Tag Archives: diy

The 30 minute jacket, a.k.a the Easiest Thing I’ve Ever Sewn.

22 Jan

I’d call it more of a “cardigan” or a “shrug” than a jacket, but I suppose it depends on what material one uses.

The design is from the publication Threads, and it’s free online, right over here.

I made it in a stretchy, snuggly black knit, and while it’s cozy as can be, it will probably photograph like a blob.

The oddest thing to me about this jacket instructions (I hesitate to even call it a “pattern”) is how many people get frustrated with the directions. I was thinking about this through the whole…uh, 13 minutes or so that it took to sew the two seams it takes to construct this jacket.  I think the problem is that we think about folding cloth the same way we do about folding paper. If I handed a sheet of paper to someone and said “fold this three times” it’s quite likely that they would fold it either lengthwise down the middle, width-wise down the middle, or from opposite corners, through the center.  Unless we are willfully iconoclastic, most of us think linearly and in a routine fashion, so even a set of directions as simple as “fold, sew” can go radically awry if the “fold” part doesn’t follow one of those three intuitive ways we’d all most likely revert to, when instructed to “fold this”.

So I wondered if I could explain this in a different way that might make it clear, illustrating the way I saw this in my head when I looked at the Threads diagram. (And maybe I can, or maybe I will wind up just confusing the issue further.)

Instead of letters and numbers, I’m color coding it. The colored lines are where you are going to sew: red to red, and blue to blue.

So you take a long rectangle (2 3/4 yards by 25″, but there’s room for variation in all directions) of soft, draped fabric. This softness is the key: your fabric will not fold like a crisp piece of paper!

You’re going to sew the red edge to the red line, and the blue edge to the blue line. That’s all: two whole seams, for an entire jacket/cardigan thing.

To make sense of how it turns into a cardigan, I’ve drawn in a humanoid (sort of) model, keeping the red and blue seam lines:

Your head goes in the middle, your hands go out the openings left at the top edge.  The bottom edge becomes both the back bottom as well as the left and right fronts, once they fold up.

Voilà, a cardigan in two seams. (A red one on your right arm, from those two red lines coming together, and a blue one on your left arm, from the two blue lines coming together.)

Easy. No pattern, no numbers, no letters, no measurements, even: a perfect project for beginners, or for haphazard people who like to wrap fabric around them, stick it in place, and wear it out of the house as if it’s the latest in designer fashion.

If you prefer directions with numbers and letters, I’ve made a version like that, too, as well as the secret to taking it from a 30-minute jacket down to a 13-minute jacket, the way I made it.

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DIY bargains: the jewelry edition

14 Jan

I’ve been looking at over-sized plastic chains. *Ahem*, I mean resin chains…that seems to be the preferred terminology, when plastic is used as a medium for jewelry. Big ones. Faux tortoiseshell ones. Chunky ones, like these:

(Clockwise from upper left: Pono, Luxe Collections, Pono, Anthropologie)

The lightweight, uh, resin, lets them be upsized to outrageous proportions and still be comfortable to wear. So I looked, and I looked…and then, when I was browsing in a favorite bead supply store, what did I spy?

Oversized tortoiseshell plastic chain, by the foot!

“Ahoy!” I said. “I can make my own!”

And so I did:

For a moment, I wanted to run back and buy a longer length, to make some extras, perhaps list them on Etsy. But alas, I have no time for Etsy. If you are in a like-minded DIY spirit, you can get tortoiseshell plastic chain from Toho-Shoji, at 990 Sixth Avenue in NYC (at 37th) for $5.50 a foot. They’re also online, but I don’t see the tortoiseshell varieties. Some nice wood chains, though, shown on their website.

I love that crafting sources follow the same trends as fashion, so whatever is in, likely the materials are “in”, too, and available somewhere or other, if one keeps one’s eyes open.