Friday, January 30, 2009

Pattern Review

Kathy asked me about Pattern Review in one of her comments. The actual web address is linked here.  For anyone that sews, this can be a valuable site to visit. There are many thousands of members and many patterns reviewed. Granted all of the fashions aren't necessarily  ones I would find suitable, but there is much that I do like.  A couple of examples of specific helps to me have been:

*An alert that the "cow" bag I made the Princess has 3/8" seam allowances (it is standard to usually have 5/8".) The "cow" bag pattern only notes this little (but critical)  tidbit in one obscure spot - so that PR alert saved me much grief. 

*The fleece hoodie I recently made runs rather full through the sleeves and shoulders, but is also a bit on the short side in length. By knowing that ahead of time (from reading reviews others had done of the same pattern) I was able to be alert to fitting adjustments that I needed to make. And when I wrote my review of that same pattern - I reminded folks that make length adjustments to also adjust the pocket placement (something I neglected to do.) 

You don't need to have a paid membership to read the reviews there. And you can get a free trial membership for 30 days. That was what I did at first to see if I liked it. After discussion with my husband we decided that I would buy a yearly membership for at least the next year or two.  The annual membership cost is minimal - and as a member I get discounts on classes, among other things. The on-line classes have been great for me. I just can't commit to taking classes outside my home, yet I need regular structured help to move ahead in my sewing. If you read my sewing story you will know I have sewed for many years, but have never been really good at it - just enough to do basic items. At this season of my life the Lord has brought sewing back to me in a significant way and I need the on-line classes, tutorials, and message boards at Pattern Review to help me.

I am currently working through the Beginning Sewing Labs 101-104. While I do know the basics and am not a "beginner"(I rated my sewing level as "advanced beginner" at the site), my sewing experiences have been so hit and miss over the years that there are many, many simple things that I have never learned. These classes have been great. I also did a fabric oriented class that covered all about knit fabrics. It was hugely helpful for me as fabric knowledge is one of my two weakest areas. The other is fitting and alterations. That is the subject I will work on next when these basic classes are done. 

I have also joined my first PR contests. While I am not contest competitive - I am contest motivated. I love having contest goals and focus. I also am learning interesting ideas from other PR members. As a result of the current "Stash Contest" I learned from "Ody" how to add length to one's blankets and sheets. With a Dh that is 6"4" keeping sheets tucked in and feet covered can be challenging. I would never have thought that just by stitching a length of fabric at the bottom of our top sheet where it tucks under the mattress is a way to give just that extra comfort zone. 

So for me a membership at this time is a benefit, but even if this is not a place the Lord is leading you to invest with your time or money, I would still suggest checking PR before tackling any sewing project in order to see what others have to say about a pattern you are considering using. 

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