Thursday, 27 October 2016

Indie patterns, controversies and losing myself in the blogosphere...

It was late. I was tired of sewing Halloween costumes (eagle wings, eagle mask, turtle shell). So I thought I'd do a bit of reading. An hour and a half later (and well past midnight)...

It started with this entry on the Colette blog about their new Rue pattern. I don't own the pattern, nor do I intend to buy it - not my style, really, and not a dress I can see myself wearing. And given my ongoing issues with Colette and Seamwork patterns and how they fit (briefly discussed here), I wasn't too keen anyway. So reading the blog post and, of course, ALL the comments that followed, led me to this wonderful post from Carolyn at Allspice Abounds. Wow...clearly I haven't been following along on the development of this controversy, or reading the right blogs. But all this reading was enlightening.

So what did I learn? First, I am not alone in my frustrations with how Colette patterns fit me. I keep thinking that I need to learn how to do more pattern alterations, and it'll be okay. Well yes, it would be a good skill to have, but maybe I also need to find another pattern company that suits me better and is drafted differently.

Second, this belief that an independent pattern company must be better in their pattern and design quality, simply because they are independent and not churning out large numbers of patterns is misguided. As many an astute blogger and sewist pointed out, they are, after all, businesses who are looking to make money, and not necessarily error-free because they are independent.

Third, that as much as I feel sometimes like I'm sewing/knitting/making in a void, there are LOTS of like-minded, sympathetic people out there who have similar frustrations and issues. I'd love to have an 'in-person' sewing/crafting group where I live, but until I find something to join, it's nice to know that there are virtual groups with whom I can share ideas.

So what now? I have a few Seamwork patterns printed that, simply because I spent the time and money printing them, I feel obligated to try. But moving forward, I think I really need to focus on some other pattern companies that seem to have a huge following. I recently purchased the Grainline Alder Shirtdress pattern, and don't think I've read one negative review of the pattern. I've also bought the Thread Theory Fairfield Shirt pattern for my husband, and am excited to stretch my sewing skills to a fitted man's shirt. And let's not forget, I use Oliver + S patterns almost exclusively for my children and cannot recommend them highly enough. I've also made a skirt and dress for myself from the Liesl + Co pattern collection, and love both of them.

Amazing how an hour of late night reading can lead to a day's worth of such deep thinking...

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Puppet Show Tunic

After making 3 pairs of Puppet Show bloomer shorts, I thought it was time to delve into the Puppet Show Tunic by Oliver + S. After cutting the Birthday Party Dress for M, there was enough fabric to make A the tunic with a contrasting bodice (leftover Japanese cotton from the Badminton Skort and top!).

This is a more time-consuming top than the Class Picnic top but in my bid to challenge myself more, and make 'fancier' things for A (for my own sake - she prefers grotty t-shirts most days), this was a good choice. I love the Oliver + S hem facings for the finish they provide, and as always, the instructions are clear and well-written. I top-stitched the collar, as instructed, but I think next time I might leave it without the top-stitching. It doesn't seem to lie as flat as I like, but maybe one wash will help it settle down. I think it might also look cute with elastic around the sleeve cuff instead of the button closure. 

I just ordered the Oliver + S Building Block Dress book and cannot WAIT to get it (arriving via V's parents from the US, which was much cheaper than paying the costs of shipping to Singapore). I am really excited to push myself beyond just using patterns as they are written, and do some simple design modifications myself. 

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Birthday Party Dress from Oliver + S

A while back, I went on a fabric buying expedition with my friend V to get fabric for her daughter, M. The last piece of fabric from that collection to be sewn was a lovely rosy-pink polka dot cotton. We bought it without a specific pattern in mind, but then decided the Birthday Party Dress from Oliver + S was perfect.

This is definitely the most involved dress of the four that I've made for M, but worth every minute. As with every Oliver + S pattern, the instructions are clear and detailed, and it was fun sewing something a bit more detailed than the usual simple dresses I've been making. 

Birthday Party Dress - Front View
Birthday Party Dress - Back View
Birthday Party Dress - button band detail
I was quite pleased that my button hoarding (including random buttons on clothing tags) was useful - the floral button on the front band was saved from a tag on a T-shirt I bought years ago!

Some handy tips:
1) There was some discussion on the oliver + s blog about how to attach the facing. You need to make sure you open up the folded button placket all the way before attaching the facing piece.

2) The fabric I used wasn't very light-weight, and I cut the facing out of the same fabric. Since the facing gets folded into the pleats, I think maybe next time I would use a lighter weight fabric for the facing, just so the top of the dress isn't quite as heavy.

There was enough fabric left so that I could cut out a Puppet Show tunic for A...more on that soon!