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  1. #1
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    Are some sewing patterns easier to follow than others?

    I've just been wondering.

    I've taken up sewing and have had a few lessons (I made some pants! Whoo-ee!).

    I've just bought some sewing patterns because Spotlight was having a 1/2 price sale on all paper patterns. They are Simplicity patterns, very basic, and seem easy enough to follow.

    I've heard some pattern companies' patterns are difficult to read and I'm wondering if any experienced sewers could steer me in the right direction?Are any particular patterns more difficult to follow than others? Some I should stay away from as a beginner sewer?

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  3. #2
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    YES!

    some patterns are extremely poorly written and tell you to do things in the most convoluted and ass-backwards way possible. "easy" patterns tend to have especially weird construction.

    i don't use a lot of patterns, but i tried to follow a Burda pattern for a shirt once and it was horribly designed and had crappy instructions.

    my favorite patterns in terms of design and quality directions are Folkwear, but they are expensive and only have a limited range of styles. the patterns are worth it though. they're on actual paper instead of that invisible tissue junk, and you can actually follow the directions and come out with a garment that looks like the one on the package.

  4. #3
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    I've never really noticed myself. But then again, I learned to sew back in the mid-late 70's, when there was nothing available like the "Sewing for Dummies" or "Easy" patterns.
    I think it'd be interesting to take one of the "Easy" patterns, and a similar style regular pattern and see how the instruction stack up.
    I've defeinitely been known to just say screw it w/ pattern instructions and make a go of it on my own. Once you understand the what the basic order of construction is for tops, pants, skirts, etc., it's pretty easy to wing it on your own. Everything else is down to technique.

  5. #4
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    i guess the technique instructions are what get to me. they will tell you how to put in a zipper or sew down a facing in the most difficult and annoying fashion conceivable.

    i learned to sew from my mom, who was a production seamstress for years, so i learned the easiest and fastest ways to do things and end up with a professional finish.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sewlittletime
    Once you understand the what the basic order of construction is for tops, pants, skirts, etc., it's pretty easy to wing it on your own. Everything else is down to technique.
    I'm taking sewing lessons at the moment (did I already mention that?) so I'm learning to make garments using pattern pieces but without following the instruction sheet, which I think will serve me well.

    Stella, I heard that about Burda patterns too. But maybe it's also just the individual taste of the sewer?

  7. #6
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    I spent so many years following pattern instructions exactly, thinking they were an absolute authority. If the finished product didn't fit or turn out right, obviously something must have been terribly wrong with my sewing skills, my body, or both.

    I've only recently learned a secret: Most commercial sewing patterns are imperfect at best, seriously flawed at worst. Not only do they start out designed to fit one specific body (the fit model's), the different sizes are then generated by a computer program that simply makes everything bigger or smaller, rather than adjusting for the parts of the human body that tend to grow and those that don't. (Just because a size 18's boobs are much bigger than a size 6, for instance, that doesn't mean the shoulders are proportionally that much wider too.)

    The solution (that they never tell you): It's okay - in fact, almost always necessary - to make adjustments on the pattern beyond the official "lengthen or shorten here". It's fine to cut different sizes on a multi-sized pattern if you're, say, a 12 on top and a 16 on the bottom. The beauty of sewing your own clothes is that no one ever has to know what number corresponds to any part of your body - all that's seen is that your clothes actually fit well. The more sewing experience you get, the more you'll get to recognize where and how you usually need to alter.

    Most important is to go by your own measurements, not the "size" you think you wear. Sewing patterns are sized differently from ready-to-wear clothes. Measure yourself, know what those numbers are, and buy whatever pattern matches them. Be prepared - it'll likely be at least two "sizes" higher than you're used to. Just keep reminding yourself it's simply a different numbering system and that when you're wearing the clothes, no one will know anyway.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katrin
    Most important is to go by your own measurements, not the "size" you think you wear. Sewing patterns are sized differently from ready-to-wear clothes. Measure yourself, know what those numbers are, and buy whatever pattern matches them. Be prepared - it'll likely be at least two "sizes" higher than you're used to. Just keep reminding yourself it's simply a different numbering system and that when you're wearing the clothes, no one will know anyway.
    Yep, I found that out! :-)


 

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