Wednesday, June 6, 2018

How to get the most out of PatternReview

I admit that I have a love/hate relationship with PatternReview.  It has so many features which are terrific, an incredible number of members, and it is a dynamic place to be.  It also moves at warp speed, it is clique-y, it tempts me to buy patterns I don't need, and may cost a little bit of money (I have a paid membership).

I don't want to be reasonable here so if you get bothered by my rant, know that I am usually very nice. OK, fair warning.

I smile at some posters on PatternReview forums who have a LOT to say about how to sew, or what is a good design, or take umbrage at someone else's opinion.  They may, in fact, be advanced or couture seamstresses, but I can't tell because...they don't EVER review anything!  

I never see their work.  They do not publish reviews on PatternReview or on a blog.  They just come onto the forums and yammer.  Who are they?  PR exists to review patterns-so we can all benefit from one another.  I find it weird that some sewists would not want to include reviews of their own work.  Perhaps they do not want to photograph themselves.  

Some people include photos of their work on dressforms, which is fine but I prefer seeing the clothing on a live model.  Which brings up the next mini tizzy--->

PatternReview is not a fashion magazine.  It really isn't necessary to wear full makeup, shapewear, and arrange pro lighting to show us the McCall's dress which you sewed.  I bet you would still get comments if you took a pic in your backyard.   In fact, it is easier to see the details of clothing if the person is not contorted.  
VS   


Why do I stay if these things annoy me?  Because PR is a GREAT resource.  

1.  113,930 reviews as of today
2.  Links to 100's of pattern companies, new and established.
3.  Online classes at reasonable rates, and good support for questions during classes.  
4.  Patterns are available for purchase, and copyshop printing is offered for a small fee.
5.  Sewing machine and notion reviews are found there-another way to expand your knowledge!
6.  FoPR (Friends of PR=paid) access to their own pattern catalog, fabric catalog, and an online project queue which includes links.  
7. A community of like-minded people is developed through the forums, the message center, and contests.  


I have been a member for 11 years and really appreciate the generosity of members, and the chance to become friends with many people around the globe.  


I've been sewing quite a bit.  M7200B is a great pattern for summer coverups.  This is made from rayon challis, a fabric from hell.  I used a size small and did not do any petite adjustments.  The sleeves are at a good length for me so I did not include the bands.  I'd normally wear this with a long dress or pants, but this works.  
I am also working on a shirtdress, based on the Florence shirt from Sewing Workshop.  I have lengthened it and changed the sleeves. I think it will be a great dress and am looking forward to sewing another version.  I still need to finish the sleeves and make buttonholes.  Here it is, on my dressform.  

Finally, we have a new member of Sunkist Stables-meet Diego.



33 comments:

  1. Ah, the HORSE I can relate to! ;-)

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    1. haha. He's a cute little sprite, and all the horses are excited to have a baby around. We have one more mare in foal and she is due sometime in the next week or so. We also have a stallion on the property...who has been well behaved so far!

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  2. I checked out pattern review several years ago and decided it wasn't for me. I much prefer reading sewing blogs like yours and get inspired from those posted garments and their reviews. It is much more relatable IMHO. I like your new garments and the new paint horse - such a cutie! Karen

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    1. Yes, I agree that blogs are just more personal. Probably more honest and reliable too :-) There is no shapewear in this blog! I'll give Diego a hug for you.

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  3. I lost all focus at the sight of the baby horse but I suspect that when I calm down I will be very interested in the kimono jacket/vest. I have the perfect fabric....

    ceci

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    1. What fabric are you thinking of? I am going to make another, but in jersey I think.

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  4. I find the format of PR very chaotic. It needs a major redesign. I’m sure it just evolved over the years to its present state, but I have a hard time navigating and it just hurts my eyes. Needless to say I don’t spend much time there.!
    Beautiful little horse!

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    1. It is far too busy! I know it through and through but it still seems chaotic to me also.

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  5. Guilty as charged! I used to post reviews with pictures on my dress form. I don't like pictures of my older self. I sew a ton of stuff that I love, but I hate the pictures. I'll do better and start posting reviews. Pinky Promise

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    1. ah, that's ok. I'm just being grouchy. :-)

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  6. Baby horses are just darn wonderful - their manes so soft and delicate. Thanks for sharing that.
    I like PR for mostly the pattern reviews.I tend to stay away from forums in general for mostly the reasons you mentioned.And if I need help with something. Written directions can overwhelm me, so I tend to look for videos as well as step by step directions. It can be so hard to convey what knowledge you have in writing....know what I mean?

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    1. Definitely...I love videos or illustrations. Thank goodness for YouTube.

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  7. Love your jacket! Why do I always think that the jacket is supposed to be "neutral"? I love the look of a solid colour topped with a print.
    As for PR - I hardly ever post. Why? Because I ran into a few issues way back when with posting and got scared off. Also, I tend to rehash the same old pattern a dozen different ways, and I just assumed that the whole idea is to post your first make of a pattern - doesn't look to be so. I'll just stick to my blog for the most part - it's my territory and I do what I want, even if sporadically.

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    1. I agree! Your blog is an inspiration to me and you wear your clothing so well.

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  8. Like others I don't stray past the reviews which I find useful on the whole Agree that blogs are better and I read blogs for general interest - my version of the gossip magazine! (I use both if researching a specific pattern.) I do feel an obligation to contribute my own pattern reviews albeit in a sporadic way. It seems with the relative anonymity of the internet there are always those who consider they have the right to make unconstructive comments without putting themselves out there and subject to the same risk.

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    1. Yes, exactly. I actually sew much more than I review, but do feel an obligation to add some reviews from time to time. I haven't seen you at PR much lately...we must hang out in different "rooms".

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  9. At one point I did many reviews on PR. I have found it a great resource for reviews and connecting with other sewists. The site itself grates me much at times, however. It is so dated, so hard to read and just ugly to look at. Some of its board monitors can be a bit overbearing. The whole debacle over Melania Trump's dress really bugged me, not the dress or Melania but how the thread was shut down and pulled. At least on the Vogue site the posts are frozen, very rarely removed. I get that the "owner" has the right to run the site as she wishes, it is just so ugly, however. I am one who hasn't posted a review in a while but with life circumstances I haven't sewn a single thing in the past year until this week. That is changing and I am now back to sewing and blogging. While on hiatus, PR was an easy connect with other sewists.

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    1. Hi Bunny! I was NOT referring to you, but to some newer members who are always there with a comment. Your work in heirloom sewing and general garment sewing is so beautiful. I admire your attention to detail and precision. I hope your life is smoothing out somewhat.

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  10. I agree with your comment about PR posters who say a lot but never review anything. There is a lot of good info but sometimes I find myself trying to absorb all the info and forget why I was there in the first place - to check out reviews, etc. I also prefer photos on a live model, not a dress form. Oh well . . . . I've not been sewing much recently and peruse PR for motivation. Sometimes it works and sometimes, not.

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    1. Motivation waxes and wanes...I consider that a natural cycle due to creativity and focus. Sometimes we need to fill up with other stuff.

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  11. PR was the first place I found other sewers...online or otherwise...and it opened up a whole new world for me. For starters, I thought I was the only person who couldn't get sewing patterns to fit like RTW, so I loved hearing how other people found the patterns before I started working on them. I have contributed reviews on and off over the year, depending on what is happening in the rest of my life. I have never spent much time on the boards, I didn't realise they were even there for a long time. I do like the competitions and discussion boards that go along with those when my sewing mojo needs a lift. Yes the site is ugly, but it is still useful.

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    1. Oh, that is funny about not noticing the boards for some time. :-) I love the competitions because of the challenge and the sharing.

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  12. Love love love that horse.
    I used to read PR and gave up awhile ago. Horrible design and too much dreck to wade through.

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    1. Isn't that the cutest little foal? He is going to be a knockout. We are hoping his right front straightens a bit...he was stuck during birth and it is still kinked. The farrier is making specialty shoes to help.

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  13. I still look at Pattern review. I don't know of any alternative so I suppose the criticisms of its design etc go over the top of my head. I have heard that ravelry has a good site but I don't knit. I did post a few reviews on the site but it used to take me an hour especially trying to get the photos to work so I stopped. I prefer to use my time in other ways. Baby animals never fail to delight. A clever way to end your post ! PS I love seeing what you have made and I agree about the photos of what has been made. Doesn't have to be fancy.

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    1. Thank you Janine. I will try to include more babies :-)

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  14. I agree with some of what you've said. I still enjoy looking at my daily digest (I'm a paid member - even though a lot of the benefits of paying don't work outside US). I agree some members are as you describe. My biggest gripe is the review star system - it's hard to find out which patterns were bad. I enjoy the communication and the contests though I haven't had time to participate in those on recent months. I still say 'long live PR' though it does need a major overhaul.

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    1. Anne, you are such a dedicated and impressive seamstress and I enjoy looking at your work. I do agree with the analysis of the star system. It needs tweaking, and members need to follow the expectations.

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    2. The star system needs a review too. Some reviews are so brief and uphelpful but get a very helpful rating. Apparently you lose points if people give you less than a very helpful rating. I noticed that the popular reviewers were more likely to get this rating even if their reviews were very brief.

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  15. I gave up on pattern review a couple of years ago. Mostly because I was having problems uploading photos. I spent numerous attempts to upload, and couldn't. So I did not see the point in adding reviews. Now I tag my blog with the pattern number that I have written about. I prefer blogs as well - although the number of sewing bloggers has dropped off. That doesn't bother me, it means I can engage more fully with those that are still blogging, such as yourself. And as everyone else has said - the youngster is delightful.

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    1. I think your approach is very wise. Keep up your documentation and maintain a core group of readers. We are the old school bloggers...those who are not going for sponsorship.

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    2. Same here Sarah Liz , the photo issue is very problematic.

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  16. the dress version of Florence. so clever and cute!

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