I feel a little guilty after all the bad mouthing I did about patterns in my last post. I came across a little like I was better than patterns and more creative, which I suppose I still think...but I have a new appreciation for sewers that can easily read and interpret the crazy mess of a map that is a pattern. Seriously, I pride myself in being very visual spatial and can tell you in a heartbeat whether I am facing north, south, east or west... however, looking at that pattern made me feel like I was attempting to navigate a foreign planet (perhaps the one shorts are made on).
Luckily I had regained my teacher's patients and was ready to sit, focus, think and really understand a pattern. I also had the support of craft friend Meesh who has also decided to take on the challenge of the leprechan jumper (as we are now calling it).
This is the leprechaun jumper:
1. On the package it gives you fabric suggestions. If you know fabric types you can always substitute for something similar. For example, this pattern called for flannel or denim (so, something non-stretchy). Michelle bought corduroy and it seems to be working just fine.
2. Many patterns have a couple of different choices to the outfit. For example, sleeves or no sleeves, shorts or pants, pockets or no pockets. On my pattern there was a choice A, B or C. I was following outfit C (the easiest, ha) so throughout the whole process I had to make sure I was following directions for "C".
3. The sizes listed on the package are NOT the same sizes as, let's say, Gap. I am a size 12 in pattern world...which is different than Gap sizing, which is different than wedding dress sizing, which is different than Walmart sizing...etc.! You get the picture. So measure yourself before buying a pattern, measure your hips, waist, bust, inseam, etc. and take the measurements with you. Your size on the pattern determines how much fabric you will need to buy.
4. When cutting out the pattern pieces, your size determines what size pieces you cut out. There are different lines (like dashed or dotted) and you follow the one for your size. There should be a diagram on the instructions or on the pattern pieces themselves.
5. There is a diagram showing you where to place the pieces on the fabric to cut out. Check to see if the fabric should be folded, giving you 2 pieces of each piece. Also, some pieces may be required to be placed directly on the fold.
5. No matter how smart you are YOU ARE NOT SMARTER THAN THE PATTERN. This was a hard pill to swallow. I found myself having an inner conversation with myself that sounded like this, "What does that mean...that doesn't seem right... maybe if I just do it like this.... I can skip that step because it doesn't make sense..." Bad pattern following etiquette!! If that is your approach you will later be saying, "Oh THAAAAT'S why they wanted me to do it like that!?!" So, just follow the instructions carefully and if you don't understand something, take a break and come back. Meesh and I could not figure out why the "back strap" in the directions picture did not look like the same shape we had cut out. After we took a macaroni break we realized that the 4 straps we had cut out were actually all front straps and that a totally different unlabeled piece was our back strap! Just needed a brain break!!
Those are just a few pattern following tips I wanted to share. Our leprechaun jumpers are about 80% complete, including a zipper (properly sewn for the first time!!) Unfortunately, I lost a knob to my machine in transport last weekend so I am paralyzed at the moment. I didn't realize how dependent I had become on my machine! Luckily this is just a good excuse to head to my Betty Crocker Seamstress Momma's house to borrow her machine and her pattern knowledge to finish! Can't wait to share the final product! I will have to remember to snap some pics BEFORE it becomes covered in Jameson Ginger-ale! ;-)