Tidbits #2

Dear readers,

Welcome to the second edition Tidbits where I randomly link and talk about sewing and non-sewing things that have been on my mind lately! I really enjoyed the discussion and the links you shared on Tidbits #1 so I thought it would be worth to keep going…

found on Sigrid Sewing Projects

Sewing Bits

Interesting thoughts from Debbie at Lily Sage & Co on why you may end up with more iterations of a trend when you sew then when you buy RTW. Refining a design does require more than one garment for most of us, but unlike Debbie I don’t do much transformation/refashion of my previous makes and no matter how slow I sew my wardrobe grows and grows and grows…

You may have read recent blog posts and reactions (here at Sew Liberated and at Noble&Daughter) about the pressure of blogging, which I thought was quite interesting. I would link it to the sewing blog transition almost exclusively towards showcasing finished items. I was enjoying recently the latest posts of Sigrid who has been in my reader for a very long time.Like Sigrid’s, a few years successful blogs were all about elaborate evening dresses, little french jackets or tailored coats sewalongs, highlighting the process of making things. I went back to Gertie‘s older posts too, when she was actually sewing her way through the Vogue Book (exciting sewing blog times!!), and her posts were definitely more about the making. Today, the frequency of finished garments posts  influences heavily the popularity of a blog. While, blogs showcasing the process of making complex garments still exist but they are just not the norm anymore.

It could explain the relative simplification of patterns offered by some Indie Designers, as they try to match our expectation to have a quick make to show. But of course, there is only so much content you can create around making a woven tank, so you only post about your finished garment. The vicious circle of consumption is activated and you are looking for the next tank pattern, to sew in 2 hours and blog in 1!

In addition, it puts pressure on the Indie designers to try to churn out patterns as quickly as possible. I guess that if you are StyleArc or Burda, you have professional patternmakers, samplemakers and graders on your payroll as well as a huge library of existing patterns to derive new designs from. It’s completely possible for you to do monthly releases, especially since instructions are rather sparse… But if you’re not one of those established companies and you have the pressure of delivering new patterns regularly, it can lead to disappointing or underwhelming patterns. In my opinion, the latest pattern from Tilly and the Buttons, the Marigold Jumpsuit is the perfect example of that.

As a disclaimer, I’ll say that I am not in T&TB’s target customer so this pattern is not intending to fit my expectations. I have also no idea if this pattern is actually selling or not. So it’s definitely a stretch for me to call it a bad pattern release. It may be selling like hot cakes (“comme des petits pains” for those of you who like French-isms). But in my eyes, it’s just so sad. I don’t see it flattering, well-designed, filling some kind of gap or even cute. I know we could enter the endless debate of what is a flattering fit, personal taste, good design, etc. and that’s not exactly where I want to go. I’m not even sure that it does match well the rest of this designer’s offering. In addition, there are several cheaper and better looking jumpsuit patterns available in Burda, Big4 and other Indies… I will direct you to this fun free pattern released on the French blog Essais & Erreurs, if you are looking for something different!

On the other hand, having some kind of trust issue with the more complex patterns of Indie designers, I rarely buy them and even more rarely make them. I want to remedy that and I bought the Françoise Jacket by République du Chiffon. Between the pattern price and the shipping to the US, I ended paying way more than I normally would allow myself for patterns so I hope it proves a success. I am in love with the proportions and the narrow collar but of course I want to make changes so I will have to make a muslin and take it from there. I would like to make 2-pieces sleeves with functional button vents, add a back vent (or 2) and see if I can forego the double closure. Lots of work ahead, so I’m not sure I will gather the energy to do it all.


and other bits

Because we cannot only talk and read about sewing, here is an interesting article in the NY Times about having more time to unwind, except if you are a woman

Today, I have grand plans of managing to go see the Manux X Machina exhibition at the Met, getting my nails done and taking pictures of finished makes all before 4pm (can I insert a nap somewhere??) so I’d better stop my ramblings, and get started!! Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts  and own tidbits in the comments, you know how much I love reading them!

21 thoughts on “Tidbits #2

  1. Fabric, Thread, Clothes?

    Blogging is a balance isn’t it?! I admire those folks who churn out multiple garments and blog posts in quick succession and do wonder how they do it! For me, sewing is a hobby…period. Time goes by between blog posts sometimes…I refuse to apologize for it because if I did once, i’d feel like I need to apologize every time and seriously…it’s a hobby for me. Putting pressure on myself to do anything makes it not fun…and I don’t want to do that. Love your blog by the way. That’s an interesting jacket! I like the narrow lapels on it.

    • Sewing Tidbits

      I totally agree with you that we shouldn’t feel the need to apologize and still I always have to remind myself not to do it when i start writing after a break…
      The narrow lapel is my favorite feature too!

  2. Kathy

    I tried blogging very briefly about 5 years ago but I don’t enjoy having my picture taken. I just took pictures of my finished projects. I found it neither easy nor enjoyable to do. Blogging was taking away my precious sewing time. Why was I writing about it when I can be doing it.

    I think some of the Indie pattern designers have a few good patterns but soon they run out of ideas. I think that Tilly and the buttons jumpsuit pattern is a perfect example. If it doesn’t look good on a slim person, I can’t imagine how bad it will look on me. I realize it’s hardwork to produce a sewing pattern, still that jumpsuit is not flattering for anyone.

    • Sewing Tidbits

      Hello Kathy! I was thinking about this the other day, does blogging take away sewing time, or does it take away some other time (Netflix anyone??). Would I be sewing more if I wasn’t blogging or is blogging fueling my sewjo? I obviously don’t have any answer and it probably varies a lot with people.
      I will also concur that blogging, especially in the beginning was not the most rewarding experience for me. But the more I have my picture taken, the more I push myself to write here, the less uncomfortable it feels. And the interactions with readers in the this little comment space is definitely the greatest reward!
      You pointed out the main weakness of that Tilly pattern, I don’t think that it would look good on many people (if any…). Running out of idea for an Indie designer is probably a real thing, which would make the point for not turning it into a business until you have a consequent list of patterns you would like to release!!

  3. Beth (SunnyGal Studio)

    There are a lot of super simple sewing patterns out there – if I were a new sewer I would want to sew to make interesting (more complex) things, not basics that I can buy in any store. Have you looked at Pauline Alice sewing patterns – she is one of the few indie designers doing more interesting items like coats or jackets. I agree, a lot of people now post only finished garments, I like to see the process and learn so much from other bloggers, so I continue to post some of the construction detail. good luck with your jacket – if you get the pattern worked out, fit etc, it will be a great basic you can repeat.

    • Sewing Tidbits

      I think you are right Beth, I remember that as a teenager I wanted to be able to sew what I couldn’t find/afford in the stores. Unfortunately that took a really loooooong time…
      I do always look at the releases from Pauline Alice with interest because she goes for more challenging designs. Unfortunately there is usually something that stops me in the design. For instance in the Saler blazer (although I was so impressed with your rendition), I am not attracted to the wide lapel and the shoulder princess seams. The Quart coat I do like a lot…

  4. Betsy

    Interesting thoughts on the blogging and pattern releases, both of which have been on my mind recently. As a business I should be blogging all the time, but alas, my passion is not there. I try to do a round up once a month which is manageable and somewhat relevant, but added content is now on my list of “if I feel like it” and I think it can be useful. I used to enjoy reading blog posts, but very few people are showing new and exciting things. As a reader I would like more content besides “I made this” (just like 500 other people have done and blogged for the same style).
    Oh, man it seems impossible to keep up with the flurry of pattern releases. I suspect the fervor is related to sustaining a business. Gone are the days where you could make a killing off of one pattern. Everyone is always looking for the latest and greatest.

    • Sewing Tidbits

      Blogging as a business is definitely a huge constraint because it looks like it’s expected from all Indie businesses these days. It creates a big difference I guess for people that came from blogging to pattern design (such as Closet Case Files or Cashmerette) and people that opened a blog to give exposure to their patterns.
      However it seems that companies like Named manege pretty well without much blogging so there is still room to define your own model!!

  5. crab and bee

    I’m so curious to hear how your Republique du Chiffon experiment goes. I’m in the same boat, nervous to buy complex indie patterns because I don’t know what the fit would be like. Then again, I’ve been surprised and impressed by several of indie patterns I’ve tried.

    Lately, I’ve been in the mood for a more challenging project. Not quite sure what it will be, but I’ve been dreaming! Maybe I will try to actually write in-progress posts 🙂

    • Sewing Tidbits

      I will try to report back on the jacket. I don’t know what kind of challenging project you will choose, but I loved the way you blogged the making of your sister’s wedding dress! It was really informative and inspiring!!

  6. gingermakes

    Ooh! I couldn’t help myself and bought the same RDC pattern, but I just haven’t been able to dig up enough time to make something so complicated (I’m overemployed and about to move apartments, so it just feels like it requires too much of an investment). But I’m hoping to get to it this fall and I am excited to see your take on it! It just seemed so fun to sew and also easy to fit into my wardrobe.

  7. 24

    The exhibition seems to be really interesting !! A long time ago, I was in New-York with my not-yet-husband ; we were there twice, and each time we planned to go at the Met the day it was closed. I regret it !
    About the post at Noble&Daughter, I think it not only has to do with blogging : it’s also about the urge to make, the ability to create what we want, about obtaining what we want, the aims we impose to ourself and about forgetting to appreciate the present (it’s not clear, but my idea in French isn’t clear either !).
    But what you said about pattern releases is interesting, and I will pay attention to it !
    Speaking of jacket, you made me think about this one :
    and this one (which I’d like to sew) :

    • Sewing Tidbits

      I go to the Met regularly, it’s such a pleasant museum. The annual costume institute exhibition is usually great and this one was no exception!
      I completely agree with you, dans les deux langues, I think sewing is a constant struggle between wanting to see the results asap and putting as much care and effort in the process as possible. The balance is personal for each seamstress but even when you found it, it’s easy to lose it!
      Both patterns are very nice. I remember hesitating over the one from a little mercery but i like when the closure starts low, it appears more modern to me!

  8. redflaminghair

    The pressure of sewing, blogging article was so interesting to read. I sew out of passion and I have time to watch Netflix as well, haha 🙂 I think I’m good at time-managing, and lately I realized when we went to visit e.g. my husband’s relatives I was bored without my sewing machine – which felt so weird… and I also realized that since I’m blogging I check the stats, and comments and Instagram way TOO much.

    And checking it so useless, because my blog is not a successful one with plenty of comments, you know. I don’t take professional photos, I don’t have a professional camera and sometimes I’m lazy to write details about sewing, as well. It’s just a hobby-blog.

    For me lingerie sewing and clothes sewing seperates, about bramaking I write more and I try to include more infos about the process – but with clothes, I just take some acceptable photos (I’m not a good model either :D) and upload it.

    I might have a long to-do list, but it doesn’t drve me crazy. I think if I would sew for money, I would hate it. I’m sometimes thinking about doing a side-job with custom bramaking but I might not want to get that stress. My daytime job is totally different, analyitical, but that’s why it’s so good to have this personal, creative space in my life.

    And now I know when to stop at sewing – the moment when I get angry when I make a mistake- that’s when I feel I know I should go to sleep – no point to sew with any kind of bad feelings.

    About indie designers: Tilly looks cute, but not for me. Alhough I’m only 26, I’m not feeling this loose-fitted dresses, and I never liked them. To be honest, I hate baggy-styling. The Francoise dress and the Arielle skirt looks great, btw.

    I like Named Clothing, but I haven’t tried them – I want to try once the Kielo dress. Since I found Lekala, I feel a lot more confident about clothes sewing. That company is the best pattern company in my humble opinion. I was so disappointed when I tried sewing Burda clothes – I might found some cute designs, but the finished garment was awfully fitted on me – and not because I was so bad as a beginner, but as beginner I didn’t know where to adjust the pattern (and I’m not talking about lenghtening the waist).
    That is the reason I stick with Lekala – it fits me so great without any adjustment! It’s made for me and there are some very interesting designs, always something to learn but not too complex!

  9. Melanie

    This was a very interesting read, and I’ll be honest, I usually only look at pictures 😛 I do agree that sewing blogs have really evolved from what they were a few years ago – a way to journal about the sewing process, and that included work in progress and techniques and struggle as well as finished project. I also agree that there are so many indie patterns out there now, it’s become overwhelming and yes, it turns into consumerism of a different kind..I’ll say to add to your Tilly example, I have been pretty underwhelmed by the patterns released by Seamwork (Colette Patterns). Although I do like their concept of creating a sewing magazine with extended content, i feel like the necessity to release two patterns every month has lead to some less than exciting options. That being said, the sewing community is a vast and diverse one, and it’s nice that there would be something for everyone out there. I also feel like I want to make things that are a bit more intricate and more tailored and more unique, and at the same time I love being able to knock down a fast Plantain top that will be a no brainer and won’t require a million muslins… I think for me it kind of comes down to trimming down my blog roll 🙂 and only keeping a smaller selection of blogs that I can relate to or speak to me with their content…We ‘ve come to a point where we need to cut out the clutter even on the cyberspace side 🙂

  10. Janice

    I’ve noticed the same thing! I started sewing years ago when Gertie was still writing about sewing techniques, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot from sewing blogs. No one is sewing from vintage patterns anymore it seems, and all of the new indie sewing patterns that I’ve seen seem really beginner level. I’ve started turning to Japanese sewing books just to get a new silhouette, we’ll see how that goes.

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