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Spare Time Activities/How to make a poncho

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Spare Time Activities: Foreword 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

How to make a poncho

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IN this chapter we will grapple with a very simple spare time activity, for a South American poncho is one of the easiest things to make, and at the same time one of the most useful. Some time ago some of you were making the Arab abaiah as a camp-fire garment. Instructions for making it are given in Chapter VII. If you have already made one of these you probably will not need a blanket poncho for the camp fire, but you can make one out of waterproof material to keep you dry in wet weather, and also to use as a ground sheet. For those chaps who are doing a lot of hiking a poncho made of balloon fabric, or similar material, is a splendid thing to have. You can leave your mackintosh at home, and slip your waterproof poncho on if it comes on to rain; while at night it forms a ground sheet practically big enough for two to sleep on. If, however, you have not made an abaiah, the poncho, which is the garment of the South American horsemen, and made by them out of a blan t ke , is well worth consideration, for the blanket requires very little alteration, so that its usefulness for sleeping purposes is not impaired in any way. Blankets nowadays are so cheap that you can get one for less than it costs to buy a dog licence, in fact you can get about two blankets for the price that you pay to keep a dog ; so expense need not prevent you making a blanket poncho.

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The proper size is about 6 ft. square, though you can make it a bit smaller if you like, but it is better to be on the safe side and allow for growing. The first thing to do is to cut a slit about 1 ft. long, nearly but not quite in the centre of the blanket. This slit should be about 4 in. nearer to the front than to the back of the blanket. Having cut your slit, buttonhole-stitch it all round to prevent fraying. You probably know how to do buttonhole-stitching by now; if not, ask your mother to show you how it is done; it’s very easy, anyway. Next you tackle the collar. This is made about 18 in. long by about 6 in. wide, and is sewn on to the back of the neck slit as you see in the first diagram. You then make three buttonholes in the collar and sew five buttons on the front of the poncho. A glance at the picture will show you their positions, the three buttons in line being for use when you are not wearing the poncho, and the other two when you want the collar buttoned up in wet weather. It is best to find the position of these two buttons by experimenting on yourself, then you will get the collar to fit round nice and snug. For camp fires you will probably want to make your poncho really gorgeous by making it of a coloured blanket, and then ornament it still further by working things on it in coloured wool. There is plenty of scope for originality and skill in this direction, so I will leave you to form an original colour-scheme that will put to shame the finest effort of the Arapajos. [1]