Monthly Archives: March 2015

Brindille and Twig Lap Neck Tee

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I’m headed home to visit my family and since my newish nephew didn’t get an Xmas present from me, for various reasons, I thought he deserved something. I’ve been working with all this knit fabric so I’ve had a load of scraps, more than enough to make him a little something.

The pattern was bear to print, but that wasn’t the pattern makers fault, although I do wish it had been mentioned that the actual pattern pieces were in full color. I try to avoid that, I rarely have colored ink and I don’t like using it on sewing patterns. Other than my struggles with GIMP to get printable grey scale, the pattern went together in a snap. It really is nice to work with such small pieces, there was barely any taping to do and everything that did need to be taped lined up just fine.

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One thing I didn’t like is how the instructions have you attach the binding to the neckline and sleeves. I feel like serging, folding over and then zig zagging is unnecessarily complicated and it might just be me, but I couldn’t get it to look that good and it was easy for thing to get uneven. I prefer the cleaner look of folding the binding in half and serging to the edge in one go and if I make another one, i think I’ll try that. I did like that they had you tack the seam allowances in the sleeves down at the cuffs, it’s simple, but adds a nice touch. I still like cuffs attached in the round the most, but that’s not really feasible for openings so small, I don’t think.

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The tee was easy to construct otherwise, i don’t know why I was so worried, but the notches all matched up just fine. I’d like to get more proficient so I don’t have to baste the neckline in place before attaching the sleeves, but I’m sure that will happen with practice. One thing that was a little weird is  the pattern says you need a snap setter, you do not. I’m assuming that’s just a hold over from text for a different pattern.

All in all, I’m pleased. I didn’t have time to get to Joann’s and trying out this pattern company was a leap of faith, but it worked out pretty well, although obviously I can only speak for this one pattern. I don’t know if I’m going to sew more children’s clothing, I’m pretty selfish with my sewing time, but if I did, I’d check out Brindille and Twig’s offerings again. Annoyingly, they did do the thing where there is no suggested stretch percentage, so just be aware if that bugs you the way it bugs me.

Side note: I was not paid for this review, nor was I given a pattern, I just happened to stumble across the company. It’s not as if my blog is a big enough deal, but if I ever did receive a review copy of something I would disclose that. Not only is that inline with FTC regulations, to the best of my knowledge, I just wouldn’t feel right not being honest with anyone reading.

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Indie Sewing Pattern Companies Can Do Better

Indie pattern makers, we need to talk. On the surface, we’ve been getting along fine, but I’ve been nursing some grievances. Now not all of these things are exclusively an indie problem, but the little guy is supposed to be more responsive, so maybe you’ll listen. (Not that very many people read this blog, but one can dream)

  • Inaccurate or non existent technical drawings

This is basic and I really need an indie to get it right for me to see them as at all professional. I may still buy your pattern if it’s one of a kind, but that’s less likely and I’m less likely to talk about your product to others. Your line drawing should accurately represent your product. The waist line should be where it is drafted to hit, the amount of puff the sleeves have should be apparent, etc. No more surprise leg o mutton sleeves or empire waists, okay? I’m buying based off what I’m seeing and I don’t like surprises, this is not a mystery sew-a-long.

  • Patterns for knits with no suggested stretch percentage

Now I’m new to sewing with knits, but even I know all are not created equal and that that fitted tee that looks so cute with 40% stretch is going to have you looking like you were stuffed into a sausage casing at 15%. This is basic information that should be available without buying your pattern, it’s not a damn trade secret. I am much more likely to impulse buy your pattern if the likelihood I have to go out and buy new fabric for it is cut to zero. In addition, if I do want to buy new fabric, having the stretch percentage handy makes it easy, whether in person or online.

  • Sizing and the hunt for the size chart

Please have your size chart readily available. Link it from every pattern page, don’t make people go search. I don’t know if companies are just hoping a buyer will assume they fit into that companies version of a 16 or an XL, but it’s annoying to hunt for what your sizes really mean because they’re linked in tiny text at the bottom of the page. Also, and I know this has been hashed over, please consider extending your sizing. Have a vote on your page one which styles people would most like to see sized up if need be.

Also if you have a large size range, it would be nice to see some of the patterns made up on a plus size model every now and again. Yes, I can I go hunt for blog posts,but having the visual representation right there makes it easy for me to buy.

  • Make sure your value add blog posts are actually adding value

There are 9000 tutorials for turning a knit bodice into a tee, turning a garment sleeveless, a basic FBA and colorblocking. Considering doing a tutorial on adding Queen Anne neckline, a bodice harness for a party dress, or something, anything new. If it hits on a particularly tricky part of your pattern all the better. I certainly would buy more patterns if I had a clue on how to do a FBA on uniquely placed darts or across interesting seaming.

  • Pattern testing and pattern testers

There should be more of a line between pattern testing and pattern promo. I actually don’t mind blog tours that much, but if they haven’t sewn with the final version version of the pattern, that tells me nothing. I’m uncomfortable with the general lack of compensation from several indies. I know you’re small, but giving people a free unfinished pattern in return for their time, materials and often promotion seems a little off. I also think that calls for pattern testers need to be clearer about what exactly the testers are getting (will they receive a finished pattern, store credit, fabric?) and if they’ll be expected to promote on their blogs.I know this has been hashed over and over so I won’t go on.

  • PDF patterns

I have a love/hate relationship with pdf patterns and it’s time to talk about what I hate.

If you have a lot of sizes, it’s okay not to have them all in one pdf, although hopefully you’ll overlap the split for people grading between sizes. If your lines for different sizes come in different colors, consider offering a black and white version, many people are saving their colored ink for things other than sewing patterns. It can also be helpful to have a guide for what pages I have to print for which view, there is no point in my printing off ten extra pages for the v neck when I only want to make the scoop.

If your pattern has many large pieces, please consider offering a copy shop version, you’re going to save your customers some grief. I know it looks nicer to have all the pieces going the same way, but it’s okay to have some pieces print on the “cross” grain to save paper. Stick to standard pattern makings, I’m not really into trying to memorize what a Unicorn head means when I’m cutting out a dress.

I could go on, but I won’t. Just consider asking your customers what isn’t working for them, you might be surprised. Hell, if you want to make a thing of it, offer a prize for the best suggestion. You could even, IDK, offer a paid survey to really get some indepth answers.

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Boat Neck Lady Skater T-shirt

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I’m inordinately pleased with this simple modification, I really needed a grey top to replace the one that I am wearing in this post, I’ve had that thing since high school and it’s ratty and permanently stretched out, as much as I love it. And so I came up with this top. It was super easy. And most importantly, the neckline doesn’t gape. I must admit I was very nervous about it, because when I tired the top on without the sleeves it was awful, but putting the whole thing together seems to have resolved that.

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I followed some of the steps from this tutorial and also some of my own intuition, like raising the front neckline a bit beyond what was suggested. For the T-shirtification I used Kwik Sew 3036 as a side seam shaping guideline, but in a smaller size than I sew, as that top is super loose fitting when I make it up straight in the size based on my bust. I also added an inch of length.

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I feel like it could use more room in the hip, although I have ready to wear T-shirts that I like that fit similarly. However it’s not too concerning because I made it to wear tucked in to skirts, and the tightness does mean that wrinkling at the waist is minimized. The white flecks you’re seeing around the hem are from spray starch.  I still haven’t decided how I want to hem this, but I thought I should take pictures while I had decent light. I know, I’m awful about showing you guys almost finished items.

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I am in love with the fabric, it’s a cotton lyrca blend from Girl Charlee, but it feels really plush, nothing at all like the fox fabric, which while cute, really only has an okay hand. The fabric is honestly better than 95% of my RTW tees. I want it in every color. I think I need to start buying basic knits in multiple colorways so I have some reliability in what I’m working with. This top has some issues around the shoulders that I’m thinking are caused by the increased stretch factor, 60% is quite a jump from 40% and 30%.

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I stitched clear elastic to the wrong side of the neckline at the same time I used it to stabilize the shoulders and I simply turned and stitched to finish it. I’m not sure if a facing would be better but I like the way the outside looks now, and it was easy to do. The insides are a little less neat looking than I would like due to the zigzagging needed to attach the clear elastic. We continue the saga of the skewing neckline, I think it has to do with how my shoulders are set. I feel like this has been a long term issue, just one I didn’t take note of until I started sewing. I’m on the fence as if I want to start using full pattern pieces so I can compensate for one shoulder sloping more than the other. I don’t think I’m going to bother when it comes to knits, but I’ll keep it in mind for wovens.

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I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use sleeve cuffs on this top, but a I decided to try them out. I don’t hate them, but I do feel they take away some of the elegance of the line of the top. Also the sleeves are a little big, I think again because of the fabric being so very stretchy. I think I’ll taper the sleeves from the wrist to nothing at the armsyce if I make this again the same fabric.

My next plan is to simply use this neckline with the rest of the lady skater pattern, sans cuffs. I’m thinking that blue and green polka dot I have would make a cute boat necked dress. The only other thing I want to do is lengthen the sleeve pattern piece so that a simple hem has the sleeves hitting in a good place.

I know this isn’t a major pattern hacking accomplishment, but, it’s still a personal one, so hurray! I can’t wait to draft all kinds of interesting necklines on this base.

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Fabric haul and more planning

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Normally I don’t consider my fabric purchases a “haul”, I tend to buy one or two pieces at a time in person, that’s what is feasible for me to afford. However, I happen to decide to check out the fabric section of our local salvage retailer and I made out quite well. I restricted myself to the knits, which helped, otherwise who knows what I would’ve bought. My clothing and fabric budget for the spring is certainly blown.

The middle three fabrics are all Robert Kaufman Jerseys, which was an unexpected find. I’ve always wanted to try them, but it just wasn’t feasible. The fabric to the left is a polyester ITY I think, it’s going to be some sort of top. The gold and black fabric on the right is going to be a formal-ish dress, I don’t have any and I figured I should fill that gap in my wardrobe. Plus, it’s absolutely stunning, I was so giddy when I saw it that I wish I could take better pictures. The top left fabric is a thin pinstriped synthetic, to the best of my knowledge, I haven’t done a burn test. I’m thinking of making a boat neck Lady Skater T-shirt from it.

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Other than shopping. I made a very rough (I’m no artist) technical flat for the lady skater, because the drawing on the pattern doesn’t work for my usual method of testing out color combinations and fabrics on a pattern before cutting into anything.

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Tada! A preview of some planned dresses.

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A Very Vulpine Lady Skater *Updated picture*

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I don’t know what my face is doing, sorry.

This dress is mildly ridiculous.. I’m pretty sure the print is meant for small children, but whatever, it makes me happy. There isn’t much to say other than that this doesn’t fit as well as my purple version, but I was expecting that, this knit has about ten percent less stretch and I can feel it across the bust. There are some wrinkles. Other than that it’s pretty okay, the waist is actually perfect, I feel it’s a little loose on the purple and green Lady Skaters.

I would like to learn how to alter patterns for knits that have less than the recommended amount of stretch though, because the galaxy fabric has about the same amount of stretch as these foxes. I’m wondering if I can just taper to the larger bust size, then back down again at the waist.

Sorry for going so long without posting, life has been busier than usual. That’s also why I decided to post this before hemming or finishing the sleeves. I’d certainly order from Girl Charlee again, the fabric is quite bit more vibrant in real life.

Side note, do you think I should leave off the sleeve cuffs and just hem the sleeves? I feel like the cuffs can make the dress look sweatshirt-y, which isn’t a bad vibe, just not what I’m really going for in this version.

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