Friday, March 22, 2013

Are You a Pattern Follower?

In my experience, there are often 2 types of sewers. Those who follow patterns (and the accompanying instructions) and those who don't. Each often freak out at sewing using the method they are not used to.   Or are at least much less comfortable. Hand up anyone? Mine is up right now!

I am a pattern follower. I always have been since way back when I started sewing at about age 11. My mum always followed patterns and produced beautiful garments that looked as good as store bought items. She taught me how to sew, so naturally, I learnt to follow patterns. In home-ec at high school, I was taught to follow patterns. To me, it was just the way you should sew.

Fast forward 10 or 15 years to my discovery of sewing tutorials and patterns on the internet. I discovered what I'm sure are literally hundreds of thousands of tutorials, free patterns, instructions, etc. on countless, various sewing projects. My eyes were opened to people who simply made up their own patterns by tracing around a garment they already owned, and then sewed it up without any instructions whatsoever. It still boggles my mind now as to how they just go for it and manage to produce a fantastic looking garment that actually fits and looks good!

Over the last year or two, I have been inspired to try creating my own patterns and it has certainly been a challenge for me. I have had to do a lot of research on sewing techniques and quickly expand my knowledge and skill base in order to create what I want. I have mostly been successful so far but it sure feels like a lot of hard work. It takes me ages to figure out everything in my head and how best to do it, let alone getting the right shape pattern.

I am currently trying to cement the basic construction of garments in my mind in order to help me with pattern creation and just speed up sewing in general. Because I have always followed patterns, and I find it so much quicker and easier to do so, I have never really remembered the order of how to sew up something more complex than a simple pair of shorts. I really have to think hard about what I should do first and the logical order of steps.

I'm working on shorts for my boys with pockets set into the side seams. Boy am I learning a lot! My seam ripper is getting a lot of use right now! haha This morning, I sewed the pocket flaps onto the sides and then sewed the side seams and inside pocket edge, only to discover that I had sewn the two front pieces together and the two back pieces together at the side seams! (I was meant to sew one front piece to one back piece) After ripping the seams out, I went to match up the front and back pieces so I could sew the side seams properly and discovered that I didn't have the pocket flaps sewn on at the same level! And that is when this morning's project was put aside. lol I'll pick it up as soon as I have another break while Sam is sleeping.

Even though it has been frustrating and is not coming together quickly, I am definitely learning and remembering how to construct shorts with side pockets! I have no idea why this is so difficult when I can do this by following a pattern just fine! I guess it's just not the way I am wired.

So, are you a pattern follower? Or do you just go for it and sew? I would love to hear your stories about your sewing adventures! :-)

Oh! And don't forget to check out the giveaway I have running at the moment! Happy sewing!!


  1. this was an awesome read Ash. I am definitely not a pattern follower. And you're right - it's a much harder, longer road to try and work it out yourself - but that's all part of the fun. I'm also not a recipe follower... i have good intentions and start out like that, but ALWAYS change something! Not always for the better either! :P

    1. That's one of the things that gets me too - the extra time it takes to work it out for myself. I want things made quick! lol If I follow a pattern, I can usually get good results pretty quickly. I get frustrated trying to figure it out myself and making mistakes along the way and I really have to force myself to persevere.

      I am in awe of your ability to work sewing/crafty things out yourself! You come up with beautiful ideas. Your hard work is definitely worth it! :-)


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