Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sewing Books with Patterns

Even though I have cut out 3 muslins and have a pair of pants waiting for a zipper, I'm prowling through a stack of books with patterns the library bought within the past 5 years.

Are books with patterns a new fashion  in publishing? Some have three patterns from current catalogs and show enough variations to make life interesting. Are the patterns ever used by humans? Do they stay pristinely folded in their cardboard envelopes? I have 3 from earlier eras, all unused, plus several British books that require you to create gridded sheets and then to copy patterns. I lust for some of those fashions, but drawing grids is not my idea of fun.

 Each of the current batch has something I want to test. Sew U from Built by Wendy has a pair of pants I want to test. Sew U Home Stretch has a batch of dresses I'd like in anything but knits. Sew Serendipity by Kay Whitt speaks to me the loudest because she mixes fabrics  the way I used to. I may have to buy this book.

Although these are library books, there is no sign that anyone actually traced a pattern. They are still in their original folds. I did trace part of the pants from Built by Wendy's Sew U, but the printing on  Kay Whitt's patterns is so pale I can't see through the tissue to trace it.  Scary, eh? The one with a CD, Make Your Own Clothes, has been used.

I'm astounded, because pasting patterns together is horrible. Way back in the early 90s  I bought expensive pattern drafting software and entered data hopefully.  It took 2 days to align all the pieces of paper, and when I finished, I noted somewhat grumpily that less than 1/4 of each sheet had been printed on. I never made the blouse. What lunatic would offer free pattern making software with a book?

Easy-fit pants, they offered me. You all know how I feel about pants patterns. Just drop in your measurements, it said. And I did. The result looked pretty much like the bizarre drawings I come up with when I try to draft a pattern. "Watch our video on how to print." I couldn't. It wanted outmoded Adobe flash, and wouldn't work with  the latest. If it had worked, I would have known how to move pattern pieces closer together to save paper. I told it to print anyway. The printer spat out only 24 pieces of paper, labeling them by row and column. 

The glue-together laps are only 1/16th of an inch! Wonderful! I tried using a glue stick, but it doesn't hold for long enough to get the pattern together. Tape. It took less than an hour to put all the pieces together, even with the cats helping.

The pants pattern I printed is for an elastic waist. We'll see. There are more tailored looks, including jeans and an incredible short jacket.

You can have free pattern making software from PatternMaker because they want you to buy the deluxe package after trying the free version. If you mix and match pattern pieces like I do, the idea of having a pattern that actually fits to try up against the new ones is irresistible.