I’ve never hidden my love for unicorns. Back in middle school a group of boys gave me all sorts of grief over it, telling me to never play leap frog with a unicorn; a joke that never got funny no matter how many times they’d yell it at me. Despite this, I’ve not lost my love for Scotland’s national animal. I’m even part of a unicorn gang with several friends. We’re fun and fabulous and will cut you if you make fun of us.
So of course the very first thing I did when I happened upon Spoonflower lo these many years ago was to search for unicorn fabric. Of course the site that gives us Golden Girl Toss fabric isn’t going to disappoint. Here are nine of my current favorite unicorn designs.
Ben has been in preschool for a month now and I’ve been making good use of my couple of hours of alone time every other day.* That mostly means working on commissions, but I have started going through all those sewing projects I pinned and giving some a try. Some have turned out awesome. Some have been … less so. I’m going to document my hits and misses here, starting with a hit.
I have an ungodly amount of fabric sitting in cupboards, on shelves and stuffed into grocery bags. Some is destined for projects. Some are scraps from projects. And some are pieces that I am not quite sure where they came from or what they were meant for. (I suspect these pieces were born from clandestine trysts engaged by bolts of fabric in dark corners of the workshop.) I tend to look upon these random pieces of fabric as just waiting for the right project to come along.
Which brings me to the several lengths of purple velvet corduroy I had sitting in a bin. Like some creature from a Piers Anthony novel, it is a chimerical creature combining the textures of velvet and corduroy into a confused tactile amalgam. I’ve made a couple of dice bags from it, but otherwise just left it in the bin. Then, late one night, I pinned a tutorial for an oblong oval wrap. It looked simple enough, I liked the button-hole loop to keep it closed (no fussing with stuff draped over your arms) and I have a lovely brocade that might work for it.
When I headed into the workshop to try my hand at the tutorial, I decided to start first with a mockup. I’ve already had a couple of Pinterest fails and I didn’t want to ruin a length of fabric on something that I was translating (both from Portuguese to English and from centimeters to inches). So, out came the chimera fabric. It was the right weight and it was already cut into strips close to the right size.
First thing was to draft the pattern. The directions on the webpage are laid out pretty clearly. I converted the measurements to an oblong 62″ in length and 12″ in width. I cut out a piece of pattern paper the right length and width and then set about working on the curve at the end.
This is where I screwed things up. I had converted everything from centimeters to inches (rounding down and up haphazardly because I like to live life on the edge, and I prefer even numbers in my sewing). What I forgot to convert was the 5 centimeters for the curve. Instead I marked the corner of my pattern paper 5 inches down and across. Then I used a plate to draw the curve. I folded the pattern in half length-wise and cut out the curve to complete one end of the pattern. Then I folded it in half width-wise to cut out the curve on the other end.**
So, just to make things more confusing I then marked the button-hole opening converting the 6 centimeters noted on the tutorial to 2 ½”. (Seriously, it shouldn’t be a wonder that I have Pinterest fails.) Below are pictures that might make my ramblings above make more sense.
Now I had a pattern, I cut out my fabric and sewed them together. Clip the curves, turn it inside out and press and then top-stitch around all the edges and I was done. Even though I had completely fudged up the curved edges it looked pretty good.
Now came the tricky part: the button-hole. I have a button-hole foot for Kenny, but the longest it goes is 1 ¼” inch. Undeterred by not having the proper equipment, I forged on. I used the zigzag foot and button-hole setting and it worked, pretty well, actually! All that was left was to open the button-hole and try this purple-y, velvety monstrosity on.
This is where reality and Pinterest collide. Go back and check out the model in the pin. She’s got some very narrow shoulders going on. I … do not. Once I pulled the free end through the closure, it looked like I was wearing a handkerchief. I ended up putting it on Mildred just so I could get some decent pictures. Mildred’s shoulder measurement is 39″ and the wrap looks almost like the one in the picture. My shoulder measurements are a good ten inches larger than Mildred’s and I’ve got some serious boobage going on. This doesn’t equate to a fail in my mind, just something to take into consideration when redrafting the pattern for me.
All in all, though, I count this as a success. The finished project looks very much like the picture, in shape if not in hue. I’m confident I can tweak this pattern a bit more so it fits better. And the pattern is pretty forgiving, able to deal with conversion screw-ups and still look good. This, along with a matching bag, will look good over a corset/skirt combo, I think.
*The first week I enjoyed being able to go to the bathroom without an audience. It. Was. Glorious!
**You could just cut out one end, cut the length half of what you need and cut the fabric on the fold and save some paper.