Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sewing Programs & Apps

I’m attempting to find a reasonable way to have my patterns, fabrics and notions shopping list handy at the store. You know. On something a little more high-tech than paper – because I’m like that. I like to dazzle everyone with my hip high-techiness. Heh. So far I’ve come across PatternFile, which is not portable enough (desktop only) and the subscription version is pricey for the amount I would be likely to use it. Then I looked at iPhone/iTouch apps which seemed like a better choice for schlepping to the store. Fabric Stash ($4.99) seems pretty good though it doesn’t have an integrated pattern section. If you wanted you could add them to the non-fabric materials list, along with buttons, zippers, elastic etc. However the same developer does have a separate app for pattern organisation called Pattern Pal (also $4.99). Buying both together becomes pretty pricey as far as apps go. But it got a fairly high 4-stars from (admittedly not very many) reviews. Unfortunately they don’t have a free trial “lite” version of either app.

Coming in at just a little cheaper for a combined and extended sewing database is Sewing Kit ($8.99, also a free “lite” version). It seems good except that there are a number of unhappy users who are having crash problems. That makes me kind of nervous. Don’t want to spend an inordinate amount of time inputting data (with my thumbs!) and then finding it kaput. It does apparently have a desktop backup for the data though which, as far as I can tell, none of the others do. Didn’t seem to help the crash victims much though unfortunately.

A more reasonably priced app is iSewingRoom ($2.99, also free “lite” version). Unfortunately there are no reviews and the website is very thin to non-existent with information. I’ve emailed them for more info but have not yet heard anything back 48 hours later. Perhaps they just expect me to download the trial version and then judge. Maybe I will. On this here blog. In public. Battle of the Lites here we come!

The latter developer also has a free app: Fabric Converter. This simple calculator helps you to decide how much fabric to buy in a different width than the recommended one. Of course it doesn’t take into account if you, say, had a very full skirt that won’t fit on 45” wide or if you are able to squeeze a bunch of smaller pieces more tightly into the extra space in a wider width. But it could save you a few bucks if like me, you always round up broadly when estimating. Of course I’ll probably still request cuttings in no less than half-metre increments anyway! Somehow 1.8 metres seems odd and it’s easier just to get an even 2. I’ve already downloaded this app and it has annoying ads as some free stuff does. I haven’t yet tried to use it away from wifi connection to see what happens with that.

At least I already have a converter app for those rare local shops (mostly located in the Punjabi Market area) that sell in yards instead of metres. It’s called My Brain. Just add 1/8th yard to each metre that you wanted. Close enough. In going the other way from yards to metres, I don’t change anything! Of course if you have it with you, both measurements are available on the back of the pattern envelope – at least here in Canada. The metric section is in French, bien sûr! Are the US ones the same or do they print special envelopes and patterns for our supposedly bilingual country? Good thing I studied French for 5 years in school, eh? Unfortunately I still can’t speak it (though I can understand a lot of what I read). But that doesn’t really concern me too much. Where I live Cantonese (with a large dash of Mandarin and a splash of Taiwanese and Shanghainese and likely a few more that I don’t know about) is the second-most-popular language after English and those who speak French pretty much universally speak excellent English as well anyhow. No, I don’t speak any Chinese but it would sure be cool, no? But I digress, as usual.

So as you can probably tell by the new posts and continuing lack of photos in them, I’m still feeling blechy. (Why is that word not in the spell-checker? It’s in the Urban Dictionary!) I did manage to get the pattern for the Banana Skirt that I mentioned the other day (BurdaStyle magazine 7/2006 #125) traced and adjusted for my body shape. If I was well, I would have it all cut out and sewed together and DONE by now. Geesh. This double-viral thing is cutting into my life. Good thing I don’t have a day job, huh? I’d worry that I’ve nearly missed spring already except that it’s still really cold out. OK, I’ll shut-up now.


Anonymous said...

Good thing there hasn't been much spring - you haven't missed anything except perhaps worrying about your seedlings if you had managed to put them out. All those apps etc. for electronic stuff seems more work than is worth it! Can you tell I haven't reached the state of cell phones and mobile equipment with apps. Maybe someday, but for now I am resisting. Hope you get better soon.

Louisa said...

Thanks for the good health wishes, hon'! I need all the help I can get. :(

I've had a Palm for many years and now upgraded to my iPod touch, Ruby. She follows me everywhere! Playing with her and adding stuff is kind of fun for me - like playing a game is for other people.