Sunday, October 10, 2010

sew challenging

i'm a sucker for a display in a fabric store. they totally work on me. friday night was no exception. sabin and i went to a fabric store and saw a cute outfit all sewn up on a mannequin. we didn't buy exactly the same fabrics, but we bought all three patterns they were selling - for leggings, top and a vest. as you can see, i got the leggings and top done this weekend, but not the vest. i accidentally bought the wrong size in that, so i need to go back and exchange it.

the fabric store is called stof & stil and the patterns are their own line. the styles are cute, but as i found out, the instructions are completely opaque. there are few illustrations - only the pattern layout on two of the patterns. and the rest of the instructions are a numbered list full of insider terminology and confusing directions. they assume a very experienced seamstress. and it's only partially that the instructions are in danish (i turned to the norwegian and swedish when i got stuck and they were no better). steps are left out...steps that a beginner wouldn't know or someone who's not sewn with a pattern for awhile wouldn't remember.

if i'd followed exactly what was written in making the leggings, rather than using the knowledge i already had from making pants previously, they would have fit sabin very strangely indeed. they skipped the part about how you have to tuck one leg inside of the other before you sew the crotch together. if i'd never sewn anything before, i would have been frustrated and bewildered indeed.

the top, with the insets at the top and the gathered sleeves was a series of frustrations. i got so frustrated with the opaque directions last evening that i had to put it completely aside and come back to it this morning. i've been doing that for years with complicated patterns, going away and letting my brain process it in my sleep and then being able to finish when i wake up. there is still one spot (thankfully on the inside) where it's not quite right, but it went together in the end, so i left it, as i couldn't bring myself to rip out another seam.

it is a classic case of instructions written by someone very experienced. you see it a lot with technical instructions of all kinds. engineers who are totally into their topic write for their peers and completely forget their audience and the level they might be on. in this case, a very experienced seamstress wrote down a few instructions, but didn't include everything an inexperienced seamstress would need to know. terminology wasn't explained, much was assumed.

stof & stil could take a lesson from lego. lego instructions are excellent and they don't need to be provided in multiple languages because they're entirely visual. the japanese sewing pattern books do this very well too. i've got several of those and haven't had trouble sewing the patterns because the instructions are all based on illustrations, so i'm not missing out on anything by not being able to read japanese.

but, in the end, i got there. i bought fabric to make one more blouse for sabin in another color, and i should do it soon before i forget how the pattern actually worked.

lesson in this...any pattern writers out there, please remember your audience when you're writing!!

one more note, on the subject of japanese...sabin and i picked up sushi in yutaka in herning on friday evening. if you'd only ever had grocery store sushi, this would have made you long for that. and if you've had real sushi from someone who actually knows how to make it, you would have been sorely and sadly disappointed. we ordered a set of rolls and a few salmon and scallop nigiri. they took pre-made rolls out of a refrigerator - nothing was fresh. the salmon for the nigiri was at least cut before my eyes, but even the little rice balls it was placed on were premade. that meant they were dry and lifeless. the rolls were uninteresting and filled with miracle-whip style mayonnaise (which has no place anywhere near sushi in my opinion).  on top of it, the woman behind the counter was snotty when i asked if they had a children's box - most places have one aimed at kids - with salmon nigiri and a cucumber roll - but she snottily told me that children should eat what the adults eat.  it was, in short, a BIG disappointment and we will not be going back. if you're in herning, steer clear of yutaka.


Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

Hello Julie

You did a nice job on the top and leggings. I love the fabric for the shirt. Hope to see a picture of Sabin in her new outfit soon.

Have a nice week

Tracy :)

Lisa at lil fish studios said...

Sounds like a frustrating day. I had mine this morning when our microwave broke. Our appliances (Kenmore Elite if anyone is thinking of buying them) were purchased a mere 4 years ago and now each of them has broken at least once. (dishwasher - 3 times) What a huge money and time suck that is. Where is the quality? That's what I want to know.


On the upside, the outfit is adorable and I do love the cut of that blouse.

Hope tomorrow is better.

Char said...

you are a far better woman than me because i would have given up. perseverance!

the night before a "beauty show" in which we all had to wear dresses we made (it was 7th grade) - my mother's friend completely redid my dress so i wouldn't be embarrassed.

kristina - no penny for them said...

wow, look at that outfit: how very cool!

Joanna Jenkins said...

I have a friend who is an editor-- not a copy writer and not a sewer, but she was hired to write a pattern for a bikini (seriously). Since I sew she called me several times to ask questions, finally I gave up and went to her house to see what she was working with. Let's just say it was a mess and eventually she fessed up to the pattern company that she didn't sew-- so I'm not sure being a sewer is a requirement for pattern writers.

Go figure.

Have a great week, jj

Erin Wallace said...

This is such a cool outfit! And I love that Japanese fabric - too cool!

xo Erin