Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

Back to the subject of Independent Pa…

Mollie_ | Posted in The Archives on

Some weeks ago someone had asked which Independent pattern companies people preferred. I agree with her comment that we need to bring attention to these patternmakers and help keep them in business. I’d like to ask the question again. Which independents do you like? I love Design & Sew, Sewing Workshop, Birch Street Clothing, and many others. I’d love to hear about more of them from you all.


  1. thimble_ | | #1


    I was just wondering if there were any of you out there that know of any custom pattern drafters, and have used their services. You know, for things like custom blocks or special styles. I would be very interested in finding out more about custom patterns as opposed to store bought!


    1. bking | | #2

      *Many of the independent pattern makers also show up at local quilt shows, or other exhibitions. It is a wonderful way to find the unusual. I myself love Lois Ericson's patterns, Rachel Clarks pattern for a jacket, Dos De Tejas, Shanerin Designs (remember the musical keyboard vest advertised in Threads), and In Cahoots, Etc, ETC.

      1. Mollie_ | | #3

        *You might want to visit the http://www.wild-ginger.com website. They sell pattern drafting software which is great! I believe they also will draft a sloper for you. They are wonderful people to do business with...very customer-focused.

        1. Maura | | #4

          *I have several patterns that I'm excited about, but I haven't _made_ most of them yet. I'm working on the LJ designs Aysmmetrical Tunic (Pattern includes a vest and skirt.) The skirt is pretty easy, but shorter than I wanted (I like them _LOOONG_-almost to the floor). The tunic was much looser than I expected. I bought the pattern figuring I wouldn't get quite as much shaping at the waist as in the picture and planning to alter it. _Threads_ reviewed this one a while back and said it ran large in the smaller sizes, and they were right. My first version was in a "disposable" (I didn't care about it) crinkle cotton, and I think that fabric will just never make this tunic. It clung at the hips and was huge in the shoulders. I think I've finally gotten it to fit the way I want. Luckily, the pattern is _very_ simple and easy to alter. Once I get the pattern right, I think this will be an hour-start-to-finish pattern.I also have the Wow! Tunic and the Short and Sassy jacket by them. I haven't started on those.I bought a pattern at the last show I went to by CNT Pattern Company called the Xceptional Patchwork dress. It is an a-line dress with cap sleeves and laces at the sides to draw in the waist. Looks like fun, but I'm nervous because I don't quilt, and I'm afraid I'll choose the fabrics badly.I've also made one pattern which is by "Integrity Patterns" by T.J. Lane. Those of you who subscribed to Threads for a long time may remember these. They are skirt patterns which were printed in the ad in Threads several years back. They are pieced. I made the "pieced strip skirt with swirl hemline." It is really cool, made on the crossgrain so a skirt from 2 1/2 yds would be 70" around hips and hem. DO NOT use stiff fabric for this. I used a really pretty print that is stiff from the printing process. The piecing makes a ruffle at the bottom, and mine stands out like a lampshade. I feel ridiculous in it. (Any ideas on how to correct that?) THe pattern itself practically requires a rotary cutter because you cut at least 14 strips and then cut some pieces from the bottom of the strips. Stack cutting is the way to go on this. I was afraid the piecing would be finicky, but it wasn't. I spent a Saturday afternoon on this. I didn't work straight through, but in about six hours (including breaks) I had a finished skirt.They are called integrity patterns because you pay for the pattern after you successfully make the garment. I owe TJ Lane $5. *grin* I'm happy with that.I don't have the Threads these were orinally published in, they belong to my mother. Can anyone shed light on this? It has been at least two years. THe address in the ad is TJ Lane9666 E. Riggs Rd. Ste. 401-247Sun Lakes Arizona 85248 USAI think if anyone writes to her, it would be nice (since she's giving the patterns away) to include a SASE. The patterns I have will fit into a standard envelope.

          1. Susan_Whelan | | #5

            *Thimble - you might want to check out http://www.uniquepatterns.com. They sell a video and fitting guide, and have a catalogue of patterns, including a "basic dress" that are drafted to your measurements. I have had great success with them, love their patterns, and am finally getting good fit for the first time in many years. They are very user-friendly, and have an 800 # you can call to order from or if you have questions or problems. I had to work with them a bit to get a pants pattern that fit, but now I have both a pull-on pant and a classic trouser that fit perfectly. Their V-neck top fit well, too. I did have a problem with the tank top, but they are fixing it at no charge. They guarantee their patterns, so you have nothing to lose! I also have the basic sloper which I have used to alter commercial patterns to fit me. Definitely worth the price. Good luck and have fun, Sue W.

          2. Leslie_Bonner | | #6

            *The best thing about The Sewing Workshop patterns is that, if you are close enough to get to their place in San Francisco for one of their open houses, you can actually try on the clothes. My favorite dress this summer is their Yin Yang made from an sheer abstract print polyester georgette. The dress is two layers over the center part of your body so you don't have to worry about see through. The dress is floaty and the georgette doesn't add bulk. Their Hong Kong vest is great. I make it without the straps in back so it doesn't emphasize my hips. Recently, I bought Diane Ericksen's Tori Blouse and Vest pattern. I had the front hidden plackets finished and the front and backs together when I decided I hated it and put the whole thing in the scrap bag. This weekend I saw a woman at our Fiber Arts Guild with a fabulous top-it was the Tori blouse. So, I'll be digging my out of the scrap bag this week. I have also had good luck with The Textile Studio patterns. I did cut them one size larger than usual. Quilt shows, sewing classes, independent fabric stores and local guilds are all good ways to see these patterns made up.

          3. juliej_ | | #7

            *My favorite pattern lately is the Tea Garden Tee from the Sewing Workshop. It needs tweeking of the fit but after that it is a great turtle neck substitute warming the back of the neck but open in the front and with a lot more style.

          4. Maura | | #8

            *Just an update...I just finished yesterday the Xceptional patchwork dress from CNT Patterns. I LOVE it! It fit me exactly the way I wanted it to. I worked on it about a week in the evenings. You have to label every one of the pieces like the instructions tell you, or you can't tell them apart, and I'd recommend the first version made of this pattern to be made mostly from fabrics which aren't double sided. I had only one double sided fabric, and I had to rip out at least twice because I'd accidentally sewn what should have been a right as a left and the actual left wasn't double sided, so I couldn't get out of it that way.The instructions don't give any indication on how big each size is, but the bodice is the only part where it matters and that is only four pieces, so you can measure, take a guess, and make a muslin without too much trouble. The dress is very long and the skirt is full(like I like it). I'm 5'8" and it hits about an inch above the anklebone. Most of the detail of the pattern is high enough you won't lose too much if you have to shorten the pattern by as much as ten inches, but it is definitely long.Don't forget to allow for shrinkage if you make this out of quilting cottons (I preshrank my yardage, so it was mostly a matter of making the pieces fit the yard goods, thank heavens.)The one problem I found was very small. If you make this pattern, piece H doesn't have a seam allowance on the longest side. (Piece H is a triangle about three by four by five.) I just recut new ones (you need four of them) when I discovered the problem. I wrote the company and let them know, and it is such a small piece they could just print out new ones on a small piece of paper and tuck them into existing patterns.The finished measurements for a size 12 are:Bust 44" Due to the style of the sleeve, I wouldn't feel comfortable with a smaller size even though my bust is only 36. You need that ease to move your arms.Waist 40" I cinch mine in with ties on the sides, as pictured on the envelopeLength from shoulder to hem 52"Pattern goes up to 22 and down to 8-all in one envelope.

          5. Leslie_B. | | #9

            *Just finished Textile Studio Patterns Barcelona dress and I love it-it's easy, comfortable and flattering. It needs a fabric with real drape and I used a sheer rayon and am looking for another fabric to make it again. I'd heard their patterns tend to run small so I cut the large instead of the medium. It wasn't true in this case and I had to take it back down to a medium. This is the 3rd Textile Studio Pattern that I have tried-all were great and I am looking forward to trying more.

          6. Stephanie_Corina_Goddard | | #10

            *Maura, thanks for the info on the Xceptional CNT pattern. I have filed your comments in my pattern envelope. This is the kind of information that Independent Pattern devotees need to share more of!!! I too, have used Diane Ericson's Torii Collection for tops. I now have three and love them all. I did make a serious adjustment to the shoulder slope of the upper back, and added a little to the hem at center back, which (in my opinion) made the back hang better.

          7. TJ | | #11

            *I find myself collecting more patterns (and ideas) than I have time to sew! Some of my favorites:I have made Lois Erickson's "First Class Shirt" and like it. I have also enjoyed her books, because they shook me loose from boring, standard ways to put things together (most of my new ideas are still just in my head, alas...). I've made the Paw Prints (Purrfection Artistic Wearables) Samurai Shirt and pants; I would fine-tune the fit around the neck and shoulders next time, as I kind of swim in it, but I like the loose drape for hot weather wear. Also made her "Kimono" vest pattern out of a yard of upholstery fabric -- easy! -- and get compliments every time I wear it.I really like Lorraine Torrence's "Rainbow Trails" vest -- it took a while to make but was worth the effort. It was a lot of fun combining colors (I used hand-dyed and mottled cottons). I wear it a lot and get compliments every time. The techniques gave me ideas for other designs.Sewing Workshop: haven't made any of the patterns, but do enjoy contemplating them! I tried on somebody else's Hong Kong Vest and think it would be easy to make it an interesting combination of textures, and would be easy to wear.

          8. Maura | | #12

            *I got a message back from Karen Nye, the designer, and it turns out that there is a mention of the error on piece H in the pattern directions, and I just didn't read it carefully enough to find it. She also gave me her methods for choosing fabric. She said, "I use two coordinates that I like. Then find two variations of one, i.e, pinkish fabrics and five variations of the other, i.e. greens. of the five the lighter shades go on the top. Also, you might look for florals, washes and one geometric to add a bit of zing to it all."I really enjoyed making the dress, and hope you have as much fun as I did.

          9. Kristin_Miller | | #13

            *I agree that it is important to support indepentent pattern companies. I get tired of seeing all the normal fashions in the typical pattern books. I have made 2 different Paw Prints patterns and have had amazing luck with them. I made the Samuri shirt and trousers and get compliments every time I wear it. The pattern fit me without any changes - the next time I make the pants, I will change the rise, but I have had good success with it. What amazed me about the pattern was that the sleeve notches fit perfectly on the first try. The Vogue pattern I am sewing now, wasn't so exact. I also made the Kimono vest and am also very happy with that pattern. Both patterns had easy to follow directions.I just ordered some of Diane Ericson's patterns and have never worked with them before. This will be an interesting experience.The thing I like best about using independent pattern companies is that their patterns are just a little different in the details. I also think their directions are better and have more ideas on how to add more creative touches than the typical pattern company. I have had numerous compliments on the items I have made and will continue to support them.

          10. Debra_Lancaster | | #14

            *My find of the month is a site called Full & Sassy Pattern Boutique (www.fullfab.com) -- it carries nearly 20 independent pattern company patterns, including Sewing Workshop, Purrfection, Birch Street, and Park Bench, as well as some that haven't had a web site of their own, such as Carol Lane-Saber and La Fred. And the best part is that the patterns are discounted 10%!

          11. Ginna | | #15

            *Re: Full & Sassy Pattern Boutique (www.fullfab.com)You'll find that Gail, the owner, is great to work with. She also has several email lists on http://www.quiltropolis.comFullfab, one of the lists, is geared toward those of us who are size 14 or larger. It has been a wealth of information.

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All