Tag Archives: sewing

An extremely late and incomplete Me Made May follow up post + some news

The good news is I did wear something I’d sewn three days a week every week in May and I learned a lot about the gaps in my wardrobe and what makes me feel the best. Sadly, I lost my camera part way through and ended up visiting my parents quite a bit, so I do not have photos of every outfit. Still, I’ve a few pictures to show you and I’ll talk a little bit about what I’ve learned below.

Although I’m not the most prolific sewist, it wasn’t hard to find something to wear. I had worried I might feel restricted but I didn’t at all. What I did discover is that while I want to make more dresses (and I will!) I need to make some seperates, buy more tights and I’m in need of more cardigans and pullovers. I know I can sew a cropped sweater for cheaper than my favorite Modcloth cardigan, pictured with the blue fox dress.

astoria plans

To that effect, I’ve traced out the pattern to Colette Seamwork’s Astoria pullover. I think it will be good to tackle a pullover before I start in with button bands and the like. I’ve also been knitting an Aiken sweater since last November but it is particularly slow going and I just don’t have the knitting time I used to. I’d like to do the Astoria up in several colors if the fit is good, I’m hoping based on the fact that Colette drafts for a C cup that bust wrinkling will be minimal and I’ll be able to just churn at least six out without tweaking the pattern over and over.

As much as I like my T-shirt based off the Lady Skater pattern, I don’t think I really want to be sewing basic T-shirts. if I see a must have fabric and can only afford minimal yardage then sure, I know I’ll be glad that I bothered to make alterations to the pattern, but I happen to like my store bought tees about as much and getting the fabric I like in a tee for decent price has proved bothersome. I don’t think I’m going to ever be the kind of girl who sews absolutely everything in her wardrobe, I certainly can’t see myself tackling jeans.

Anyhow, I think that this was a good exercise for me. Although I can also see why people can easily outgrow it and how it can become a tedious chore of documentation and writing blog posts of little substance.

in other important sewing related news, I am going to NYC in a few months and have plans to hit the garment district. I am extremely excited my state does not have much of a garment industry and what there is is mostly focused on outerwear, hiking exercising, etc. so getting deals on designer rolls ends is not something I had a lot of opportunity to do. Most of my fabric shopping is done online for that very reason. I’m sure currently and furious research mode and if you have any suggestions for shops that are decently priced and have a good selection that I must see please let me know. I’m currently debating whether I even want to go to Mood, although the blogosphere would have me believe it should be at the top of my list. My budget is not that expansive and if I can get better deals elsewhere on things I can’t get at home, that’s what I’m going to do. I only have one afternoon shop and I want to make the most of it.


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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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