My Online Yardage Town

My Online Yardage Town

If Jeffrey Zeldman and Heather Champ mention it, it must be all the rage. I’m talking about patterns, of course. Apparently, everyone’s using them to decorate their web pages these days, for subtle repeating backgrounds and matching color schemes. It’s oh, so very hip again.

Meanwhile, I (the ever so un-hip) look at these patterns, find myself collecting them for future Topsy Turvy toons, and think to myself, “Wow… my own private online Yardage Town!”

If you don’t know what a Yardage Town is, you have never been unfortunate enough to have your grandmothers make you clothes out of patterned cloth. Yardage Town was a huge superstore of fabric, and I remember running up and down the aisles of bolts and bolts (and bolts) of cloth—patterned, textured, multi-colored, and plain. My grandmothers made dresses and shirts, bags and coats, costumes and panties—yes, panties—galore. You cannot understand the concept of discomfort until you’ve had an entire outfit made for you, and the cloth used was actually meant to be upholstery, with the scratchy part on the side that rubbed your skin all day.

*Sigh*

So I’ve been collecting these patterns with nary a thought to using them as backgrounds for my pages. Instead, I’ve been picturing them as silks and patterned cloth for my little art projects—uncomfortable outfits for my little aliens and caricatures. Twisted, isn’t it? I’ll bet no one reading this can even imagine what I have in mind. So here’s a taste of what I mean…

Below are sample patterns from Travis Beckham and Roland Peschetz (Roland’s patterns are here):

...from squidfingers.com...from squidfingers.com...from peschetz.at

And below are my Yardage Town versions of the patterns (click the images for larger view):

from squidfingers.com, but mutilated in Photoshop by mefrom squidfingers.com, but mutilated in Photoshop by mefrom peschetz.at, but mutilated in Photoshop by me

Hee! I’m really looking forward to making itchy outfits for the aliens. In fact, I’ve been considering whether or not I should post some kind of tutorial on making cloth out of pixel patterns like these. Then maybe everyone can make itchy outfits for themselves, their pets, and their imaginary boyfriends.

That is, if anyone is interested… or is as twisted as I am.

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7 thoughts on “My Online Yardage Town

  1. I loved your Yardage fabric versions even better than the originals by Beckham and Peschetz. 🙂

    Thanks for the K10K link, btw. I was wanting to give my journal a facelift and this site will be quite useful to me.

  2. The yardage patterns are great! Now… if you could make them so they still tile!

    I’d like to know how you did it, but I suspect I don’t even have the software tools anymore.

  3. April, I shudder at the thought! Coming from a home where resources were scarce as a child, I know what it is to have chafed skin from well meant outfits. The poor little aliens! As I lay on Egyptian cotton at night, I thank my lucky stars for… well.. the Egyptians!

  4. April, I shudder at the thought! Coming from a home where resources were scarce as a child, I know what it is to have chafed skin from well meant outfits. The poor little aliens! As I lay on Egyptian cotton at night, I thank my lucky stars for… well.. the Egyptians!

  5. Minnie, you’re welcome! They make great desktop wallpaper, too. 😉

    Kyle, if I made them tile, they’d have to be big files—not quite ideal for web downloading—but I’d like to give it a shot! As for software, all it took was Photoshop. 🙂

    Broch, thank you so much for sharing the fact that you, too, had to wear itchy home-made clothes! 😀

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