.

Why did I not get measurements and draft this? There is not much room for error here. I would have to mail the first camisole, wait for my daughter to get the time and energy to look at it and call me. Plus, my daughter is so busy that I might get the measurements or fit information this fall! The garments will speed up the process and make life simpler for her.

The whole post is contradictory if you focus on the fact that I bought two garments that may or may not fit. I bought garments now in order to save a bundle later.

The parsimonious point
Use gift wrap paper you may never use. We all make garment patterns or trace other things, especially if you have children who need cheap paper for their imaginative projects. Christmas paper or other gift wrap works perfectly. If you are like me, you have bought a pack of rolls and don't especially like one of the rolls. I really like the roll I used, but it was not stored away.

Your turn
Do you ever use gift wrap for patterns when sewing? Is there another parsimonious use you have for gift wrap? What kind of paper do you use when you need to make a sewing pattern or trace something? Does parsimony ever enter into the scheme of paper thoughts?


  1. I think that my first conciously parsimonious act was to order a huge roll of butcher paper from a restaurant. They used it to cover the tables and let young guests color all over it. It cost us 35 dollars.We have used it for everything! Art. Patterns. Picnic table cover.Gift wrap. We still have a half roll after several years.
    Do you use a serger for the camisole?

  2. Butcher paper is a great idea. It's certainly versatile. Yes, I do have a commercial serger and a home serger. The commercial serger is the one I use for garments.

  3. The butter knife weights are a simple, good idea as well!

  4. Beth, good point. When I run out of knives or the dishes are not clean, sometimes I use the large, weighted tape dispenser,coffee cups, extra pair of sewing scissors, paper scissors, saucers, box of unused crayons, anything I can lay my hands on in the kitchen where I do my cutting. Butter knives certainly work. Thanks for stopping by and reminding me to acknowledge that table knives are not the only solution...just what I used that day.

  5. re: parsimony when it comes to paper, I buy Christmas wrapping paper for pennies on sale after the season but make sure it can be used for any season/event, like solid blue.

  6. I use Christmas wrapping paper I pick up at the 90% off sales to use for patterns and grandbabies like to use the back of the paper for artwork. Scored a real deal 2 weeks ago, a friend bought a new house and had an entire roll of the paper they lay down on the floors to keep them clean as buyers walk around, to thick for patterns but petfect for the grandkids and buddies artwork

  7. Dmarie, I like dark green, red, and pink paper for after holiday use. The dark green can be used for a man with brown or black curling ribbon. Red is good for Valentine's Day or used with pink ribbon and real flowers for a woman anytime. Pink is good for little girls or any female. I use lots of curling ribbon. I hated it when younger. Now, it is my favorite. Yes, blue is good for all occassions. I will have to add blue to my stash. For three years, I have only bought wrapping paper at yard sales. Next year, I could look for a sale and blue paper.


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