"Baste", it's not Just a Cooking Term

So another dirty little secret of mine is that I am making a "Cut...Sew...&Go" project right now. No reclaimed fabric (aka what the hip homesteader should call scraps), no self-designed pattern. In fact, all the parts are printed out for you on a single piece of fabric. You just cut, sew and voila! In just an hour I am supposed to have a cute, homemade tote bag. As an urban homesteader I should be looking for fabric scraps and (so that it's clear I'm not just frugal) they should be sewn together of my own conception from retro 1950's prints.

Well, I have the retro prints, but there's nothing recycled about this puppy. In fact, the project will create a huge amount of wasted fabric in the instruction boxes I will have to toss when finished. I rationalized this purchase in two ways. (Did you know you should also be excellent at rationalization if you are to be an urban homesteader?) One, I was shopping for fabric to make my own curtains when I came across these kits. Two, I think this will be an excellent learning experience and I will be able to make all the tote bags I want out of reclaimed fabric in the future.

Needing a quick project for my day off, I quickly unwrapped the kit and started scanning the instructions. First off I noticed that I am supposed to wash the fabric and line dry it. Well there's an evening lost right off. Plus, if I am going to be eco-friendly, I've got to wait until I have some other items to wash with it. Now this is looking like a project for my day off next week. But, as an urban homesteader I like planning ahead so this is OK.

I read further into the instructions and saw that I'm supposed to baste something. Now, my first craft and what really prompted my launch into urban homesteading is cooking. So I know how to baste a bird in the oven, but how do you baste fabric? I vaguely remember this word as a sewing term from my one quarter of home economics in junior high, but I was way more interested in why the girls weren't given projects that required power tools in shop the previous quarter. (I'm certain that bias has something to do with my fear of power tools.)

Thank god for the internet, any first generation urban homesteader's best friend. Apparently, to baste is to temporarily stitch together two pieces of fabric. You are supposed to use big stitches that can easily be removed later. The loose stitches help to keep the fabric together while you do other things to it - like sew a straighter line, sew other things to them etc. I think I'll have to try it to fully understand it, but that's the joy of a new undertaking on the urban farm.

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