Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Wednesday Words




"My disposable income is extremely limited, which 

means I think long and hard about which fabric and

 patterns I buy. The result is that I buy very few 

patterns. I tend to buy wardrobe basics and modify

them for different styles, getting the most out of my

 money. I am a firm believer that I only need one

 t-shirt pattern" .....Carolyn on Baste and Gather


What's your pattern buying strategy?


photo courtesy Lekala.com


34 comments:

  1. You have illuminated an area, where I NEED a strategy! I am terrible about buying patterns because i am a sucker for a darling photo of a gorgeous model wearing something sewn up in a beautiful fabric...I am well aware that I can modify a pattern, probably with less work than refitting a new pattern, nonetheless, I have a ton of patterns! Maybe this can be a New Years sewing resolution for me.

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  2. I am haunted by an Issey Miyake pattern from the 1980s that was discontinued while I was still saving up for it (on my college student budget). Now, I buy patterns with interesting details even when I have no immediate plans to sew them.

    I have tried several T-shirt patterns, but Kwik Sew 2555 is my go-to one. I've just sewn my 30th version of the t-shirt (since I began keeping track).
    http://badmomgoodmom.blogspot.com/search?q=2555
    and the outfit shot
    http://badmomgoodmom.blogspot.com/2015/11/the-harley-quinn-reveal.html

    It sure doesn't look like the pattern envelope.

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    1. That is some serious tee shirt sewing! I hope you are not trolling for same Miyake pattern I have been for years. Is it the one on the cover of Threads magazine from the 80s? Love that blouse/jacket pattern. I collect Miyakes and have made a few. I love their challenge.

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    2. See my current IM collection:
      http://badmomgoodmom.blogspot.com/2015/06/the-sewing-island.html

      I never found an affordable copy of the IM dress of my dreams. I want to borrow one to trace and I promise to take good care of the original.

      There is a Japanese tale of a monk's robe with no ends and this particular IM dress/jumper reminds me of the fable. The pattern envelope shows a plaid that drapes around the body and is held up with a one-shoulder cross-body strap.

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  3. I have to admit owning far more patterns than I need. I can draft patterns but it gets down to how much my time is worth. I see no need to reinvent the wheel, especially with more complex designs, so I don't mind buying a quality pattern.

    That said, I really admire those who can take a pattern and create all kinds of wonderful things from it. Having such creative vision is a marvelous talent!

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  4. I too get drawn in by the photos on the pattern envelope! I have purchased way too many patterns. However, my pattern buying habit has decreased dramatically ever since I learned to draft my own patterns. I now tend to buy patterns that have interesting details so I can see how the were drafted. Nevertheless, I still fall off the wagon now and then and buy patterns anyway!

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  5. Bunny, thank you for highlighting my comment. :) I wrote it in response to Lauren's post about sewing "fangirls" automatically purchasing patterns from favorite designers, without much regard for the pattern itself. If you have the finances to do this, great! If not (like me), pattern selection requires a bit more discretion. I like to purchase patterns that I think are worth my limited resources.

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    1. I totally agree. That was a very interesting blogpost and thanks for your comments and your input today.

      My strategy is to look at the big picture. I can't tell you how many times I have bought the same pattern two and three times. It's that crazy 99 cent thing and an embarassment! But now I am getting much more discretionary. Now I only buy rather unique patterns as, like many, I have some tried and trues that will get me close to whatever I want, at least for the lifestyle I live. And that's another thing, If I buy that incredible Sassoon gown pattern, really, am I ever going to make it? No, but there is some value in admiring patterns too. For now those Miyakes are the only ones I buy just to have, admire and maybe never make. Investment buying? I also like any Claire Shaeffer pattern as they are couture sewing lessons in and of themselves and have value whether I make them or not. They are worth studying.

      Also, Carolyn, for me, the bottom line is fabric. The less I spend on patterns the more I can spend on fabrics. I am a sucker for the "ingredients" whether it's an exotic spice, a unique bead to one day put into some jewelry, or a fabric I may just keep to admire. I consider the patterns and notions, as much as I like them, to be peripheral.

      Thanks again for your input.

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    2. Well said. I completely agree that some special patterns are worth it just for the learning opportunities (e.g., Claire Shaeffer). One day I hope to acquire a stash of patterns in this category. I also agree that less money spent on patterns means more money available for high quality fabric. You can wear the fabric, but not the paper. :)

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  6. I think I own 20 patterns at most. I've realized that I'm attracted to the same basic shapes and all patterns need fitting and excellent construction techniques. I can be obsessive and compulsive, but not in regard to buying patterns and fabric. I do, however, love sewing notions.

    My key consideration in regard to a pattern is do I like it enough to put the work and money (including hiring someone to help with fitting) into it that it will require? I usually don't buy patterns that I can't imagine making up more than once. It's too pricey an enterprise in time, money, and effort.

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  7. ummm. I like to tell myself that, as a retired person, I'm pretty thrifty. Good thing I'm the only one who knows I've purchased 261 patterns and 234 cuts of fabric in the last 4 years. More to the point, I love to redraft patterns and I do buy them for design details that appeal to me. I have a lot that I'll never use in their entirety. I'm really picky and thrifty with fabric. And my average cost is under $4.50/yard. All my patterns are purchased on sale, except the indies...Fun topic!

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  8. Great reminder to us all--well, for me anyway. I own somewhere around 300 patterns. My pattern purchases have dwindled considerably over the past three years since I began to realize styles have not changed much, just details. I am a lot like Tomasa--the envelope and pictures get to me. I'm teaching myself to print a copy of the line drawings and the pattern envelope from online, then pull out my slopers.

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  9. My pattern stash is meager, after a recent return to sewing. This will be a good "rule" to remember from here out though. But I've used one pattern twice already, so perhaps I'm on the right track! jenmiller

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  10. I have a large collection of patterns (also known as the unmade or imaginary wardrobe) but am now being very selective what I add to it. Some patterns, like the OOP KWIK SEW, I bought when McCall's purchased KWIK SEW as I knew KWIK SEW would never be the same. That said, my most used patterns number under two dozen. One pattern in particular cost .50 cents at the thrift shop and has been made up a dozen times. I'm to the point now, that when I make up a pattern, and it's a fail or does not suit me, it goes in the trash or the donate pile depending on how bad it is.

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  11. As I anxiously await downsizing, I think about how I'll be trading less of the headache type stuff for less of the good stuff. As it stands, our house has an enormous amount of storage. And I have a lot of patterns. A lot. Especially since it's only been 3 years.

    Initially, I bought pretty much everything in a new release that wasn't kids, crafts or men's from B/M/S with the occasional Vogue and New Look. For me it was the price. B/M/S were $.99 and V was $3.99. As the price increased (they're almost always $1.99/$4.99 now), I started buying fewer patterns.

    I also buy for details. I always say I'm a technical person and my sewing is as well. Do I think I am *capable* of learning drafting? Probably. Do I *want* to? No...Not really. I don't think I'd enjoy it and if sewing isn't fun well...It IS my hobby after all! So if a pattern has a feature that I like, I'll buy it because it doesn't occur to me to draft this or that detail.

    I get sucked in by my fabric. Oh, this cut would be perfect for a pattern with ABC feature/style.

    I get sucked in by the sewing community too! While I follow lots of blogs and sewers on Instagram, there are some that I follow specifically because they're of a similar body type and/or size as I am, or we have a similar style. So it isn't the general sewing world that makes me run out and buy something but if something is sewn up from that latter category that I love? I've got to have it!!! :)

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    Replies
    1. Gosh I talk too much.

      Lastly. Cynthia Rowley. Always. Except that babydoll dress from the last release I collect her patterns. They usually take awhile to grow on me after the release but I tend to love them so I buy them.

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    2. I have two CR patterns that I have used over and over. Her designs are hip but classic enough to use over and over. I find they are also pretty amenable to additional tweaking.

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  12. Boy, do I fall out of pace here. I have dozens and dozens of patterns - new, old, vintage, antique - just because I love looking at them and getting ideas. I have 4 pattern file cabinets (got at "J" when they moved) and they are crammed full. Single drawers of wedding +accessories, aprons, Barbie, other dolls, craft, I collect them! But when it comes to what I actually use: 2 dress (which by looking at my big stash I can figure out how to change them up), 2 nightgown/robe and 1 jacket/coat. They fit me, are tried and true and can whip them out easily. But I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE patterns and the history of that particular decade they were produced. These were purchased at thrift stores - used/sometimes new; antique shops; rummage sales; brand new at whatever store. I am amazed to see how often the styles come back from decades. Currently the new patterns are from my high school years and I don't think I'm ready to be recycled yet! But I really do treasure each one and it gives me a pang in my heart when I see patterns used as tissue paper to wrap stuff. I know -- I'm crazy. RSmith

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    1. I love this! You're a collector! I do that with craft books - buy them, look at them, pet them in the late night hours! I try not to collect patterns and fabric; I just don't have room to store it all and I know I will never sew it all up. So it's books for me!

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  13. I am very very picky about both patterns and fabric. I just counted my patterns I have 35. A couple are home dec and 3 are men's. Of those remaining there are a couple I have never made ,a couple I could be rid of as I wasn't happy with them. I also have 5 books that contain patterns. I pretty much use the same 10 or so patterns over and over. I am not a collector and it stresses me out to have things I don't use. I like to spend my money on the fabric I love.

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  14. I heartily recommending "eating all the pies". Then the number of patterns available in one's size is so boring and limited, you just don't bother with them ;-) This is my strategy so far, not counting the hundreds I have bought to sew for others over the years. Most of those have long gone though. I hang onto patterns for no real reason except maybe to lend them on. Apart from a few Burdas and Kahlia Ali patterns this year, I mostly only cut pattens free hand by draping, or cut them from the occasional RTW garment that is worthy of it. :)

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  15. I have just under 100 paper patterns and I'm pretty comfortable with that collection and the size of it. I've sewn about a third to a half of them already. New (and new-to-me) patterns come in from time to time and ones that I'm not thrilled with after I've muslined them get recycled. My paper patterns range in many sizes that I can technically get to fit me, from basics to highly detailed, unknown to well-known designer, 1930s to current, classic to artsy. I love it. I like the size of this collection, and wouldn't mind seeing it shrink if/when I sew up any of my unsewn patterns and they are not winners.
    I have bought hundreds of patterns over the years, though. I avoid those 99 cent sales like the plague, now! I just end up with extra patterns I never sew and they take up physical room and mental space. I am finally getting better at picking out patterns that are different from what I already have in some way, and suitable for me.
    I have a few pattern magazines and some indie pdf pattern bundles, which work out to be quite inexpensive, even though I received more patterns than I would ordinarily have wanted. I also have quite a lot of inexpensive pdfs from Lekala and Bootstrap, and various free pdfs. I've paid full price for half a dozen Burda pdfs and half a dozen indie pdfs. These average out to less than 50 cents per pattern, and they don't take up any physical space. I think of them a little differently than the paper patterns.
    It's weird how the mind works :)

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  16. I love to buy patterns. I am definitely an invisible wardrobe person. I think one of the reasons I buy them - and fabric too, is because I keep learning. I don't think I am fickle I just think that I keep learning what suits me and I do have a few "what was I thinking" moments.

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  17. Oh Dear, I have no idea how many patterns I have. Not as many as some but certainly more than a few! That said, like many I end up buying patterns with similar design lines. I suppose I have finally learned what suits me. Sometimes I get a pattern just to read it and study it much like my gigantic collection of cook books. I like to consider all this as a sign of passion for what we do. It is not cut and dried, one item at a time, no stash, no scraps to save no searching the stores for just the right button, no testing threads and stitch possibilities. It is creative, it is dreaming and it is a passion.

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  18. Such interesting comments! It's funny, I have been back at sewing for a few years now and yet I haven't purchased very many patterns. When I do purchase them I tend to buy vintage Vogue ones because they excite me and I learn from them. (The first dress I made when learning to sew again was underlined, a bit in line with the fact that the first running race I ever ran seriously was a marathon...I tend to start with something not exactly sensible!) Perhaps because I wear simple silhouettes - trousers (slim or at the other extreme, wide leg), pencil skirts, classic shirts, blouses, shirtwaisters), I quickly realized that I only needed a few patterns to be able to do, more or less, everything that I want to do. For pants, Burda offers great value for money and so with a few of those magazines I haven't wanted for pants patterns. Now I'm experimenting with redrafting things myself.

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  19. That statement is the antithesis of my thoughts about sewing and pattern. I'm more of a, "Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving!" kind of person b/c I'm front and center at the banquet. Like sewing books, patterns are a small bundle of teaching techniques, but these are stuffed into an envelope. Especially with designer patterns, especially vintage ones, unexpected style lines and interesting techniques abound.

    It all depends on how and why one sews. For me, I'm interested in getting inspired to try something new, always. That keeps me sewing. I do sew to produce a wardrobe, but that's not the whole picture. I've got to keep moving, like a shark, not settling on one thing. In the process, the experience is rich, varied and keeps me coming back.

    Do I draft? Not really. I modify. Sometimes I'm in full Frankenpattern mode, sometimes only subtle changes are made. When I see a designer who intrigues, like Issey Miyake classics, I follow, blindly, to discover where on earth he's going to take me.

    I sew to satisfy my clothing curiosity and my meandering ways are perfect for me.

    Vive la difference.

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  20. When I started sewing 11 years ago it was so that I could make cloth diapers for my then baby (He is so big now!). I then progressed into making nursing shirts (using existing garments as patterns) and slings. I didn't buy any patterns because my budget was zilch. About 6 years ago I bought a couple of the See in Sew patters and New Looks for under $5. I then went out on a limb and bought a Simplicity dress pattern that I was drooling over because it was so perfect for full price. I did not know about pattern sales. Sadly I purchased it in the wrong size. When I finally figured out how the pattern sales work - coming out about every month- I started buying patterns. Now I have about hundreds. I bought patterns that I may or may not sew, I bought patterns for pretty pictures I bought patterns that were similar but from different companies and designers so that I could compare their methods. When I figured out that just because a pattern looks similar does not mean that the techniques are the same, I gave myself permission to buy whatever I thought might help me grow my skills. At a bit under 300 patterns I am pretty satisfied now with my collection. I don't feel very motivated to buy patterns for the past couple of releases and I think that it is because I have reached a saturation level. I have patterns for most things I've ever wanted to sew. I imagine I will still buy a few patterns every once in a while but I feel pretty sated. I have seen many people list collections in the same 250-300 range and I am wondering if maybe others feel their collections are pretty complete when they reach this range.

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    1. Haha..the McCall's Early Spring 2016 may have me eating crow on not wanting to add to my stash. Here is my review: http://fiberpatternandlove.blogspot.com/2015/12/mccalls-early-spring-2016.html

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  21. I have so many patterns that I can't even talk about it. I don't see me stopping anytime soon though. I've got the pattern disease really bad.

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  22. I'm NOT crazy???!!! I'm really not crazy for loving patterns?? Oh, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart! RSmith

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  23. I have boxes and boxes and boxes of patterns; I used to work at a fabric store and took the discarded patterns, that is when the big 4 culled their inventory we were to send back empty envelopes and the patterns themselves went into the garbage. Reading this post has pushed me, to now, put them in the garbage as they will never be made by me. I like to sew 'stand out designs' that you could make only once or maybe twice if you had very different fabric from the first iteration. So I don't have an overwhelming number of current patterns.

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  24. I have patterns enough to sew for many lifetimes. Living in the US, and with access to both Joann and Hancock, those patterns sales are a mixed blessing. I sometimes buy patterns for simple modifications because, well, plainly put, it makes more sense from a time standpoint to just buy the pattern on sale, than take the time to draft it out myself. OTOH, those sales make it way too easy to fill the space with patterns I most likely will never make, which ends up being a waste of money, time, and space, especially if I don't look at them once they are filed away, or they don't fit my real life. And I hate to think how many are basically the same pattern, just a different company label, number and picture on the envelope. I really need a better inventory system!

    I'm working very hard on changing my ways. If a pattern has a minor modification, or if it isn't my style but is just interesting, I save the pattern envelope image. No more dress patterns unless they have a huge "how did they do that?" factor or could be used as a top. The other exception is if it has many favorable reviews regarding drafting & fit, from a wide range of sewers, especially those who need to make alterations.

    Oh - I just remembered - I also have a Bonfit patterner, the Lutterloh and FIT with Dusan systems, all as yet unused. All are victims of my overestimation of my time and energy to get them out and use them, and my gullibility for wild promises of fitting miracles.

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    1. Sometime when there is bounty it is easy to be overwhelmed, with paralysis setting in not much later. Kudos to you for making the effort to get things a little more under control. I think we all get a bit over enthusiastic with our creative ideas. Good luck with your journey.

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  25. Those sales can be very enticing, but I try to buy only those that have interesting details and I still buy too many! I also have years of Burda pattern magazine that is very useful, especially for combining patterns.
    This summer I gave a ton of patterns to a pattern swap and carefully did not look for anything for myself!
    I've been learning to draft patterns and that's a great way to save money. Sort of. I've paid for all of those Craftsy classes!

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