“Failure is Always an Option” – Adam Savage


So guess what this post it about.

To start thing off right/wrong this is not the post I thought I was going to make. It was going to be a short and sweet post about the new patterns I was working on and their inspiration but in the end it didn’t turn out that way. In fact not a lot turn out the way I was expecting. I will warn that this is a long winded post but there will be pictures.

So this is how thing started…

On my last visit home I found my current favourite dress at Joe Fresh. It is a black knit tank dress with a racer back and double layer front (one is lower cut then the other). I would love another one since I wear it all the time, problem being, the nearest store is about 1,500 km away and the summer stock is gone. So I decided to make my own version but with a twist, literally. Enter one of favourite pattern drafting books, Pattern Magic by Tomoko Nakamichi. I have been wanting to try some of the techniques in this book since I got it and this seemed the perfect opportunity.

One of the techniques is called “Nejiri” (meaning torque in Japanese) and involves skewing the pattern so that the fabric will be twisted on the body but still sitting were it should. (i.e. side seams are still straight). I thought this would be a great variation for the front of my dress. The drafting was fun and it went quickly once I got my head around how to create the twist. While I was looking through the book I thought the Kakurenbo (meaning hide and seek) technique of concealing flare in curves would be really cute on a little girls sun-dress. Once again the drafting was fun and went quickly one I got my head around then instructions.

That’s where I was going to end the post along with some pictures of the samples. Well things didn’t continue that’s smoothly.

For starters on my way to Kinkos to pick up the pattern I realized that the outer front pattern piece wasn’t modified enough to achieve the affect I wanted. Doh! I got ready to cut an realized what fabric hogs both patterns were, so I didn’t have enough of my planed fabric. Doh! In the end both patterns didn’t turn out quite as expected or hoped. Doh! 


“Failure is Always an Option”

One of Adam Savage’s better know quotes, he has often talked about this concept be it on Mythbusters or other venues like the Makers Fair in 2009. (His TED talk on Obsession is also really interesting.) I thought of this as I realized that the day wasn’t ending with me propelling fabric across rooms or into walls. I didn’t even have the urge to do that. I decided I think I learn too much.

It is amazing how much the right psychology can completely change a situation. Instead of being terribly frustrated I was excited at what I had learned and eager to try again.

I often draft in my head; try and figure out how I want to draft something long before I put pen to paper (or stylus to tablet as the case may be.) It can be very helpful in finding errors before they are made. In fact this is why I knew the pattern wasn’t done before I picked it up. But I couldn’t do that this time, the concepts were too new so I had no frame of reference for how it would turn out. I love that sort of thing though. Novelty, challenge and something to learn. The sort of thing that you can either know or get.

What I learned:

Nejiri – I ended up making two versions, the printed dress with the twist on both sides and the pink dress with just the outer front layer twisted (the original design).

1 – The twist isn’t big enough to be very noticeable, you can hardly see it in the photos or person. It would also help if the twist was more focused around the waist. As it is, it gets lost on the skirt.

2 – The twist needs tension work. It is fine on the pink dress as the back and under layer control things but this isn’t the case for the printed one. You can kind of see in the photo the side seams uncoiling at the hem since the hem has no tension on it. (This dress was generally cut looser so the whole thing tends to want to unwind.)

Kakurenbo – Pink dress for Mina. The proportion was off some how…

1 – Like with the Nejiri, the effect wasn’t drastic enough. The skirt still has some wave to it but when using such a drapey fabric I think there needed to be more. I may try it in a woven fabric and see how it fits.

2 – This kids knit dress was one of the hardest things I’ve sewn in a while! It did go smoother if I sewed with the skirt on the bottom and bodice on the top. 

After all that, even if it didn’t turn out how I wanted I have a much better understanding of how these patterns work. I am starting to get it not just know it, something that wouldn’t have happened if everything went right. In retrospect failure was the best option.

Next! Getting ready for new samples


On wards and up words I guess. Fabric is on the way for the next round of samples. Once done, the grading can commence.

Since the Monogram Hoddie is done it is time to start my next baby pattern. There are three patterns in the works; leggings, t-shirt (crew neck and cross over shoulder) and fitted pyjamas (top and bottom). Two of the three are unisex so more boy friendly patterns! The shirts are almost done, still need to make adjustments for bands/ribbing and the I still need to make the pattern for the bottoms but I’m getting there.

The Park Top will be released with a v-neck variation and that is up next for sampling. It will likely be the first women’s wear release. Even though this one is supper quick easy to sew I’m am trying to work out the clearest instructions for the v-neck.

I decided to start a new pattern for women. A low cut v-neck wrap dress. After re-making this dress for myself the other day I thought it would be good one to release. It is one of my favourite dresses since it is so easy to wear. The first one I made (from bamboo jersey) I wore all through my pregnancy and after; it still fits too!




Finished the samples for the Sunrise Hoodie and the Park Top. Next up corrections. Somehow there are always those.

Typically they are rather minor, missed notches or something being miss-labeled. Other times they are bigger and can’t be foreseen till the sample is made. The Sunrise Hoodie is having the centre front lowered slightly due to the effect the zipper has on the fabric and the Park Top is having the angle of the neck ribbing changed so that the ribbing lays nicely. All easier to do now then after grading.

(yay for Photoshop processing that make bad photography viewable)



Sweet Pea


When designing the Sweet Pea Dress I wanted to create something that was not only cute now but also when the child got a little bigger. I love sewing for my daughter but am sad when she’s grown out of it in a week.

There are many design details that can be used to create longevity in children’s wear; these are the ones I chose to use. To avoid the dress looking tight I added tucks across the front to give extra room, and raglan sleeves for an easy fit trough the shoulders and arms. I didn’t leave large hems instead I intend the dress to become a top as it gets shorter.

I since I started this dress the wee girl has grown a bit so I thought I’d share how her size 12 month fits then and now along with a look at her Dr. Seuss print size 18 month.

I know the difference isn’t hugely noticeable in the photos but it is there.


J is for Jordan – hood sample 3


Final sample is done!!! Jordan tried on his hoodie today and it fits great, including the hood! I was thinking of making it longer but after seeing it on him I think it is fine the way it is. (He is tall for his age so if it fine on him it should be good.)

Next up is grading. I’ll be doing sizes 3, 6, 12 and 18 months as well as 2 years this time. I haven’t taken the construction photos yet but I can do that when I sample other sizes. I also only finalized my construction method with this sample and it is easier to take pictures when you have a clear method in your head. I at least have photos for the pattern cover! So cute!

I am always looking for pattern testers, let me know if your interested. (including for the first three to be released.)