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Topic: Am I the only one that goes crazy working with patterns?  (Read 2066 times)
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« on: June 19, 2007 06:29:36 PM »

I've been teaching myself how to sew.  Started out simple with little pillowcase dresses for my daughter, no real 'pattern' - just bought a vintage PC dress off ebay and traced it's shape onto newspaper & figured it out as I went along...got confident with that and made about 10 of them...some lined, some not...embellished some - learned a lot about sewing basics doing that & decided to move on.  So I made a few aprons with a pattern from Taylor Made/Cindy Taylor Oates.  I was intimidated by 'real patterns' and was very pleased at how simple and basic her patterns are....SO easy to follow and again I learned some basics:  what a yoke is and how to make it, adding rick-rack to things, binding, etc.  But I thought I did well and understood enough about working w/a pattern to move up to the big leagues....yeah right.

Now I've moved on to regular patterns and I swear to high heaven I feel like I'm losing my mind.  All the notches and multiple lines and terminology is frustrating me beyond belief.  All I want to do is make a plain, simple skirt and I'm totally confused.  Is there a pattern out there somewhere for an a-line skirt that isn't so involved?  No darts, etc.  Is it possible to make a skirt w/out a typical pattern?  Like using a skirt that you like that fits you and using it as a pattern?  I know I'm still new to this sewing thing but now I'm feeling completely green around the gills.   Undecided

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« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2007 09:49:11 PM »

I'm relearning the whole pattern thing as well. I took sewing in junior high as well as High School but forgot it all! LOL! I have actually found that books about pattern recon and my sewing for dummies have helped me in leaps and bounds. I bought the sewing for dummies for 15 bucks. The other 5 or 6 books I've read I got from my public library. All amazing. I've learned about redoing patterns to fit my body, about fabrics, all the technical junk that you really have to have a book to grasp it seems. It got alot easier after all that reading! I know I read a book that was all about understanding patterns. It was only about 100 pages long. It was a amazing. You would be amazed what you learn from these books. Patterns are this whole rather archaic world that you need a legend to navigate... LOL

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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2007 10:45:12 PM »

You're definitely the only one. I learned how to sew while making prom dresses with my grandmother, and she always told me those stupid marks were put just there to confuse confuse people. I usually use existing skirts or shirts for patterns, just because it's so hard to find a pattern I really like. Plus, it's freaking depressing since my pattern-size is 6 sizes higher than my actual size. Boo.
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2007 07:41:07 PM »

Gah, I know what you mean. I don't have the patience.

But there are a few books out there like "Fit for real people" that really help spell things out....

i've given up on sewing. but I enjoyed the brief aquaintance we had. Wink

« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2007 12:01:40 PM »

I rarely bother with the notches and dots,etc,that are on the patterns- I have little enough patience with cutting out pattern pieces and fabric as it is  Grin Sometimes I'll mark them on the fabric for lining up armholes but that's usually about it. Makes absolutely no difference to the finished item. And when I draft my own patterns I certainly never bother with all that!

And there's certainly nothing wrong with using an item of clothing you already own as a basis for a pattern. When old favorite pieces of clothing have finally given up the ghost I've taken them apart and used them to draft a pattern for a replacement.

If you really want to understand how to use commercial patterns I'd suggest buying a good sewing book that includes instructions on reading and using patterns. I picked up an old 50's sewing book from Ebay many years ago for a couple of and it's been invaluable.

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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2007 11:34:52 PM »

Me too! I am also teaching myself how to sew and sometimes I just want to cry because the terminology and diagrams throw me off! So don't feel alone! One thing that has really helped is going to the library and checking out all the sewing books.... especially the ones for kids!! Ha! Yup, they make a lot more sense to me. Also, there are a lot of books that do not use patterns but rather teach you how to sew using a basic shape and a tape measure. I just checked one out called "So Easy Skirts" and none of them need a pattern.
Give it a shot and keep trying and practicing. It will begin to make sense.

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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2007 08:53:30 PM »

"Patterns from Finished Clothes" is also a good book that teaches you to sew from clothing you already have and love!


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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2007 01:53:06 AM »

I've been really lazy about patterns lately, because it just takes so much TIME to alter a pattern.  And until very recently, I had nowhere I could spread out the pattern to do the necessary slashing and tracing. Mostly I've been ripping apart worn items that fit reasonably well and just cutting the exact same thing based on the old item.  But it really is worth it to have a properly altered pattern for a few basic pieces-- the difference in fit is amazing.

To start with, though, try patterns for simple items (A-line skirts, basic darted blouses, kimono-style blouses, etc.), until you get used to all the weird markings.  You don't HAVE to transfer all the markings, although I recommend cutting the placement notches for set-in sleeves, because I'm the sort of idiot who will sew the sleeves in backwards, rip them out, and then sew them in backwards all over again.  Tongue  Since you're a Curvacious Craftster, you will probably find that the darts given in any pattern are all wrong anyway, so you'll have to pin and fit those as you go.  Don't worry too much if the first few items look like gunnysacks, just use cheap fabric and keep playing (and taking notes) until you get a reasonable fit. 

Once you get comfortable with cutting a basic pattern, check out www.vintagesewing.info.  (Free information, hurrah!) It's got a couple of in-depth online manuals that explain pattern alterations and how to adjust design elements like sleeves from a standard pattern. 

You could also get a pattern for a fitting shell (all the major companies have these).  Once the shell is altered to fit, you can use it as a template for other patterns. 

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« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2007 07:02:46 AM »

This book gives you the basic building blocks to construct skirts. There are no patterns, only how to's.


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