miscellaneous · patterns · sewing

How I manage my pdf patterns

A little while ago someone asked me how I manage my pdf patterns.  Nowadays, I buy many of my patterns in pdf format.  Some patterns are only available in pdf format.  Others are cheaper when bought in pdf format – especially if you add on the cost of postage for hard copies.  With others I want the ability to reprint different sizes.  I’m not a pattern tracer; I never have been.  I always cut into my patterns and generally make any alterations directly on the pattern pieces.  There are some patterns that I want to be able to sew for multiple people of different sizes, and a multisized pdf pattern is perfect for that.  If I am sewing a pattern that I know will only be used for me, or has large pattern pieces (a coat, for example) I prefer hard copy.

pdf pattern organisation

This is a multisized pdf pattern that I recently purchased. I printed it out on sheets of A4 paper on my home computer, and assembled the sheets. There are many, many youtube videos and blog tutorials that show you how to assemble a pdf patter – just google. I generally cut off the bottom and one side of each sheet along the guideline, then overlap and sticky tape them together. I cut out each piece as it is taped whenever possible, rather than wait until the entire pattern is taped into one ginormous sheet. I really appreciate it when pdf pattern makes lay out the pieces in a way that essentially assembles one pattern piece at a time, but the majority just divide up one huge sheet into lots of A4. Printing at home obviously costs in paper, sticky tape and ink, but I think it’s quite economical. The biggest downside is the time that it takes to tape the patterns.

pdf pattern organisation

There is often the option to have pdf patterns printed at a copy shop. I tend to use either Officeworks – I just take in the patterns on a USB memory stick, and ask for black and white plan printing – or else I go to a specialist copy centre/printing service (Ivanhoe Copy Centre is my local). This of course costs money – at Officeworks it’s about $4.10 per A0 sheet. I store these patterns rolled up and secured with a toilet roll core. It holds them securely and I can write the pattern name on it!

pdf pattern organisation

After use I fold up the pattern pieces and pop them into a large ziplock bag. I find that ziplock bags keep things secure during the sewing process, and the instructions fit into them nicely too. You may have noticed too that I do print pattern instructions. I often don’t print all the pages – some of the instructions for pdf patterns are designed to be read on a screen such as an ipad or laptop screen rather than printed and are incredibly long – but I always like to have the basics about the pattern kept with the pattern pieces. Pattern illustration, measurements, what the seam allowances are. Because the bags are clear I can see what pattern is in each one. Then I tend to store them by pattern company and then by pattern type.

pdf pattern organisation

As you can see I have a few methods of organisation. These have all developed and adapted as I have gone along, and they seem to work quite well for me. Patterns that I use for my daughters are in a couple of drawers in the wardrobe; the multi-coloured drawers beside my cutting table hold more ‘random’ patterns from a variety of companies. The expanding file holds Lekala patterns. Then we have my favourite piece of storage – the horizontal filing cabinet.  This one is from Officeworks.

pdf pattern organisation

This cabinet serves as a TV stand – yes, I have a TV in my sewing room – and also holds all my patterns from Style Arc (hard copies as well as the pdf patterns I have printed), Cashmerette, Liesl & Co, Pattern Fantastique, Jalie and patterns that I use for my mum. It’s excellent for patterns that are much larger in size than the standard envelope pattern. I don’t have any hanging files in it; I just stack the patterns on their side. It’s amazing how much fits in there.

pdf pattern organisation

I hope that give some of you some practical ideas on how to manage your pdf patterns. What works best for you will obviously depend on the space that you have available, and whether you prefer to trace patterns or whether you prefer to just cut into them (I still don’t really understand why anyone would take the additional step of tracing a pdf pattern that they have assembled and could easily reprint, but each to their own)! There is a myriad of pattern options available to us nowadays – don’t avoid pdf patterns; they open up a world of opportunity.

miscellaneous

The Bloody Long Walk

On Sunday I did something that I’ve never done before.  I did The Bloody Long Walk.  So, what IS the Bloody Long Walk, you ask?  It’s a fundraiser walk, held in a number of locations around Australia.  It’s 35km and yes, that was bloody long.

bloody long walk

I’ve never been someone described as sporty or active or outdoorsy.  Mind you, I’ve been on plenty of camping holidays in my time, and am not averse to a bike ride or a wander through nice scenery.  I think that it was turning fifty, and the example of a few good friends, that really made me think that I could and should take on a physical challenge like walking 35km in one day.

bloody long walk

Running holds absolutely no appeal to me, but walking does.  I think that each body has a movement that it’s best suited to, and walking is a motion that works well with mine.  So at the end of May I started training for the walk.  Four or five days a week I would head out to walk for anywhere between one and three hours, depending on the weather and other commitments.  I generally listened to podcasts as I walked, and sometimes occasionally walked with friends.  I am fortunate to have a few bike/walk paths nearby, so was able to walk alongside water and among trees.  It was mentally therapeutic over an emotionally challenging time period.

bloody long walk

Clare decided that she would do the walk with me, and my sister-in-law Jeanette agreed to join us.  Clare achieved her bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award last year and is undertaking silver this year, and hiking is part of both awards.  She had already learned that she has quite good stamina.  Clare did minimal walk-specific training – we hoped that her age (fifteen) would also be on her side!  Jeanette has just turned sixty, and has completed many hikes in the past, often carrying a pack.  Add regular bike commuting and weekly walks, and you end up with a fit person.  I had no doubts that Jeanette would be able to complete the walk.  I really did think that I was the weakest link in this whole thing.

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

As I mentioned earlier, the Bloody Long Walk is a fundraising walk.  It’s to raise money for further research into mitochondrial disease.  Many people don’t know what mitochondrial disease is.  In summary, Mitochondria are the power houses of the cell providing the body with over 90% of the energy it needs to sustain life. Mitochondria take in sugars and proteins from the food we eat and produce energy called ATP that our bodies use to function properly. Mitochondrial disease (mito) is a debilitating and potentially fatal disease that reduces the ability of the mitochondria to produce this energy. When the mitochondria are not working properly, cells begin to die until eventually whole organ systems fail and the patient’s life itself is compromised. Mitochondrial disease (‘mito disease’ for short) is due to a fault in one or more of the genes that make up the mitochondria. This means a hiccup will occur in the production of mitochondria from the time of conception. As the foetus grows, some mitochondria can divide and grow as normal whilst others will divide and grow abnormally.

You can find out more at the Bloody Long Walk website and the Mito Foundation website.  As far as fundraising is concerned, our team of three raised over $1,500!  We were thrilled and humbled by the generosity of our friends and family.

bloody long walk

So, back to Sunday.  We headed off at 7.30am, taking a route from Fairfield through Kew, Hawthorn and Richmond.  At this stage the route swapped between walking paths, suburban streets, and back to walking paths again.  We were well provided for at the checkpoints with fruit, water, and the availability of first aid if needed.  We could have done with some more portaloos – at one stage we waited in a queue for half an hour!  There were actually over 3000 people taking part in the walk, and it looked to me as though three quarters of those were women.

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

Sewing note – all my activewear comes from Aldi.  I didn’t make any of it!

The walk followed the Yarra River into the City, meandering through Southbank and Docklands and then to Port Melbourne.  Once we hit the bay we walked along beside it until we reached St Kilda, where the walk ended.

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

bloody long walk

I loved the first ten kilometres of the walk, and I hated every single bit of the last five kilometres.  Every step of that walk along the bay I had to just force myself to keep on putting one foot in front of the other.  I’d really had enough by that stage, but I was determined to continue.  My legs were aching, my hips were sore, my feet just wanted to be out of shoes.  I was lucky that I didn’t get any blisters, thanks to judicious taping of hot spots, but everything just hurt.  We started at 7.30am and finished at 4.00pm, with actual walking time of around 7 hours.  I have never been as happy to sit down and take off my shoes as I was at the end of that 35 kilometres!

bloody long walk

But at the same time, it was highly emotional for me crossing that finish line.  I’d done something that I’d never done before; something that I knew would be difficult for me to do.  Something that was out of my ‘normal’, and was out of other people’s experience of me.  And I’d done it with two people who are very close to me – my daughter and my sister-in-law.

bloody long walk

I have to say that Clare was amazing.  She just kept on walking and did not whinge or complain once!  Yes, she was also very happy to finish, and yes, she was also a little bit stiff and sore the next day, but she really was a trouper.  She said that the hikes on Duke of Ed had taught her that her body could do much more than she would have thought she could do, and that complaining and whinging didn’t help anything and only brought everyone down.  What a fabulous attitude and effort from a fifteen year old!  I really do love teenagers.

And Jeanette was fabulous!  As I expected, she walked and walked, keeping us entertained with conversation along the way, and sharing some of her experiences from hikes that she’s done in the past (I really want to do the Three Capes Walk in Tasmania at some stage now).

So, will I do it again?  At this stage, I suspect not.  I have signed up to do a half-marathon (21km) in December, but that is probably as much walking as I’d prefer to do in one session.  I will never take part in something like the Oxfam Trailwalker fundraiser, which is 100km.  I have a few friends who have done that, and as I crossed the Bloody Long Walk 35km finish line I really thought ‘oh my god imagine having to do another 65km on top of this’.  I will never do that to my body.  What did I get out of doing this walk?  Other than raising money for a good cause, I proved something to myself.  I can challenge myself to do something new, and do it.  I have more physical capacity than I (or others) have given me credit for.  And I can do things that are tough.  Yeah, I’m proud of myself.

miscellaneous

10 year blogiversary

I didn’t ever keep a journal or diary when I was growing up.  I tried a couple of times, but was always so embarrassed when I re-read what I’d written that I quickly ripped it up into tiny pieces.  So it often surprises me that I have kept on blogging – now for 10 whole years! I discovered craft blogs when I was searching for a pattern for a fabric headband.  I found one by Heather Bailey, and that rapidly sent me down the rabbit hole.  The blogroll led me to one blog, then another, then another.  I bought chenille online from Jodie, and she encouraged me to start my own blog.

394386243_c725398d61

100_0517

My first blog entries were about bags and clothes I’d sewn for Clare.  I was quite pregnant with Stella when I started blogging.  Back then I was sewing simple chenille and fabric square cot quilts for the babies that were entering my family and friends’ lives.  I learned to crochet, and started off with scarves and hats.

432137592_b3d507474c

515605810_6d3f605334

I was sewing pillowcase dresses, yet more fabric bags, and various craft items.  My sewing room was still being set up and organised.  I took headless photos so that I wouldn’t be identified – that seems hilarious to me now!  I took part in online quilting bees, posted vintage crochet photos, sewed for the girls and for myself.  I did pattern testing, was part of “blog hops”, and improved my ICT skills.

532789644_7e9d0f50a1

The blog started in February, and Stella was born at the beginning of June.  So I’ve been blogging for all of her life!  Many of you have watched my kids grow up.  Clare from a pre-schooler to a teenager, now in year 9.  Stella from birth to almost ten years old!  All those cliches about time flying – they’re true.

Jalie 2804 Empire Crossover Top

Butterick 5329

Right from the start, I began to meet people online.  Fellow crafters and crocheters and talented quilters.  I gradually began to meet online friends in person.  Weekend sewing weekends away started.  Other crafty gatherings.  I found more blogs about garment sewing, and shifted back from general craft and quilting to what I had been doing all my life – sewing clothes for myself.  And I met more and more people.  Many of these people are now among my closest friends and I love them dearly.

3562563242_6b02f4a805

8651887192_a7f7a89f10

sewjourn nov 2016

I have learned a great deal about sewing while I’ve been blogging.  The blog scene has changed over the years, with much less commenting and even much less posting on blogs as many have moved over to instagram.  Some of my favourite sewing blogs have now been inactive for a long, long time, but others have sprung up in their place.  I have gone through a number of hair colour and style changes and have clearly gained, lost, and regained a lot of weight!

9698650170_35fae9d848

IMG_3549

New Look 6882 view B

As much as I love instagram, to me there is nothing that quite beats the detail you can find in a blog, and the friendships that you can form.  It’s that community – the great parts and even the snark.  Sure, we won’t like everyone who sews just because they sew.  But it’s a great starting point.  And it’s allowed my textile interests to blossom.  No longer am I that kid sitting in my Nanna’s lounge room reading back copies of Golden Hands Monthly.  I am sewing, crocheting, quilting, crafting, and sharing what I’m doing with people who are interested, encouraging and enthusiastic.  My skills have definitely gone up a notch or two or three, and I feel part of something.

27627293890_4768512e85_c

Visit to Style Arc

Frocktails January 2016

And that’s due to all of you.  Thanks go to those of you who blog yourselves, and share so much.  Thanks to everyone who reads my blog, whether you are able to take the opportunity to comment or not.  My life has been enriched by the sewing blog community.  Ten years ago I never would have dreamed that this would be such a wonderful part of my life.  Thank you.

Style Arc Goldie skirt and Olive top with Fadanista Sneaky Shrug (all fabrics are remnants)

family · miscellaneous · musings

And just like that…

So, it’s 2017!  Just like that!

Blogged at https://thornberry.wordpress.com

(This blog post will feature random photos from the year).

I still have over 30 garments from 2016 that have not yet been blogged.  Gulp.  I have finally made it as far as getting photos for most of them and uploading them to Flickr, so maybe while we’re away I can get a few of them up here on the blog.  It would be nice to get that done before February.

Blogged at https://thornberry.wordpress.com

Did you notice that “away” sentence?  I think that mentioned a few times now – we’re heading off overseas for three weeks!  We depart on Thursday for Thailand, heading first to Bangkok for a couple of nights (if the planets align I might be able to catch up with Meg while we’re there), then taking an overnight train to Vientiane, Laos.  We have five nights there, then move to Luang Prabang (also Laos) for six nights, then fly back across to Chiang Mai, Thailand for another seven nights (I’m hoping to catch up with Gaye again while we’re there).  We are SO looking forward to it.  (And yes we do have a house/dog sitter staying while we are away so we are not telling potential burglers about an empty house – because it won’t be!)

Blogged at https://thornberry.wordpress.com

I do plan to blog about our holiday regularly while we’re away, depending on available time and wifi access, so those people who come here for the sewing, I’m letting you know in advance that for most of January this blog will primarily be about our family travels!

Blogged at https://thornberry.wordpress.com

Last time we visited Thailand the girls were 11 and 7 years old respectively.  This time Clare will be 14 (her birthday is on that overnight train) and Stella will be 9.  They are equally excited about our travels, and we’re fortunate that both of them travel very well.

Blogged at https://thornberry.wordpress.com

We all feel very much in need of this holiday.  My husband has been in his current job for over a year now, and this will be his first proper break.  There has been quite a bit of interstate travel involved for him over the past year, which he doesn’t really enjoy, and he’s looking forward to this trip very much.  I tend to do all the holiday organisation and planning, so he can sit back and do some reading and some exploring and just enjoy.

Blogged at https://thornberry.wordpress.com

Clare goes into Year Nine at school once we’re back.  She’s doing very well academically, has made a great group of friends with common interests and I thought that many of you would be interested to know that she won the Year 8 Design Technology (what many of us know as Textiles) award this year.  Stella will go into Grade Four, with teachers she’s had before and we know will bring out her best.  She’s at a small primary school of around 200 kids, and we all benefit from the close community that it provides.  She’s had a great year culminating in her first dance concert, where she really did show off her natural movement and expression.  And finally she really gets reading – hooray!

Blogged at https://thornberry.wordpress.com

I anticipate that the girls will be busy with their usual activities during 2017.  Camps with Girl Guides, music lessons, dance classes, school productions, copious amounts of time playing Sims or Minecraft.

Blogged at https://thornberry.wordpress.com

And me?  After we get back from holidays (there’s that wonderful word again) I go straight into starting a new job.  It was very sad to leave my current one, as I deeply value many of my colleagues, but the new job was an offer that I just couldn’t resist.  It’s three days per week (I was doing two days previously, but often more with other contract work or additional days) and I figure that it will take me quite a while to get used to it.  I’m looking forward to being involved in bigger picture issues, and extending on my current skills.  It’s an exciting time yet I’m also quite nervous.

Blogged at https://thornberry.wordpress.com

There will be social occasions with my sewing friends.  Thanks goodness for blogs and instagram!  Melbourne has a wonderful group of fun, intelligent, creative and clever people who just love sewing and love to talk about it – especially in conjunction with food and drink.  Thanks to all of you!  I already have a few weekends away planned – one with the “school mums”, two to Sewjourn.  I love all these women.  They add so much to my life.  I will be ever grateful to the internet for turning what could easily be a solitary hobby into the opportunity to meaningfully connect with others.

Blogged at https://thornberry.wordpress.com

As for sewing goals?  Well, they change all the time.  I need to do another wardrobe purge.  I will need some dressier clothes for my new job, so will need to shift the proportions of casual versus more formal in my wardrobe.  I’ve also put on quite a bit of weight this year, and doubt it will vanish any time soon, so need to get rid of any clothes that are a bit too small and/or uncomfortable.

Blogged at https://thornberry.wordpress.com

There will always be sewing.  My main aim will be to use what I have as much as possible.  To enjoy that time searching in my stash for the right fabric to go with the right pattern.  There is so much in there that I love!  And I haven’t used up all of the fabric I bought the last time I was in Chiang Mai.  I have many patterns just crying out to be sewn.  Speaking of my fabric stash and sewing room, it was recently featured on the Curvy Sewing Collective blog.  Many thanks to them for asking me  to take part.

Blogged at https://thornberry.wordpress.com

I never quite know how to adequately thank those of you who read my blog, and those of you who also manage to leave comments!  I don’t always respond as much as I’d like to, and that is something I plan to change.  I really enjoy and appreciate our interactions, and reading other people’s blogs is always a highlight of my day.  Yes, Instagram has definitely slowed down blogging, but in my view there is always a place for a blog.  I’ll keep on going with mine – February will be my ten-year bloggiversary!  For someone who has never been able to keep a journal or diary, that’s significant.  And it’s really due to all of you.

Blogged at https://thornberry.wordpress.com

So, we’re looking ahead, not looking behind.  I hope that 2017 is a year of joy, prosperity and health for all of you.  We certainly hope that’s what it will be for us!

miscellaneous

Merry Christmas

Blogged at https://thornberry.wordpress.com

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.”

Blogged at https://thornberry.wordpress.com

To those of you who celebrate, Merry Christmas! And to those of you who don’t, best wishes for a wonderful holiday and festive season. Much love from my family to yours.

miscellaneous

bpSewvember

I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long between blog posts.  I have still been sewing, and as a result have plenty of blog posts to write, but don’t seem to have found the motivation to actually get them out of my head and onto the internet.  However, I did participate in #bpSewvember over on Instagram, which was a terrific sewing-themed meme run by the lovely Amanda of Bimble and Pimble.  Each day had a word to prompt a photo.  I thought that those of you who don’t follow me on Instagram might be interested in seeing the photos that I took for each day.  So this will be a very photo-heavy blog post! I’m leaving it to you to figure out why I took each photo for each prompt.

#bpSewvember

1. Three facts.

#bpSewvember

2. Like a boss.

#bpSewvember

3. Inside.

#bpSewvember

4. Inspiration.

#bpSewvember

5. WiP.

#bpSewvember

6. Slow or Fast.

#bpSewvember

7. Stash.

#bpSewvember

8. Why sew? #bpSewvember

9. Game changer.

#bpSewvember

10. View.

#bpSewvember

11. Tools.

#bpSewvember

12. Community.

#bpSewvember day 12 - Community. Photo copyright www.BaliWellnessRetreat.com

13. Style.

#bpSewvember

14. Help!

#bpSewvember

15. Heirloom.

#bpSewvember

16. UFO.

#bpSewvember

17. Print or plain.

#bpSewvember

18. Dream project.

#bpSewvember

 

19. Workhorse.

#bpSewvember

20. Tried and true.

#bpSewvember

21. Best part.

Untitled

22. The vault.

#bpSewvember

23. Essentials.

#bpSewvember

24. Skill up.

#bpSewvember

25. Oh no!

#bpSewvember

26. Best make.

#bpSewvember

27. Detail.

#bpSewvember

28. Sewing space. (this is a short video)

#bpSewvember

29. Confession.

#bpSewvember

30. Next up.

#bpSewvember

Huge thanks go to Amanda for running the meme – I didn’t originally intend to take part but really enjoyed the entire month. While the rest of life kept me very busy I could still participate in my favourite hobby – sewing.

Now it’s time for me to get onto some of those well overdue blog posts!