Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sewing Patterns: Yay or Nay?

Pattern Art by Karen Ross Smith

You know those awkward moments where someone expresses their opinion regarding something and looks at you to nod in vigorous agreement but you completely disagree?

This happened yesterday at the dress shop. I was talking to a woman who enjoys re-purposing and redesigning her clothing. The conversation was quite entertaining! That is, until she started bashing sewing patterns..."They're such a waste of time! Who even  uses those anymore! I never use a pattern" and "they just waste fabric and never fit right anyway". To the latter, I thought, well it seems that you don't understand how to properly measure yourself then..

My lil' hand went up sheepishly..."well, I do actually...I'm studying pattern drafting in my free time."

I could tell by the look on her face she felt she may have been a bit crass, especially when I awkwardly attempted to salvage the conversation with, "I guess..well I can see how they are time consuming. Cutting the pieces out becomes tedious..."

I don't have any friends who sew, therefore all my techniques come from bloggers, my employer, and sewing texts & tutorials. I've always felt that patterns were an extremely important & necessary element to dressmaking. 

Image Source

Perhaps it's the newbie in me, but I enjoy knowing that I've been precise in my measurements & that my garments are on grain. Of course, I don't doubt that once your skills progress your dependency on a pattern becomes less. There are also draping methods as well, but I don't have a dress form so I can't practice that quite yet.

All in all, I enjoy sewing patterns. Do I wish I had someone else to cut out the pieces for me? Absolutely. But, I find them to be extremely useful, and as as an admirer of vintage fashion they are a great way to learn from decades past. 

Do you enjoy sewing patterns or do you find them unnecessary?


  1. No, no - sewing patterns are a must! That lady just probably doesn't understand them, wants to look like she knows what she's doing. Even if you drape something, you still need to make a pattern piece of it if you ever want to make it again! This is the difference between a hobbyist and a pro. You my dear, are on the path to being a pro! Anyone who doesn't use a pattern is likely wasting their time or just playing around.

    1. True, true! I couldn't stand that she made me feel like such a square for wanting to master the basics.

    2. That lady was intimidated by you. It's funny, I see this happening to me more and more now too with older sewing ladies. They're always the ones who bring up sewing FIRST. I'm not all uppity with them. I'm always like, "Oh cool! I do fashion design. What do you make?" with them and they're PISSED like I told them their work sucks. I was genuinely interested in them!

    3. That's such a shame! But then again, this is why I love the sewing blogosphere; everyone is so welcoming and encouraging. :)

  2. Sheesh! Does this woman live in a Disney movie? (You know that scene in Cinderella where the fairy god mothers make a dress which magically comes together mid air?)
    Unless she IS a fairy godmother!? Maybe she is and you should ask if shes free!
    But seriously, patterns are integral to the sewing process. How are beginner sewers supposed to know what to do or what pieces are which. They cut so much fussing around with draping out of the process. Unless you like that sort of thing.

    1. Bahaha! If only I wear a fairy godmother! I'd be throwing up heaps of fabrics in the air to magically turn into dresses.
      Draping does seem fussy, but so much like sculpting (which I've always wanted to do) that I can't wait to get a dress for and try it out :)