Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Questions and Answers

The most important questions in life can never be answered by anyone except oneself.
--John Fowles

Luckily, I've recently been asked a few slightly-less-important questions that I CAN answer for you. ;)

On my most recent "How Much Fabric?" series table (dresses), Kathy asked for the pattern number for the Vogue (full-skirted) shirtdress (that needs the maximum yardage in 45 in width fabric).

Answer: It is Vogue 8577.

NancyK asked what I do for a living.

Answer: Somehow I don't think it will come as a surprise to anyone to learn that I crunch numbers for a living. More specifically, I am a Psychological Researcher and I design experiments, collect and analyze data, and write reports. My area of interest is the effective use of technology in education and training.

Someone (anonymous) asked why I don't have sizes smaller than 6 in my table, and in particular she needs help for size 2.

Answer: Very few of the hundreds and hundreds of patterns that I have found so far include size 4, and NONE of them include size 2. I haven't included the size 4 numbers because there were so few patterns that I don't trust the data to be representative. For example, in the dress table, where the size 12 average is based on 344 patterns, I only had 35 size 4 patterns. I'm sorry - all I can suggest is to use the size 6 figures (and have a little extra fabric) or only buy fabric when you have a specific pattern in your hand.

NancyK also mentioned that she finds estimating for dresses a lot more difficult than estimating for pants, because of the wide variety of types of dress styles.

Response: You're not kidding! I was really blown away by the variety in styles and fabric requirements while I was populating the dress table! In fact, I put more than twice as many patterns into this table as any of the others, just to try to deal with that variability (to make the averages stable).

The only perfect solution, of course, is to have the actual pattern that you plan to make in your hand when you purchase the fabric. My main table is most helpful if you have a concrete idea of the style that you plan to make. If you're fuzzy on that, then I hope that my "safety margin" table will help by letting you know the impact of adding different amounts to the average (say 1/2 yard versus 1 yard).

Speaking of variability, I'm expecting a similar challenge with the tops table, so it may take another week before I get it up. Sorry for the delay and thanks for your patience!

Thanks so much for your comments and your encouragement! This has turned into a big project and it means a lot to hear from you! :)

Photo credit: tj scenes


Anonymous said...

Wait until you see the ones that take half a yard and ones that take 7.

It might be easier on the tops to do a separate sleeve table, since some do split that off and the different sleeve types do remain relatively the same all over. It's only something like another yard for long sleeved, 1 1/2 with cuffs/bishop/full etc.

gwensews said...

It definitely would take someone very analytical like yourself to do all these tables. Thank you them. I would have had brain freeze at the first one!

meredithp said...

You're a gem! And true to your vocation, you would have to love this stuff to accomplish these. I'm an accountant so somewhat number crunching, but I would never do this :-)