A is for Apron … B is for Big Pain in the Butt

During one of my many leisurely and expensive trips to Hobby Lobby before Christmas, I played the part of average consumer and got sucked into the DIY book section by the checkout (nice ploy for us to by more craft supplies HL). It didn’t take me long to spot a treasure in the racks –A is for Apron” by Nathalie Mornu. Judging the book only by its cover – yes, I do that – it immediately went on the must-have gift list. Santa (my brother) came through and I must say “A is for Apron” was one of my FAVORITE gifts this year.

If you’ve done any research on the book, you’ve read a lot of smack about the patterns it contains. There are 25 unique designs created by a community of pattern makers that range from traditional waist aprons to smocks for little kids. Downside: Most of the patterns need to be enlarged 400% to use them but some even go so far as having different percentages for each piece in the pattern! (Insert sigh of disappointment here.) At the Amazon.com price of $12.21 for the book, I have a problem with paying a copy place to enlarge the templates to the right size – and those are the only instructions you get from the author on how to make them larger. Could that be any more annoying for those of us who 1.) don’t like to spend money and 2.) just want to get down to business?!?!

Part of the reason why I’m a crafter is because I don’t care what it is, I always think I can make it/do it on my own. So last night’s mission critical was to tackle one pattern enlargement. It was a successful operation but a painful one as well. So, here’s what I did in hopes that it helps someone out there create the apron of their dreams.

Step 1: Scan the pattern onto your computer and save.

Step 2: Open the image into a program that allows you to enlarge the print. I used Adobe Photoshop CS4, but there are a TON of others that will work as well, just find out what software you have on your computer or Google it and go from there. Post a comment if you have questions :) Check if the enlargement is correct using the heights Mornu includes on the pattern pieces.

Step 3: Enlarge the image 400% (or whatever other percentage it is based on what pattern you’re using from the book.)

Step 4 (and this was the hardest): It’s time to print. Locate a program on your computer that allows you to print the images into a tile format – like you would a banner or a poster. This will print the image at a large size across multiple pages without the use of a commercial printer. Working on a business laptop, I didn’t have Microsoft Publisher but I read that was the best program to use. I ended up using the standard Windows Live Photo Gallery that comes with Windows 2007 and finding “Poster Printing” under the Advanced print options. Apparently there are lots of ways to do this… just find the easiest and best way for you and your computer. NOTE: Make sure the entire image is included in the print – I made a whoopsies and cut off the top and bottom on my first try.

Step 5: Once the image is printed, assemble it (another PIA). My tip here is to use the original, smaller copy of the pattern to work off of so you know what it should look like when you’re finished. I think that goes without saying but just in case! Also, don’t reorder the papers when they come off the printer. In a tile formatted print, you can usually go row by row in the order they printed off in making it less of a puzzle piece nightmare.

After writing this post, it seems like a lot of work for a silly apron pattern. However, I’m confident the final product will be well worth it. Stay tuned for an update on the finished apron :)

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “A is for Apron … B is for Big Pain in the Butt

  1. Deb

    I just bought the book and tried to enlarge the patterns at my local copy shop. They did it, but the patterns were enormous. I first tried the “washday” pattern and it says to enlarge 579%. The pattern ended up about 6 ft. tall. The other one was to be enlarged to 450% and it, too, was way to big. Have you found that the percentages are incorrect? Or have the seemed to be right?

    • Deb, thank you for your comment! I don’t think they are right either. Since I have taken the approach to using my personal computer to enlarge these, I generally test out to make sure the enlargement is accurate before I complete the pattern. How do I do that? I find a piece of the pattern that has a measurement that tells you how big it should be (these are on most of the pieces), then I print out the pages just for that side and measure if they are accurate. I’ve found that most of the time they are not – they are around 390%, 440%etc so I adjust the enlargement accordingly – it is a guessing game. (To be honest, I am scared to try the patterns where each piece is a different percent… sounds like a nightmare in the making.) I wonder if your local copy shop would be kind enough to do that for you? Also, be sure to check out the corrections Lark Books has posted on their website to make sure you have the latest pattern adjustments.

  2. Thank you for letting the rest of us know how to get this done. It was driving me mad when I’d go to a shop and they REFUSED to enlarge/print the patterns even though it’s allowed, per the instructions in the book. *eyeroll*. Now I don’t have to go out and pay people to do what I can do at home. Though, I’ll be using way more paper this way.
    Can’t win ’em all.

    • No problem ladybean73! You think the author could have included a set of patterns in the back or something, I would have paid a few bucks extra for that. I hear you on the excessive use of paper for this. I’m always trying to be friendly to our Mother Earth & this put a small damper on our relationship.Try printing it on the back of paper you’ve messed up on or recycled paper. Good luck!!!!

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