US Indie patterns from UK suppliers

Posted September 17, 2016 by sewingplums
Categories: fit + patterns

Enjoy exploring indie patterns, and prefer tissue patterns but don’t want to pay huge shipping charges ?
There are 100s of US indie pattern companies. Here are the ones that are available direct from UK suppliers.
I’ve listed adult clothing only.
The suppliers don’t always carry the complete range. I’ve found it worth e-mailing them if you want a pattern they haven’t got.

There are a few pattern companies from other countries.
And I haven’t listed the UK pattern companies these suppliers stock – there are direct links to UK pattern companies in the right side menu.

There are some US pattern companies, such as Cutting Line Designs and The Sewing Workshop, whose automatic site adds on huge shipping charges. But if you e-mail them about it, they are willing to ship for a few dollars. Worth trying.

– – –

UK Suppliers of indie patterns

Backstitch

Guthrie & Ghani

Habithat

Minerva Crafts

Sewbox

Specialist suppliers

Sure-Fit Designs UK – ‘connect the dots’ basic fitting slopers drawn to your personal measurements

Vena Cava – mainly cosplay / historic / steampunk patterns and supplies

– – –

Pattern company : supplier

Alison Glass : Minerva Crafts

Amy Butler : Backstitch

Anna Maria Horner : Backstitch

April Rhodes : Minerva Crafts

Art Gallery Fabrics : Minerva Crafts

Betsy Kingston : Backstitch

Blue Ginger Doll : Sewbox

Cake patterns : Sewbox

Cashmerette : Backstitch
Cashmerette : Guthrie & Ghani
Cashmerette : Minerva Crafts
Cashmerette : Sewbox

Christine Haynes : Backstitch
Christine Haynes : Minerva Crafts
Christine Haynes : Sewbox

Closet Case Files : Backstitch
Closet Case Files : Guthrie & Ghani
Closet Case Files : Minerva Crafts

Colette : Backstitch
Colette : Guthrie & Ghani
Colette : Minerva Crafts
Colette : Sewbox

Deer & Doe : Guthrie & Ghani

Eliza M : Minerva Crafts
Eliza M : Sewbox

Fancy Tiger : Backstitch

Folkwear : Habithat

Gather : Backstitch
Gather : Guthrie & Ghani
Gather : Sewbox

Grainline Studio : Backstitch
Grainline Studio : Guthrie & Ghani
Grainline Studio : Minerva Crafts

Hot Patterns : Sewbox

How to do Fashion : Backstitch
How to do Fashion : Sewbox

I AM patterns : Backstitch
I AM patterns : Guthrie & Ghani

Jalie : Habithat

Jamie Christina : Backstitch

Laughing Moon Mercantile : Habithat

Liesl & Co. : Backstitch
Liesl & Co : Guthrie & Ghani
Liesl & Co : Minerva Crafts

Made by Rae : Backstitch
Made by Rae : Guthrie & Ghani
Made by Rae : Minerva Crafts

Make it perfect : Backstitch

Megan Nielsen : Backstitch
Megan Nielsen : Guthrie & Ghani
Megan Nielsen : Minerva Crafts

MiY Collection : Sewbox

Named Clothing : Backstitch
Named Clothing : Guthrie & Ghani

Nehelenia : Habithat

Oliver & S : Backstitch
Oliver & S : Guthrie & Ghani
Oliver & S : Minerva Crafts

Papercut : Backstitch
Papercut : Sewbox

Pauline Alice : Backstitch

Salme : Backstitch

Sense & Sensibility : Habithat

Serendipity Studio : Minerva Crafts
Serendipity Studio : Sewbox

Sewaholic : Backstitch
Sewaholic : Minerva Crafts
Sewaholic : Sewbox

Sew Caroline : Minerva Crafts

Sew Girl : Sewbox

Sew Liberated : Backstitch
Sew Liberated : Minerva Crafts

Sew me something : Backstitch

Simple Sew : Minerva Crafts
Simple Sew : Sewbox

Straight Stitch Society : Backstitch
Straight Stitch Society : Guthrie & Ghani

The avid seamstress : Backstitch

Thread Theory : Backstitch
Thread Theory : Guthrie & Ghani
Thread Theory : Minerva Crafts

Victory : Backstitch
Victory : Guthrie & Ghani
Victory : Minerva Crafts

Walden by Colette : Backstitch
Walden by Colette : Guthrie & Ghani

Wiksten : Backstitch

– – –

These are the pattern lines on offer in August 2016

= = = = =

Update on sources of quick-make patterns

Posted March 5, 2016 by sewingplums
Categories: speedy sewing

There are wardrobe sewing contests at both Stitchers Guild and Pattern Review at the moment (March 2016).

Many contestants find themselves doing some speed sewing in the final weeks, to get the full number of garments made. So what are some good sources of quick-make patterns ?

Obviously these patterns have to avoid any technique that takes time. So they’re very simple, with few added design features and little shaping. But there are designers who manage to respond to this need by providing interesting shapes and design features that don’t need much work.

It’s also helpful to know which sewing techniques you’re relaxed about. For example, most quick patterns avoid zips and buttonholes, collars and set-in sleeves, any hand sewing. But if you’re a sewist who can do those in a whizz, then why not.

Fabric choice can be crucial. Quality fabrics can give a luxury look to even the simplest of styles. Choose wovens with a bit of body, so they don’t need much support from interfacing and don’t change shape while you’re sewing them. Not slippery, doesn’t fray easily. Similarly with knits – choose ones that aren’t too floppy. Knits have the advantage they don’t fray, so no need for seam finishing. And there are non-knit fabrics like this too.

Some of these patterns may use less than ideal sewing processes to speed up the make. You can always choose to take a bit longer on better techniques, though it may take some thought.

(The patterns are tissue unless download is mentioned.)

– – –

Patterns which the publishers suggest times for

These times assume you’re an experienced sewer !

The Big 4 pattern companies used to give sewing times for several of their patterns, but do it less often now. Some of the timed patterns are still available. For casual classics, see previous posts on speedy patterns from the Big 4 which are supposed to take less than 2 hours sewing time.

Here are some new examples :
New Look 6816 (knits)
Simplicity 2414.

For modern casuals, try Seamwork download patterns from Colette Patterns – supposed to take less than 3 hours in total.

For more formal modern classics in less than 3 hours, see Textile Studio Patterns. Shorten the skirts and dresses to transform the look. Or try the jackets at thigh, knee, or low calf length.

Easy patterns which are not timed but only slightly less quick

Here’s a very simple pattern for skirts and pants :
Butterick 3460.

For casual outfits, combine those with these free slouchy top download patterns from Tessuti :
Cut on sleeve, straight sides (sheers)
Cut-on sleeve, a-line (knits)
Boxy with separate sleeves (knits)
There’s also the free MariaDenmark kimono tee (link in right menu).

The patterns from 100 Acts of Sewing are also ultra simple.

If arty/ creative is your style, there are the Shapes patterns from Louise Cutting and Linda Lee. Take a bit of getting your head round in some cases, but simple to make with good instructions.

Or the ePatterns among the download patterns from Sewing Workshop.

If you like a flouncy / lagenlook style, and have tried the pattern so you’ve found the pitfalls, Tina Givens patterns use simple shapes and techniques, and most are downloads. Though ‘buyer beware’, you do need to know enough to correct any gaps in the patterns and instructions. If you like a softer look but don’t want to go completely lagenlook, many of these can be shortened to thigh length and worn with other skirts, pants or jeans.

If you don’t need good instructions, there are the ‘one figure’ styles from Hot Patterns. Some are available as downloads.

And it’s worth searching for the gems among the dross in the free download patterns from fabric.com (many of these are from Hot Patterns).

Also most of the styleARC patterns suitable for beginners are quick and easy.

Yet more simple tops and bottoms among the Sure Fit Designs Made in a Day styles. Most of these can be made starting from any basic top and pants fitting slopers, not just the SFD ones. Though you do need to do a bit of pattern work the first time you use them.

Quick and easy jackets are usually loose fitting with no collar and few closures. Often with cut-on sleeves. Or made from rectangles with square armholes. Sometimes raglan sleeves. There are patterns for these from many companies. Here’s my post from 2011 listing quick jackets from independent designers – most are still available.

MacPhee Workshop has ingenious simple casual patterns, though for my taste the techniques are sometimes over simplified. As they’re in Canada, there are many warm jackets and coats – not usual in quick pattern collections.

For a slight increase in skills and time needed, there’s a large range of Fast and Easy patterns from Butterick.

Very easy wardrobe patterns

Make the decisions quick and easy by using a wardrobe pattern. Many easy New Look patterns for 2 or 3 items (most both tissue and printable on-line, see size menu), such as :

for knits :
New Look 6762, New Look 6735 (‘core 4’ of jacket, top, skirt, pants), New Look 6730, New Look 6461, New Look 6458, New Look 6420, New Look 6403, New Look 6402, New Look 6384, New Look 6216.

for wovens :
New Look 6428, New Look 6292.
This one isn’t labelled ‘easy’ (skirt and pants have darts and zips), but is nearly and has a ‘Core 4’ of jacket, top, skirt, pants : New Look 6217.

‘Learn to Sew’ pattern ranges

If you’re an experienced sewer, then you’ll probably find these patterns easy to make.

Kwik Sew Kwik Start
Simplicity Learn to sew
McCall’s Learn to sew (avoid the camp shirt 6972, or add a back neck facing so you can sew the collar quickly and easily – video on facing pattern here from Louise Cutting)

Although these are ‘Learn to Sew’ patterns, many of them would be challenging as a first project for most complete beginners. But they do usually use simple techniques and clear instructions. I think the Simplicity and Kwik Start instructions are better for beginners, but that won’t matter so much for an experienced sewer.

Beware patterns labelled Easy or Beginner by many of the pattern companies, which may not be at all quick or even simple. Assess these patterns carefully for whether they use techniques that are trouble free and quick for you.

– – –

Lots of good options. But we do need to allow for our own way of working. People who often sew quickly will go “oh good, 1 hour. . . whizz. . .done”. Meanwhile I’m saying “hmm, I do need to make samples of that stitch on my new machine. . . hmm, I need to adapt that pattern for my x, y, z fitting issues. . . hmm, that style element may be quick to sew but often doesn’t work well on me, I’d better make a test garment. . .”. I can take months to make a 1-hour pattern 😀 I can’t happily sew quickly a pattern that’s new to me. If I want some quick sewing, it has to be a Tried ‘N True pattern, one on which all the testing and development work has already been done.

But the quick pattern choices are wide. These days the need for speed doesn’t restrict you to making very plain classics.
Good Luck with finding some speedy patterns which suit your clothing and sewing style. Then you can happily build a wardrobe with minimum effort 😀

– – –

Links and patterns available August 2016

= = =

Sewing Patterns for Men’s Clothes

Posted April 12, 2015 by sewingplums
Categories: fit + patterns

Inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee 2015, I’ve been looking for men’s patterns.
You might think there’s nothing for men learning to sew for themselves, between making a cushion cover and tailoring a suit, but in fact there are many options.

If you’re looking for a “learn to sew” project book for men, the Merchant & Mills Sewing Book has a sequence of bags and home dec all suitable for both men and women (clothes patterns in this book are difficult to understand, M&M single patterns are good).

When you’ve learned the basics of how to sew, where can you go ?
Sections here with links to pattern sources for :
Casual wear
Costumes
Activewear and Outdoor gear
Shirts
Suits, vests, coats.
These are all paper patterns unless noted.

Plus a final section on making your own patterns.

– – –

Casual wear

Burda
Burda Style download patterns
Butterick
Colette Patterns – Walden for men
Hot Patterns
Kwik Sew
Lekala (download)
McCall’s
Merchant & Mills (Tee, Foreman, All State)
New Look
Seamwork (download)
Silhouette patterns
Simplicity
Schnittquelle (German)
Stof & Stil (Danish)
Thread Theory (hover cursor over image to see photo)
5 out of 4 patterns

Many of the download patterns at Burda Style previously appeared in Burda Style pattern magazine.
Occasionally there are stylish patterns for men in Italian pattern magazine La Mia Boutique

– – –

Costumes

Here’s a taster of what’s available, which is sorted for men.
The following sites give more choices. Most of these sites aren’t pre-sorted for men/ women.

Burda Style download patterns
Butterick
Folkwear
Simplicity

There are several specialist pattern companies for historic styles.
Choose the era you are interested in at
The Great Pattern Review
That doesn’t link you direct to the pattern.
Here’s their list of links to sources.

Here’s a page of free download historic patterns.

The Great Pattern Review site also has a ‘futuristic-fantasy’ section.
For cosplay costumes for specific characters, you can usually find ideas on specialist sites for the character.

– – –

Active wear

Here’s a guide to tips on sewing outdoor gear which aren’t in most conventional sewing books.

Burda Style download patterns
Controlled Exposure
Green Pepper
Green Style Creations
Jalie
Round Earth Publishing – martial arts
Shelby Kaava
Storm Mountain Designs

Outdoor gear

Pennine Outdoor (mainly tents and sleeping bags, the item descriptions say what the leaflet is for)
Quest Outfitters (tents, bivy bags, backpacks)
Rainshed (mainly special purpose bags)
Many free patterns for bike bags available on-line.

– – –

Shirts

Burda
Burda Style download
Islander Sewing Systems
Kwik Sew
Vogue
(and check the Casual wear sites)

Suits, Vests, Coats

Burda
Burda Style download patterns
Vogue

– – –

Make your own clothes patterns

Ready-made full size basic pattern blocks for men (average body shape) from Shoben Media :
shirt, pants, vest, jacket, coat.
casual top (includes instructions for making raglan styles from basic block)

Custom fit patterns

Don’t expect a perfect fit from these tools unless you’re lucky. They only cover about a quarter of all fitting issues. But they may give you a better fit than patterns for ‘average’ body shape.

‘Connect the dots’ tracing from a master pattern, by Sure-Fit Designs :
Shirts and casual jackets (easy to make any height-chest combination).
Pants for men booklet used with pants pattern.

Pattern making software
Wild Ginger PatternMaster Tailor Made

Formal Pattern Drafting books
Patternmaking for Menswear : classic to contemporary by Kim & Kim
Metric pattern cutting for menswear by Winifred Aldrich

– – –

Other options :

Vintage patterns
There are many vintage pattern sites. Good places to start are :
ebay
Etsy

The Japanese produce marvellous pattern books, with full size traceable pattern sheets. So long as you don’t mind they’re in Japanese ! with many good line drawings of construction. A fun challenge, but not for beginners. Sizes are small. Body sizes are given with the book information, in cm. Multi-size patterns, so they may be quite easy to grade up.
These are the books for men’s clothes at my favourite source, which shows many sample pages.
Simply Pretty

Free patterns – with very variable quality of pattern drafting and instructions.
Sadly there’s no obvious good source focussed on men’s patterns.

– – –

It’s worth checking a pattern at Pattern Review, to see if anyone has helpful advice. (I find it quickest to search by pattern number.)
Pattern Review

Man’s clothing may not show the almost infinite variations in style elements that there are in women’s clothes. The differences are more in subtle details.
You do have to search thoroughly if you want something stylish, but there is a lifetime of possibilities to explore !

– – –

Links available April 2015

= = = = = = = = = =

Patterns can’t fit everyone

Posted January 30, 2015 by sewingplums
Categories: fit of clothes

Many people complain that patterns don’t fit. But devising patterns that fit everyone is an impossible task.
We have problems with fit, not because pattern designers are doing something wrong, but because we each have a different body shape.

– – –

Our different shapes

There are some data from North Carolina State University, which I analysed in a couple of posts starting here.

They found :
About 1 in 8 of us has waist larger than hips. About half of us have no clearly defined waist, the rest have indented waist.
About quarter of us are larger above the waist than below.
About quarter of us are larger below the waist than above.

How can anyone possibly design a pattern which fits all these people – except some sort of sack, with belt supplied for people who want to show their waist.

And they didn’t even look at fit issues like short-long waist, square-sloping shoulders, high round back.
Or any of the other 80+ fit issues mentioned by Liechty and Co. in Fitting and Pattern Alteration.
Here’s a list of common fit challenges.

My most obscure body shape element is that I have unusual armholes. Liechty and Co. is the only book I’ve found which tells me what to do about that. We all have different preferred methods of fitting. I like ‘reading the wrinkles’. Sarah Veblen’s good book on this method, Complete photo guide to perfect fitting, has a section on fitting individual armholes. But she doesn’t mention the major pattern change I need to get a comfortable fitted armhole.

– – –

“Yay, this pattern fits me !”

It always annoys me when people enthuse that a pattern fits them out of the envelope, without saying anything about their body shape.
Suppose I recommend a pattern because it fits me marvellously. Should you rush to try that pattern ? Well, I have hips two sizes bigger than top, small bust, short waist, high hip shelf. If you have square shoulders, a generous bust, and slim straight hips, that pattern would cause you a lot of fitting work.

– – –

‘Average’ is best

Many RTW clothing companies use a ‘fit model’. They choose someone close to their idea of ‘average’, and make their clothes to fit that person. Yes, there are people who make their living by having clothes fitted to them. There aren’t all that many people who are close enough to ‘average’ US size 8/ UK size 12 to be eligible !

RTW companies use ‘average’ fit, because over the whole population, fewer people will be far from these measurements.

In the same way, the best that pattern designers can do for fit is to design for ‘average’.
(Unless they’re willing to target only a small part of the market.)
An ‘average’ shape pattern, statistically, though not for the individual, over all the people who use the pattern, will need the least fit adjustments.

– – –

Bad patterns ?

Of course there are bad patterns. In these days when cheerfully inexperienced people can sell terrible download patterns, we’re all aware that patterns need to be of professional quality. So they do have ‘average’ proportions, no mistakes, and all the pieces fit together properly in all sizes. And they have clear markings and instructions.

But patterns aren’t bad just because they don’t fit a specific person !

– – –

Learn to fit

I think pattern companies make a mistake by not making this fitting limitation clear. Then people are disappointed with their product, and don’t understand that disappointment is unavoidable.

Beginner sewers can be upset that their hand-sewn garments don’t fit them by magic, even though RTW doesn’t.
Few instructions for beginners mention that there’s a lot of learning to do with gaining fitting skills as well as sewing skills.

Yes, if you make your own clothes you can have beautifully fitting clothes. But only if you do the fitting work.

Well fitting clothes make you look as if you have a perfect body.
I once saw an exhibit about ‘couture’ which included dress forms for some people who were famous for being elegant. Oh dear, some of them were a mighty odd shape underneath.

So it is worth doing the fitting work !

There are several methods of improving fit. Such as taking measurements and altering the pattern. Or making a muslin and ‘reading the wrinkles’. Tissue fitting is often mentioned but is almost impossible to do without help. You may need to try several methods before you find the fitting method that works best for you. There are several Sewingplums posts about body shape and improving fit.

Those of us who are further from average have to do more fitting work. It’s just something we have to accept as part of being us.

Good Luck to everyone who is far enough away from average that they have to do fitting work on all patterns. It’s inevitable for many of us !

= = = = =