www.patternorchard.com

       

     





Choosing a pattern to suit your needs,
skills and budget!


Head over to the FREE PATTERNS page to find a list of patterns designed specifically for learning!
Each pattern includes recommended licences to complete before beginning.


One of the many decisions when picking a pattern is traditional or modern?

Traditional tissue paper patterns:
Fragile and cannot be replaced if damaged
Use short descriptions and line drawing instructions
Seldom offer any customer support
Expected knowledge of sewing skills
Availability depends on physical store stock
Pattern pieces are ready to go with no assembly needed

Modern digital PDF patterns:
Can be re-printed at home as needed
Include detailed instructions with line drawings and/or colour photos
Often offer support via email or in online social groups
Usually explain a sewing step in more detail for beginners
Available to anyone with access to internet and a printer
Patterns take time to print and assemble


How to choose a pattern that is acheivable?

Knowing what skills are needed to sew up a pattern can be hard to guess
as this info is not often obvious from the pattern description.
Does the construction method use bias binding, zippers, flat felled seams
or another technique that you are not famiiar with?

A big reason some patterns are not used is because after purchase
the sewer discovers a 'tricky' part of the pattern that they do not feel confident enough
to attempt. Try to find out what methods are used before purchase if you can.

If you do find yourself with a pattern that seems tricky, think of it as a learning
experience and research the topic a little. Don't let something new put you off.
Also remember that every new skill takes practice.
The first go may not be perfect but you can learn from each attempt!
Is there a Learning pattern or licence here that can help?


Where to search for a good deal and ask for recommendations?

Staff at your local sewing store, friends who sew or online communities of sewers
can be a very helpful resource. Don't be afraid to ask for recommendations!
Sewers love to share their experiences and it's a great way to strike up a conversation.

Online and retail stores have regular sales so find out when the next one is likely to be.
Some patterns are better value for money as they include more options for sewers.
Don't be fooled by a simple modification like shortening a sleeve which you could
probably manage yourself.

For clothing patterns, check the size range included.
If the pattern includes many sizes that you can use for years to come as kids grow
or adult sizes fluctuate, you will get more value from the pattern.


Picking a winner!

Brand loyalty, fads or a pretty fabric can influence a pattern decision.
Before jumping on board the next trend, consider the suitability of the pattern for your actual needs. Is that likely to be something you sew more than once?

Search for photos of a finished item made from the pattern in question so you can see the shape, fit, features and flaws from every angle. If you can only find a front-on photo of an item, could there be a reason the back has not been photographed?

Consider your recipient when sewing for others
Just because you love a fabric, does not mean someone else will.
Find out more about an intended recipients taste.

For kids, what colours or characters are they into?
For babies, are the parents decorating the nursery in pastel or bold colours?
For adults, do they have a funky phone cover or something more classic?
Sometimes it is easier to ask the recipient or their close family/friends to check first.


Consider if an item is needed or will be used 
A backless outfit for a newborn may be used once for a photo shoot, but the parents will know to dress the newborn in clothing that covers their back, thighs and chest as newborn infants cannot regulate their own body temperature yet.
Comfortable, soft, conservative clothing is more likely to be worn a few times.
Handy items like bibs and hats are always a safe go-to for infant gifts.

If sewing a pretty dress, consider adding a little bolero/cardi/jacket to match.
A nicer kids outfit is more likely to be worn on special occasions.
Will they need a little extra warmth to wear the outfit to dinner or a wedding?
Delicate skin should be covered where possible for sun safety too.



Some helpful tips for using patterns

TRACE!
Tape your pattern piece to a window during the day so that the sunlight hits the back of the pattern. Place paper over it to trace off the pieces you need and then cut the traced paper leaving the original pattern pieces in tact.

PRINT!
PDF patterns need to printed to scale to work properly.
Always print the test page first, then check the scale by measuring with a ruler, not a tape measure before printing the whole pattern.

If the scale is not accurate the most common issues are:
The pattern was not opened in a great PDF application. Most pattern makers recommend ADOBE reader for opening PDF patterns.
The printer used may have outdated drivers. If you cannot find an easy 'update drivers' option in your printer settings, try searching online for guides.
Patterns occasionally do not like to print accurately from portable devices. Try moving the PDF to a pc and print from there.

SAVE!
Backing up your PDF files needs to be done every time you get a new one. Use a memory stick, CD, portable hard drive, cloud or other location to save a spare copy of your patterns.
For tissue patterns, trace off a backup copy and store it in a safe place! Photograph the instructions pages to keep with the pattern pieces.

Save the planet. Only print PDF pages you need.
Read the sewing instructions on-screen if you can!



Life is full of choices.  Choose to make today awesome!