Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sew Frugal: One Pattern, Six Ways

Okay, I admit it, I'm a bit of a pattern snob.  I just got so completely FED UP with patterns that, well, let's say, left so much to the imagination.  For example, I don't like playing guessing games to determine exactly which way a pattern designer intends for me to attach a sleeve to a bodice, or construct a placket.  I'm not a very intuitive person; if I have to guess, I'm usually going to be wrong.  Therefore, I purchase very few major name patterns.  Don't get me wrong, it's tempting.  Especially when a certain chain craft store in my neighborhood puts them on sale for $ .99 each.  Luckily, I have found some independent pattern designers who create fabulous children's clothing patterns.  Some of them even have detailed instructions, imagine that!  Downside?  They are pricey.  Like, between $12 and $16.  This is especially difficult for a thrifty girl like myself to digest.  Solution?  Well, I have several, but one is to make the absolute most of each pattern I purchase. 

The first step is to never, absolutely NEVER cut a pattern.  Most patterns are printed with 4-12 different sizes on one sheet.  If you cut into it, you are limiting yourself to using only one size.  Very impractical if you are sewing for children.  Instead, trace your patterns onto tracing paper or freezer paper, and then cut them out.  Yes, this process is tedious, but totally worth it in my opinion.

Next, cut out your fabric, sew up your garment, and try it on the intended recipient.  Make note of any changes to the pattern you will make for next time (for example, adding length to a skirt, or bringing in the bodice).

Okay, now for the best and really frugal part.  Create new and slightly different variations of the same pattern.  Boring, you say?  Repetitive?  Well, take a look at several examples of different outfits I created from the same pattern.  The Olivia Top:

Short sleeves, extra rows of shirring across chest.  Dress length.

Short sleeves, three rows of shirring across neck and waist (for "bubble effect").

 Long sleeves, three rows of shirring across neck and waist.

 Long sleeves, extra rows of shirring across chest and back. No shirring along bottom.  Tunic length. 

 Long sleeves, 3 rows of shirring at neck. Long shirt length.

Long sleeves, shirring at neck and high waist; long below.

Overall, I'm happy with the variety of outfits my Pink Fig pattern has enabled me to produce for my daughter.  For a purchase price of approximately $12, that's $2 per outfit, plus the cost of fabric, of course.  Not bad, especially when considering I'll be making the Olivia Top for years to come.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Easter Dress 2010

This is a dress I made for the girl last spring.  I used an Oliver + S pattern called the Birthday Party dress.  I LOVE Oliver + S patterns because the directions and pictures are comprehensive and clear; I rarely use my seam ripper! I learn something new each time I sew one of these patterns. Also, they are just such classic designs; and there are even some nice options for boys. For this dress, I chose the ribbon option instead of the buttoned tab and love how it turned out.  Very feminine and spring-y.  Adding the ric-rack at the bottom was a great finishing touch.

Hopping on the Band Wagon

Okay, so I'm starting a blog.  Not a minor accomplishment for a technologically challenged individual like myself.  My motivation comes mainly from my desire to create a visual record of my sewing projects, but I'm sure my ramblings will include a sprinkling of events related to my current developmental phase that I like to refer to as, "Stay at Home Mom of two children, Wife to one terrific guy, (very) Part-time self-employed counselor who's trying to make it all work while glorifying my Savior." Here goes nothing...