Not a 2016 Sewing Round-Up or a 2017 Resolutions Post

I’m not doing a round-up this year of what I have made or worn most or least but I’m just checking in with you all.

It’s been a busy year for a number of reasons for me and sewing productivity has been lower than other years but more to the point, blogging has been sparse to say the least. I think I have about 20 posts that are half written, here’s hoping the new year will get that number down.

I’m not making sewing, or any life resolutions for that matter for 2017 either. I am simply making some broad statements about things that I hope to have completed by the end of 2017 but may well be carried over into the following few years …. it’s really a work in progress.

Firstly, I plan on working through my 2017 Summer SWAP, which by the time I finish, it may be winter anyway. Having seen Pantones spring fashion colour for 2017 – Greenery, and the other top 9 colours, I’m glad I’ve hit the money with my plan and seem to be on track for a “fashionable” wardrobe.

pantone-color-swatches-fashion-color-report-fall-2017

Source: PANTONE Fashion Color Report Spring 2017

Secondly, I’m working on creating a wardrobe that I can look into and would be happy to wear any item. At the moment I wear things just because that’s what is there and I often wear things I don’t like. I’d like to change that so that I love everything I wear and I have lots of options.

Lastly, I have made a recent discovery about myself and my wardrobe however. Although I love me some prints, I have finally established that solid colours are my preferred item of clothing to wear. Probably due to the simplicity of dressing and the fact you can co-ordinate a number of items together. So moving forward I hope to fill more of those gaps and to add some patterned flair whenever I feel like it.

Happy sewing for 2017 everyone 🙂

Pattern Testing…. Why?

As of late I have been taking part in many pattern tests, both for myself and kids clothing.

Although many believe pattern testing is a way to get a free pattern, believe me buying a pattern outright IS, actually cheaper in the long run. This is not why I test. I test because I like to be methodical and follow instructions and it’s exciting to see the process of a designer getting the pattern to a stage where they are happy to release it, and selfishly knowing I may have helped to get there.

Often a design will go through alterations, design changes, different versions, instruction changes, basically anything. I believe it is a role as a tester to make up the original version and generally any subsequent versions, or at least the final released version, although that isn’t always possible. That is why I usually don’t like to post items I have tested until I have made a garment with the final pattern and instructions. This often means my posts are running way, way behind.

It is often a labor intensive process as most are PDF’s that need to be taped together. I believe you need a bit of an eagle eye to pick up written errors on both pattern pieces and instructions. Not to mention providing input about techniques, order of construction etc. Often designers will use testers with different skills to identify the difficulty rating of their pattern but also having a large group of testers maximises the chance of errors being picked up.

I guess the most important aim of a pattern test is to ensure a design will work on a majority of body types. As we all know, not everyone is the same shape, proportion, size, and more often than not we require pattern alterations. Not to mention, as a tester, you are generally required to provided all your own supplies during the test, but in return you get the final pattern for free. And there is another issue of life interfering with the testing schedule. There’s been times I’ve tested for 4 different designers with end dates all around the same time, whilst trying to continue my normal life duties. It can get a bit stressful but most designers are easy going and understanding, and secretly I love that pressure and achieving something that just hours before was a piece of fabric.

So in brief, pattern testing is not a cheap way to get a pattern. It’s a process. For me it’s about using my methodical approach to perform a task and being entrusted by a designer to help them develop the best design possible.

It may not seem like it when you purchase a pattern, but a lot, and I mean a lot, of time goes into getting a pattern ready for public release. We really should appreciate the fact there are designers out there motivated and driven to pursue such a career that subsequently help our own sewing addiction.

But largely it’s about knowing I’m helping someone fulfill their dreams/desires to be a pattern designer who’s hard work is appreciated in the sewing community.

So thankyou designers, and I will continue to test for you whenever possible when time permits, or even if it doesn’t, I will test anyway!

Random Thoughts: PDF Snob to Avid Supporter

I used to be a PDF pattern snob. I admit it openly, but I have changed. I used to be attracted to, well actually I still am, to the neat packaging the paper patterns come in, and the ease of storage, but the cost and availability of PDFs has been a big influence on my decision. Not to mention the riduculous cost of paper patterns in Australia. The cheapest I have ever bought them is $4 AUD per pattern, and that’s a rarity. I now love that I can have patterns instantly and not wait on shipping (especially if coming from overseas).

I usually preserve my patterns anyway by tracing my size but I like the security of reprinting a pattern if something goes wrong. I have also recently joined the PDF Pattern Sales and Promotions Facebook Page because of the accessibility to new patterns, and that says a lot because I don’t use Facebook for any other reason. So much has my stance on this subject changed that I spent an entire evening cutting and sticking together PDF patterns for both myself and the kids along with some paper patterns of course.

My cutting room floor

So this is my “cutting room floor”. I managed 5 patterns for myself (bottom row) and seven for the kiddos, including a bat girl costume for a superhero birthday party. Interestingly, the kids patterns are all PDF’s. Personally, I think the PDF market has a lot more variety for kids wear than what is available from paper patterns.

On to the next topic. So how do you store your PDF patterns? I can’t remember where I had read this lightbulb piece of information, but I print my PDF instructions out in booklet format because I like having them in front of me to write notes as opposed to reading them from a screen and I’m often flipping between pages. I store my patterns in A4 paper envelopes and write the details on the front that describe the pattern, designer, as well as a photo of the pattern, and the date of purchase because you never know when you have to search for that file again on the PC.

So where was I going with all of this…. well nowhere, except to say there is no excuse for not being productive at the moment because the worst job of sewing for me it the cutting part, and that’s done for a while so I’m going to get busy…