What's new? A new pattern coming soon, an obsession with denim tencel and a change from hard paper to tissue patterns July 17 2015


     Hi all. How embarrassing as again I say it’s been a long while. It may seem like nothing is happening here at Sew House Seven but that is not the case in the least. I have been up to so much - some of it good. Let’s see..... where do I start. Well, after a much needed break in Hawaii last February, I came back home and started working away on some new patterns. I had 3 new patterns that I hoped to get out last spring. I am still trying to get a handle on the timing - these patterns take longer than I ever imagined to work out all of the details. One of the patterns just wasn’t coming along as I had hoped, another was/is almost ready however, I just decided that it probably wasn’t worth spending the money having it printed. It was a very sad decision for me after all of that work and investment however, I just wasn't sure about it's commercial success. However, I wore the proto to my day job the other day and I received loads of compliments on it so now I am rethinking it.  In any case, I may still release it as a pdf pattern but I’m thinking about making a few revisions to it - not sure yet. The third pattern however, is to be released in a week or two. I’m so excited - it’s at the printers right now!  I’m a little stressed that it’s a summer pattern and I’m releasing it so late in the summer. However, it’s a classic style so it shouldn’t go out of style anytime soon. I’ll be posting it soon so stay tuned.

     So with all of the pattern making, sewing, mothering and did I mention home remodeling? - I’ve had a lot going on. I did make a vow to myself and my family however, that I was going to have a fun summer this year and not let work take over. So..... we had a few fun filled weeks at the beginning of the summer and then it hit. First our friends had to cancel a vacation with us as they were all extremely sick. Then my husband got the flu and was out for a week (very unlike him). Two weeks later, I had the flu that then turned into pneumonia that I am still not completely over but I’m at the tail end. I’ve been ill for almost 31/2 weeks now. I’ve never been sick this long. I finally see the light and am getting my energy back. I’m ready to work and to work out and get outside! And so the above mentioned new pattern release is really energizing me too I should add.

Hard paper vs tissue paper patterns

     So speaking of patterns at the printers...... my new to be released pattern has many more pattern pieces than my previous designs. When I was getting it ready to send to the printer, the pieces were taking so many pages of paper and the customer was still going to have to piece together 2 of the pieces that wouldn’t fit on a page. By the way, hard paper isn't offered in as large of sheets as the tissue at most printing places.  I made the decision to switch printers and start printing on tissue instead of hard paper. I hope this doesn’t discourage my current customers. When I started Sew House Seven and was researching all the aspects of pattern making, many people I interviewed said they preferred hard paper patterns. I grew up with tissue paper and it never bothered me however, I decided to give the people what they want. But after this printing issue, I also started to think about some of the benefits of tissue paper vs. hard paper. I am going with brown tissue paper as it doesn’t use bleach and is more environmentally friendly. Tissue in general is thinner than hard paper and therefore, doesn’t use as much pulp to make and as much bulk in shipping and packaging. I have also noticed that a number of other reputable independent pattern companies are using tissue so it was a no brainer for me. I’m really looking forward to fewer pattern boxes in my tiny office.


    As for  my latest sewing endeavors..... I participated in Me Made May 15 for the first time last spring. I didn’t wear hand made garments everyday but I did wear them everyday that I worked my day job at Pendleton Woolen Mills and a few other days thrown in there. It was really fun trying to put together outfits on cold, rainy days when most of my hand made wardrobe consists of summer pieces. I tried to quickly sew up some garments using other independent designer patterns as well as my own creations to add to my wardrobe. One of my favorites (but so time consuming) was the Ginger Jeans pattern by Closet Case Files.  I was so impressed by this pattern. I was also impressed by how well my first pair fit. Unfortunately, they took me almost an entire day to make and I really messed up my waistband. I’d like to fix them and ultimately adjust the waist part of the pattern to fit me a tad better and then make another pair however, I just haven’t found time. I almost wore the jeans with a tunic over them so nobody would see my crumby waistband but I didn’t. Maybe I’ll do so in the future. In any case, the pattern was very well thought out, written and drafted. After having my own business and knowing that the pattern making part is the smallest and almost easiest part of the process, I'm really impressed.   There are so many more details to the process that make even the simplest patterns very time consuming to create, so I applaud Heather Lou for those Ginger Jeans. I can’t imagine sewing them over and over trying to get the fit right. I look forward to my next pair but not until next winter.

Ginger jeans from Close Case Files (I need to fix the waistband). 


    I did sew up some other garments during Me Made May and I think about half of them were in denim tencel. For some reason I became obsessed with denim tencel. So much so... that I bought yards and yards of different varieties of it and they are sitting in my office. I still love it but I feel like I’m already inundated with the stuff. I just love how it drapes and it’s denim but a little dressier. Here are a few of the things I created with it.


The Bridgetown Backless with a side slit on the skirt - in denim tencel.





 Modified Thai fisherman pants.  Another pattern I MAY release as a pdf file.  Again - denim tencel.


A simple tee dress with rolled up sleeves - in denim tencel.  It has a scooped back but I don't have a good photo of it.

Another Mississippi Avenue Dress.  How many of these do I have now?


    O.K. this is kind of fun - blogging.  I have to admit.... When I started the business I was dreading blogging.  I knew I needed to do it f but, I had stage fright.  Also, I am very pressed for time and never could really fit it in.  I'm truly having fun with it now and I've already thought of loads of other posts to do in the coming days.  I think I've had so much to learn and figure out that I've been overwhelmed however, I finally feel like things are starting to come together and I'm getting ready to fly.  I think one of the things that really held me back with the blog was the picture taking.  I didn't and still don't have a great photo taking set up.  I'm also a little shy and wanted to use a model.  I have a few models I use however, it's difficult to get everyone's schedules to work.  Sometimes I need a photo now.  I swore I'd never model myself but now I see why others do it - not because they crave the spot light but because it's the most convenient way of getting things done.  My husband took some photos of me and the quality was good but I looked embarrassed and uncomfortable.  I recently bought some lights and a remote and have been taking my own photos and I feel much more comfortable with that.  I still need to work on improving the quality but, at least I have a start.  


    And finally..... I'll leave you with a few photos of my first big outing in 4 weeks (because I was sick for so long).  Last weekend, my friend Dayl and I took our kids and a few of their friends rafting down the easy lower section of the White Salmon River in the Gorge in Washington.  We all had a blast!  



Rafting the lower White Salmon with our kids and friends.


     After the kid section, Dayl was kind enough to watch the kids while I went with the Dads down the lower lower section of the White Salmon.  This section used to be damned but the dam was blown up a few years ago so that section is now runnable however, I hadn't done it yet.  It was absolutely gorgeous.  I was a little more nervous than I usually am since I hadn't been in my kayak in a while and I still didn't have full lung capacity after the pneumonia.  I was very short of breath.  I'm still glad I went - I really needed to get out.  We saw salmon, turkey vultures and cormorants to name a few animals.  We then went back to our friends house and had a BBQ.  A great weekend!


 Kayaking the Lower Lower White Salmon (There used to be a dam here).


Turkey vultures and Mt Hood at the take out in Underwood, Washington.


    Thanks for reading everyone!  I'll be back soon - no really!  I have a tutorial that I'm working on.  I'll be making the Bridgetown Backless into a long evening dress with a long side slit.  I'll also be showing you how to modify a bra to add an elegant back detail for those who don't want to go braless in this dress.  I'll also be posting my newest pattern very soon so stay tuned!  Have a great weekend!