Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Patterns Patterns Everywhere

But which one should I make? I’ve now spent 2 days messing about in the studio trying to figure out several things:

  1. What patterns do I have in my collection?
  2. What do I need to do to get them to fit?
  3. What fabrics do I want to make them in?
  4. What other notions (interfacing, thread, zippers, buttons, snaps etc.) do I need to finish them?

It’s a lot more difficult than it seems. I keep changing my mind which fabric goes to which pattern and in which order to work on them. As I found out with the last project, it’s quite a job to get a garment to fit my shape properly but it’s so worth the struggle in the end when I have a wearable garment. I’ve already worn my new Funnel-Neck Top several times and now it’s in the laundry. I definitely call that a success. I want more of those successes. Thanks in advance.

I seem to have a particular problem. It’s not like there’s no more fabric in the stores to buy when I run out of stash, but I keep holding certain ones back because they’re “too nice” and smacking myself when I do. Just use it up already! Just think about enjoying more happy fabric shopping.

Speaking of which, last week’s local newspaper had a great article on my favourite fabric and notions shop, Dressew, and its eccentric owner Roger McKie and family. As I’ve mentioned before I’ve been shopping there since I was a teenager when it was in its original location. I never realised that Roger was less than 10 years my senior! The author is correct – you never know what odd (but sometimes good) things you’ll find in that store. They also stubbornly stick to a no-credit-cards policy which has slowed down my shopping exuberance on occasion. However they will happily take cash, cheques with ID and recently (finally!) debit cards. And yes, I can actually walk there from here though it’s a slog uphill on the way home. Of course there’s a couple of transit alternatives but where’s the fun in that?

Anyhow I’ve become quite lost in sorting patterns and making notes from the comments on PatternReview from those who’ve already made the view I’m considering. It’s good to know what pitfalls to avoid, right? I finally figured out how to search for individual Burda Style (formerly known as Burda World of Fashion) magazine patterns. Say the issue is 8/2009 and the pattern number is 114, the code for the search box is 08-2009-114. Totally intuitive, no? No. For some reason the search box doesn’t want company names or even the company letter added to the pattern number. So if the pattern is say, Vogue’s 6814 (no idea if any of these are legitimate pattern numbers, BTW), the search box doesn’t want V6814 as it is on the envelope. It just wants 6814 and it might turn up a Butterick or McCalls or something with the same pattern number as well. So you have to carefully choose the reviews you want to read. And then it doesn’t specify views either, say View C, so you have to read each review to see which one they started with. Note to Deepika: search function could use some tweaking.

Another place to search, ask questions and discuss sewing is the Artisan’s Square Stitcher’s Guild Sewing Forum. This is another handy time-suck where you can ask questions and hopefully get useful answers plus search the archives. That said, I don’t use it much. BurdaStyle is interesting but I find the fashions too hip and trendy for me. I’d say too “young” but that could get me into trouble! Good tutorials though. I’m sure there are other forums out there but I’m already hip-deep in too much information.

Oddly enough, I’m really enjoying organising my pattern stash. It gets me thinking creatively: “Ooh, I could make this out of that!” and “That would look good worn with this!” I have a lot more ideas than time and energy though so I need to get realistic. Make lists. Clip fabric swatches to pattern notes. Have a plan. Unfortunately what usually happens is more like:

  • Make a sewing list.
  • Don’t necessarily follow the list.
  • Cut out several items.
  • Sew one or two together.
  • Start another piece.
  • Realise it’s not going to work without some creative remediation.
  • Pack the whole bunch up in a drawer.
  • Leave to marinate for several years.
  • Forget what I was making or decide that they are ugly, out of fashion, the wrong fabric/pattern choice, not going to fit…
  • Wash, rinse, repeat.

I’m trying to break that cycle. I know what happened last spring when I got on the last sewing kick: I got the Dreaded Itchy-Peelies and decided that new clothes were a bad idea when covered in various petroleum-based goops. I spent the next 6 months in old t-shirts and sweatpants or shorts. Bleh. All sewing came to a screeching halt and stayed that way. Now bolstered by the success of my newly-made top, I’m attempting to keep the ball rolling this time. But I won’t make any pledges like so many do. 12 jackets in 12 months. Capsule wardrobes. Sew-alongs. I hate having to live up to someone else’s deadlines – or even my own deadlines. That way I don’t feel anxious or disappointed when I run out of momentum.

My wardrobe (if you can call it that!) is quite different from many people’s. I don’t need office-appropriate anything. I do need casual comfortable functional clothes that can be worn for housework, gardening, walking, craft work (dyeing, weaving, spinning) and camping  and some that can be worn for slightly dressier occasions like a meeting, party, wedding or funeral. I never dress in formal clothes for anything! I prefer to be my slightly funky self. (You knew that already, huh?) None of the usual wardrobe planning advice works in my situation so I just make it up as I go along. Works for me.

However, I’m definitely feeling the need to have more dresses and skirts in my closet. Comfy ones. Maybe a little different. To that end, this might be my next project:


That’s Butterick 5244, pattern is oop but still available (as of this date anyhow) here from BMV and also in printable format. I’m going for a charcoal grey stable double-knit poly (I think – labels in Dressew are notoriously vague or flat-out incorrect sometimes) for the longer-sleeved version. If that works out, then I might try the short-sleeved tunic in a sweatshirt fabric. Which I’ll have to buy since I don’t have any. Perhaps minus the collar for variety. I’m hoping I won’t have any real fitting adjustments to make to the pattern. Fingers would be crossed but that makes it hard to function.

Decisions. Decisions.

Back to work, Damselfly. Quick before it’s too hot to wear anything synthetic with sleeves.

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