Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Paper Tiger

It sounded feasable. It looked affordable. And for a gotta-have-it-by-this-day person, the offer proved irresistible: save a few bucks by purchasing a downloadable pattern, print it on my laser printer, and tape it up.

Ha ha ha. Sucker.

What they don't tell you in the fine print, and what you better be sure of before you go to print, is that your printer better be capable of printing from edge to edge. You cannot shrink each page to fit on to the paper. Everything needs to scale out to the width of the printed sheet.

I like my Brother laser printer. It cost less than $100 when I bought it about a decade ago, and it still runs beautifully. It's not a toner hog, but I'm not a printing hog. In a few mouse clicks, I sent over its biggest challenge.

One part of that challenge was the one I couldn't see. The notches on each each of each page, the ones that told me where to connect the page to its sibling pages, failed to resolve. They fell just outside the Brother's printable area, and nothing in the settings could change that. Thus, I had a 60-page jigsaw puzzle on my hands.

I spent an entire Saturday, one I had hoped to use cutting fabric, arranging the parts according to a one-page master sheet -- the equivalent of a box cover. I needed tape, and a lot of it. I needed patience. I needed scissors to trim away the parts of this puzzle which would amount to nothing. I needed a sense of deduction. I really needed a bigger table.

After some three hours of effort, the messy but completed pattern for a pair of 1600's breeches lay on my table, ready to be cut out -- the paper pattern that is, not the fabric for the breeches themselves.

I saved about $10. But I spent a lot more time than I wanted. Had this been a mob cap, the paper pattern would've been a cinch. This, however, was an intricate design with separate pieces for the inner and outer parts. At least the pattern is printed on quality paper stock instead of that flimsy onionskin tissue paper you find with so many papers. It's not pretty to look at, but it will hold up if I want to make more.

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