Sunday, 15 June 2014

A few words of warning

"Choose your battles wisely, my son
For not all can be won

History remembers hours lost and corners cut,
Unfinished projects and closet doors shut

Blood spilled on a sharp-point pin
Hundred of pounds, consigned to the bin."

Long and agonsing story short: I'm ripping everything up on this dress.

It will be a green dress (but not a real green dress, that's cruel).


*Not really 'anon', more 'me'. But 'anon' sounds more profound and worldly. No?

Friday, 6 June 2014

Money Saving Tips for the Frugal Stitcher (3/7) - Patterns and Construction


Guys, I am alive! Sans internet and sewing facilities outside of work, but alive. No projects to show you for now, though the #NYlon2014 dress still hasn't been blogged yet so you've got something to look forward to. But it's a bit rude to leave you hanging for so long, let's go back to something I've been mulling over a lot this year...

Back to the money saving tips we go...

There's a lot in this series dedicated to fabric, and saving money in those terms. We all know that there's a lot more to it than that and soon the gadgets, patterns and resources will catch up with us and bite us financially too. 

Look beyond sewing: what else can you find that does the same thing?
Okay, this is a bit of an odd title but when you're penny-pinching, it pays to think outside the box a little for tools etc. Think, brown paper, think design student French curve, think hooks. What do you have access to already that will help with sewing projects?

How I store sewing patterns
Swedish tracing paper, actual tracing paper, doctors' loo roll...could probably all do the same job too...

Vintage patterns? - why buy them?
Buying sewing patterns is a bit of a tough cookie to deal with. You're not buying a piece of paper that maps out your perfect project. You're buying the learning experience, you're buying the branding, you're buying history, you're buying (in the case of garments) one specific ideal shape of person. I'm not telling you this is a pure cost consideration because otherwise we'd all be buying everything on Big 4 $0.99 sales and not forking out £20 on indie patterns, or even more on vintage!

If you want the pattern, you want the pattern itself. Plus possibly the finished object, but you must want the actual pattern. What does this mean? Well, it means if you buy a Laurel or a Renfrew or an Anna, you need to know you want a Laurel or a Renfrew or an Anna. It means that if you spot a gorgeous vintage pattern for $100 but you only want a garment that looks like the cover, then you will need to take a step back.
Do you need that specific pattern? Can you alter something that you have already? Can you draft it? Can you find a similar, cheaper pattern? Can you justify the finished object? 

Bit of a silly one. Find something that looks like a French curve, steal shirt clips, learn to eyeball (and when it's a bad idea to do so), make a press cloth, find something else other than a point turner or a loop turner.

Don't buy one of these. At least don't do it if you're not at a street market in Thailand.

Resources - information, teaching, learning, help...
A lot of the sewists out there in the blogosphere seem to be self-taught, or at the very least haven't had much of a formal education in the matter. But don't worry! There are books and classes and webcasts and e-books and magazines and so much more! How can we not learn everything there is?

The secret to perfect jeans is only $20 away, come on, it's so easy! 

But there's a whole host of free resources out there you can rely on too:
Other blogs and tutorials
Silhouette Patterns webcasts
Library books (and stealing books from fellow sewists)
Leaflets and manufacturer websites (Janome, etc)
Sewalongs (major value-added for any indie pattern)
Asking someone else

Don't forget figuring it out yourself either. You probably can.

I love the whole thing of figuring it out on my own and solving the problem, which means I will almost never buy a teaching webcast, I rarely buy patterns outside of a Burda issue, I'm a gadget get the picture.

I don't want to bash these paid-for resources, they're incredibly useful for the people who use them. But if you know that you do want (need?) the Craftsy classes, or the Japanese tunic pattern book, the vintage piece of dressmaking history, just keep track of what you're buying. Of course, I'd like to convert people to the 'figure it out' mentality, it's incredibly rewarding, but if that's not your bag then that's cool too. You can do what you want when you sew! That's the point!

So there. Do you like figuring it out? And what sort of value do you see in the paid-for resources? Am I just being silly, and is it all about supporting the smaller independent sewing businesses grow?