Just checking in and a little about how my patterns are sized. September 03 2014
Hello again! It's been quite a while since my last post. There just aren't enough hours in the day to do everything I need and want to do. I've been a little unsure of how and what I really want to say with this blog and I've decided it's going to be a bit of a free form thing. I may sometimes put sewing tips on here and other days I may talk about whatever comes to mind. Today I thought I'd talk a little bit about the process I went through starting my company and then about how my patterns are sized a little differently than most sewing patterns out there. By the way.....I'm sorry for the lack of interesting photos on this blog but I WILL make it up to you on the next post.
I had been thinking about starting my own line of patterns for many years but last winter I made the leap. I started out with about seven designs but when I saw how long it was taking me to finish everything, I whittled it down to a mere 3. I opted for the more summer-like patterns as I thought there would be more time to get those ready before summer. Little did I know that it would take me until mid July to release them.
Why did it take me so long you ask? Well, I still have my day job at Pendleton Woolen Mills in Portland. I also have a young son, a husband and a dog. Two days ago we bought a fixer upper house so I'm going to have to add that to the list of things to do as well - am I crazy? In any case, the actual pattern work didn't take too long, it was the writing up instructions, illustrations, sewing, grading and then having test sewers sew them up, refitting and making adjustments, figuring out the website, the photo shoots, the graphics, etc, etc. I found that I couldn't just work an hour here and an hour there when it came to grading patterns or writing instructions. I needed large chunks of time - like 8 hours at a time or I'd loose my train of thought and sometimes have to start over. It's hard to find blocks of time that large with my schedule. I had a lot of late, sleepless nights. Did I mention figuring out where to have the patterns printed and then waiting for them to be printed. In fact, once they were delivered to Portland, I had to wait a week for them to then deliver them to my house - that was frustrating. I think this next round of patterns will go more quickly now that I've figured out my process and have the web site up so I don't have to figure out the business side of things anymore (although that does always need attention and change).
I was really exhausted after I launched the patterns. I'm still a little tired but I'm in a relaxed (maybe comatose) state and I can't seem to get myself back to that crazy pace again. Lately, I've been working on the marketing and social media side of things. I'm really anxious to get working on new patterns - that's the part I really love.
So I mentioned that I would talk a little about the sizing and fit of Sew House Seven patterns. For years I had been frustrated with the sizing of the conventional patterns. The measurements are so small - probably the same as they were in the 1930s or 40s when people were smaller. In their defense however, I recently learned that the bust measurements on the big 4 pattern companies is for the high bust not the full bust (I never knew this in all my years of sewing - my measurements are for the full bust). Still....I'm on the verge of being a petite person - wearing a size 4 or 6 in ready to wear clothing however, I wear a 10 or 12 or maybe even 14 in patterns. I realize that the ready to wear industry has really changed the sizes so people won't feel so large when they buy clothing. In junior high I wore a size 7 and I was much smaller then than I am now and I now wear smaller sized clothing. In any case, I wanted my patterns to reflect the ready to wear market so people can already have an idea of what size they wear.
The other issue I ran into with size was how large to grade up. I was originally going to go from 0 - 18 however, one of my amazing test sewers is a size 16 - 18 and she was wearing my 18. Now I have never thought of this woman as large and didn't know she would be a size 18. I thought to myself that she couldn't possibly be my largest size - I need to include woman larger than her! Sadly I'm only going up to size 20 for 2 reasons - one being there isn't much more room on my pattern envelope or pattern paper to add more sizes and two being that larger sizes are really supposed to grade differently. If all goes well with my business and I can someday making a real living and hire some help, I may branch out into plus size patterns as well. However, my patterns do extend into more larger measurements than most companies offer.