When life throws you lemons, thank it for the snack

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Wax Paper

Yes, this is another odd post. If you've read many of my other posts, besides those dedicated to actual people, then you know that I am quite odd. I claim my pride in that. It is my right as a mental nomad. But I digress.

Wax paper is very versatile. As a baker (amateur/hobbyist, not professional), I like it for freezing. Placing wax paper between layers of pancakes or waffles before placing them in a freezer bag keeps the food from sticking together when you freeze them. This allows you to remove them more easily to reheat. Wax paper around cookie dough makes it easier to remove from its protective plastic covering as well. I have also found that meat, especially pre-made hamburgers, does a little better when wrapped in wax paper and then plastic prior to freezing, though butcher paper or freezer paper (yes, it exists) is admittedly better for this purpose.

What I really like best about wax paper, though, is its use for sewing. Yes, I use wax paper for my sewing. I draft my commercial patterns onto wax paper before I do any cutting. Because the paper is translucent (semi see-through), it is easy to trace the correct size for the pattern piece on to the wax paper. This preserves my commercial pattern paper, which is pretty fragile. It also allows me to use the same pattern for multiple sizes without having to cut up the pattern paper or buy a new pattern for each size needed. As I have a tendency to modify patterns to fit sizes that are not available on some commercial patterns (some great costume patterns only go up to a size 20 or a size 12, but they could look good on a larger size), I can use the base pattern and some mathematical gymnastics to draft a larger size that will still have the desired look of the original. I'm actually doing this now for both myself and my daughter for our costumes for Dragon*Con 2012.

I can "Frankenstein" pattern pieces with the wax paper, too. I had to do that for my husband's Star Wars uniform. The idea for the uniform existed, but the pattern itself did not. I had to modify (i.e. draw out) both the coat and the pants from a pre-existing commercial pattern in order to create the desired effect. I even created a couple new pieces to fit onto the costume with my wax paper.  Lo and behold, my wax paper helped me draft, adjust, and even pre-size everything before I even made the first fabric cut. Besides the drafting qualities (use a permanent marker, such as a Sharpie, for best results) of the translucent material, wax paper is tougher than the cheaper tissue paper of most commercial patterns. I can reuse my wax paper patterns, all marked up with notations and sizing information, at least twice as many times as my commercial tissue paper patterns before I get irreparable tears. Folding the wax paper is easier, too, and it does well when rolled up for storage. If the garment pieces are wider than the wax paper, then I simply tape another piece next to it. Standard Scotch tape will hold the wax paper pieces together. The tape can also be repositioned on the wax paper without damaging it.

One of the best things about wax paper: it's price. If I want to make a garment or costume from a pattern more than once, I would usually have to shell out the cash for another copy of the pattern (averaging at least $10 per pattern, sometimes much more, unless I find a sale) because the tissue paper does not last through the folding and handling necessary when I have to move a project or put it aside to clear space or work on something else. On the other hand, I can draft a number of garment patterns onto a single roll of wax paper for under $3 and the paper usually survives my rougher handling, so I sometimes don't have to re-draft anything any way; I can reuse my first drafts.

Wax paper. It's definitely worth my investment. I probably would not sew nearly as much as I do if I did not figure out how to adapt it to my purposes.

No comments:

Post a Comment