Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Why I Love Patterns

Some people find out how many patterns I have and they are aghast. Why do you need so many? (non-sewists just don't get it) Patterns, like recipes and road maps, are the directions to get you where you want to go. How can you have too many directions in this world? Say that you are watching the Academy Awards and you see the fabulous Helen Mirren. She was wearing an amazing dress, right? The sewist knows that they could make a similar dress with the help of a good pattern. Or you are in a great restaurant and you have a wonderful dish, delicious and unusual (like the carrot and ginger soup I had once at Zola in DC). You know that if you can find a similar recipe, you can make that soup whenever you want. A good map gets you where you need to go. Mr. Hunting Creek, armed only with the Rand McNally Atlas, once drove us from LaGuardia to Tuxedo Park New York for a wedding weekend, with no wrong turns, in the dark! All you need is a good map and decent directions, he said.
I very seldom make a pattern exactly the way the designer intended. Either I have adult attention deficit disorder, or I am incapable of following directions. I like to experiment and also, sometimes I think I know better than the designer. For instance, don't you think that this pattern would make a great top? That's what I'm going to do with it. And this Butterick Tunic wants to be a dress (it told me).
With quilt patterns I mix stuff up too. I take a little of this and a little of that and make something different. I like to take all of my patterns and mix and match ingredients to come up with something better. The first time you do this it will feel funny, but if you play around with test fabric first , you'll get the hang of it. And pretty soon, you'll be swapping the skirt of one Vogue Pattern with the bodice of another to the benefit of both. Don't say I didn't warn you.

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