Colette Anise Sew-a-long – Week 2, part 2: The great pattern assembly job

Crickey! It’s Saturday already? It can’t be! Right er, here is the update on my jacket.  There is no update!

It took me longer than expected to join up all the sheets of paper to form the pattern.  I must admit it was more fun to do that it should have been.  Why is it that whenever there is paper, sticky tape and a pair of scissors involved I get my Blue Peter on and I’m instantly transported back to school girl status?  Be grateful that there wasn’t any glue or glitter involved,  otherwise I would still be playing!

That said, instead of the expected 1 evening, it took me 2 evenings to stick the pieces together.  It was HUGE.  Enough to cover a king sized bed.  I’m seriously considering printing out the pattern again on some plain cream cotton and then making a patchwork quilt.  You could dye the separate pieces in different colours and then add some batting, a few buttons, some embroidery, gosh this would make an ideal gift for the enthusiastic sewer in you life!

But back to the jacket.  A few tips:

  • Have plenty, and I mean plenty of sticky tape. There is nothing worse than having to stop and spend ages looking for that elusive roll you thought you had stashed away in the stationery cupboard.  If you like having a well stocked sewing basket, consider adding a couple of rolls of sticky tape. They often come in handy, especially for mending tears in paper patterns.
  • Use a sharp pair of paper scissors. Do not, under any circumstances use your fabric shears – not even for just that small pocket paper pattern. Your fabric shears are for your fabric only. They need to be sharp at all times. Paper will only dull them and ruin your expensive fabric.
  • Clear a large space. There is going to be bits of paper flying around all over the place.  Make sure you have enough space and good lighting is essential. A good comfy chair or stool is also a good idea.
  • Be patient. Goes without saying!
  • Have a large bin or garbage bag close to hand. When you eventually get round to cutting out the pieces, you will save a lot of time and effort when you cut directly over the bin.  Your life is too precious to be spending hours picking up a mountain of stray bits of paper. Just scoop up the bag or bin and discard in one go.
  • Save large pieces of scrap paper.  Essential if you need to adjust your pattern. If you are printing out your pattern like me, the large blank areas are often enough for use for this purpose. Save the planet and all that.
  • Take plenty of breaks. After a couple of hours, go and do something completely different, even if all you do is make a cup of tea. I love piecing together paper patterns, but there comes a time when even I get paper cabin fever.

Pattern storage

When all the pieces have been cut out, double check they are all there and then place them all immediately in a large envelope or folder. Better still make a list on the back of the envelope or folder of all the pieces, ie A – Collar, B – Cuff, C – Sleeve etc.  That way if you need to print or replace a pattern piece, you know which section to print out.  Plus it is a good idea to store the pieces in alphabetical order, so any missing pieces are instantly identifiable.

That’s about it for now. I’m way behind, as I has hoped to have finished my muslin and pattern altering by now. Opps!.  I guess that will be the next post.

Oh and one more tip, when it comes to cutting out the fabric or adjusting the patterns to suit your frame, remember to measure twice and cut once. And measure everything. Yes it is an absolute bind, but these garments are bespoke pieces, they are for you and/or your loved ones. Many a shirt or dress have been ruined because this vital part of the process was skipped.  People pay thousands to have bespoke items made, and you have the gift and talent to make bespoke items for yourself. Do yourself a favour. Measure. Then measure again. Then after that make some more measures!

OK lecture over! If you have any tips you would like to share, please leave a comment below.  Check out my photo blog here!

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