A Sew Along...what do you think?
I'm thinking of doing an online tutorial for a downloadable jacket pattern. I've used downloadable patterns several times, and I like them. First of all, in some cases the fit can be adjusted before the download is sent out. Second, the patterns range from the very classic (and sometimes free) to the quirky, to the fashion-forward. Most are very affordable. I like that, and I think many others will too.
If you'd like to check out some free patterns to download, try visiting the Lekala or Bootstrap Fashion website. They have many of the same patterns. (Bootstrap is based in San Francisco and Lekala in Russia and Switzerland). Get your tape measure out and write down your measurements so the pattern can be as customized as possible. Go through your fabric stash and find some fabric you might otherwise not use, or some lining or muslin. (Lining is handy in case you want a lined garment).
I think I'm going to use this pattern (Lekala 1589). The fabric they used for the sample is quirky...looks distracting...I don't like it, but when I look at the seam lines and detail, I like the basic bones of the jacket. I think it would be great in
a tweedy wool,
a heavier gab or wool crepe,
<<<<< a brocade (oooh)..................................................
or even denim. Maybe I'll add some contrasting topstitching.
So, shall we? Let me know if you'd like to follow along!
Some more notes on the download aspect:
We've always wondered why the Big Pattern companies didn't do this download thing long ago. As it is, up until 2008 or so it was a very expensive and time and space consuming undertaking to carry the Big Patterns (we carried Vogue and Butterick, at an inventory value of almost $100,000). At the same time, the Big Patterns went into competition with their vendors, offering big discounts to online customers. So in essence, independent retailers were carrying and paying for patterns marked up to $35.00 each and being undercut by their suppliers in partnership with large chains, who would sell the same patterns that they marked $35.00, for far less...sometimes as little as $5.00 for Vogue and $1.00 for Butterick in the big chain stores.
When McCalls bought the Vogue and Butterick parent company, many people were concerned about the monopoly it would create in the US market. However, the market is taking care of that aspect, because thanks to technology there are independent companies popping up everywhere.
Our brilliant owner once approached McCalls with a novel idea. Why, instead of all the floor space and money we have tied up in pattern inventory, doesn't McCalls devise downloads that it will license to shops, who can print the patterns out "on demand" in the size of choice (even customized!) on a wide format printer? Well, the idea, like many of his ideas, was too far advanced for the time, back in the 1990's. Sigh. It would have been fun.
The following might be Too Much Information...
I guess at some point many of the independent shops rebelled. One day we received news that the patterns were going to be shipped on a modified consignment program. So we would only pay for those we sold. That took care of the expense part, but not the space or time issue. And not the issue with the independents like us beng locked into the far-overpriced retail price structure. (For example, if we sold a $35.00 pattern we would be billed $17.50, which used to be called 50% markup--kind of a standard markup for stores to cover overhead. But, the customer might go home and look online and see that they could buy the same pattern online for $15.00...or visit a chain store with the catalogs marked "Vogue Patterns always 40% off"... or hit a sale and pay $5.00 ... yield: one frustrated customer.)
When we decided to move, something had to go. The charming space with which we fell in love was not the capacious space in Georgetown or K Street, but a narrower space perfect for human interaction. Kind of reminiscent of our first location at the Watergate. So the patterns went, except for the Burda patterns that we have carried since 1978 or so (now a licensee of Wilton Brands, and they are and always have been a wonderful company to deal with).
They are a star in our world. :)
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