PDF Patterns – Long Time Convert and Storage Solutions

I had always been the traditional sewer, buying store bought patterns, and I still do – even though fustrated at times because the ones I liked weren’t available or more to the point, they are extremely expensive here in Australia unless there is a sale.

I think it was a couple of years ago now when I first discovered PDF patterns and spoke about my conversion in this post from 2015. It’s the convenience of shopping from home, being able to save and reprint certain sizes, having the ability to connect with the companies online via Facebook and having a relationship with an online sewing community, that made it a more viable option for me. And of course with children, who has time to look through pattern catalogue books when I can browse online and have instant gratification of an emailed pattern. You may ask that some PDF patterns are more expensive, and I have to agree, but again I try to buy them when there is a sale and the fact that it’s a digital file is really appealing.

The down side is the cutting and taping of endless pages together. Some companies have no trim pages and others have bought out A0 files that can be printed at a professional printer on a big sheet of paper – this is a very tempting scenario but after thinking about the hundreds of patterns I have accumulated, it would be a very expensive process.

After all that, the main reason for this blog post was the satisfaction I have in saying that finally my PDF patterns are catalogued and stored neatly. I used to put them in plastic sleeves in binders but found that was getting out of hand and looked messy. I researched online, as you do, and thought the most practical and tidiest method would be to store them in boxes. I used archive boxes from the stationary store which stores the envelopes perfectly sideways.

I went about printing the first page of the instructions and gluing the image to the front of a white C4 envelope. As long as I could see the pattern company and pattern name on the front, all was good, otherwise I added them on manually. I didn’t print off all my instructions or patterns if they weren’t already done so, just having the envelope was an indication the pattern existed on my computer. I don’t always print off the instructions anyway as I tend to read them on my laptop while sewing.

 

                                               

For those patterns which I have already sewn up, I placed the individual sizes pattern pieces in labelled plastic sleeves within the envelopes. This was more the case with kids patterns.

I made sure all my computer files were well labelled and in alphabetical order also as a cross reference. The last thing was to print out the patterns I owned from each pattern company individually and file that in a binder as my own personal pattern catalogue. This way I’m not searching through each box or envelope for a pattern when inspiration strikes.

                        

So far this has been a good solution for me that is both practical and neat. I did realise though that I have too many patterns and should really be put on a pattern buying ban, unless something different that I can’t resist gets released. Now to work out a storage solution for my paper patterns!

What’s your pattern storage solution both PDF or traditional paper patterns?

 

 

 

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What Has Sewing Taught Me …. ?

First and foremost I think it has taught me the styles and silhouettes that don’t flatter me more so than those that do. This has naturally changed over the years due to the natural progression of certain body changes however it also has to do with personal taste and first and foremost lifestyle comfort.

Sewing has enabled me to make things I thought I’d like but upon completion don’t feel right wearing. These items were such that I would probably never spend money buying in a store anyway. I don’t feel so guilty donating or refashioning/thrifting fabric from a project that hasn’t turned out quite right because more often than not it has been a labour of love. Also helped by the fact I have 2 young girls that love wearing mamma made and often my project failures leave me with enough fabric to make something for them.

I have established after a few recent makes that elastic waistbands in dresses are not my friend. It makes my tummy bulge even bigger or maybe they just don’t hit me at the right point. Additionally the empire waist is not flattering for me, those items have become “house” dresses but yet I still am attracted to trying those certain styles because they look so nice on others.

Sewing for me though isn’t just about the materialistic outcome of making something wearable, that not only fits well but is also fashionable, it’s probably more to do with the emotional and mental journey.

Sewing has taught me self-confidence to try new techniques and even though lifes’ journey may otherwise be difficult or frustrating at times, sewing is my outlet, it just makes me feel good!! And the more you practice, the better you get, that’s a given.

I always thought of myself as a patient person but sewing needs lots of it. I don’t have stretches of uninterrupted sewing time so things may take longer to complete, especially if a mistake has crept into the process. Same goes for wanting to sew everything yesterday! My sewing list was growing so long at one stage, I have since abandoned it. Likewise, it’s not only a problem solving activity but at times requires perserverance and persistance and the need to the leave the perfectionist at the door. No-one else can see that slightly uneven row of stitching, or will know you used the wrong interfacing, we in the sewing community are often our own worst enemy. Not to mention to know when to walk away from a project. My most important technical lesson I have learnt to date is to never sew when tired!!!!!

My sewing room is my happy place, albeit the messiest room in house. Maybe like minded sewists will understand that for me “organised chaos breeds  creativity”. Not to mention how pretty and colourful it looks with the excess amount of fabric 🙂
HAPPY SEWING HOWEVER MESSY OR NEAT IT MAY BE!!!
What have you learnt in your sewing journey to date?

 

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…