Friday, April 2, 2010

Pattern Matters

Happy Easter weekend, all!

We're going to be out of town for the weekend and I am packing my smocking to do on the road. Freehand smocking without patterns - ooooo, living dangerously.

But anyway, I thought I'd revisit the patterns and address some related issues. No one has actually emailed to ask me about them (except the last one) - I've just been meaning to address them but keep forgetting. Forgive me for such an inelegant use of the blog - I don't like to discuss stuff that pertains to just those of you who've bought the patterns and are working on them, while the other readers have no clue what I'm talking about. I apologize.

Wow- a whole paragraph about nothing. Talk about inelegant.

Alright, on to the issues:

First, the Chicken Pattern: Does a person really need a whole yard of fleece per chicken?

Short answer: No.

Long answer:

  1. The fleece I buy is in 60" widths. In that width, and assuming you are cutting along the grain (i.e. not on the bias), you'd need a half yard. Maybe a little more or a little less, depending on how you place your pattern pieces. But definitely not a whole yard.
  2. I wasn't sure if fleece was sold in narrower widths. Is it? I daren't assume it wasn't, so if it comes in 45" widths, then yes, you'd probably need more than a half-yard. So a yard is safer.
  3. If you are crazy like me, you'd be experimenting with pattern placing and how fat you can make the final product if you cut the pattern on the bias rather than along the grain. Edwina (our grey chicken) is superplump because I cut her pieces on the bias. Her lines are smoother, she is rounder overall and even looks bigger. You don't have to do this, of course. But in case you were wondering. So if you went the bias way, I'd say a half yard might be a bight tight - buy a little more.

Summary: On hindsight, I should have mentioned in the pattern that you'll need up to a yard of fleece if it is like 45" wide and half a yard if it's 60". I like to be conservative, but if it threw you off, I apologize.

Second, seam allowances.

I've struggled over this - adding them into my patterns (not just Chicken), I mean. I've never drafted seam allowances into any of my garment patterns or any patterns, for that matter. At best, they make absolutely no sense to me personally, and at worst, are confusing and restrictive. Plus, they make it mind-numbingly difficult to mark sewing lines on fabric, (if you are the sort that needs to mark sewing lines, I mean). But I understand that the culture of commercial dress patterns (and other commercial patterns in general) embraces them (why?) and people are used to cutting around the pattern pieces using the included seam allowances. Sigh. So I've added them to my patterns. This also means that the pattern pieces are, overall, bigger. And some are so big that they are hard to fit in a letter-sized sheet of paper. If you are uncomfortable with the pattern outlines reaching right up to the paper margins, please be assured that these are only the seam allowance outlines (i.e. the unimportant, disposable bits). The actual sewing lines should be unaffected. I hesitate to mention this, but there is the option to shrink the pattern slightly if you really want to. But please bear in mind that the concrete measurements like length of zipper, size of eggs you can use with the chicken etc will not shrink along with the pattern!

Third, Pig:

Yes, dear readers, Pig (and her brood) is in the works. Thank you all for loving her!


  1. I love the idea of the baby animals storing inside the Mommas. Maybe its because I'm pregnant and have young children. It'd be a great teaching tool about how Mommy's carry their babies and then they are born. Great idea also for clean up & storage. :)

  2. Oooh! I love the pig!! And I love the chicken! Will you be making a cow anytime soon? They're my FAVORITE! :) I'm totally buying your patterns for these little guys.

  3. I also would love a cow pattern eventually, although my craft budget can't handle any more projects at the moment...

    I was wondering, did you cut your owie dolls out on the grain? I'm assuming you did, since plumpness isn't really a goal in that case and they aren't made of fleece anyhow. I had wondered about the patterns not having grain lines, though - any particular reason you left them out? I have three all cut out with faces embroidered on; now to make the time to sew them together.

    And while I'm on the subject of owie dolls, I was toying with the idea of trying to attach straps to the sleeping bag so they could be worn papoose-style. Do you think that might work?

    Your farm animals really are darling, maybe I'll get them made at some point. Your three little girls are exceptionally lucky to have you as their mother =)

  4. Another pattern question: when you cut out your patterns, do you normally mark the sewing line on the fabric (with marker? chalk?)?

  5. Adorable! I love the little piggies.


Thank you for talking to me! If you have a question, I might reply to it here in the comments or in an email.