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.

adult's clothing · patterns

Another Ruby

These last few blog posts have had a definite theme – they are all garments sewn from Tessuti patterns.  This one is a pattern repeat for me – the Ruby dress.

Tessuti Ruby dress in Chiang Mai cotton

Now I know that my pose in that photo is weird, but it shows off the shape of the dress beautifully. And hey, I found a new backdrop for you! However, I discovered that it was wet when I leaned on it. Ew. Just water from the building’s air conditioning, luckily. So, back to the dress. I sewed this in size Medium without alterations. The length is as per the pattern, simply overlocked then turned up an inch and blind hemmed on the sewing machine. For reference, I’m 158cm tall so you might want to take that into account if you are taller.

Tessuti Ruby dress in Chiang Mai cotton

Now can I rave about this fabric? I love it for quite a few reasons. The colour way is superb. Dark olive green with mustard flowers; just perfect for me! It’s quite loosely woven yet isn’t transparent, and is super soft. And the best bit? It’s a holiday souvenir, bought on my fantastic fabric shopping trip with Gaye in Chiang Mai last year. Wonderful memories!

Tessuti Ruby dress in Chiang Mai cotton

Side seams and shoulder seams were sewn on the overlocker. I applied the binding to the inside of the dress first, then turned it to the outside and topstitched it in place. The facing around the back slit was cut twice and then sewn right sides together around the edges before turning to the right side. This acted as self-interfacing and left me with lovely edges to the facing. Then once it was attached to the dress I top-stitched around the slit for extra strength. The button closure is a flat shank button from stash, and I used hat elastic to make the loop to secure it.

Tessuti Ruby dress in Chiang Mai cotton

So there you go! This dress does need a strapless, racer-back or cross-back bra underneath, so you might want to keep that in mind if you make it. The armholes are cut in, but not too far and I think it’s a great cut on me. I loved wearing this in yesterday’s heat. Just wish that I’d remembered to put my lipstick (and bracelets) on for the photos!

patterns · sewing

do you Lutterloh?

Have you heard about, or worked with, Lutterloh patterns?  I first saw them in action at a Craft Fair a year or two ago.  It is a pattern drafting system, using downscaled patterns drawn on a small sheet of paper with a special ruler to enlarge them to the size that you want.  A friend of mine recently returned from a holiday where she spotted three copies of the 1972 version of the Lutterloh system in a op shop – and she kindly brought one back for me as well as one for herself (and the third copy for another sewing friend).

from (C) 1972 Lutterloh manual

This folder is rather small – about A5 size – but contains hundreds of patterns! Around 300, I think!

from (C) 1972 Lutterloh manual

The above text states: A “teach-yoursel” manual enabling people of all ages to learn a method for designing and cutting out patterns for all types of garments in all sizes for men, women and children. The Lutterloh Method is based on a system of proportions of the human body and teaches people in a short time to make accurate patterns whatever the fashion.

Now I have to say, the actual sewing instructions are fairly minimal. I feel that there is a fair bit of knowledge that is assumed. That said, I am very keen to give this a try. I imagine that I would have my usual fitting adjustments to make – after all, my proportions aren’t “perfect” – but it would be a fun experiment. It was worth the purchase purely for the illustrations if nothing else! I thought I’d share a few of my favourites – be warned, lots of photos ahead!

from (C) 1972 Lutterloh manual

from (C) 1972 Lutterloh manual

from (C) 1972 Lutterloh manual

from (C) 1972 Lutterloh manual

from (C) 1972 Lutterloh manual

from (C) 1972 Lutterloh manual

from (C) 1972 Lutterloh manual

from (C) 1972 Lutterloh manual

from (C) 1972 Lutterloh manual

from (C) 1972 Lutterloh manual

from (C) 1972 Lutterloh manual

Apparently Lutterloh started in 1935, and is still available in over 40 countries and translated in 15 different languages. The New Zealand website is here (I think they service Australia as well) and you can google for others.  Seasonal supplements are published four times each year and there are special volumes available for children, men, and fuller figures.

So, do you Lutterloh?  I’d love to hear your experiences of the system – or even if you also have vintage editions in your pattern collections!

patterns · sewing

the new(ish) Vogue patterns

There have been a few round-ups on the web of people’s thoughts on the latest crop of Vogue patterns.  I am always rather fascinated to see which patterns people love, and which ones they dismiss.  I have come to the conclusion that most of us filter the patterns according to whether they fit with our own style aesthetic, body shape and lifestyle – which makes sense, of course!  These are the ones that I really like from the last lot (and they are often the ones that others have criticised).

Vogue 1396

There is usually something that I find to like in most of the DKNY patterns – especially the fact that there is often a little rectangle in Vogue’s “figure flattery” box!  This has room to play with interesting fabric combinations.  I’m also interested to see how it is constructed.  Don’t be surprised if this pattern somehow creeps its way into my collection at some stage.

Vogue 1401

When you look at the line drawing this is actually quite similar to the Tessuti Eva dress, that I have made twice before.  I like the sleeves and the relaxed shaping, as well as the detail on the front.  I think the instructions would be an enjoyable read, even if I didn’t actually make the dress!

Vogue 1390

This is the view that I prefer from this pattern, and it’s the only view that wasn’t photographed.  Those are lots of tucks on the front, I love the v-neckline, and the pattern has the potential for loads of interesting fabric combinations and fabric or colour blocking.  The overall shape is somewhat reminiscent of Vogue 8805, a pattern that I have now used four times.

Vogue 9005

I’m sure that I have seen this pattern bagged on a few other sewing blogs, but I really like it!  All three views!  It’s just the sort of thing that I would like to wear in summer.

Vogue 1395

It was actually the line drawing that interested me in this style.  I love the gathered details and the tie in the front.  It’s not quite the sort of thing that I usually wear but it has definite possibilities.

There are others that I appreciate, but these are the ones that I would consider purchasing for myself.  There are plenty of pretty dresses with fitted bodices and fuller skirts (whether gathered or flared or circle) and plenty of defined waists.  The most divine bias cut slip and matching robe.  Some wonderful uses of lace overlays, and dresses with seamlines that allow for plenty of fitting opportunities.

So basically, I have just presented to you the best of the new Vogue patterns from the perspective of a mid-forties, plump, short, works out of the home two days per week, Australian woman.

fabric stash · family · miscellaneous · patterns

last week of term

First term of 2014 is over, and the school holidays are here.  The last week of term flew past, but I took some photos along the way.  So this is a snippet of our week (mostly from a sewing/crafty perspective, of course).

last week of term one

  • Patterns arrived from the last Vogue/Butterick/McCalls sale.  One is already cut out to be sewn this weekend, and another has been matched up to fabric.
  • Personal delivery of The Better Bag Maker, by Nicole Mallalieu, soon to be available online and possibly in Spotlight stores.  I took part in pattern testing (and have a couple of excellent bags to show for it that I can finally reveal on the blog soon) and I think that it really is your go-to book for all things bag-making related.
  • Silk fabrics from the Collette Dinnigan end of bolt clearance currently running at Rathdowne Fabrics.  The top two will be scarves; the bottom one will become a dress.
  • Over the past couple of days the weather has turned cooler and autumn has really settled in.  Time to make new stretchy pants for winter!
  • And with winter coming up, time for some new boots (everything at the Diana Ferrari outlet is currently half price).  I live in boots over winter, and was excited when I spotted some coloured ones!
  • Poor little Stella.  She’s sick.  The virus that has been going around and that Clare and I had last week has caught up with Stella.  She’s still on the couch with a vomit container.
  • I whipped up a few tops for Clare to take away on camp with her.  One includes this raglan tee .  It’s a departure from her usual style, but fortunately she seems to really like it!
  • Clare has been busy with the loom/rainbow/whatever they are called bands.  YouTube has been an excellent source of tutorials for a variety of bracelet designs.  You have to love a craze that is this creative, time-consuming and relatively cheap!
  • A quick dress for Stella, from fabric that she chose in a design that she chose.  And now says that she doesn’t like.

 

patterns · planned projects · sewing

clearly I need deadlines – and your help!

Back in January, Melanie organised and posted details of a Melbourne SewcieTea (pronounced “society”), to which we could all wear our loveliest self made frocks.  It’s on this Sunday afternoon.  Something like 75 days after the initial announcement.

And no, I haven’t yet made a dress to wear to it.

So, I need your help!  Here are the current contenders:

IMG_1495

Vogue 1287, in a woven satiny, slightly stretchy print:

IMG_1493

Vogue 1103, in another woven satiny, slightly stretchy print. I’d use a solid for the contrast band at the bottom.  But I seem to remember that Rachel hated this pattern when she made it up.

IMG_1494

Vogue 1194 or Vogue 1027, in this printed knit (it’s an ITY type of knit, so it’s very stretchy and relatively heavy):

IMG_1492

The A-line Cambie in a stretch sateen.

There were more contenders, but I have managed to narrow it down a little to these options.  The weather forecast for Sunday at this stage is 21 degrees.  So, which should I make? What do you think?