I have mentioned before on my blog how I was anti patterns for the longest time. I just didn’t really have a good experience in school learning how to sew. It made me stay away from sewing all together for the longest time. When I finally started sewing again, I refused to use patterns. I either followed tutorials online, or made my own patterns. It was good in a way, but I have found out patterns are so awesome too. When I opened myself up to the PDF pattern world I really did fall in love. Now I may be just as addicted to pattern buying as I am to fabric shopping! Shh, don’t tell Loren ;). Today I want to talk a little bit about patterns.
One way I really learned more about sewing clothes was buying a few different patterns. You have the hard part of creating the pattern done for you, and all the steps laid out. Patterns go through testing so they are tested and tried before released. You know what you get is going to work, unlike trying your own thing. It’s always a good thing to do a muslin before cutting into your super awesome fabric, but for the most part sewing with a pattern is MUCH quicker than just doing it yourself. There are two major pattern worlds, Indie Designers and Big name pattern companies like McCall’s, Vogue, Etc. There are similarities and differences in both.
When I decided to get my feet wet with the pattern world, I started with a PDF pattern by an indie designer, Sew Caroline. I was shocked at how much I really did like it. After sewing from scratch for a couple years, it was like a breath of fresh air to have the work done for me. I loved how the PDF pattern itself was easy to read, full of details, and fun! Indie designers sometimes will only have PDF versions of their patterns, while other’s may have both print form or PDF form. I love PDF because I can print it right after I purchase it and get started. I normally use my iPad for directions, but you can also print out the entire PDF. Along with the pattern, PDF’s will include directions and pictures on how to sew the garment. Some will have actual pictures of the garment being constructed, while others will have illustrations. I really do love the illustrated versions, they just look very professional and easy to read. The picture versions are great too! Most of the indie designers also have Facebook groups you can join to ask questions if you need help. Its a great support system and a great way to learn more techniques for sewing from other members. Group members help each other out and the designer may also join in the conversation too. I think that is pretty cool! It’s also a place you can proudly share your creations and get bragged up by other people who love to sew too! Another thing I love about indie designers is that one person may follow one technique and give certain tips, while another may do it slightly different. You learn lots of different ways to achieve the same thing! Buying from individual designers is my favorite. I am supporting someone working from home, and also joining a huge support group. I know sometimes I feel a little lonely in the sewing world since most of my friends don’t sew. So to have other sewists in your circle is pretty cool! Another thing that I absolutely love about buying from indie designers is that there is a huge range of sizes included in one pattern. It’s pretty much broken into kids and adults. You don’t have to buy two different patterns of the same pattern if you are sewing for two different sized people. It’s all included in the same PDF.
*Supporting an entrepreneur
*Instantly available from home
*Learn different techniques
*Fun Pattern Names 🙂
*Variety of sizes included
*Use’s paper ink and time to get the pattern put together
*Some PDF’s are more detailed than others, some are less detailed. Since you are buying from multiple different people, you don’t know till you buy it.
Big Name Pattern Companies
I don’t have a whole lot of experience using these patterns. Mostly because I just love buying from indie designers so I don’t spend too much time looking through the patterns at JoAnne’s, but I will share a little of what I do know about them. These are readily available at your local fabric store. They come in paper form and all the pictures are illustrated. They are more formal and unified with their directions, whereas if you buy from different indie designers there may different techniques used. Patterns from McCall’s or other’s most always use 5/8″ seam allowance which is very large. They do very detailed markings and notches so you know exactly where to place something. I really do like this option, but at times all the markings can seem a little overwhelming. They most always include a cut guide to know where to place your pattern pieces to get the most from your fabric. They include size charts and some sewing terms. The pattern pieces are numbered so you can double check to make sure you have all the pieces cut before starting. Big name pattern companies patterns are broken into size groups. For example small, medium, and large may be in one pattern and x large xx large and xxx large may be grouped into another. I did not realize this because I was used to buying PDF’s from designers. So the time that I actually bought a pattern from Joanne’s, I realized I had the wrong size when I was about to begin my garment. I had to go back to the store and get the size I needed. It’s a huge bummer to realize you have to take it back when you are geared up to get started, so make sure you check the size before purchasing! This is also a little annoying for things like dresses or swimsuits that require both top and bottom measurements. I am all over the size charts, So I may need to buy two different sizes of the same swimsuit pattern to get the right sizes. Not super convenient!
*Consistant in how the patterns come and the info included
*Include cut charts, sewing terms, and numbered pieces.
*Pattern already assembled, no printing or piecing required.
*Large seam allowances
*Uses same techniques
*No support group
*Does not include all the sizes in one pattern.
There may be many other similarities and differences in the two major pattern worlds, but I hope this gives you a better understanding of them!
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