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Pattern instructions: PDF or paper?

Pattern instructions: PDF or paper?

A couple of weeks ago, I put up a poll on my Instagram Stories. Along with the new pattern releases that are in the pipeline, I have been considering whether and how to offer paper patterns alongside the PDFs. I wasn’t sure whether, when people opt for paper patterns, the printed instructions booklet is as important as the printed pattern pieces. I can see environmental benefits of providing printed pattern pieces with a link to a PDF instructions booklet, but I also know that some people feel very strongly about having the whole package of printed documents! So, I asked the lovely people who follow me on Instagram.

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Named Isla Trench Coat: Part 1

Named Isla Trench Coat: Part 1

I have a long-running ‘wardrobe wishlist’ of core, classic pieces I want to make for my wardrobe. Many of the items feature on the usual ‘capsule wardrobe’ lists – you know: a pencil skirt, cigarette pants, a smart wool coat, the perfect white shirt, and so on. In fact, my search for a classic pencil skirt sewing pattern with all my ideal features led me to draft the first version of my Agnes Skirt sewing pattern.

Last summer, given the restrictions imposed in response to the Covid pandemic, like so many other people I spent a lot more time than usual at home. I started to think about working through that list again, and I found my eye drawn repeatedly to one item in particular: the trench coat. And so began a project that took almost six months to complete, but that I FINALLY finished in the last days of 2020! To be fair, I had to set the project aside for long periods within that six months, so in real terms this was probably more of a two-week kind of project. But, here we are!

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The process behind my patterns (Pt.1)

The process behind my patterns (Pt.1)

BEHIND THE SCENES: PREPARING NEW PATTERNS

For a long while, I didn’t think of myself as a designer. Before I started sewing, I didn’t even think of myself as particularly creative! But sewing, like many creative hobbies, has really shown me new sides to myself. In a sense, we sewists are all designers – because every time we sit down to a new project, the outcome derives from various design decisions WE make. The choice of pattern, fabric, print placement, fastening, pattern alterations, and even internal support mechanisms such as interfacings, all require you to create your own vision of the end garment. And for me, designing sewing patterns became a natural extension of all that thinking.

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Mimi G Simplicity s9114 trousers

Mimi G Simplicity s9114 trousers

As soon as I saw this pattern, I knew I had to make the trousers. I really loved the clean lines and rounded pegged shape to the legs – and how amazing does Mimi’s white version look?

In this linen version I’ve slightly cropped the trousers and – forgive me – I haven’t got quite the right bar and hook in my stash for the waistband, so I just secured with a couple of pins in order to take these pictures on the day that I was photographing my McCall’s 7948 sundress!

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McCalls 7948 Sundress

McCalls 7948 Sundress

This dress was a departure from my usual style of sewing, in many ways. It features a bold, colourful print, gathered tiers, a cotton blend fabric and not even short sleeves with which to combat the office air conditioning. Let’s face it, “the office” (as opposed to my working from home setup) feels a million miles away at the moment.

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Closet Case: Ceilo Top

Closet Case: Ceilo Top

The first thing that struck me about the Cielo was its versatility. As I did my usual stalking of the hashtag before deciding whether to buy the pattern, I came across quite a few sewers who had made several versions of the Cielo – always a good sign – and had hacked it in interesting ways. On the face of it, it’s a basic woven boxy tee / shift dress, with an interesting statement sleeve variation. But if you know me, you know I love a good basic – give me a simple, classic silhouette and I am sold! So let me tell you how I got on with the Cielo top…

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