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Free yourself from pattern company design limitations
I'd rather sew what I actually want to wear...
rivergum
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Date: 4/10/13 9:31 PM

Don't get me wrong, I'm not bagging pattern companies. We do need them and I use their patterns.

But for many of us, the designs they offer are not quite what we really love. And if we spend time and effort on sewing, wouldn't you rather sew something that's the absolute summit of your desirest, rather than just the best that's on offer?

Over the last few months, actually ever since I have had a pinterest board, I have been cruising the net and collecting fashion that I think is absolutely fabulous and in complete accordance with my tastes. I then study these pictures on my pinboard and figure out which pattern comes closest, how I need to combine it with other patterns or alter it to get the garment I want.

The result has been the best wardrobe I have ever had. To be fair, my taste is NOT classic, and I like loose, unfitted garments that are easy to make technically. They are a lot harder from the point of view of proportions and styling, but I am getting better as I go along. I am also getting better at figuring out how to make things from a similar pattern, and cruising all the fabulous stuff on my pinboard is the best mojo reviver ever.

My point is, that if I still sewed from pattern company catalogs or websites, my choices would be restricted to what their designers produce. No way would I have the imagination to look at a classic garment and 'see' something totally transformed that would be more to my taste. By working the other way, from fashion shots, I can aim for the best available. I don't always get there but this approach has really lifted my game. It's a bit like snoop shopping middle of the range as opposed to the best designers the world has to offer.

There is a downside, in that even my most fabulous successes never look on me like the original highly styled and staged fashion shot. I live in the real world and I don't look like the models. But why aim at ordinary when you can aim at extraordinary?

Just a thought...




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Taking in is happier than letting out.

Sydney, Australia

plazaglass

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Date: 4/10/13 10:20 PM

I couldn't agree more and your post is very timely for me. Just in the last several weeks, I've been experimenting with the sorts of styles you have on your Pinterest board, playing with features such as asymmetrical hems, crazy-long lengths, etc. I'm starting with some of the Big 4 patterns I already have, looking for ways to do variations on them that bring them closer to my own vision, but I know that more and more, I'll need to move more toward drafting my own patterns to yield what I want.

I don't expect the Big 4 to venture too far from where they've always been, so won't be looking to them for innovations. I already have to alter their patterns so drastically as it is to fit my small frame that I may as well focus on becoming skilled at creating my own.

One side note: While the styles you and I seem to both like are often extremely simple at a glance, their simplicity lets even the smallest design detail really shine and that's a great plus. I'm looking forward to getting better at creating unusual seams, edge finishes, etc. With no fussy details in these garments, there's nowhere for poor workmanship to hide!

The fabric becomes very important as well. Finding great fabrics is an ongoing challenge, but I think the success of these types of garments absolutely depends on them.

Overall, it's all about fun and play and learning for me, and I'm enjoying the journey. Thanks for your thoughtful post.

-- Edited on 4/10/13 10:21 PM --

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Date: 4/10/13 11:00 PM

A huge majority of what I make is based on two dimensional designs being brought to three dimensions,...and ninety percent of that requires drafting from scratch or massively altering the pattern. Most of what I make is for special occasions though, so I have been working hard on being more reasonable with what I am making so I can wear it to work and on a daily basis. The benefit, I suppose, is that I see a pattern and know instantly how I will change it to make it work for my sense of style and fashion and I don't feel intimidated by that process. :)

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2014 resolution: keep track of sewn yardage!! I'm subtracting fabric given away from my yardage in. Yeah!
In: 98.5 yards
Sewn: 73 yards

I'll try anything once :)

Please excuse my typos...sometimes it is harder to go back and edit on mobile than it is worth!

marec
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Date: 4/11/13 0:40 AM

I agree completely that starting from a fashion shot frees us from the tyranny of pattern fashion. I love Pinterest for that very reason...I think I am becoming a bit more adventurous.

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my blog: http://kf-biblioblog.blogspot.com/
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rivergum
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Date: 4/11/13 4:25 AM

Quote:
The fabric becomes very important as well. Finding great fabrics is an ongoing challenge, but I think the success of these types of garments absolutely depends on them.


That is so true, although it doesn't always have to be expensive fabric, thankfully. Just RIGHT. I bought some very thin cotton in Indonesia for around $3m that is ideal for my Kaliyana knock-offs. But yes, a beautiful piece of silk, wool or linen can totally make a garment.

Han, pattern drafting skills are very useful and you are lucky to have them. Your special event dresses sound intriguing.

I don't really have any myself, neither do I have a lot of fitting skills and I am very lazy about technically difficult details such as double welt pockets. Lucky I like simplicity, and I supposed I have developed the skills needed for the type of garments I like to make. I hope this is encouraging to sewist who don't think they can liberate themselves from the pattern company offerings. You don't need to be a couture/expert sewist, but you do need to study the fashion pics you like and take note of the lines and proportions.

Marec, I like your term 'pattern fashion', I might borrow that if you don't mind.

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Taking in is happier than letting out.

Sydney, Australia

Miss Fairchild
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Date: 4/11/13 7:42 AM

I'd like to add that we aren't limited by their colors and prints, either.

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"Play the cards you are dealt, but choose who is sitting at the table"..AARP magazine

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Date: 4/11/13 8:16 AM

Inspiring, love the pinterest board idea. I have so far under utilized it
but I sure won't anymore. I have to agree wholeheartedly too, I spend so much time looking for patterns to give me the style I want (similar to many of your pinned looks) and rarely find anything. Having a clear picture of what I want frees me to look at the patterns available for modifications and for drafting some of my own. Worth a shot for sure!

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Theresa

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In reply to rivergum <<
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Date: 4/11/13 10:55 AM

Quote:
Marec, I like your term 'pattern fashion', I might borrow that if you don't mind.


brilliant, isn't it? Let's add it into out lexicon here.

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my blog: http://kf-biblioblog.blogspot.com/
Sewing through my pattern stash-145
completed.

tg33

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Date: 4/12/13 12:10 PM

Thanks for this post, it's a great idea to bridge the gap between what's in the shops/what you want to wear/what the pattern companies offer! You have inspired me to sign up to pinterest, IF you have the time and energy I would love if you could give me/us some tips on using pinterest!

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Reading from Europe

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Date: 4/12/13 6:22 PM

This thread helped me crystallize some thoughts; I am wearing a tunic today by a designer named "Lauren Vidal", and I like it a lot. A clever asymmetrical ruffle on the bottom, nice contrasting edging at the neck. It would be easy to modify one of the tunic patterns I have for a very similar look. I'm going to start trying to see more creative possibilities in my patterns; thx for the inspiration!
-- Edited on 4/12/13 6:23 PM --

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Viking Lily 545
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