Thursday, March 10, 2016

The power of repetition

How many of you make a pattern, and then even though your garment was fabulous, that pattern sits ignored while you go on to the next new pattern?

Me too.

In my quest to be more mindful in my craft and life, I have asked myself to use a pattern more than once.  Not just to improve it, but to use it.  Again and again.  

An example is the Quincy:

#1 version:


#2 version (actually just an alteration):


#3 version:
I added 3 inches to the length and included a tie instead of a zipper.  3/4 sleeves and sewed an xs-small. 


Two Quincy jackets in my spring and summer wardrobe which will be perfect for layering in AC or the hot sun.  I am not done yet because these jackets were made with second choice fabric.  In fact, the 3rd version is made from pillowcase linens and cottons I had cut and stored for a project!  I had to piece the fabric for the collar. 

Spending the time necessary to analyze the pattern, get feedback on the fit, try a simple alteration to the sleeves, and revisit the pattern again has benefits far beyond 2 light jackets.  I learned about the pattern draft for the sleeve and underarm, and why it may have been used; I learned again why certain silhouettes are flattering or not on me; I learned about color and what works together; I used what was available and thus was invited to be creative.  

I am currently making this shell (My Hearts A'Flutter) from Cutting Line Designs.  I'm enjoying the process and I know I will be making more of these as the weather warms up.  

I am interested to know how many of those reading use a pattern multiple times, and if you find it freeing to do so.  As we say in the classroom, talk amongst yourselves...

Mary

24 comments:

  1. I buy lots of patterns but YES I do use TNTs a lot.
    Vogue 8430
    Marcy Tilton's little jacket made 5 times.
    1. Grey boiled wool which I wear frequently.
    2. Alabama Chanin-inspired where I outline stitched a zebra-like pattern of a thin knit attached to a layer of wool beneath. I wanted a double-sided jacket. It turned out very well and I have worn it a lot. It is so comfortable and warm with that extra layer.
    3. Red linen for summer
    4. Blue linen-like poly for summer
    5. Black orchid boiled wool.

    Then there's the Burda dress which I made 12 times in various fabrics. Started out trying to be cool in hot weather and I thought a dress the only way to go. I was inspired by Tessuti's Lily Linen Dress and searched my stash for something similar. It was so successful, I couldn't stop. Spring is just around the corner and summer not far behind so I will probably make more of them.
    I altered the sleeve length, length of dress, recut the neckline and added pockets; either big patch pockets or inseam depending on the fabric.
    And also the Leisl waterfall coat from Butterick. I've made three of them and will make more. Started out with chiffon for a summer cover-up, made a boiled wool for winter and a reversible brocade for a fancy event. I love them all and they are utterly comfortable to wear. There are more in the pipeline.
    One thing with the coat is to measure the sleeve width. It's quite narrow. I had to add two inches to the boiled wool coat. Also added gigantic inseam pockets so I wouldn't lose my gloves!
    Vancouver Barbara

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    1. Barbara, 12 Burda dresses! excellent use of a pattern... I have 2-3 of some patterns but nowhere near 12.

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  2. Heavens yes on multiples. Once found out I had eleven blouses using the same pattern (an OOP Palmer and Pletsch) so I dug some fabric out of the stash and made it an even dozen. The Palmer and Pletsch jean jacket, also OOP, has been made four times; ditto for my favorite skirt/blouse set and lately, my tinkered with Boyfriend Jeans pattern from Bootstrap.
    Theresa in Tucson

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    1. Theresa, you are another person who sews in dozens :-)

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  3. Thanks for bringing this topic to the forefront. Like Vancouver Barbara and your current repetition of patterns, I reuse patterns consistently. For example, I have a shoulder princess seam jacket pattern that I use for a base and then I graft on whichever collar or sleeve details I want to try. I have a standard knit dress pattern & a woven dress pattern to which I make changes such as different necklines or adding shirt dress details. In sum, once the silhouette and fitting are right, I reuse a pattern to death!

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    1. Hi Brenda, yes, having a standard knit pattern and a standard woven pattern for dresses is something I do also. This year I will perfect my sheath TNT.

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  4. Absolutely I make patterns over and over again! When I like something, I indulge myself and make a bunch :-) I have well over 200 patterns, but haven't made even 50% of them...

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    1. I have watched you make and remake patterns so I knew you were a proponent of this style of sewing. As for the number of patterns...200 is my limit and I will glean as I get close. Many unused patterns are given away. :-)

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  5. Great post. Patterns are expensive here in the UK so I do like to try and get my money's worth. I ve used vogue 8750 4 times now. I love this skirt and it's becoming a personal challenge to try and make it different each time

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    1. Oh yes, we are spoiled in the US with the constant pattern sales. I just looked up V8750...what a cute skirt pattern.

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  6. Oh you know I do. If I like something I will make endless variations.
    Th only time I use a pattern once (assuming it is not a winter coat or something) is if the drafting or style is completely unflattering and not worth the effort to basically make a new pattern.
    I like the quincy top and would love to get back to it, and do it as a pullover or a half zip and a longer tunic length. Your versions look wonderful. I want to know how that little tank works out!

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    1. The tank is done and super nice. I will probably add a bit for my side boobs in the next version. The neckline is higher than I normally wear but I think it looks more polished with a higher neckline.
      Your idea of a pullover Quincy is genius...stealing it.

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    2. Steal away. I am not in love with collars so have no problem ditching that. Might be cute done with a little drafted hoodie. I like that armhole and little pleat/gather.
      Go linen with it, I bet it could even be done kaftan length .

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  7. I've used V1247 so many times that I know the number off by heart - the only pattern that I do know. I could practically make the skirt with my eyes closed and just know that it will fit.
    However, of course I have patterns that were made once and some that haven't even made it out of the envelope.
    Your jacket is a really useful item to add to your wardrobe and good for you for using 'other' fabrics too. Lovely.

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    1. V1247 is one of my "someday" patterns. I love the skirt and the top looks like a fun fitting puzzle.

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  8. Made many Hearts a Flutter tops - always seem to return to it over and over again. I need to quit buying patterns and just develop the ones I like and already have. (She says as she is waiting on 4 new spring patterns from Peggy Sagers at Silhouette Patterns.....)

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  9. I like your newest Quincy! Yes, I do use patterns over. I have definite TNT patterns. But I don't feel like I *have* to use a pattern more than once.

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    1. Thanks shams...I'd love to have a wardrobe of TNT but I do enjoy trying new patterns.

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  10. Yes, of course I reuse patterns. I have tweaked my t-shirt pattern (Pamela's Patterns) to the nth degree and lost count of the t-shirts, dresses and tunics that I've made from it. On the other hand - there are those patterns which were bought with great enthusiasm, but sit unused. It seems so much easier to just use/change details on a pattern I know than to deal with all the unknowns of a new pattern and a pattern company that is also new to me.
    Your jacket looks absolutely fabulous! I have a few SW patterns sitting around that I really need to pull out of their envelopes! You've inspired me.

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  11. I have some patterns I've made lots of (the Jalie shrug 9 times, the NL 6843 A-line skirt 8 times at least...) but usually I flit from one pattern to the next, which is a real shame, because I think it would be awesome to really spend time on a pattern, getting all the techniques down, by making it over and over again.

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  12. The longer I sew, the more I find myself making the same pattern over again with slight variations for each. If I've worked hard to trace, add seam allowances and tweak the fit.... it just makes sense to make that garment at least twice, if I really like the pattern. I've made 5 Ottobre no. 14 pants, maybe 5+ Deer & Doe Plantains, 2 Burda #120 jackets, so many NL6735 tops I've lost count.... ! All your jacket versions are cute and I like the way you used the word 'invited' into creativity when we maybe don't have on hand exactly what we want. :)

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  13. Mary, sometimes I use a pattern once, and then that's it. But often I make more than once - especially if it is something I love to wear and that works for me and my lifestyle. And it also makes for simple sewing when you need to build wardrobe basics. We all need to simple sewing to relax with sometimes.

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  14. Mary, I am so BAD!!! I do find a pattern I really like, and use it multiple times.. but will buy 3-4 new ones, and they may sit in my sewing room for years... I have been telling myself, to not buy any new patterns, use what I have!!! ha
    Love that jacket.. Looks good on you.

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