Wax Skirt by Sewing Tidbits

On my 2017 sewing year and why I don’t plan a #2018Makenine…

Dear readers,

It has only been a week since I last posted here, so this should give you an idea of how much I am boiling inside, waiting for my sewing machines! This year I sewed 23 items, which is a pretty good output for me:

  • 17 garments for myself. I’m happy with that number. I try to keep my wardrobe a manageable size and it wouldn’t make sense for me to aim for more. The big lesson here is that I probably shouldn’t buy sewing patterns anymore… This year, 9 garments were from patterns we released under Just Patterns, 4 were self-drafted, 1 was Burda, 2 from Indie designers (both free) and 1 is an mash-up of indie/Big4/self-drafting.
  • 3 items for the little human: a spring coat, a white special occasion dress and a summer hat. I’m terrible at documenting baby sewing outside of Instagram. Actually, let me rephrase: I’m terrible at baby sewing. I find it really difficult to find  clothes that would be 1/comfortable for Little Tidbits, 2/ are interesting to make and 3/ not too time-consuming because she outgrows them so fast.  Or maybe I’m just a  Selfish Seamstress (TM) and that even motherhood could not change that!
  • 1 Just Patterns sample in our fit model size (to be released next month).
  • 1 fabric basket to gather toys from Sanae’s lovely book: Sew Happiness. I very rarely do home sewing, but this was quick and it looks pretty!
  • 1 unusual item, I made a sample for a friend who runs a gender queer underwear business. She showed me a picture of a lapel to accessorize her line and I made the first sample. You can see it on the Play-Out website!

For the sake of accountability, here are the garments I included in my #2017MakeNine post. I sewed 4 out of the 9 garments below:

7cb446f2-76e7-44ce-97c8-bc3f79e985942 Blazers

I did finish the white Blazer (it’s the pattern mash-up mentioned above). I haven’t managed to blog about it but I have a few pictures I used for Instagram. The Balmain blazer on the other hand saw no progress. It’s in a box and well advanced. I hope to complete it in 2018.

Challenge 10x10 Sewing Tidbits-2

3 Skirts

I made 2 out of 3. The white pencil skirt was my submission for the first round of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee Contest. I also finally got around sewing a Stella Jean inspired skirt from one of the pieces of African wax I have in stash since leaving in Zambia. This one is un-blogged, but you may have seen it on Instagram. I sewed 3 more skirts but not the one included in the Makenine.

2 Dresses

I did sew my own sample of the Linda wrap dress. Actually I sewed 2 more variations. One sleeveless I posted on Instagram and one for Sew News that I will show you next year. I wasn’t sure about the Capital Chic sheath when I made my plan and I didn’t get even close to sewing it.

2 Tops

I sewed 4 tops  and 2 Tshirts this year, but nothing I had mentioned in the 2017Makenine. Oops…

What are the lessons for 2018?

In my last post, I did mention that my realization that I wouldn’t be able to document all my sewing in blog posts but when I counted how many garments I blogged vs sewed, I realized that out of the 17 handmade garments for myself, I only blogged 5. That’s really low in my opinion. Even if 5 of the 12 un-blogged items are samples for Sew News that I  cannot blog them before the issue they are featured gets published, that still leaves 7 garments that could have made it to the blog.  I will try to post some of them in 2018 and I hope it won’t bother you. Let’s just pretend that I’m super professional and I plan my content in advance!

I will not be making a #2018Makenine plan for several reasons. First, i don’t think that the #2017Makenine helped me focus my sewing. I sewed what I already knew I would make and, unsurprisingly, didn’t sew the ones I wasn’t sure about. Just for the sake of making a plan, I tend to include clothes that I’m not 200% excited about. There is no value in doing that. Secondly, in my experience, when moving to a different country, it takes some time to reevaluate what you need and want to wear. So I’m going to take some time thinking and maybe doing some planning. Just like everyone else in the sewing world, I’ve been reading the Curated Closet, and I also did a round of the 10×10 Challenge (you can read about it here and I’ll post more in details about it later). I want explore the intersection personal style and a handmade wardrobe and I will try to document the process.

Challenge 10x10 Sewing Tidbits-1

In order to plan be more mindful of what I sew and what I wear, I need to be realistic about my average sewing productivity. For 2018, my assumption is that I’ll sew between 15 and 20 garments for myself. 6 technically already decided on since I have a commitment with Sew News for 3 samples and we have already made plans for 3 pattern releases with Just Patterns. Ideally, everything I make this year will bring cohesion to my closet and contribute to a decrease in my fabric stash!

I’ll be back soon with my thoughts on a year of selling PDF sewing patterns but in the mean time I would love to hear your thoughts about wardrobe planning and sewing plans! Did you manage to follow-up on your 2017 plans? Are you taking part in the  #2018MakeNine? Happy new year!

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Just Patterns Yasmeen Skirt in Progress

A move, exciting news and what to expect around here in 2018…

Dear readers,

 

The last quarter of the year just seem to have been on fast-forward. Life has been busy at Tidbits HQ.  The main reason behind my silence is that I traveled to France for holidays (Yes, I saw the Dior exhibit. Yes, it is absolutely amazing!!), came back to New York and was then learned that I would be moving back to Haiti (on Thanksgiving weekend…) less than 2 months later. A Things were hectic. I had break my lease, sell all my furniture in New York, organize the shipment of the rest of my belongings (aka the sewing room), find a place to leave in Haiti and start my new job! I’m going to miss my friends, the Garment District, my nice apartment and the City in general, but I’m also really glad to be back. Haiti is a beautiful country and I managed to avoid the freezing New York winter!

Christian Dior Exhibit by Sewing Tidbits
The Paris Christian Dior Exhibit I visited in September

As things are finally starting to slow down, I started writing this post 3 weeks ago. I initially thought that I could write some more before the end of the year, but that quickly became unrealistic. So I figured that I may as well make it an end of the year kind of post. Currently, my sewing room is in a container somewhere in the port of Port-au-Prince and I’m trying to arrange for customs clearance and delivery, right between Christmas and New Year. This is going to be fun… But in the mean time, I am completely restless! Without sewing to keep myself busy once the little human is asleep, I just don’t know what to do with myself.

I’m particularly impatient because several deadlines coming up. Last summer, I started contributing to the print magazine Sew News! I always wanted to write more formally about sewing. I even have a secret-not-so-secret dream of writing a real book one day, which is a bit weird, considering how long it took me to be comfortable writing this blog! My book fantasy is a topic for another day, but I figured that writing articles for a print publication would be good practice and a fun thing to do. So when I heard this episode of the While She Naps podcast, I decided to be brave and I sent Sew News an email pitching some article ideas and asking to be added to their contributor calls. I was so surprised and thrilled when Amanda, the Editor of Sew News, not only expressed interest in some ideas, but also mentioned that she was already following me on Instagram! After some back and forth, we firmed up on 2 submissions, for which I have sent back my texts already (one of them included  samples and there were some mad sewing nights). I’m now working on 3 more articles with a sample each. I can hardly believe it…I managed to take some in-progress pictures like the 2 above. I’ll share more details once they are published! I think the first piece will be in the March/April issue and I CANNOT WAIT!!

Pushing myself to be more involved in the sewing community was one of my motivations when I started Just Patterns with Eira this year, and it’s one of the most rewarding aspects of running an independent pattern activity. Since releasing the first pattern back in January, there has been so many great interactions with sewists and fellow bloggers. Talking about Just Patterns, we just released our fifth pattern, the Yasmeen Skirt. It’s one of the garments hanging in Eira’s closet and that made me repeatedly beg her to start the pattern business with me so I’m particularly happy about this release! I sewed my own sample of the skirt in a blush color linen and hemmed it to wear with flat sandals for a casual/resort vibe which I think will work well for me here. Unfortunately it’s in my shipment, so I can’t show more than the picture below with Eira adjusting my sample on me! We have already mapped out our next 3-4 pattern releases, so Just Patterns will continue in 2018, despite us no longer being in the same country.

Just Patterns Yasmeen Skirt in Progress

On the blog side, I am coming to terms with the fact that I probably won’t be able to post to post everything that I sew, even if my productivity is not that great. And maybe it’s not a bad thing. I’m realizing that I enjoy more discussing with you what is going on in the sewing community and how we feel about our handmade garments rather than what I sewed. I’m not saying that there won’t be finished garment posts anymore, because otherwise the blog would feel like an empty shell. But, maybe it’s just a matter of acknowledging that it hasn’t been about the clothes for a while now!

It  also helped me figuring out how I want to structure content between the blog and my Instagram account. I fell in love with Maria Martimo’s Instagram Account (as well as with her impeccable sewing, and taste!). She sticks to the same structure for every project: a picture of fabric/notions introducing the next project, some construction pictures and a couple of pictures of the final garment. I decided to  shamelessly copy her strategy for the below Stephanie Skirt I sewed recently (with a gorgeous wool/cashmere coating from Mood!) and the verdict is: I loved it. It brings cohesion to my feed, and gives me the opportunity to discuss sewing techniques. I’ll try to post in that format from now on until, you know, I change my mind again…

Sometimes, I feel like every other post here has me questioning the very fact of writing a sewing blog. And yet, Tidbits just celebrated its 5th anniversary. This is quite incredible to me considering my bad record at any documentation habit. I never thought that I would actually make it that long, so I spent  time reflecting on why I managed to keep the blog running and I think I have the answer: it’s you! No matter how much time past in between 2 posts, you were always around to welcome me back and engage, so I want to say a huge thank you!

I hope you are all having a peaceful end of year and I look forward to hearing your thoughts about what 2018 has in store for the sewing world!

Grey Silk Blouse by Sewing Tidbits

A grey silk blouse

Dear readers,

Greetings from France! Today’s post is my definition of an achievement. I’m showing you the blouse I made for round 2 of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee Contest. I’m calling this an achievement because not only am I terrible at sewing on a deadline, I’m even worse at taking pictures and posting them in a timely manner. And with this blouse I managed to make both happen! (smug face).

It’s not the first time that I pass round 1 in the Pattern Review Sewing Bee, but it’s the first time that I managed to complete the project on time for round 2. When I saw that the theme was sleeves I wasn’t terribly inspired. I’m not one to add frills or follow #sleevefest. But I did had a picture of this Chloe Blouse hanging in my sewing space and I figured I could make something wearable/I had exactly 2 days to buy fabric, prepare a pattern and finish my garment before flying out to France but it all worked out.

Grey Silk Blouse by Sewing TidbitsGrey Silk Blouse by Sewing Tidbits

Pattern


Pattern – self-drafted

I drafted the pattern using my TNT shirt as a starting point. You may remember that my TNT pattern started initially as a Grainline Studio Archer shirt but I’m not sure that any pattern piece would be recognizable by now. To create this pattern I joined the shoulder yoke to the back and omitted all waist darts. I created a simple front by removing all pockets, plackets, etc. and lowered the neckline by 2″ at Center Front, widening 1″ at the shoulder tapering to nothing at Center Back.

The sleeves are cut to reach the middle of my forearm. The flounce detail is very simple. I created it by using this technique, but it ends up being a half circle, so with a little bit of math you could draft it directly.

Making


Fabric – Grey Silk Crepe de Chine from Mood NY, contrast ivory crepe de chine from stash.
Notions – Lingerie hook from stash

The construction is very straightfoward, but because the fabric is silk crepe de chine it takes a bit of time to complete each step with care. The fabric is cut on the open (I just learned that this was the proper wording, as opposing to “on the fold”), between 2 layers of paper. All seams are french, the neckline is bound using a strip of bias self fabric. The hem and the back opening are finished with a baby hem using ban-rol. I cannot repeat enough how much i love ban rol for those hems. It produces perfect tiny hems without any wrinkle or stretching.

Grey Silk Blouse by Sewing Tidbits

To follow the Chloe blouse, I used a remnant from this slip dress to bind the inside of the sleeve flounce, but omitted the tying bow. To bind the inner corner neatly, I used something similar to this technique, doing a little bit of origami. When it comes to binding, quilters are the best! Cutting, sewing, folding, they have all the tricks!

Grey Silk Blouse by Sewing Tidbits

I like my finished blouse and I have no doubt that I will wear it because I love the color and the comfortable fit. After checking out the other entries on Pattern Review, I realize that my little sleeves are WAY too understated for the challenge… But even with the sleeve detail being so small, it still somewhat feels outside of my comfort zone. What do you think readers? Are you pro or anti #sleevefest?

White Pencil Skirt by Sewing Tidbits

A white pencil skirt

Dear readers,

 

A few weeks ago I heard myself proclaiming that I was officially sick of seeing exposed metal zippers. I have tendency of making radical statements, about the smallest things, even when I’m not that convinced myself. It’s a French thing and it’s embarrassing. As a result, I often end up in the awkwardly looking at my shoes because I just did what I said I would never ever do. Case in point with this pencil skirt, which most interesting feature is an exposed gold metal double zipper.

White Pencil Skirt by Sewing Tidbits

I had initially no plan to participate in this year Sewing Bee contest organized by Pattern Review, but when the pencil skirt theme was announced, I knew I had to. I wear a lot of pencil skirts, I have my own pattern and I can make one relatively quickly. But the twist is that the skirt has to be inspired by music or a musician… I’ve more of an analytical mind than a creative one. So asking me to think of skirt when I listen to song or look at a bridge leaves me completely blank.

I decided to look at celebrities wearing pencil skirts, and Victoria Beckham is a big proponent of them. I know it’s a stretch to call her a musician, since she publicly acknowledged that she actually never sang while part of the Spice Girls. But I was a HUGE Spice Girls fan in my early teens (walls covered in posters type of fan!) so it’s actually a pretty good match for me. I also very much like the way she handles her fashion labels.

Pencil skirts are a basic piece of Victoria Beckham’s main label and she has at least one per season. Since I live a few blocks away from Saks Fifth Avenue, I decided to have a quick look at her skirts. Just like Roland Mouret, she uses a type of thick knit material, something between scuba and Herve Leger Bandage dresses, and leaves the garments unlined. I’m not a fan of the knits, and that exact material is quite hard to come by, so I decided to do a classic lined wool skirt with that distinctive metal double zipper at the center back.

White Pencil Skirt by Sewing TidbitsWhite Pencil Skirt by Sewing TidbitsPattern


Pattern Link – My own free pencil skirt pattern
Size – 00

I removed the waistband and did a faced high waist instead. I extended the waist line straight up by 1″1/4, including the darts, and I drafted a facing.
I used my lining pieces (unfortunately I haven’t been able to make it available as part of the download yet) and remove the CB seam allowance on both the self and the lining to allow for the exposed zipper. In effect, that eliminates the back vent too.

White Pencil Skirt by Sewing TidbitsWhite Pencil Skirt by Sewing TidbitsMaking


Fabric – Wool suiting from Mood Fabric, I believe it was The Row, lining is a lightweight silk twill from my stash.
Notions – Custom made double zip from Botani in  the NY Garment District.

The wool, the silk I used for lining and the interfacing were all from my stash so it was basically a “free” project. Until I decided to splurge big time on the zipper. I know you can get a double zip shortened at Pacific Trimming in NYC, but the day I went their technician was not there. I couldn’t come back any other day and I was on a deadline for the PR challenge, so I went to Botani instead. Their service is great, you can customize any element of a zipper, the tape, the metal color, the size of the teeth, the pull, separating, etc. 20 minutes (and 20 dollars) later you have your perfectly matched zipper!

I’ve made quite a few pencil skirts by now so the construction was very straightforward. I bagged the lining, enclosed the zip between the self layer and the lining and left an opening in one of the lining side seams to turn the skirt over. It’s quick and it looks very clean.

White Pencil Skirt by Sewing Tidbits

The hardest element of this project was managing to take pictures of it before the deadline of the contest. I only managed to get a few decent ones and a little person decided that she needed to be part of the photoshoot. I really like my final skirt, and I’m super happy that it was part of the pieces I had on my #2017MakeNine plan! I hope to do a post soon on how I’m doing with that plan, let’s see if I carve out the time. What about you? Are you following up on your sewing resolutions for 2017?

 

Thrifted Inspiration: Chanel

Dear readers,

 

I’m not much of a shopper and I feel like my appetite for the RTW I can afford is decreasing everyday. However, if there is one thing I cannot resist, it’s designer labels at the thrift store. Especially the French luxury Ready-to-Wear pieces. I have such an admiration for those brands that the idea of owning a little piece of it is just too tempting. I thought I may share my occasional weakness with you!

Chanel Shell-4

I found this Chanel silk shell at Beacon’s Closet in Manhattan for about 50$ if I remember correctly. The color is a very trendy “millennial pink”. Based on a quick internet search I would think it’s only from the late 90’s, but this garment has had a rough life. It has a tiny hole and some discoloration. It’s still wearable but definitely not in “mint condition”.

Chanel Shell-5

The shape is very simple, semi-fitted, no darts, hip length with a placket opening at Center Back (and the original button, yay!!). It’s a size 36 (french sizing) and although it’s a bit big on me I will be able to wear it. The fit in the bust is very nice and the armholes/neckline do not gape at all.

In terms of construction, the armholes and neckline are finished with a .5cm/1/4″ bias binding. The remarkable feature for me are the teeny tiny flat felled side seams, no more than 1/8″. I tried to replicate them on my machine but I can’t say I was very successful, as  evidenced below:

Chanel Shell-8

Another notable point is the shoulder seam with a fused seam allowances, then stitched, pressed towards the back bodice and overlocked. One of my favorite features is the lingerie strap guard. I usually don’t make the effort of sewing some on in my handmade garments and I think I should! The buttonhole is very fine. I don’t think there is a way for me to achieve this quality. My home machine produces ok-buttonholes for things like cotton shirts and little human garments but I think it would ruin the look a delicate garment like this one…

Chanel Shell-3

This kind of pieces really inspire my sewing, as I love the idea of putting a lot of effort in garments that you can wear any day of the week. And in case you want to re-create a vintage Chanel silk shell at home, watch what will happen at Just Patterns (hint hint)… I hope you enjoyed looking at the details of this simple top. Chanel has a special place in my personal fashion Pantheon ( and I would love to hear which are the brands that keep inspiring you?

Linda Wrap Dress by Sewing Tidbits

My Just Patterns samples – Linda, Kate and Christy!

Dear readers,

 

First, let me thank you for your reactions on my last post. I received lovely messages in the comments, on Instagram and by email. In addition to people volunteering to become part of the Just Patterns Development Group, I had some great discussions about sewing, patterns and fashion!

With over 70 volunteers for the development group, it has been very difficult to restrict the  selection to 20 but we managed and now everybody is hard at work and already providing great feedback! To offer an alternative to those who want to ask questions while they sew our patterns or post their finished makes we also created a Facebook Community Group. I’m not much of a Facebook person myself but I’m surprised already at the fluidity of conversation it enables…

But let’s talk about today’s topic! This dress is my first version of our latest pattern release, the Linda Wrap Dress. I have been obsessed with this dress since Eira – The Pattern Line – made it. It’s for garments like this that I originally wanted to launch Just Pattern. I am just thrilled that it has finally joined of my closet!

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I could go on and on about this design because I love everything about it! I think it has great details, such as the collar, the metal buckle  and the big pockets. It also has a kind of uniform vibe that makes me feel extra confident on days I have to attend important meetings. A little like a man suit, but more interesting that its traditional female counter part, the sheath dress.

In case you are wondering, the only closure is at the waist. I recommend wearing a slip underneath unless you like to live dangerously! The skirt overlap does generally a good job at revealing only an attractive yet appropriate amount of leg. But I’ve been caught in some crazy NYC winds and luckily I was prepared!

 

Pattern


Pattern Link – Linda Wrap Dress by Just Patterns
Size – We ended up not releasing this size, equivalent to a 32 in our size chart.

The biggest disclaimer of this post is that I did not sew the pattern as is. As you know, I’m petite and I deliberately wanted to try a more fitted look than the one intended. I used the size we initially planned to release as a 34, I removed 1″ to the skirt length and 2″ to the sleeves length.

I think sizing down works  great for the bodice and the waistband, but I could have done with the extra ease in the hips area. For future samples I will also skip shortening the skirt and remove only 1″ of the sleeve length.

When we reviewed the fit and measurements of the final garment, we decided that it would be too small on most people. We moved all of our grading up one size as a result. But in case you are not into the relaxed look, sizing down is a great option.

 

Making


Fabric – Wool from Mood Fabric, I believe it was Rag&Bone
Notions – The 35mm buckle, eyelets and snaps (inside the belt) are from Botani in the NY Garment District.
Helpful resources – a list of useful resources for this pattern is available at Just Patterns.

Of course I am biased, but I find the construction of this dress very straightforward. I love that using french seams and sandwiching the bodice and the skirt between the 2 layers of the belt provides clean finish on the inside, no serging or binding required!

You may have seen on Instagram that I bought a Dual Compensating Raising Foot for my industrial machine and it really made the double topstitching easier. Since buying it I keep looking for excuses to double topstitch ALL THE THINGS!

The belt buckle is probably the only unusual part of the construction but I posted some pictures of the process and if you take your time it shouldn’t be hard to figure out.

Just Patterns Bias Slip dress by Sewing TidbitsJust Patterns Bias Slip dress by Sewing Tidbits

Pattern


Pattern Link – Christy Slip Dress and Kate Bias Top by Just Patterns
Size – 34

I used our bias slip dress pattern to create a lingerie style slip. I needed a V neck to match the wrap dress plunging neckline,  so I used the neckline of our bias top pattern. And since I was going to cut some silk I decided that I may as well make a lingerie tank too!

Making


Fabric – Nude Silk Charmeuse from Mood Fabric
Notions – Gold lingerie strap hardware from Botani.
Helpful resources – a list of useful resources for this pattern is available at Just Patterns.

I used a single layer of fabric instead of 2, finished the edges with bias binding and made adjustable lingerie straps instead of spaghetti ones. I wouldn’t say that it is a very quick sew because of the time it takes to cut properly but the construction is relatively fast. I always find my slip/tank projects very rewarding. The garments feel luxurious and get worn a lot (including just to sleep!!) and the time involved is reasonable.

 

I really love those 3 additions to my handmade wardrobe and I can predict that the wrap dress is going to remain a favorite for the years to come. After all, isn’t creating pieces that will last longer than some cheap fast-fashion option what we try to achieve as sewers? Which of your handmade garment(s) has endured the test of time? I would love to hear your thoughts on creating a wardrobe that lasts!

Just Patterns Linda Wrap Dress

A project 17 years in the making…

Dear Readers,

I remember vividly why I started sewing and I bet you do too. In my case, I was 14, I had my mind set on a particular dress I saw at the mall for the holiday season and I had no money to buy it. It’s was a bustier dress with a floor length a line skirt. The fabric was a cheap purple woven with some stretch and a tulle overlay. One of my friends was fortunate enough to own it, so I borrowed it and decide to recreate it. I went to “Marché Saint Pierre” in Paris, bought inappropriate fabric and a plastic zipper. I went home and got to work. No pattern, no tutorial, nothing… Unsurprisingly, I ended up with a big mess. But I took it to a professional seamstress, aka my grandmother, who was very encouraging and ended up saving the day.

justpatterns2101
Just Patterns – Bias Slip Dress

With time sewing has become something more than just owning clothes I couldn’t buy, I learned to enjoy the process of making and recognized it is an essential part of my inner balance. But why I sew has never really changed, it has always been about making the clothes I couldn’t afford or find. The clothes that I find appealing today are not the same but I still can’t buy them… Setting high-end RTW as my standard is a sure way to get frustrated. With some exceptions, there are no patterns, books, or YouTube videos teaching you how to make what is for sale in Galeries Lafayette or on Net-a-porter. I bought all the books, trying to teach myself pattern making. I took drafting and draping classes at FIT. I even took a CAD pattern making class.

Getting the fit and the silhouette right is a time consuming affair. And even more time consuming than drafting a shell/sloper/block is adding everything else, the pockets, the closure, the collar, etc. All the little elements that make or break a design. As you witnessed if you have been following this blog for some time, I kept going back and forth between making my own patterns, hacking existing ones and sewing garments straight out of the envelope.

161209_eira_0017-e1498154586892
Just Patterns – Linda Wrap Dress

In addition, sewing patterns are only one side of the equation. Construction is the other side, and home sewing has its own set of rules. Some of those rules are linked to the home sewing machines, some are from past practices and some are adapted from “industry” or from “couture”, etc. What they have in common is they are not equivalent in terms of the results they provide. For instance, like many others, I find that sewing with smaller seam allowances is more accurate and reduces the need for trimming/notching, etc. But, because home sewing is somewhat codified, many pattern companies still release patterns with 5/8″ seam allowances. Yet in some cases, for instance when your fabric frays a lot, wider SAs may be a good idea. Let’s just say: it’s complicated…

How much the sewing world has changed in the last 5-10 years is something that I recognize and I write about regularly here. But I still feel that there is more to be brought to the table, and I’m going to assume that there may be others like me. Or rather, I’m going to test if others feel like me! While on maternity leave, I was obviously not seeing things clearly and I decided it was the perfect time (??!!) to release sewing patterns… I convinced Eira (from the The Pattern Line) to follow me in my madness, and we used her existing pattern library to choose five patterns. They were digitized and graded and four of them are already available in our Etsy Store.

justpatterns3101
Just Patterns – Kate Bias Top

In a way, we followed the Minimum Viable Product approach that is so popular with Tech Start-ups. It consists in developing a new product with sufficient features to satisfy early adopters and to take their feedback into account to refine further iterations. This is guiding a lot of our choices for the project. The website, Just-Patterns.com is nothing fancy but hopefully it is functional. Our only “marketing” (that’s a big word for what we are doing…) currently is Instagram with @just_patterns and the patterns are for sale in an Etsy Store so that we don’t have to run our own e-commerce. The instructions are minimal by choice, because we want to keep the costs down and we believe that dressmakers have a mind of their own. You can suggest things but they always end up doing it their way. That’s for sure how we do things around here!

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Just Patterns – Pleated Skirt

To understand better how to improve, it’s crucial for us to get systematic feedback from our users. We currently systematically email a survey 30-45 days after the pattern purchase and we maintain a log of comments made to us directly by email/IG or that we find on blogs and sewing boards. This is something that we really want to take to the next level and in order to do that we are about to set up a pattern development group of 10-20 sewers to review our existing and future patterns. It’s similar to pattern testing, in the sense that the patterns will be provided for free and there will be some sort of deadline. But we want to make it a wider discussion space to review what is working and what is not. If you are interested, you can email me!

I think that’s already quite a long post, so I will leave it at that for today! I will of course keep running this blog for my personal sewing but also to keep you updated on how the Just Patterns project is going. I hope you find it interesting and that you don’t hesitate to comment if you have questions/suggestions/comments/criticisms! Everything is welcome and you know how much I love to discuss what is going on in the sewing world in the comments!!