Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Getting aHEAD

After making the Pink Zebra and changing the pattern, I cut into my intended fabric, knowing I had enough to make a second pony if the pattern was still not to my liking, this time I used the proper grain as I was working with a solid, not a print.

I also choose to make this pony standing I actually have about 4 poses made into patterns.

If I thought the last pony had a funny head, this one has a stupid head!

The body, how ever, is good, though I think the legs need to be longer to match Applejack better, as is they work more for her little sister Apple Bloom

So I am taking the stuffing out, unstitching the head and making a new one, raising the ears and giving more chin. At least my child is happy with it as is, but I just couldn't stand looking at this face for long.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Testing YOUR OWN Patterns and offering Free patterns.

I mentioned in my last post that I was working on making a plush Pony for my child as a Birthday gift.
Since the pattern was not as I hoped I have had to revise it. and this lead me to thinking about how You as Pattern Maker should test your own patterns before sending them out to pattern testers.

Why should YOU test your OWN pattern?
1. To test a different order of operations,  maybe it works better done in a different order
I put the Pink Zebra together in a order that was complicated, so I need to try a different order to streamline the process, especially if I ever release it as a pattern (which I don't know if I will.)

2. To double check your pattern pieces. If you made the pattern pieces by hand and then scanned them into the computer and cleaned them up, you need to know if they print out appropriately. If you put them in a different format, like a PDF, you need to print from that format just like your customers would.

3. To check your instructions. Assuming that you have written the instructions at this point, if not, you should make it up following your instructions precisely once they are written. If you have ever written a report, you know that the common advice is to print it out and read it from the paper, or better yet, have someone else read it. Sometimes it is easier to miss your mistakes on the computer.

4. To check all variations and sizes. I have heard of clothing patterns that didn't work out in the plus sizes due to grading errors, not only is this annoying, it can be damaging to your companies reputation.

What if the first iteration of the pattern doesn't work?
You obviously need to change it, make notes on the pattern pieces of what needs to change and where the changes need to be.

Should you toss the nonworking pattern or save it?
This is a personal opinion, but I say save it, at least until you have the FINAL finished pattern. DO make sure to label your patterns with a version name or number so that they do not get confused and printed by accident (it happens, even to the bigger companies.) For a paper pattern, use a colored ink, for computer files, change the name just a bit. Version 1, V1, and 1.0 are all good names.
When you have the final pattern you may choose to toss or delete, but my persona preference is to put the previous iterations in a smaller envelope inside the main envelope, that way I have them for future in case I need to go back to them.
Yes my handwriting is that bad, which is why I love using the computer!

Is all this necessary if you are only giving the pattern away for free on your website or blog?
Depends on your end goal, and general view. While there is the common thought that "you get what you pay for" with free patterns, IF you are also SELLING patterns, your freebie is what will draw in or send away potential customers. If your free pattern doesn't work well, why would anyone choose to pay for a pattern? They are expecting that all your patterns are done in the same format, and if they had a bad experience with your free pattern, they are not likely to want to "waste" their money on buying a pattern.
IF you are just a blogger sharing, how well finished your pattern is, depends on the level you want to put into it, and what you expect of your target audience's skill level.

One more word on Free Patterns, IF you didn't test it even though you are 100% sure it will work, put a disclaimer on it. If you didn't test all the variations and sizes, put a disclaimer on it. "This pattern has not been tested at this point" is fairly clear, on the other hand "This pattern has been tested by me (and others if applicable) and works" is a lovely way to give your viewers confidence about your free pattern.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Pink Zebra Mishaps

As a crafty parent, when your child asks you to make them some thing for their birthday and you don't already have anything to give them, well you try your best to make that thing for them.

My child has asked for a stuffed Applejack

I had already used another pattern to make a pony for one of my other children, and was not 100% happy with how that one had turned out, so I had made my own pattern.

I made the pattern, and then moved on to another project without ever testing it!

Time to pull it out and test it!
I had planed to make Applejack out out of polar fleece, so I pulled out some Pink Zebra fleece from my stash to make a test pony.

I then spent a long time embroidering the eyes, they ended up working well, but not equal and placement was not equal either. While embroidering the eyes before making the head is easier since the pieces are flat, it doesn't always make a for a good expression. Embroidering also took a long time, so I think I will experiment with applique AFTER assembly next time around.

I also tried to embroider the flank.
The design comes from a painting my husband did which is based on the Golden Rectangle.

I drew my design on plain white cotton, pined it to the wrong side and running stitched around the design so that I could see where I needed to fill in on the front side.

I added the second color as work progressed
When I got almost finished I realized that NOT working in a hoop and left the flank all wrinkled, so I put it away and cut a new piece.

Then I sewed up the pattern and stuffed it, Here is what I ended up with.

I have two major issues, the head is well flat faced, like the poor dear ran into a wall, also the front legs are too splayed out, the under belly being to wide. I was concerned that might be the case.

But other aspects of the pattern worked perfectly, and yes I forgot to cut hoof pads, so the stuffing is peaking out there, but this is not a finished animal, and I may indeed take the stuffing out and toss it.

I have about a week left before birthday, so I best get to fixing these issues and make another test of the pony pattern if I hope to have something for my child on his birthday!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A question on geometric pattern pieces

We will file this under Market Research.
Audience Participation is highly encouraged!

I have been thinking about what to do about large rectangular and square pattern pieces in my patterns.

The Big 3 ALWAYS include all pattern pieces, which annoys me when you are dealing with large rectangles for say an 1860's skirt. (I would just measure the pattern pieces, or better yet ME and then cut the appropriate widths)

When it come to printing out a downloaded pattern, large rectangular pieces can be wasteful of paper, ink and tape.

So I am currently leaning towards NOT including rectangular or square pattern pieces in my patterns. (circles and non right angle triangles can be difficult to make, so I will include those)

Instead I will mention the sizes needed to be cut in the layout, instructions and on the pattern pages.

Do you think this would be too confusing for a beginner?

I am not talking about anything quite as complicated as the below image, which requires working in Nails (2 1/4") and more math, but of cutting a rectangle A long and B wide (including seam allowance)

Workwoman's Guide by A Lady 1840  Plate 6 concerning the making of Women's Shifts.on Google Books

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Time and Usefullness

I have been working on a few projects this past couple of weeks, like many creative individuals I always have more than one iron in the fire.

One of my projects I have been keeping accurate notes on the times I have spent on it, yes I am recording the minutes I have worked on it. I have never done this before and I have found it interesting how long some tasks take and how quickly others are done.
At this time I can't tell you any more about this project.

Another project I am working on is the Pink Zebra. This is my easy pick up and put down project, great for snatching little bits of sewing here and there, waiting for the bus (but not on it, that makes me sick) waiting for the concert to start, whenever.

I carry it around in this jewelry  case.
which has a multitude of pockets, some of them removable.
At this point I have one eye finished, and the other is well on it's way, then there are two more flowers to embroider and I can assemble it all together.

Slowly I am getting better at embroidering eyes!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

American Duchess Highbury give away.

AD is doing it again, another give away of her fabulous shoes, this time the Regency era Highburry

You too can enter  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I am not just doing it for you,

I am not making this just because you asked,
I am not helping you with this project just because you are my friend,
Nor will I help you in the hope that you will help me, or other karma,
I do not drop what ever I am doing, to help you look for that reference for your research just because you need it,
I do not enter challenges just for the prize,
I will not write about that topic just because you want to read it,
I am not doing this just because you asked.

I do it because I want to.
I do it for the Challenge.
I do it because I see it helping me in some small way.
I do it for the benefits that may come later.
I do it because it inspires me.

This post brought to you by my children's birthday gifts I am working on.

Embroidering eyes

Fabric is a pink zebra polar fleece, I drew the eyes on white cotton, colored them in with fabric markers (didn't have purple, so I used red) and then started stitching it down, cutting around 1/8" and turning under as I worked.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Antique Shopping

Saturday I went to a local Antique store for their spring event. a trunk of 100 year old clothes was being displayed and for sale.

 It was my day off, after spending all week with the children on spring break, Mama needed a break, so I went out by my self to antique shopping.

I wasn't expecting to purchase anything, but before I went, I asked my husband what  my "allowance" was, as money is tight with us. I of course knew that I would spend more on something if I really wanted it, but I know what I want and what I was looking for. (McDowel Pattern Drafting set, Doll Corset, Corsets, Victorian Magazines with patterns, Victorian Patterns.)

Some of the items were being worn by young slender models, others still in the trunk.
I dug through the trunk and looked at everything, at the bottom I found this mid 19th century corslet.
It is black silk, lacing at both front and back, the back retains it original spiral lacing. the front baleen bone is much broken and coming out of the broken silk. the beaded trim at the top edge is a bit loose and coming off in some places. The interior is a brown polished cotton?

In another part of the store I spotted this drafting set, which was too shiny for me to pass up. You see my husband is a Draftsman (which is where I learned CAD) and has a few of these vintage sets, though the case of this one is probably in the best condition of all of them!

I browsed through the other antique stores in the area, looking for an item that had been mentioned to me at the first store. Well I found it, and yes it was something I wanted.

Behold my sexy new underwear!
I think I will save more on this for later, I am in the research mode right now! But I will tell you it is from about 1890's to 1910's

All this for about $60, which happened to be the number my husband told me. when I got home with my treasures he said "you could have spent more" I told him I knew, but that I was only interested in purchasing things I would use.

The drafting set was much ohhed and ahhed over for it's shininess and was deemed to have been worth the price of all my purchases. (men, they like shiny tools) I particularly am looking forward to using it to make larger circles!

 The drafting set has been photographed on the drafting table, and the ruler you see is attached to the drafting arm.
I am looking forward to taking patterns off my new clothes, and yes I do want to make the union suit for next winter, though I doubt I will be able to find the right fabric. (It's a tube made naturally narrower at the waist.) and I need to do a bit more research to date these items more accurately. Oh and clean the union suit a bit too....

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Welcome April!

I know I am a bit late on my wrap up post for March, My children are on Spring Break and that has changed my daily schedule.
The weather is unusually warm and so we had a lovely egg hunt in the backyard on Sunday.

The early part of March I spent sick, this germ is a persistent one, as I feel it has not left me fully.

I wrote a book review on a Teddy Bear Making book, and I uploaded an edited review to Amazon.

I have been spending time on personal enrichment, well it isn't ALL personal, I am reading and taking classes to help me further my goals, the whole reason why I have this blog: to bring Corsetra Designs into a fully functioning state.
During this I was so inspired by Huge Macleod's How to Be Creative, that I shared it with you.

As I mentioned in my wrap up post for February I was going to be rearranging my work spaces, well I did that, but not good enough for pictures. This moving of my computer desk prompted me to blog about how I store my patterns.

I also have rearranged other areas of my living quarters, in fact I spent all of yesterday cleaning one of my children's play areas on one of the levels of this house. (they have 3 play areas, not including the bedroom.)
To this extent I did some personal sewing, I made curtains to go around my bed.

I STILL have more cleaning and rearranging to do in my living quarters, and some sewing to do for this organization.
Spring is here, so enjoy the warmer weather and growing things.