Friday, January 7, 2011

Pie Charts, Sewing Patterns, Personality and Q&A

Your comments and questions on my stats post stirred up some musings in my brain. Why do we do the things we do? Don't worry, I won't get too philosophical here since other activities are vying for my time (lunch, laundry, children, and hemming the jeans I just made).

Karen asked if making charts helped me plan and if I planned my projects far in advance. The charts you saw in the statistics post were drawn from a database where I've entered what I've sewn and all sorts of information about each item. If I'm very honest, I would have to say that I do this mostly because I'm compelled to. I LIKE databases. If my hobby were different, I'm sure I'd have a database for that. Come to think of it, I have spreadsheets of books read, birds spotted, miles biked, kid's measurements, and things I plan to buy (like sewing notions, gifts and schoolbooks).
Do I plan my sewing projects far ahead? I keep a list for each person in my family: what they need and what I want to make for them. That helps mainly with shopping (keeping my eye out for fabric and notions for all those planned projects while I'm shopping for one item) and with helping move on to the next thing without wasting time in indecision.

Other than that, planning too far in advance feels awfully restrictive. I really admire those who can plan a 12 piece matching wardrobe and actually pull it off. I've really been inspired lately by Shannon's method of creating outfits. Yes, many of the pieces will work with other wardrobe items, but bending my mind around just 2 things at a time is very doable for this poor frazzled brain!

A number of you commented on the fact that I didn't sew ANY big 4/big 3 patterns! I really started sewing apparel with Burda Magazine and Ottobre and I have not been disappointed. I've sewn 2 or 3 Simplicity and McCall's patterns, but those little tissue paper stuffed envelopes just don't reach out and grab me the way the pattern magazines do. This coming year I hope to make a few things from my very small collection of Japanese pattern magazines.

And then, of course, there's the option of drafting it myself. Ideally, I can make anything I want. Patterns give you the benefit of not having to reinvent the wheel; pattern drafting gives you total freedom (which is, um, very dependent upon your skills and sense of style, of course).

I'm very interested in YOUR organization and pattern preferences. It's my theory that, although all sorts of folks love to sew, personality differences give us a huge variety in methods.


  1. Organization...what's that?lol Since I'm constantly schlepping sewing stuff from my parents' house to mine, a box with what I'm working on or would like to be working on is about as organized as I get these days.

    I find that I'm more likely to complete a sewing project in a timely manner if it's something I want to create or if there's a new skill to be learned. Sewing clothing that's needed, tends to be what I procrastinate the most on. I'm definitely a fan of Ottobre Design and would say that's where my pattern preferences lie.

    I like what you said here..."I keep a list for each person in my family: what they need and what I want to make for them. That helps mainly with shopping (keeping my eye out for fabric and notions for all those planned projects while I'm shopping for one item) and with helping move on to the next thing without wasting time in indecision." Too often I don't plan ahead enough and when I'm ready to sit down and sew, I discover I don't have the notions I need to work on a project.

    Neat post! Can't wait to see what your other readers have to say.:)

  2. Well, I am very spread-sheets here! Basically I know what everyone needs in my own head...kind of, and I keep that in mind when buying fabric. I tend to buy in batches, I have a local fabric shop but seldom go due to having kids in tow. If I have plenty of basic fabrics in my stash I can usually make most things. Notions are a bit of a problem at times, but I try to keep a bit of a stock of those too.
    When I started making clothes 2 years ago, I bought a couple Big4 patterns,, I made T some trousers....such a disaster! he was a tall 4yr old and they would have easily fit a tall 8yr old! I borrowed a couple of Ottobre magazines in Dutch!(I don't speak Dutch!) and still managed to make something wearable...I went ahead and got a subscription for Ottobre in English immediately. I have never looked back since.
    I have since bought a couple of Oliver+S patterns, for the kids, which I like very much.
    For myself I have bought quite a few Colette patterns...which seem to fit me well and are very much my style.
    I have not bought a Big4 pattern for a long time!
    Ottobre would definitely be my favourite, for variety, value for money and for being able to use it for all the children.
    I think you have prompted me to be more organised.....perhaps?!
    Like Cindy says...this is a great post!

  3. Thanks for answering my question. I am very interested in how other people organize their sewing, particularly people who sew for their families as well as themselves. You sound very organized, perhaps I should embrace a spreadsheet system.

  4. Hi Joy, You sound very organized with your sewing and life. I am trying to be a bit more organized this year, so that I don't waste as much time in indecision. It's very hard for me to decide what to do next. But once I've got that decided I can usually stay pretty focused and get it done in a timely manner. My problem is I want to accomplish other things with the kids etc. and I need to plan better. So thank you too for the inspiration. On another note, I can see why you stick to Burda and Ottobre. Burda is what I have the most success with, and the fit, for me, is awesome with very few alterations!

  5. I keep a notebook with all my stats in it. I have a section of what I buy, cost and amount bought. I have another section of items I would like to make. Another section is what I made and how much it cost. I love data so like you I would keep stats with whatever I am doing. Thanks for sharing!!


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