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March 2009
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How To Improvise And Improve

WOW!  What a strange title for a post!  However, I believe all of us in the sewing / crafting fields have done that very thing — just didn’t call it by those words.  Sometimes we “make do” by putting things together that weren’t called for on the pattern because we forgot to get all the supplies necessary for the patterns when we were at the fabric store.  Other times we didn’t really like one facet of the pattern, so “improvised” by using something else that we had available, therefore “improving” on the original pattern.

I’ve been making some designer apron patterns, and therefore have to make a sample just to be sure it is what I want it to be.  I finished the pattern, went to the fabric store for other items and bought NOTHING to make my sample aprons out of.  (How smart was that????)   Well, I decided to do a little of the “practice what you preach” stuff, and started going through my fabric stash for a couple fabric pieces I could use.  You’d think I could use any old thing, because after all, this is just a “sample” or “trial version”, but no, I wanted the perfect pieces because I just knew they SHOULD work out just fine!  (I always cross my fingers when doing something like that!)

I couldn’t believe it — I found two PERFECT pieces of fabric, AND bias binding trim that I’d purchased a couple years ago for something else that never got made.  I even found tiny rick rack that could be used for decorative stitching on one of the aprons.  I’d thought about buying some ribbon for little bows on the pockets, but decided to use the same tiny rick rack for bows that I was using for the decorative trim along the bottom.

Sometimes by doing the “improvising”, the whole garment or craft item looks like a new creation — and a much better version than the first. 

The whole point of this post is to get you to put your thinking cap on, or as my daughter would say “rub two brain cells together” and come up with a variety of items from a single pattern, using different materials, different trims or cutting the original pattern just a little bit different to give it a whole new look.  You might surprise yourself at what all you can create, all because you tried to improve on the original pattern and improvise a little by trying new fabrics, new methods, or new trims.  GO FOR IT!

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Pattern Maker, Instructor & Author

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