Translating ideas into reality.

Like most sewers, I have a huge stash of fabric. When our fabulous local fabric shop closed last December, I went in and bought up more fabric than I care to admit for future projects. Sewers, you know how this is.  I mean, it was half off or better and some great fabrics!

Fast forward, and I understand from catalogs and fashion writers that corduroy is having a ‘moment’ this season. (I also hear leopard print is having a so-called moment, but when has it NOT been having a ‘moment’? Or is that just at my house?) And it would so happen that among the fabrics I scooped up at last year’s going out of business sale were some fabulous cords. At the time, I had a few visions of what I wanted to make with them and to be honest, I’ve kept an eye out for patterns that would help me fulfill this vision for the better part of the last year to no avail. But the news that corduroy was having a moment gave me hope I could find what I was looking for in the patterns coming for fall.

Let me state here that I’m not a sewer who is good at adapting patterns. Nor am I good at drafting my own patterns beyond a simple A–line skirt for myself.  I’ve tried drafting patterns from existing items of clothing I like and failed miserably at it. While I’m good at envisioning what fabric yardage can be far easier than I can with yarn & knitting, I still need good old fashioned paper patterns with explicit instructions to guide me.

I spent the better part of my weekend – hours Friday and Saturday nights and a huge chunk of Sunday – going down all sorts of rabbit holes on the interwebs looking for patterns to fulfill the visions I have for the fabric I have on hand.  Am I the only to think it shouldn’t be this hard?

First of all, most of the sewing pattern websites – the big ones and the indies – can be hard to navigate. I would love to be able to type in what sort of fabric I want to use and what sort of pattern I’m looking for and have my search narrowed down to a few selections rather than having to navigate all three hundred something dress patterns on a website to figure out none of them will work. Can someone get on this please?

Secondly, can we please add 70’s vintage to the vintage patterns offered by manufacturers? Because I realized what I was looking for was a 70’s vintage pattern at some point Sunday afternoon, thanks to these images I found after switching up my google search for the umpteenth time. Unfortunately, the jumper in question – a vintage dress on Etsy –  wasn’t a pattern, nor was it even a dress in my size that I could purchase and use as a basis for making myself the dress I envisioned.

How is it that corduroy is supposedly ‘in’ for this winter and there is nary a pattern available for home sewers? Are they considered that un-hip? Why does it take the home sewing industry SO LONG to catch up to what’s going on in the rest of the fashion industry? And look at that dress in the images above – this wasn’t some fancy thing, it’s a pretty basic silhouette that has some classic lines. I didn’t think it would SO HARD to find a pattern for a garment like that. The other garment I had envisioned in my head, I have a few versions of hanging in my closet that were mass manufactured and purchased in stores and I had a heck of a time finding a good pattern for that too.

In the end, I eventually found two patterns in the ‘vintage’ section of Simplicity’s website that fit the bill. But it took three days of crawling down various rabbit holes on the internet to find them – and I’m not at all sure that I could have found them by going to Joann’s (the only option in town) and looking in the big pattern books. And I did look at a number of indie pattern websites – I had hoped they had the answer I was looking for, so I was a bit bummed they didn’t. I’m also slightly nervous about the whole ‘download’ a pattern thing – can one of you more experienced at this thing please fill me in on how this works? Do I piece together a bunch of 8 1/2″ x 11″ pieces of paper from my printer? Do I have to scale them? Are there instructions to make that process easier or is it hit and miss? At this point, that process overwhelms me to the point that I end up ruling out any downloadable clothing patterns because the whole process seems like a skill set in itself that I’m probably lacking.  Can one of you who have done this before fill me in please? Thanks.

Okay. Enough whining. I did, eventually, find some patterns. And I did find some cool indie pattern sites that I have bookmarked for future projects (men’s cabana wear, I’ve been looking for you for eons!). I will be sure to let you know it goes. In the meantime, I clearly had too many thoughts on this to just make it a facebook post. I know, I’ve been absent here – too much life going on and most of it fits easily into facebook and instagram posts. But just for kicks, I’ll close out with a garden picture taken last week.

It would seem my October garden, while slightly shabby looking, is pumping out tomatoes like it’s July. Given that I got zero tomatoes in July thanks to the great June deer garden massacre, I’ll take it. (and just for kicks, here’s a link to the deer proofing garden article that I wrote last summer in the thick of the battle, published last month in HOME magazine.)

6 thoughts on “Translating ideas into reality.

    • Becky says:

      Mine got eaten to the ground in June by the deer, then heavily munched on in July – it was September before the deer and the squirrels left me anything. Next year I really am going to have to put up a fence.

  1. Thrift at Home says:

    You know, if Ravely can make it possible to search patterns by so many different ways, surely someone could make it possible to search sewing patterns the same way.

    As for downloading and printing, I have done it a few times and I don’t like it at all. I’d much rather buy a printed pattern and cut it out! I’ve ended up cutting and taping 81/2x11s and that is a pain. I never had problems with the scale being off, but I’ve seen instructions in various places for settings you need to be sure to check on your printer. sighhhhhh

    Good luck with your corduroy! I’ve sewn with corduroy before, but I guess it was lightweight enough that I used a regular pattern and didn’t modify anything.

    • Becky says:

      I’ve sewn with corduroy before – unfortunately, the patterns I was most drawn to for this project all called for very lightweight fabrics with good drape, which is most decidedly not corduroy. And I didn’t want a whole bunch of princess seams, as that can get bunchy with corduroy.
      Thanks for the answer on the printing them at home. I feel much better about my Luddite self.
      Yes, we need a Ravelry for sewing!

  2. Patience says:

    I had no idea that corduroy was having a moment! Years ago, I made smocked corduroy dresses for my daughters. That was quite an undertaking.
    I am also intimidated by downloading patterns. I know somewhere, there is a tutorial on how to do it and get all the pieces to scale. It’s not something I’d attempt on my home printer, but maybe a print shop could do it. I think you’d still need to tape a bunch of pieces of paper together and then trace it all yourself onto something else.

    • Becky says:

      I read it in a catalog – can’t remember which one. At any rate, smocking corduroy would definitely be a challenge! Hence my hunt for a simple pattern that I could use with corduroy. They finally arrived the other day, so I hope to get sewing soon!

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