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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: Sherri
Date: 07-07-2007, 05:38 PM (1 of 23)
When you are constructing a simple garment do you follow the pattern or just wing it?

My website
User: Sherri
Member since: 02-07-2001
Total posts: 357
From: EmaCon
Date: 07-07-2007, 05:56 PM (2 of 23)
I usually look at similar RTW garments and copy what they've done when it comes to inside and outside finishing details. It's usually not what the pattern recommends so I ignore pattern instructions on those points.
User: EmaCon
Member since: 07-28-2006
Total posts: 67
From: PaulineG
Date: 07-07-2007, 06:06 PM (3 of 23)
I've gone my own way a few times - but it's usually in favour of a technique/construction method I've learnt making something similar. So I don't consider it ignoring instructions so much as following better ones.
User: PaulineG
Member since: 09-08-2006
Total posts: 901
From: Jeke
Date: 07-07-2007, 06:11 PM (4 of 23)
I always read the instructions first, but like Pauline may choose a different technique that I have learned at another time. Most the time if I do the construction in a different manner it is because I have learned, in my opinion, a better or easier way to do it with the same or better results.:bluewink:
User: Jeke
Member since: 11-10-2004
Total posts: 232
From: lendube
Date: 07-07-2007, 06:28 PM (5 of 23)
I agree except that I don't read the instructions on simple garments. I follow the pictures for the order of construction. Sometimes I'm surprised by a new technique so it does pay to be attentive.

User: lendube
Member since: 08-06-2006
Total posts: 1548
From: paroper
Date: 07-07-2007, 06:46 PM (6 of 23)
I always read the instructions. If I agree I will follow them. Sometimes I don't like their techniques as well as those I've picked up over the years.

When I was in college there was a clothing construction teacher that everyone raved about. She had pattern files of different techniques where you could go to say "Zippers" and pull her cardstock examples for several techniques to find one you liked. I learned a lot from her but I also learned that my high school teacher often had better finish techniques than she did.

I've learned through the years the only way to learn new tricks is to read and try them. So, yes, I do read the instructions and usually follow them. Today I did something I've never tried before I put a button placket in a side pocket of a pair of pants. I'm not sure that I would have done it their way if I had designed the pants, but it was a new experience and that is part of what it is about. There was a step or two I thought was a little unnecessary and I would have put the button holes in the pants' pocket before I assembled them if it had been me. The overall finish though is quite nice and my dd will be pleased.

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: Sherri
Date: 07-07-2007, 06:51 PM (7 of 23)
OH I like those pants what length are you making.

For simple garments I usually do my own thing. For something more complex I read the instructions and do a combination.

My website
User: Sherri
Member since: 02-07-2001
Total posts: 357
From: paroper
Date: 07-07-2007, 06:53 PM (8 of 23)
I made both the long ones. My daughter is flat in the front and the ones with the pleat had a little more in the front than she would have liked. I think the button ones are going to be fantastic!

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: MTjumpnJX
Date: 07-07-2007, 11:22 PM (9 of 23)
If it's something new & the material is expensive I will follow the instructions.

I cut a blouse out of a dress pattern today & had to add 3" vertically to the bust area. My mom had given me a dress made from the same pattern long ago. Looking thru the directions I noticed they have a small zipper inserted in a side seam. Mom didn't do it & I'm not going to either, it fits fine without the zipper.

Whatever Works.
User: MTjumpnJX
Member since: 05-17-2007
Total posts: 29
From: temom
Date: 07-07-2007, 11:32 PM (10 of 23)
Sometimes I wing it, but usually because I can't decipher what the directions are saying, or I followed the directions a previous time, and didn't like the way it was done.
User: temom
Member since: 01-19-2007
Total posts: 410
From: Sancin
Date: 07-08-2007, 03:50 AM (11 of 23)
Well I READ them. Does that count? :smile:

I read instructions and introductions for everything, which drives repair and complaint department people crazy! Why wouldn't one read them? Even to laugh at some translations. :up:
*~*~*~* Nancy*~*~*~* " I try to take one day at a time - but sometimes several days attack me at once."
User: Sancin
Member since: 02-13-2005
Total posts: 895
From: toadusew
Date: 07-08-2007, 08:02 AM (12 of 23)
I always read the instructions and follow them for the most part, but sometimes if I think there is an easier way or technique to use, I'll depart from the pattern instructions.
User: toadusew
Member since: 01-08-2005
Total posts: 369
From: DorothyL
Date: 07-08-2007, 08:08 AM (13 of 23)
Like everyone else I read the instructions and sometimes do things differently as I go along.
I'm not much of one for short cuts and often add steps because I like the look better or have had the technique work out better in the past.
I tend to make the same handful of simple patterns many times so those staples I just kind of whip out. But I do take the instructions out of the envelope with the pattern and have them laying on the table until I finish the garment.
I read an article in a magazine once that suggested you use a pattern unfamiliar to you but with techniques you understand and make the garment with no instructions. I couldn't quite get the point of that. I like having the pattern there -- just in case.
But I do think out every seam. I'm not sure the pattern companies do. I consider what is going under it, what is going over it and what kind of finish I'll be using.
User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: Magot
Date: 07-08-2007, 08:50 AM (14 of 23)
I am a pattern reader and follower. I sit there , move the fabic this way and that and trying to visualise what the heck is going on and then I sew it together. I don't garment sew enough to be able to work out where to start for myself. (I can cope with - do the darts first)

Having made garments from scratch with no pattern, it was ghastly. I copied a ready to wear top I had - the crossover top was a nightmare to get together with the biasedging - I just couldn't work out where to start. I wore the top for years though until it wore out because in the end it looked OK. And I was proud of myself for giving it a go.

I am trying to make a working (i.e. pumping) model heart at work at the moment - it is driving me barmy as the instructions are written in Japanglish. I have resorted to looking at the picture on the front of the box to work out which tube goes where. It'll be great if I ever get it done but at the moment we are in severe cardiac distress and my valves are leaking badly. I should have knitted one.
love and kisses, Jan
Cells a Speciality
DNA to order.
User: Magot
Member since: 12-22-2002
Total posts: 3626
From: lendube
Date: 07-08-2007, 12:13 PM (15 of 23)
Since I'm the only one who said I don't read instructions let me clarify. The question was whether we do for simple garments. Believe me, if it's anything more than very, very, simple I absolutely read the instructions but I find that I get more out of the illustrations very often.

User: lendube
Member since: 08-06-2006
Total posts: 1548
From: MartySews2
Date: 07-08-2007, 02:26 PM (16 of 23)
For very simple garments, I scan the instructions to make sure that I'm not missing anything and then I make the garment. For more complex garments, I use the instructions along with several of my sewing books for clarification. My memory is very short term so I take all of the help I can get.
Happy Stitching!
User: MartySews2
Member since: 05-03-2007
Total posts: 293
From: plrlegal
Date: 07-08-2007, 07:17 PM (17 of 23)
I'm a reader and follower to a great extent but I can put a t-shirt pattern or a skirt pattern together pretty much without following the step by step cutting layout and sewing instructions. But also like Marty, if I've spent tons of money on fabrics and a pattern (i.e, silk velvet, silk lining and a Vogure pattern), I pretty much follow step by step instructions and keep a couple of my well worn sewing books at hand.

User: plrlegal
Member since: 05-19-2001
Total posts: 318
From: material_pakrat
Date: 07-08-2007, 11:03 PM (18 of 23)
I read the instructions, but I tend to follow the pictures more. Half of the time they seem to miss some of the steps in the written instructions. Or maybe it's just that I need a new pair of glasses.
Cheers, Soph.

I'm happiest when I am sewing!
User: material_pakrat
Member since: 12-13-2006
Total posts: 220
From: Mom of Six
Date: 07-08-2007, 11:44 PM (19 of 23)
If it is a basic Tshirt or slacks I don't even look unless I run into a problem. Otherwise I usually read through & insert my own techniques where they work better for me. One example is I very rarely set in a sleeve with the side seam closed I always set them in flat & then sew the seam. If I am sewing & serging I do everything I can on one machine like gathers & basting then switch to the other machine instead of going in the order of the pattern. If I am doing something brand new I will keep the directions open & refer to them often.
Happiness is having time to sew!!
User: Mom of Six
Member since: 11-03-2001
Total posts: 1115
From: lendube
Date: 07-09-2007, 11:11 AM (20 of 23)
Hey Soph,

Maybe I need a new pair too but I've found the same thing. I always think it's me but I've sworn that I couldn't find a particular step anywhere in those instructions.

It's happened more than once. :nc:

User: lendube
Member since: 08-06-2006
Total posts: 1548
From: temom
Date: 07-09-2007, 10:38 PM (21 of 23)
Soph, and Lennie, I'm with you guys. I was making my daughter skorts (very cute), but no mention was made about making a casing for the elastic at the waist. It skipped right to finishing the hem and the end. Fortunately I can figure that one out on my own.

One thing that I do automatically now, is when putting sleeves in, if the material doesn't match up without gathering, I use Nancy Zieman's method - it is much easier for me, and the gathers are much neater and evenly spaced, so it looks pretty durn good for a beginner!
User: temom
Member since: 01-19-2007
Total posts: 410
From: mommydionne
Date: 07-12-2007, 07:09 PM (22 of 23)
I do occ'ly get dinged halfway through something and have to dig out the instructions and see what needs to be done:re:
User: mommydionne
Member since: 01-08-2004
Total posts: 838
From: bridesmom
Date: 07-14-2007, 05:46 PM (23 of 23)
I'm with Jeanette, that's how I do the simple stuff too, and then when that airbubble moment happens I have to dig around and find the directions.
Tickled pink with my Innovis 4000D
User: bridesmom
Member since: 01-21-2004
Total posts: 2026
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