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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pattern Madness

I am so excited to finally publish this blog post! To you dear reader, I recognize that this is simply a blog post on Pattern Madness. For me, this post symbolizes some serious crafting freedom, a major sense of crafting accomplishment, space in my sewing studio, and finally, the opportunity to focus more on sewing and offer some amazing new (and old) patterns. Sewing has always been a passion of mine, and a little over a year ago, for a short period of time before the location closed down, I volunteered at a place called TechShop. It was a large warehouse in which they offered the tools and materials for woodworking, welding, industrial sewing, robotics, 3D machine, and a number of other great stuff to make just about anything your crafting heart desired! I dreamed of learning welding and turning my mostly awful wood working skills into skills that made furniture I didn’t have to hide in the attic when people came to visit, but most of all, my interest was in the industrial sewing section. BEAUTIFUL! What fun for me! I was used to working with a really wonderful sewing machine, and though my pfaff 1122 is quite a super machine for my sewing projects thus far, an industrial machine that sews leather, heavier fabrics and not to mention stretch fabrics was definitely something I wanted to get my hands on! I was in crafting heaven and I hadn’t even gotten in there to start working. Not only did the craft area have a number of sewing machines but they also had an entire wall of shelves filled with pattern boxes. And yes, inside those boxes were hundreds of sewing patterns!

The rule was you couldn’t use the sewing machines until you had been instructed in using the machines, and yet sewing classes weren’t being held regularly and the sewing lady and I were just not connecting time-wise. To make use of the time however, I went through the patterns and there were some immediate favorites for sure! I emailed the sewing woman and asked if I could put together a digital copy of the patterns for her, and also borrow some of those favorites I had found. If I had a collection like that I would want a digital copy, especially if they were now being used in the Techshop for classes and such. Why not make copies and get a digital copy going so people can see what patterns are available without pulling out each and every box down? I figured TechShop probably had an old usable computer kicking around the huge warehouse in which we could access a pattern collection, and since I had already donated one a few weeks ago, we could even use that one for the sewing section. All we had to do was pop in a usb key really when we wanted to see what patterns were available to use. here are a few photos of some of the boxes once they officially reached my house.

I mentioned the digital copy idea to the sewing lady and she liked the idea. I said it would make having classes, and even using the patterns in a library-borrowing status in the future more functional, and so I began borrowing about a dozen patterns at a time and scanning them. When I was there for my 4+ hours each week volunteering time I would scan the front and back of the patterns there as well. I was about 1/3 of the way through the scans when they announced that they were going to close (as in immediately), but the sewing woman was a sweetie and allowed me to hold onto the collection for her so that I could finish the project!

After actively scanning the copies and then making my own copies of the actual patterns, I am proud to announce that I just recently returned the collection to her, and I am as happy as can be! In the end there were 42 boxes and about 735 or so patterns ranging from designer vintage vogue patterns to new womens, mens and children, housewares, pets, and accessories. For now, all of those patterns are being hosted on picassa @ http://picasaweb.google.com/106680090666649009492/SewingPatterns#  (if this link does not work for you, email me with your email address and I will send you an invite to the link). That space will not host that entire collection forever, but if you feel like seeing the pattern collection of a sewing woman crazier than I am, for a little while longer at least, here you have it! As time goes on I will begin to upload my own sewing patterns so the new collection reflects those that I currently have available to me, as the collection I have listed now has recently been returned to her, minus my fabulous new copies of my favorites of course. I certainly did not copy every pattern, but I did copy an awful lot. I couldn’t help it really! I just had too many favorites. In the end, this past week was spent sleeplessly and feverishly copying patterns as the rush was on to copy the final ones I had pulled out and put into my ‘desperately need to copy’ pile! Here are just a few picked at random...

Having access to the collection was a wonderful opportunity for me, and my Sophia clothing shop has been based almost entirely on patterns from her collection, so the potential for new designs is very exciting for me! I will have a number of new patterns coming soon as well so you will certainly have the fun of exploring many of those with me in the near future. As Fall approaches, I have many new items that are needed including holiday dresses, Fall work clothes, and a great deal of outerwear including a Ladies Raincoat (for our Portland Monsoon season!) and a Mans’ full length outer coat. Some highlights to this borrowed collection are a full professional copy of the McCalls 4425 Vintage Sarong Dress, Advance 9279 which is the cutest little Tea Dress (which some women online have also said makes an excellent cocktail dress), and even the Simplicity 1447, which is an asian inspired 1955 vintage wiggle dress pattern!

I will be offering the custom made dresses in my Sophia shop as soon as I have a chance (www.Sophia.etsy.com), and I will be offering copies of the patterns on Craftzies as I have large prints drawn up at the print shop. The McCall’s 4425, as well as many others, will be copies as the originals are so old you want to work with a copy anyway, and this way we can all enjoy them.

Since this collection came to me, not only have I copied countless patterns, but I have also made a number of items from some of those patterns. Not a ton, but a few. One of those is the Tron Dress.

This dress was made from a vintage McCall’s 9707. I felt it turned out pretty well. I originally cut the pieces of the sleeves but found them to be rather small in relation to the size of the rest of the dress and so I dropped them for the first test dress until I have a chance to redesign the pattern for the sleeves. The only real way to see what size a garment truly will be is, and how it fits and such is to make a copy, and this is usually done using muslin or similarly inexpensive fabric.  

I also have The Pearl, and the pattern is offered in a number of styles, but for the test, I went with the natural printed fabric in the style show. Both this dress and The Tron were made out of really comfortable, breathable cottons and are comfortable for hot weather, work and play!

I also have created a number of patterns on my own, drawn from various top, skirt, and dress patterns, one of those being The Victoria, which is the sweetest little party dress, and is made with the highest quality navy blue silk duponi I could find. I love this dress! It comes with detachable shoulder straps, a detachable halter strap, and can also be worn strapless.

And so, on this lovely, relaxing Saturday, just 2 days after sewing pattern lady picked up the collection, I feel fantastic! I feel free in so many ways. A year ago I was presented with a wonderful opportunity from a crafting perspective, and now today, not only did I make some amazing copies of some fabulous clothing patterns, but I now have a new crafting studio that I have, up until now, not been able to work in since moving in last year (!!), but I have also purchased a number of new sewing machines, so now I can sew just about anything! I have a new pfaff serger I have not used, a pfaff tipmatic/ triptonic (a beauty of a machine, hence her name of ‘pretty girl’) and what I have dubbed the Tank, an old all solid metal pfaff sewing machine, vintage, strong, and named as such for a reason! That along with my super sweet pfaff 1122 which just sews just about everything I have put through its chompers, I am all set ladies and gentlemen! I am ready to sew for you, for me, for all of us!!!

 Here are a few new projects I have lined up as we move into the cooler months. My sweetie needs a long wool coat so I figured I would try my hand at that now that I have a decent pattern for an outer coat. Being from the east coast originally, we find that the winters are pretty mild in comparison, however it does get a bit cooler in the winter, it can rain quite a bit when it wants to, and also when he wears suits for more formal outings, a long wool coat that will go over his suits is definitely going to come in handy.

 I also need a new winter coat. I hardly ever wear one, opting usually for a sweater and or a raincoat, or a light casual jacket when I'm running around out there during the day, but when the holiday parties roll around, I always find myself without a nice long coat that will go well with whatever dress I picked out for the event. And it's winter in Portland so chances are it will rain and there I am with the most gorgeous holiday dress...in the rain.

In any event, the pattern madness was super fun and ever so exhausting, but I would do it again in a heartbeat! Last Fall I barely got through the Halloween costume season and didn’t even have a chance really to sew anything for the holidays-etsy shops, custom orders, family or otherwise, so this year I am trying a new approach, one where I get a jump start and keep going so we can all enjoy the holidays, including myself! In fact, that brings me to what I think will be my next blog post, Halloween Costumes. Last year I was pretty open on what I would make for people. This year, I am going to be a little more selective on what I will offer and basically just pick my favorites from last years projects. I already have the Garden Gnome costumes listed in the Craftzies shop to start. In order to make it a bit easier for everyone, I added a Costume category so locating those will be easier when maneuvering the Craftzies etsy shop (www.Craftzies.etsy.com). Until the Halloween post is up, I leave you with something to look forward to! September’s Customer Appreciation Gift Set is going to be a free Garden Gnome Costume (male or female-you pick!) so definitely check over there as we gear up for Halloween! 

For questions on any of the patterns, or even on Halloween costume inquires, shoot me an email @ Craftzies@gmail.com, or CraftZOMG@yahoo.com, or shooting me an email via etsy!

Have a great day & happy crafting!