Thursday, July 15, 2010

Talk Back Thursday

Oh my goodness! What an incredible set of answers I got to my Friday Confession two weeks ago! I asked how people store their used patterns, and I got the most wonderful set of responses from Lori, Sarah, Stitchywitch, Branka, Webfrau, Rose, Elaina, Lisa Laree, Gwen, Marysews, Mary, Cindy, Lady Jenn, Carla, Mitch, Karin, Julia, Shannon, Becky, Summerset, Faye and Claire! :)

First let’s consider patterns that are purchased individually in their own envelopes.

The two most common ways of dealing with the cut pattern pieces were to either (a) just fold them as best as possible (but not along the pre-existing lines) and stuff them back into the envelopes (4 commenters) and (b) fold them as best as possible (but not along the pre-existing lines) and use a dry iron to press them flat before returning them to the envelope (5 commenters). And 2 of those 5 "pressers" use a ruler to get really straight folds!

As for respecting the pre-existing fold lines, 3 people carefully re-fold the UN-used pattern pieces along those creases, and 2 people carefully re-fold ALL of the pattern pieces (un-used and used) along those original lines. I am in awe! :)

Another two people reported that they don’t always save their used patterns - after making a pattern once, they are generally ready on move on to something new! :)

Finally, a couple of people don’t try to get their used patterns back into the original envelopes, but use large clear envelopes or zipper bags to store their used patterns...

...and this leads perfectly into my other question:

How do people preserve the patterns they trace, for example, from pattern magazines like Burda World of Fashion?

Zipper bags (7 commenters) and manila envelopes (6 commenters) are the most popular methods of storing traced patterns – although not everyone uses the same size. Both quart and gallon sized zipper bags were recommended, as well as 5 x 7 inch and 9 x 12 inch envelopes. Other storage methods mentioned were (a) folders with pockets (3 commenters), (b) clear plastic page holders in 3-ring binders (2 commenters) and (c) pattern keeper bags from Nancy’s Notions (2 commenters).

What was really interesting was the different methods for labeling those packets! Here is a list of all the different types of information that people include on their labels:

- The type of garment (dress, pants, skirt, etc.)
- The pattern brand and number
- The size made
- A photocopy of the garment from either the pattern envelope or the magazine
- A photocopy or sketch (or tracing) of the line drawing for the pattern
- The name and date of the magazine that it came from
- Yardage requirements
- Construction notes

You can see a nice example of a system at work in pictures on Carla's blog, here.

Summerset and Mary also include a scrap of the fabric used to make up the garment, because, as Summerset pointed out, that can help you remember a garment more easily than a pattern number or magazine date.

Speaking of construction notes, when I’m sewing for others, I jot down (on the pattern envelope) the name of the recipient, any alterations I incorporated into the pattern pieces, and the date when I made the garment. The date sewn is especially helpful when I’m sewing for young relatives who do not live nearby. I can just ask, “Does that shirt I made for you last year still fit?” and that will tell me whether I can use the same pattern or I need a bigger size.

Lady Jenn does one extra thing for her traced patterns – she puts a star next to the pattern in the magazine, so that if she ever decides to make that pattern again, she won’t accidentally go to the trouble of re-tracing it. Isn’t that a good idea?

Lisa Laree has a very well thought-out system for managing her magazine pattern collection. She keeps a 3-ring binder with copies of the line drawings from each magazine issue. And she separates out the pattern sheets from the magazines and keeps those in labeled gallon size zipper bags. Once she traces a pattern, she puts those pieces into a smaller zipper bag and slides that bag into the larger one, to keep it with the appropriate pattern collection. She can browse her binder and easily find the pattern she wants! I may have to experiment with a system like this, as my pattern magazine collection grows…

Another neat idea – Carla takes the storage bag idea even further, and she establishes a big project bag to hold everything associated with an ongoing project – the pattern, thread, buttons, zipper, bias binding, etc. This sounds like an excellent idea – especially if you ever have more than 1 project going on at a time!

Finally, Cindy and Branka suggested alternatives to regular tracing paper. Cindy likes to use the medical paper from exam beds in a doctor’s office. She said that sometimes you can get a roll for free if you are friends with someone who works there. And Branka uses PVC foil – something I had never heard of - she blogged about it, but I had a little bit of trouble finding her blog. I did find this cached version of the post.

I never can predict which topics are going to elicit the most interesting responses, and did not dream that confessing to cramming my used patterns back into the envelopes would elicit such an outpouring of excellent ideas! Thank you SO much to everyone who took the time to respond and tell us about your systems!


Anonymous said...

Yes, this was a great question - I've even started to iron my pattern pieces, and lo and behold they actually fit back in the envelopes - who knew?