Finding Inspiration in Fabric and Patterns

There are as many ways to become inspired as there are things in the universe, but when I’m feeling especially directionless with my sewing, I generally gravitate towards 2 things to get my creative juices flowing:  Sewing patterns, and fabric.

The Big 4 (Vogue, Butterick, McCalls, and Simplicity) issue new patterns several times a year.  I am sure there is some sort of schedule to it…  I usually start checking daily when it seems like it’s been a while since new patterns came out, and then they are inevitably released the day I don’t check, and I have to find out from twitter or pattern review.
The independent companies aren’t quite as regular, which makes it even more of a treat when a new pattern debuts.  They usually like to tease us with twitter or blog posts leading up to it, so new pattern day is not as hard to miss!

This past round of releases hasn’t delivered many must-haves for me, but I will probably add Simplicity 1558 to my stash just for that skirt.  Simplicity 1553 is probably not something I’ll pick up, but did you see the hem of the skirt and list of notions? Battery operated micro fairy lights?  I didn’t know this was a thing, and it’s definitely got me curious.
McCalls 6891 is very interesting, and I’ve been turning it over in my head as an option for a costume if the corset  doesn’t pan out.
Then there’s Lekala.  I’m not sure how to classify this pattern company since it doesn’t really “feel” like an indie, but they aren’t like the big 4 (or their various underlings) either.  Maybe they deserve their own category.  Whatever they are, their 4282 pattern has me itching to do a matryoshka dress do-over like you wouldn’t believe.  Because I never really sold myself on that bodice I made.  Because despite pre-washing all my fabric, I got maybe 3 wears out of that dress before an unfortunate laundry accident caused the blue part to bleed all over the matryoshka part giving everything that was creme colored an off-putting and unintentional tinge of aqua.  4282 is the real reason I’m pushing onward with 4278…  Because I *need* to know if/how well this custom sizing system works before I blow another $2.18 and who knows how much time assembling another one of their blasted PDF patterns.

Which brings me to fabric:There are more online fabric stores than you can shake a stick at.  I dare you not to become inspired after spending time browsing, Mood, or Fabric Mart.  The fabrics you see made up into clothing at your favorite retailer are just the tip of the iceberg of what’s out there, and while I could tell you that I sew because I have a passion for fit, or sustainability, or to avoid supporting sweatshops- the main reason I wanted to learn, and the thing that keeps me inspired, is the fabric ~*~*~~*fabric*~*~*~ FAAAAABBBBRRRRIIIIIC!
Because I love my “hot dog dress” from modcloth, but what if I’m in the mood for a grilled cheese? And how else would I get a dress with roller skates all over it to wear to my favorite band’s show?

And sometimes you find a RTW dress where you love the fabric, but hate the design (and/or pricetag).  SEWING TO THE RESCUE!!!!

I found the fabric!  And this might be great for my matryoshka re-do (if it’s not too heavy….  that’s one of the risks with buying fabric online).
And so many others I could shop and sew forever….

5 thoughts on “Finding Inspiration in Fabric and Patterns

  1. Oh you have no idea how perfect this timing is! Have a fancy dress party coming up, with a cartoon characters theme … I had never considered that the ‘Big 4’ might have Disney patterns out! Now I just need to decide… Can I stomach looking like a ‘Disney princess’ (except with a short skirt, so, presumably ‘sexy Disney princess’) for the night? Thanks!

    • What a fun party idea!
      Check out Simplicity 2813 for full skirted versions of the princesses.
      Butterick and McCall both have costumes that you can easily turn into a princess depending on what fabric you pick :)

  2. You are just like me! It’s all about the fabric – especially the novelty prints! I’m a sucker for novelty prints. =)

    I need to finish my Monopoly playing pieces dress – just needs the double collar attached and a belt made. I’m still trying to come up with the prefect style dress to make with the outer space chiffon we both got.

    • I can’t wait to see your monopoly dress! That is my all time favorite board game :)
      I like that Lekala pattern LadyKatza tweeted the other day. I think I’m going to try to find a similar non-PDF pattern for it.
      The new Sewaholic Saltspring dress would be great for it. I don’t have the right body type to look good in that pattern, but you do!

      • The Saltspring dress is cute but I don’t think I would ever wear something so bloused at the waist – I’d have bad dress-code flashbacks of high school when they made us tuck everything in. I have a similar but more fitted (belted with less blousing) ’60s pattern that I briefly considered for the chiffon but I think the print would get lost in the gathers.

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