Non-obvious in hindsight

After finishing the tartan dress I had quite a lot of the fabric left over. It’s a polyester/viscose tartan bought from Remnant Kings in Glasgow.

I was casting round for something to make out of it and eventually decided to do another version of my Vivienne Westwood Philosophy skirt knockoff. Tartan is a very Westwood fabric to start with, and this particular style looks really good in fabric with a woven stripe as it shows up the deliberately skewed grainline.

I always carefully file my patterns away in A4 envelopes when I’m done with them, so this should have just been a case of pulling out the right envelope and getting cutting. Unfortunately I ran into the problem that what seems obvious when you’re drafting a pattern is completely non-obvious when you come to use it again a few months later. Rather like computer code when you come back to it a while after writing, come to think of it.

So for your amusement and to remind myself, I have discovered it really helps to:

  • Write on the pattern whether it includes seam allowances or not. (A careful comparison of pattern with skirt indicates not!)
  • File all the pieces in the same envelope. No, really. And label them with what they are so that when you fail to put them in the right envelope you don’t have to examine every stray pattern piece in your collection to find the lining pattern.
  • Give some indication of which cryptic markings are important for construction and which were just part of the drafting. Again, I had to lay the pattern over the finished skirt to work it out.
  • Write on the pattern what notions you need. I know there’s a zip, but roughly how long did it need to be? (No, I didn’t mark the zip placement on the pattern either so I had to measure the skirt.)

Presumably with practice you get to know what you really do need to write down and what can safely be left to be deduced next time round. Come to think of it, there’s a whole chapter of That Which You Shall Write Down in Adele Margolis’ Make Your Own Dress Patterns. I may just go and read that again.

4 thoughts on “Non-obvious in hindsight

  1. heh heh. I know what you mean, been there, done that!

    Good for you for using a pattern again. I carefully trace of all my Burda and LMB patterns and mark each piece with the pattern number and magazine issue, size and what the piece is, and, at the end of the garment-making process, pin them together and file with all the other drafts from that issue.

    I ask myself why almost every time. How many patterns have I actually reused? (and hence needed all this methodical organisation for?)

    Perhaps three ( and of course one of them was not properly labelled and stored, hence the OCD behaviour from that point onwards…).

    Sometime in the future, some unfortunate child or relative of mine is going to find all this stuff and shake their head. At least it is organised and easy to throw out!

  2. Oh yes, now this I can really relate to, but mostly with knitting. I’ll finish one lacy sock and when I come to do the other, I have no idea how many heel rows I knitted, how many decreases I did, etc. And it does help to have two socks the same size!

    You look like an organized sort of person. It’s good to hear you’re almost as bad as I am!

  3. Tried to leave a response a few minutes ago, but it’s not showing up… hmmm…

    Loved this post. Pattern miscellania will surely be part of the reason for my early demise!

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