Friday, September 21, 2012

Sewing Pattern Websites and My Pattern Hoard

Last night, it almost happened: that incident that lets you know that your pattern stash has perhaps grown too large.

V1317 - Chado Ralph Rucci
I'm a pattern stasher. Patterns are modest in size, and I stash them in a few different places around the Craft Lounge where they are out of sight. So, it's easy to convince myself that my pattern buying is not a problem, not a habit. But last night I realized that my hoard is too large to keep track of; I nearly bought a pattern that I already own.

So, today let's talk about pattern buying habits since I'm thinking about my habits. I don't live near a JoAnn's or anywhere else that has in-store pattern sales, and finding patterns in the Garment District takes some effort. Aside from my Burda subscription, most of my pattern acquisition happens on-line. And I've definitely formed some habits that have skewed my pattern stash in particular directions.

B5454 - Wrap dresses are a staple in my work wardrobe

First, sales. I am a sucker for sales. Last night's purchase happened during BMV's $2.88 for Vogue and $1.44 for the other brands sale (um, yes, I am a Club BMV member, because I'm a sucker like that. So, I get a bonus discount). With shipping, my order came to $20, which is about the regular price of one of Vogue's designer patterns. Not bad for 7 patterns, huh?

V1314 Tracy Reese

Second, website useability. Simplicity, for example, is underrepresented in my stash. This is because my tolerance for their website is low. The problem? Not large enough images of the garments/patterns in their gallery and too many clicks to get at the info that I want. Plus, when you click on "dresses" you get 9 pages of dresses, with no way to narrow the assortment down. I usually click away from the site thinking I'll come back when I have more time...

B5813 - Says retro, but I'd style it modern for office wear

Third, past experience. I have been burnt by patterns from indie designers - radically off sizing, cover art that was very different from the finished garment and mistakes in the instructions. And while there are several indie patterns in my stash and I've had some amazing successes too - most notably my Lady Grey jacket - my early bad experience always makes me hesitate before plunking down money for those inevitably more expensive patterns. 


Fourth, style. I will never wear a peter pan collar or a pussy bow. Those styles are simply. not. me. Indie patterns tend to be targeted toward a niche audience, stylewise. I wish Colette Patterns made more patterns that were more my style. Everything about the Lady Grey pattern was great - the instructions, the pattern itself, the illustrations, etc. Same for Jalie. I buy a lot of Burda and Vogue because they design styles I like and that easily fit in my lifestyle.  I haven't really found an indie brand that really speaks to me.
M6602 - Well, I'm sure I could find a way to fit this into my lifestyle...

So, that's it -some of the major contributing factors when it comes to my stash. What about you?  Do you buy on line or in person?  Do you have preferred brands and why?  What are the habits that affect your pattern buying? And most important, do you hoard patterns like I do? Do tell!

Have a great weekend!


Elle C said...

I am guilty of buying a pattern that I already own, what a dumbass.

I buy most of my patterns online, mainly because my local fabric store hasn't had a sale on patterns in forever (I'm in Canada). I prefer Vogue patterns, they have that "je ne sais quoi".

I am a pattern sale slut, when BMV puts their patterns on sale, I spend an untold amount of time scouring the website looking for patterns that make my heart beat faster. I accept the fact that most of them won't ever get made, but you never know.

And yes, I hoard my patterns. Last count (and no doubt inaccurate) I had 226, most of them Vogue.

sophie.m.gorman said...

I hoarded patterns for a while. But I didn't see myself using any of them. So last summer I purged them and got rid of over half of them. Now I have about 30 patterns, which I think is good. I still have tons of sewing ahead of me, and if I need another one, I can buy it.

Tanit-Isis Sews said...

So, I have a bad case of thrift-store-pattern-itis. They're never more than a dollar and often as low as twenty-five cents, and often I'll pick one up even if I just think the artwork is cute. It's becoming a bit of a problem, storage-wise. I do keep track of all of them on a phone-app, which I page through regularly, so I'm pretty good at not getting the same thing twice. The only downside is it gives me a running tally of how many patterns I have, which is a rather alarming number...

As for the indie patterns, I haven't been too adventurous---Colette, Sewaholic, and Jalie---and all of those have been pretty good experiences, although Colette requires a LOT of fitting. I do have a hard time plunking out fiften to twenty bucks for a single pattern, though, even though I like the designers and really respect the brand. And you're right, none of them really target "my" style, either. (Whatever that is at any given moment...) I really like that Jalie has the mega-sizing because I can use the same pattern for myself and my kids and my nieces, but on the other hand I have like eight or ten and I've only used about three of them. (One of which is the jeans pattern which I've made like fifteen hundred times.)

I only have a couple of Burdastyle magaziness, and I haven't used them enoough to really justify getting more, but I did recently ffind out where in town to buy them, and while it's across town, across town isn't nearly ass horrific as it used to be since we moved, so I have a feeling I wwill be acquiring more of those...

Clio said...

Oooh, I have carefully avoided counting my patterns! And I stash them in 4 or 5 different places to make them look like less...

Clio said...

I periodically cull the hoard and give away patterns that I decide that I'll never use or bought on a whim, etc. For me, it's just a way of enabling a new batch. Ha!

Clio said...

Oh, that app is NOT for me if it keeps a count. ha ha

That's pretty much the same debate I go thru with the indie patterns. I really like and respect the designers and what they do. And the support they give on their websites, with sew alongs and pattern hacks is amazing. But at the end of the day, I'm just not macaron material.

Oh, I like Burda. And there is enough that I like in every issue to justify the cost when compared to single patterns.

Catherine Daze said...

Oh it's like you read my mind. I buy patterns online, and mostly Vogue. I do also have a large collection of Burdas and a smaller collection of 70s patterns, mostly Simplicity. It's just about to overflow its storage box so something must be done soon...and I'm planning to spend the weekend tracing which won't help! Maybe I could get rid of some fabric...

Anonymous said...

I buy all my Vogue McCalls Butterick online. I'm really evil as I cruise the site and fill up my shopping cart so I can just 'check out' when the sale email arrives. At least I review my purchases several times in the process - and cull!
I hate the simplicity site so have only a few patterns.
I have lots of Colette & Sewaholic. I find Colette can be a little quirky and feel like a 'one off make' but the Sewaholic patterns are fabulous and worth every cent.

K-Line said...

I buy online. I do have preferred brands but I'm always looking for new ones! The preferred ones at the moment: Vogue (as always), Colette, Sewaholic, Salme. I can't wait to get the new Cake Tiramisu dress as soon as it's available later this week. I'm looking into StyleArc (though the price is too steep IMO). I like buying vintage patterns. It does sound a bit like I have a problem.

I have about 100 patterns in envelopes collected over the past 3 yrs.

Carolyn Norman said...

O-M-G! We are such pattern twins! Your reasons are quite similar to mine! I find that I predominately sew Vogue, Butterick and McCall for the reasons you stated. I own few Simplicity patterns because their pattern sales suck! I'm totally amazed that they haven't figured out the power of the internet and the ability to sell patterns cheaper. My last Simplicity buy was from Pattern Review because they had a better sale than the Simplicity site did in-season.

I adore the Colette line too but again her pattern style doesn't work with my lifestyle. I would love it if she not only made some different styles but also offered her patterns in a larger size range...same with Tasia of Sewaholic...there are several patterns I'd like to own but to get them to my size is more work than I want to deal with right now. Design changes I don't mind as much as fitting changes because there is no guarantee that they will always work.

I have a boatload of HotPatterns that I keep meaning to use...but then that tracing thing comes into play. I keep thinking that I need to use them more and then I never get there. But I love the styles that HotPatterns makes so I keep purchasing the patterns.

I also predominately purchase online because I can buy them at any time and don't have to leave home or work to do it...and I HATE Joann's stores so I don't have many other in person options...which leaves my free time available for sewing.

As far as hoarding goes, I guess I hoard everything sewing related. I always feel like I want to be ready if I get a great idea in the middle of the night. Well that's what I tell myself! *LOL* I really am just a "collector" of all things sewing!

mdealmeida said...

Well, my hoard gets out of hand, mostly (I've figured out) that having a
new pattern = instant new outfit. Well, in my mind I've lots of new
outfits or outfits that I want to sew and never have enough time to do
so. I do cull my hoard every 5 years or so, and have decided to only
buy what I call "collector" patterns from Vogue, like all the Ralph
Rucci patterns, for example. I don't care if I never make them up -
he's in a realm of his own, and it's fabulous that Vogue carries his
designs. I do have quite the collection of Burda magazines, which my
girls love to refer to and choose things from. And I don't own
Simplicity, mostly because I prefer the sophistication (snobby word, but
it's the only one I can think of right now) of the Vogues. I love
Vogue's website, too. Beats any of the other patterns companies. I own
one Colette and haven't cracked it open yet. Same for Sewaholic and
Hot Patterns: one of each, untouched.

Clio said...

Ditto, ditto, ditto! Yes, exactly! ;-)

Clio said...

I've been eyeing some Salme patterns. Style Arc too.

Clio said...

In my mind I have a killer wardrobe, completely sewn by me and that is the envy of all... ha ha ha

Yeah, those Ralph Rucci patterns are beautiful and different. I own most.

Meg the Grand said...

I've been pruning my hoard as of late, because like you, I buy the majority of my patterns online. I love being part of the Club BMV, though I'm noticing that I need to actually start making the patterns I've bought instead of constantly looking to buy more. Half of my pattern stash has never been made and that's just sad to me. I love getting a good deal, but I admit that I love the way the Sewaholic patterns fit on me - little to no adjusting and I end up with a great looking piece. I definitely plunk down the money for those patterns once pay day comes around. I think I'm going to lay off the pattern buying for the whole of next year, just because if I keep belonging to discount clubs, I'll keep buying and never making. I also agree with your thoughts on the Simplicity website - why is it so difficult to use?

Clio said...

Does that mean that half of your pattern stash has been made? That's really impressive! I'm nowhere near that! LOL