Due to some wonky business with my beloved computer crashing and not being handle any sort of photo editing for now, I decided to approach a topic that has been on my mind for a while now. When I was in school studying tailoring I noticed an attitude among "oldschool" tailors. I probably don't even know enough numbers to count all the times when I heard "A true tailor NEVER uses pre-drafted or commercial patterns." It seemed odd for me. "Why the hell not?" Thought Past Fooniks but I left it like that, never approaching the topic and keeping the fact that even then I occasionally used commercial patterns *collective gasp* I know, blasphemy. Well..Pish posh.
Now a few years have passed and I've discovered this super supportive and amazing sewing community and the list of indie pattern makers seems endless and my pattern stash is growing with alarming pace(much to my wallet's disappointment). And as I've started to admit out loud that I use patterns for about 50% of selfish sewing, people around me are surprised and a lot of the girls I went to school with have also admitted that they commit the ultimate tailor's sin and occasionally use a commercial pattern. "Why? Oh Why? Why are you turning your back to the old ways and going over to the dark side?"
Well let me tell you. I don't think of it as a crime. There. I said it. It's out there and I can't take it back. There are a lot of reasons why I buy patterns and use them. One of the big reasons is my rapidly growing indie pattern stash. These talented and passionate people have put their heart and soul into these patterns. They have put themselves out there and hope that the sewing community will catch them. It's not easy running a small business. It's frustrating and scary but at the same time it is highly rewarding and heart warming to see your work being accepted and loved in the community. And I will do what I can to support these gals. If I like their pattern and I have the few Euros/Dollars to spare, I am going to buy the pattern.
Another reason is that I feel like drafting a pattern for a dress I saw a commercial pattern for would be like reinventing the wheel. If there's a pattern that's out there and I can afford it then I don't see the point in trying to replicate the same pattern and spend my hours on it. The time I spend on trying to perfect the pattern and figure out where all the seams and details are place would be better spent on actually sewing the garment and enjoying the final product. In order to release a pattern hours on hours of work has been put into perfecting the pattern, placing the seams, the details, everything. Sure, you'll probably have to make adjustments to the pattern once you start to make your garment with it but it would be the same with drafting a pattern yourself. I am yet to encounter a pattern formula that is so perfect that no alterations are needed in the fitting. We are all unique and special and so are our bodies. The formulas have been calculated and put together thinking of a perfectly proportioned body. And no one is perfect. We all have our quirks and the more complicated and structured the pattern, the more adjustments we need.
One other major factor to why I sometimes go and use a commercial pattern is that I am lazy. Yes. Lazy. For work I do for my clients, I always draft a new pattern for each of them. So when I decide to take a short break for some delicious selfish sewing I just can't be bothered to make a pattern every time. Unless I have something in my mind that I can't use a pattern from my stash, I'll go the easy way and use a commercial pattern. It's easier and it feels a bit comforting to let my brain rest for a little while and follow the instructions(mostly) that some talented person has thought and tried through multiple times and has perfected with the help of their pattern testers. They are like my soft and fuzzy blanket that I pull over my head when I don't feel like thinking too much.
Also the pattern envelopes and instructions can be quite educational. As you know, I'm from a small non-English speaking country and while I don't struggle much in a daily conversation, sewing terms can be challenging for me at times(thanks to our Professional English teacher who called "floral fabrics" "flowery fabrics"...Good job) So as the perfectionist who hates making mistakes and feeling like disrespecting a language with mistakes, I try to learn as much as I can as fast as I can and I've found that the pattern envelopes contain a lot of information and terms that improve my vocabulary and I can finally put an English term to the term names in my native language.
So even though I could draft the pattern I see somewhere and think "I like this, I want to make this", I'm not going home and spend hours on trying to figure out how it's drafted. If I were a musician and liked someone else's album, I wouldn't go and record the same damn thing just because I can. I think the stuck up attitude some of the old timers have towards hobby seamstresses and the pre drafted patterns they use is narrow minded and arrogant. I refuse to take part of it and I will continue to buy the patterns I like and can afford. I am going to keep using them and loving the makers behind the patterns. They have worked hard and I applaud them. You, my dearies, have ballz and I wish all the success and love to you. I like your courage to put your work out there and I love how supportive all the indie patternmakers are towards each other. There is no cut throat rivalry, only friendly competition and support.
To sum it up, I guess I will continue to use a mix of self drafted patterns and pre drafed patterns and I won't feel like lesser of a professional seamstress. It's my way of showing support to the patternmakers in the wild and I'll continue to do so until I can. Who knows, maybe one day I feel brave and experience enough to put my own pattern out there, and I'll get a bit of support back. But that day might never come and I'll still have a proud feeling swelling in my heart when I see the indie pattern makers do well and I'll think "I helped with what I could" and that's all that matters.
Keep up the good work, makers. Ignore the meanies and keep your heads up high. You are amazing, talented, beautiful and special.