Sunday, May 03, 2009

Homemade fleece balaclava and more

I made my own balaclava today. I used a fleece sweater that I picked up at the thrift store and a fleece balaclava pattern I found online.

I opened the JPEG image of the pattern in an image editor, cropped it, and increased the dimensions so that when printed it would be at actual size. (72 pixels per inch) Then I sliced the image into pieces that would fit on 8.5x11 inch paper. I printed out the pieces, cut the pattern pieces out of the paper and taped it back together. Then I pinned it to the sweater.

My scissors were not sharp enough to cut the fabric cleanly. And I do not have a sewing machine so I used a needle and thread. The sweater wasn't long enough for the pattern but when held up next to my head, the pattern looked way too long anyway. So I fit it onto the sweater as well as I could.

I was dismayed at the condition of my scissors. I nearly ruined the project. I ended up having to sew an extra portion of fabric on the top of the head because of how badly I cut the fabric. But it looks and works fine.

I added a drawstring to the head opening. My plan is to use it when sleeping or if it's very cold outside, or possibly even while riding my Vespa. The drawstring lets me pull it a little tighter around my face.

After I made the balaclava I wondered what I could make from the sleeves. I decided to cut off the sleeves and put a drawstring through the shoulder end. When cinched at the toe end, I can wear them as sleeping socks. I can wear them around my legs to keep my legs warm. I can wear them on my arms to keep my arms warm. They can even be used as a pillow. They weigh less than my wool sleeping socks and have more uses.

I like having homemade gear, even if the perfection isn't there. Maybe especially if the perfection isn't there.

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