the Cameleon Garment

Nora picked up this interesting clothing pattern for me from a dealer at Society for Creative Anachronism events. Considering its simple design, it has an amazing adaptability.

3 cameleons

pattern envelope

Basically, it's two large pieces of fabric sewn into a hexagon, with the perimeter bound by a length of cording, and a tube opening in the middle of the hexagon. Quoting from the cover, "By folding, zipping and gathering drawstrings it can be worn as several dresses, skirts, poncho, shirt, cape, tunic or pants. The Cameleon will also function as a shoulder bag, sleeping bag, pack/sack, drop cloth, pillow and MUCH MORE". Rumor has it that, given the right materials, you can make hats and even tents! One Cameleon can be made in a few hours time, and even a beginner can put one of these together, if they have some help from a more experienced sewer.
The Cameleon is very comfortable to wear. I wanted to make a whole outfit, like the one on the pattern cover, which requires making three garments (shirt, tunic and pants). I chose to use some sandwashed rayon that I got insanely cheap at a chain fabric store that was going out of business.
Depending on the wearer's size, it takes anywhere from 4-6 yards of 36" to 54" fabric to make one Cameleon. It's truly a "One-size-fits-all" pattern. I tie-dyed my shirt in a shibori style for a little extra color.

It should be noted that the Cameleon features a very roomy pocket, sealed with a strip of velcro.


"Bless this house"

cameleon dress

The Cameleon is unisex apparel, as Nora demonstrates.  A female of reasonable endowment would probably wish to wear some sort of support when wearing this dress style.

For more views of the Cameleon being modeled, the Crystal Stix site has a few photos.

Wearing my three piece outfit, I've discovered over time that using cotton fabric may be a better choice for the pants and tunic. There needs to be a bit of surface resistance in order for things to stay tucked into place for long periods. I also wear a decorative belt and cording, along with some judicious safety pins to keep things neat.

When I was updating this page, the Cameleon Clothing website no longer existed.  Links from the Crystal-Stix website rendered the same results.  Whether that means the company is out of business remains to be seen...