Friday, 23 January 2015

A Jim Jam Hack

Hi all,

I’ve been getting a bit perplexed with the word “hack” just lately. To me, “hack” means a number of things. To “hack” at something means to chop it unevenly. Going out on a “hack” is when you take a horse ride in the country. Hacking is when someone breaks into a computer and steals or alters information. So, apart from the horse example, “hack” means to make a complete mess of something.  Although, thinking about it, horses get pretty messy on hacks…

Anyway, it seems just in the last few months or so, more and more people are using the word “hack” in relation to crafting and sewing.  I’ve read a few blogs where people have been explaining the steps they took in their “hack” of a pattern. Or describing their hack of a coat. Even cooking is getting in on the act. An article in The Daily Mail today reported on “50 Culinary Hacks to Make You Look a Pro in The Kitchen”. (

Yet, the pictures of the crafts look lovely, the sewing exquisite and the food? Well, I’m not sure cooking cheese with an iron will catch on. Particularly if you forget what you used the iron for when running it over your favourite shirt. But, it’s an interesting idea.   

So what is it with this word, “hack”? Surely, they are not boasting about illegally accessing someone’s computer designs? Then it dawned on me. Like a little light bulb going “ting!"

It’s not chopping or messing or even dodgy activities with a keyboard and mouse. They are describing their “take” on something. Giving the steps needed to re-create their version of a design. Showing that personal touches and little embellishments can be added to shop bought patterns to make a home-made item unique.  I’m still digesting the iron and the cheese scenario. Not really sure it would still be edible. The cheese that is, not the iron. I wouldn’t want to make a hack of my digestive system ;).

OK., so “hack” means to “take”. Now I get it. Well, in that case, this is my take of Simplicity’s It’s so Easy Pattern 2116. And boy, did I make a right hack of it. A total and utter screw-up from start to finish.

It’s been chilly lately. I normally wear a tee-shirt style nightshirt but I wanted some Pyjama bottoms to keep me warm. I didn’t have enough fabric so decided to get a bit creative by using what I had available.  There wasn’t much. I really need to up my stash a bit.

Looks a bit weird but sewn up it becomes a nice colourful pair of jim-jam trousers to keep the cold at bay.

I didn’t have enough fabric to fold it to cut 2 like the instructions said. I cut them out one at a time. There was just enough for two leg parts on the yellow and just one leg piece each on the pink and blue. The pink and blue Stars and Moons has been in my stash for years and I’ve been, e-hem, hacking into it for other projects over time.

This is a nice simple pattern with only 2 pattern pieces for the trousers. That’s just 4 pieces of fabric. Easy peasy. What could possibly go wrong?

I’d sewn both inside legs together before I realised that I should have turned the pattern over after cutting one back and one front piece. Two of the pieces needed to be reversed. As it was I had two identical fronts and two identical backs. That makes two left legs. Or two right legs. No good at all when you need one of each for a pair.

With no extra fabric to play with, I had to do the unthinkable. I had to use the wrong side as the right side so that the centre seam would match up. 

The good news is that the pink and blue fabrics are printed on both sides so it’s not that easy to tell that it’s inside out.  As my Dad always used to say, “it’s one of them things no-one’s going to notice going by on a bus.” He has a point and as I don’t live on a bus route, I think my jim-jams will be OK.

Looking on the bright side, using the wrong side of the fabric has toned down the pink somewhat. Can’t help thinking that it’s a pity the yellow wasn’t printed on both sides though … Still, at least I can say that I have a personal and unique hack of a pattern.

Bye for now