Archive for the ‘fit + patterns’ category

US Indie patterns from UK suppliers

September 17, 2016

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

= = = = =

Sewing Patterns for Men’s Clothes

April 12, 2015

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

January 30, 2015

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 !

= = = = =

Ease levels

October 12, 2013

After those voluminous architectural jackets, perhaps this is a good time to talk about ease levels !
Ease is the difference between the body measurement and the finished garment measurement at the point of interest. (Finished measures sometimes on the pattern envelope, usually on the tissue.)

For example, if your bust measures 36 in, and the finished garment measure at bust level is 38 in. then the bust level ease is :
38 – 36 = 2 in.

In practice the amount of ease is a surprisingly complex matter, as it depends on ease of movement, stretchiness of fabric, personal preferences, layering, and design.

I’m always wanting to check ease levels, and never seem to find my version of the BMV patterns ease level chart, which I always need to adapt anyway, so here are some comments.

The original BMV ease table is here .

Some of us are not a RTW shape and have to buy garments which are huge in most places, just to be able to move without tearing the buttons off in our largest area. . .
Hopefully when we can make our own clothes, we can learn enough about fitting and pattern alteration to get round that problem.

– – –

Types of ease

Ease is not a simple matter of a few easy rules, as there are different types of ease for different purposes, as well as personal preferences to take into account.

There are 4 sorts of ease :

Negative ease

Garments made out of very stretchy fabrics, such as lycra leotards, may actually be made smaller than the body.
In these modern days of many stretch fabrics with different properties, pattern making books provide several different basic pattern blocks for fabrics with different amounts of stretch.

Movement ease

The minimum ease needed to be able to move.
For example, if you wore a skin tight garment in a non-stretch fabric, you wouldn’t be able to breathe.

The amount of movement ease needed depends on the amount of stretch in the fabric.
And people differ in their preferences.
Some people want to look sleek, and are happy to go without being able to move easily, to get the effect they want.
As in wearing a party dress which is too tight to sit down in. . .

In a close fitting jacket, with less than 2 inches of ease, you may not be able lift your arms easily above about 45 degrees.
So people who like freedom of movement often prefer 4 inches or more of ease in a jacket.
Most casual garments are made with more than minimum ease.

One of the problems with getting a good pants pattern is that they have both to look good while standing and feel comfortable when bending over or sitting.

There’s all sorts of specialist information available for particular sports, about the different areas of a garment where special ease is needed.

Layering ease

Here’s a diagram of the different levels of ease, adapted from the BMV table.

”ease-scale-sharpen”

This is an ease scale for non-stretch wovens.

CF . . . close fitting
F . . . . fitted
SF . . . semi-fitted
LF . . . loose fitted
VLF . . very loose fitting

Each level of ease assumes you want the garment to fit over the next one down : coat over jacket over blouse.
Though these days things are not quite so simple.

Jackets

The BMV ease table says jackets are not made close fitting.
But I know at least one pattern making book where the jackets are made from the same block as the dress.
Which means there’s not room for more than a camisole under, and minimum movement ease.
Say 2 in./ 5 cm. Perhaps less if the jacket is the focus of your outfit and always worn closed.

A jacket needs to be at least 1 inch larger than what it’s layered over, if it’s going to be worn as a layer over a blouse or shirt.
A lined jacket is often made 1 in. larger than an unlined one, for the same reason.
Then add at least 1 inch more, for each additional layer.

For layering a lined jacket over a sleeved shirt/ blouse, many people prefer at least 4 in / 10 cm. Especially in winter for more layering.

And also beware ease of sleeves. Fitted jacket pattern sleeves need to be checked. Many of them assume you’ll be wearing it over only a camisole or tank. So armhole and sleeve are not large enough to be worn comfortably over another garment with sleeves.

When you have a well-fitting jacket pattern, you may find you can wear a closer fit and still be comfortable. It’s a matter of personal preference and the usual clothes you wear a jacket over.
I need many layers for warmth, like to move easily, and am not close to a RTW shape, so most of my jackets are very loose fitting.

Coats

A bit bigger than jackets, as they’re usually designed to layer over a jacket.
The diagram has the coat ease levels BMV recommend for wearing over a jacket.

The BMV ease table says coats are not made close fitting.
But I have one coat pattern from them with ease of only 2 inches, obviously intended to be worn only over a top without a jacket.
So again, check finished measurements of a coat pattern to make sure you will be able to wear it in the way you expect.

Also the suggested ease levels assume the coat is worn over a jacket at the same level of fit.
For example, a fitted coat wouldn’t be comfortable over a very loose fitting jacket. There just wouldn’t be room inside the coat for all the extra fabric.

Design ease

The ease added by the designer to give the desired silhouette.
For example the 80s – 90s are famous for their huge shoulders and very loose fit.

For the last decade or so, fitted or close fitted has been the norm.
In recent seasons a ‘slouchy’ look has appeared – very loose fit has returned but without the huge shoulder pads supporting it.

– – –

Hip level ease

The main recommendations are for ease at bust level.

Hip level ease applies mainly for skirt, pants, shorts, culottes.
But also applies to the hip level of dresses, long jackets, coats.

On close fitted and fitted and semi-fitted styles, there’s often one inch less ease at hip level.
For example, if the bust level ease is 3 in. then the hip level ease is 2 in.

But allow for your personal needs.
For example, as my hips spread 4 inches when I sit down, I make sure there is at least that amount of ease at hip level.

On loose and very loose fitting styles, the finished garment measurements are often straight up-and-down. Hip level is often the same as the finished garment measure at the bust level.
But as the ease at bust level is more than 8 inches on these loose garments, that’s usually no great problem – unless your hips are 3 or more sizes larger than your bust.

– – –

This is all very dry. Ease is not a simple matter, but it is useful to understand how ease works and what your preferences are.

– – –

Link available October 2013

= = =