On Sewing Patterns

Sometimes I feel a bit lonely. There are lots of people who sew in the world — lots and lots — but most of them use store-bought patterns. Given that I am growing colder towards store-bought patterns, I am also finding myself feeling more and more isolated from the sewing community at large.

I can’t help it. The more I try to use purchased sewing patterns, the more I hate them. It’s the little things that get to me: the nonsensical design choices, the mislabeled pieces, the obvious laziness of a giant corporation that just wants to make money, and the way that patterns are drastically overpriced to begin with. Not to mention, they’re just so darn limiting.

Since the huge majority of the sewing community uses store-bought patterns, I am having a very difficult time finding blogs done by people who, like me, design their own clothing from the ground up. Most of the blogs that I have found are no longer updated. This saddens me, because I want to find people with whom I can relate, exchange tips and techniques, and just share the common interest with.

With each passing day, I grow more and more aware that I am in a bubble. Is it really so odd for a housewife to design her own clothing?

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12 thoughts on “On Sewing Patterns

  1. May I direct you to this http://agoodwardrobe.com/2011/12/22/independent-pattern-designers/
    and http://3hourspast.com/2012/07/18/introducing-cake-patterns/. Although these are designers and seamstresses who have started to design their own sewing patterns the links maybe helpful. I am drafting my own patterns but largely from pre-owned garments. I understand your frustration with the Big Pattern companies. I am learning the techniques to be able to see a garment or a drawing and making myself. With so many alterations I end up doing on commerical patterns, it’s like ‘why not’.

  2. It is not odd at all! For me, I have to use store-bought patterns since I have so much to still learn! However, people like yourself inspire me to keep growing in my sewing where one day I too can learn to sew without a pattern and start actually designing my own clothes! So keep blogging so I can learn! :)

  3. I’ve just started dressmaking so am starting out with bought patterns.
    Hopefully in the future I will progress to making my own, cos I’m not good at following other people’s rules lol
    Good luck in finding others designing their own clothing.

  4. No, it is not odd. The same feeling is what motivated me to learn how to draft my own patterns. It’s not an easy process and it takes about 2-3 years of practice to get into the mindset and develop the critical eye for designing from the basic pattern. I do encourage you to persevere and have patience. I know you have a small daughter to take care of so time for you might be limited right now but this is a goal you can achieve, even if you go in small increments. It’s hard to study theon one’s own so maybe if you have a school that offers courses part time you can try to attend.

  5. P.S. I too, got sick of the commercial patterns once they started including multiple sizes in one pattern and I had to figure out which lines to cut on for my size.

  6. I see your readers have left you with some good ideas to escape commercial patterns! You might also find this website interesting: http://www.diy-couture.co.uk/home.html along with Rosie Martin’s book “DIY Couture” which I just got from the public library. In general, the library also has a lot of books on pattern drafting so you can make your own patterns. You might also find books on draping interesting where the fabric is pinched, cut and pleated to fit your body and create a garment. The Renegade Seamstress (chicenvelopements.wordpress.com) also has some amazing ideas on reworking thrift store clothing. I like Crispina Ffrench’s approach to recycling sweaters into interesting clothing. She has a book called the Sweater Chop Shop (also available at libraries) and a website: crispina.com. Lots of simple patterns are based on rectangles and I have a book on making Japanese clothing (from a public library sale) that uses simple rectangles to make all kinds of interesting garments.

  7. I already own some books on pattern making and fabric manipulation, but thank you for your suggestions. I already have the resources on how its done — I just wish that I could find a community that does it.

  8. Unfortunately there is no Ravelry equivalent for sewing that has been successful. Lots of short-lived attempts. Maybe you need to start one of your own! Not Ravelry, but maybe a forum where you can exchange ideas with others. If you follow some tags and categories in WordPress, you will find some creative types you can connect with — try Dressmaking, Sewing, Pattern Making. Good luck!

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