Friday, July 24, 2020

So What's Next?

If you follow me over on Instagram, you know after the murder of George Floyd, I became active with the Black Makers Matter Group. I also wrote a blog post on the Sewcialist blog about how it feels to be a black maker in the sewing community. If you've followed me for any amount of time, you know I've been quite vocal over the years about how the pattern companies and sewing community treats black makers.

Along with BMM's boycott of JoAnn's, Hobby Lobby and Michaels, I'm also boycotting the Big 4 pattern companies. I've railed against them over the years for various reasons and after supporting them with my precious dollars for 50 years, I'm done. Don't worry, this isn't going to turn into another post railing against them. This is a post to say that I own hundreds of patterns from the 60s/70s through present day so I don't need to purchase another one. I'm no longer a customer.

I will use the patterns I already own because they're mine.  Also because the Big4 pattern companies don't celebrate you when you don't use the latest and greatest it's not like I'm encouraging you to spend money with them. Because of this my blog titles will no longer have pattern numbers in the titles. I know this will make them harder to search on Google but right now I don't care. I may change my mind on this later. I reserve the right to do so but for now no more pattern company names and numbers in the titles.

I will also no longer tag the Big 4 pattern company's name, numbers and/or names on my Instagram posts. Pattern numbers will be included in blog posts and even if they're still in the pattern catalog, I won't link to them.

My sewing going forward will emphasize what I already own. Fabric that is presently in the sewing cave, patterns that live here and the notions that I have. That's not to say I'm not going to add more notions or trim because sometimes I NEED something I don't have...can we say pink buttons! 


I will be sewing more interpretations or "inspired by" garments. I love making these garments, the challenge of figuring out how to use a pattern I presently own, matching it to a fabric in my collection and picking trims/notions to make the design work really ignites my passion to sew. I haven't done much of that recently because I was redetermining my style. However, I'm coming back around to that so there will be more garments like the QVC Denim Shirt and the Lafayette 148 Maxi Dress.


I have a notebook full of ideas and a ton of fabric (LOL!) so that's what's next in my sewing journey!


...as always more later!

43 comments:

  1. Your inspirations garments were what drew me to your blog years ago. Using your mad skills and imagination you created garments that were exactly what you wanted no matter what the pattern companies or clothing lines offered. You inspire me to make clothes I want and feel comfortable in. Thank you. I look forward to more interpretations and "inspired by" garments.

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  2. I thoroughly enjoy seeing your garments come to life with your flair and inspiration and look forward to seeing what you have lined up.

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  3. I hate the term “hacked” applied to sewing, but I sure do love when people modify a pattern to get what they want! Looking forward to your pattern diet!

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  4. I have long wondered why you bought any new patterns when you have a solid collection of TNT's to use. I got into the habit of buying a fistful of sale patterns at J*anns and realized I only read the instructions, if that.
    Thanks for all the inspiration, both sewing and political.

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  5. Good for you Carolyn. The Big 4 have been a disappointment in so many ways. I really look forward to seeing your interpretations of your existing patterns, and have made a big effort to stop buying patterns myself. The best thing I ever learnt on your blog is the biceps alteration to sleeves - what a lifesaver that has been :) Happy sewing.

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  6. I enjoy every single garment you share, and I look forward to your future makes. You inspire me! I have entered the garment sewing realm because of you!

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  7. I have enjoyed reading your blog posts, and also lost interest in Big4 patterns and chain fabric/craft stores. I don’t have the stash of fabric or patterns as in your collection! But, working remotely has caused me to evaluate what works for me, and I am shopping the stash much more frequently. We have so much we can learn from each other and I value your inspiration! Be well. Keep on making. Thank you.

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  8. I'm in pretty much the same place in my approach to sewing. Honestly, I haven't purchased much of anything sewing related lately; as I have A LOT of fabrics, patterns and notions. I really love having (most) everything I need at hand and find it a joy and am grateful to be able to "shop the stash" for the ingredients for new projects.

    Reading your posts about your concerns of the pattern companies and big-box sewing and craft centers are thought provoking and enlightening. I so appreciate your taking the time to speak on what you feel. Thanks so much for that.

    Glad to see you're sewing again. It is such fun to see what comes out of the sewing cave!

    Kay

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  9. A friend asked about the lack of tagging. Said it makes it harder on the sewing community when sewers don’t hashtag the pattern. I explained my position on those of us with thousands of followers giving them tons and tons of free advertising over the years and their inability to do a minimum on behalf of black folks in the community. No. More.

    I have a gazillion patterns between my existing Big4 stash and Burda.

    That’sa good point too about the title as that’s helpful with pushing SEO.

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  10. Good for you! You shouldn't be supporting companies that don't support you. You've always been more inspired by fabric than by pattern anyways. And if you should feel the itch for new patterns yet, there are plenty of more congenial independents to explore.

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  11. Love your decision! If you do need a new pattern, there are many independent designers out with relevant, expanded-size patterns who are very in-touch with current events and have alliances with whatever your passion is. Might I also suggest learning to draft? I never learned, but have frankensteined many patterns. I really enjoy your projects, and love your joy in creation.

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    1. Unknown - thanks for your comment and I would have appreciated it if you had signed your post with your name so I know who I'm addressing. As for drafting, I have no desire to learn. Everything isn't for every sewist.

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  12. Thank you for taking this stand. I have also cooled considerably toward the big 4 after what I consider to be a failure to design and draft for real, modern women.

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  13. I've always loved the way that your sewing was so very YOU and envied you knowing that about yourself. So now I am delighted that you are re-centering your sewing and your life in a way that makes you even more satisfied. Knowing and understanding ourselves is such a gift, one I came to rather late in my life - I'm always happy to see younger women finding it much earlier than I did.

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  14. Your willingness to explain your choices helps me to learn and grow and think about my own choices! As always, thank you for sharing yourself with us:-)

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  15. I stand with you as the Big 4 refuse to make reality-based designs for the over 40 makers! As a result, I find myself (an African-American, over 50, overweight and height challanged woman) watching the Russian seamstresses like Paukshte Fashion Workshop, Ola Dyachenko and Ya Shenchena (English translation). These ladies use a sloper in the most amazing ways! I find no need now to buy patterns just notions and fabrics now! So glad you are well, posting and continue to be safe!!

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  16. Can't say I'm happy with you not mentioning company and pattern number but I understand. I have a robust pattern collection as well. Having pattern company and number helps me zero in on what pattern in the collection will work. But you do you. If I must look closer at the details or silhouette to get an idea of pattern that's okay; I do it already for things I see in RTW. I do enjoy your though provoking posts so keep them coming.
    Theresa in Tucson

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    1. Theresa - I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. I will mention company and pattern numbers in my blog posts, just not in the titles. Also, won't be linking to their online catalog. It's kind of hard to use a pattern and not share what it is. So the information will still be there just not in the titles.

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  17. I've got patterns back to the 70s plus a closetful (and a half) of fabric, and have recently come to a similar decision. If I don't have a pattern for it already, I'm going to make it up -- been having a lot of fun recently refashioning some oversized/men's shirts by cutting them up and putting them back together as funky sleeveless tunics and have set a goal to learn how to draft my own patterns over the next year.

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  18. I think your approach is thoughtful. This is your blog: you can do with it what you like!--Louise

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  19. I admire your decision and applaud it :) The Jo-Ann in my area just leaves a bad taste in my mouth every time I go in there, and I haven't been in one since early March I think. I can live without it.

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  20. Love the bias plaid in your sleeveless dress!

    I have banker boxes full of patterns but some of my favorite patterns were traced from purchased garments. That was when there were only the big 4 to choose from. Now, of course, there are lots of independent companies but style, quality & fit vary.

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  21. It's your blog and can do what you want to, but Occasionally people may want to make a garment like yours; therefore, need a pattern name and number. I guess most of your Big4 patterns are out of date. At least I know the name of the dress I want to make one day.

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    1. First leaving your name to the comment would be helpful. I normally don't answer unknown commenters BUT YOU READ THIS WRONG. I said that I would be naming the pattern company, numbers and/or names in my blog posts but not linking to their online catalogs. I'm not naming them in my blog titles. It's kinda silly to use a pattern and not name it, right?

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  22. I love this idea. From reading your blog I know you are passionate about sewing. You have a big stash. You have a big pattern stash. You are making your patterns work to re-create looks you find out in the world to be inspiring. This is the gift of sewing! Thank you for that. I join you in your boycott of Hobby Lobby, Joann's, Michaels, and the Big Four. Black Lives Matter. God Bless.

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  23. Yes! Where we spend our money counts. Who we recognize counts. I'm enjoying the Black Makers Matter voices.

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  24. Yes I'm boycotting the big 4 and not buying Burda magazine either. Black Lives Matter.
    I also have a lot of fabric and a lot of patterns already.
    I shall be very interested to see how your twists on existing patterns come out.
    It feels like that could be great for creativity and personal style, and an exciting new direction to go in.

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  25. I cant wait to see what the next makes are. I love seeing your process and the way you make multiple styles from a pattern.

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  26. That sounds entirely fair! I look forward to everything you post—as always!

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  27. Hey Carolyn, thank you so much for your incredible gifts that you bring to sewists. Your creative talents are abundant. and, thank you for your passionate and knowledgable voice. Sharing your heart and your vision inspires me. I have always been so impressed by the incredible detail and attn you pay to your stitching. The work, effort and detailed chronicles of your work have inspired me in so many ways. Maureen

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  28. I'm glad you've found your new style and will be returning to more inspired-by posts using patterns you already have.

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  29. You have a large collection of patterns AND fabric? Who knew? *giggle* I've not been to a Joann's or Hobby Lobby since February, and will boycott them in solidarity with you. I also don't need any new "Big 4" patterns, although I will get indie patterns from time to time (but I do dislike the PDF assembly). Together, we stand strong. Your inspiration and finished garment posts always inspire me, despite the differences in our builds. I always look forward to reading you, even when I don't comment.

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    1. Thanks Marjie and can't wait to see what new "bundles" you get next weekend during Sew Camp!

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  30. I am of the age where I really do not need anymore patterns; I have way too many to sew now. I know from reading your blog for years now that you have a great collection of patterns and fabric. Plus you do a fantastic job of re-designing patterns in your stash to sew an inspiration garments. I am standing in solidarity on boycotting Jo Ann's and Hobby Lobby. I have not purchased Big 4 patterns in quite sometime and will support you on your boycott.

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  31. Carolyn..amen sister. I am no longer supporting businesses that dont support me. When you know better you do better..and we now know better. I was going to place a fabric order with Vogue Fabrics when it hit me that I had seen no statement on VF stance on racism or Black Lives Matter or transparency in their diverse leadership team composed of people of color -so I wrote them a letter asking directly their position. I am sure I will get no response but that speaks volumes to me. For now I am shopping my stash, using patterns I have or self drafting..but not giving my hard earned $$$ to businesses that won't take a stance against racism

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    1. This comment about Vogue Fabrics was by me Cynthia

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  32. I hear you. And I see you. I agree. And Hobby Lobby owners are crazy pants. Looking forward to seeing your inspired by garments.

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  33. I love seeing your "inspired by" garments! It's great inspiration for finding alternative inspiration... if that thought makes sense?

    Also, I really like your plan for not tagging/using pattern numbers in blog titles. I've been in much of a sewing slump since the start of COVID, but I've been especially emotionally low after the events that led to the protests. I'm finally starting to feel the sewjo kick up but I've been thinking about how to blog moving forward if/when I start garment sewing again. I've been pondering doing something similar on my own blog since I'm also boycotting the Big4 along with Jo-Ann, Hobby Lobby, and Michaels. I have been wanting to avoid giving the same level of free advertising to these companies, and I think your solution to only include that information in the actual post is a really great way to both document your makes and minimize promotion for the brands. I'm also thinking about trying to focus on using my OOP patterns as much as possible to avoid using currently available patterns if I can.

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    1. Yes your comment made perfect sense. The Big4 pattern companies get so much free advertising from sewists from influencers to those that only have a few followers and unless you're an influencer you get so little back for your loyalty. It's just tiring. Like you I have a large stash of OOP patterns, quite a few new indies and I'm going to sew like I want instead of being dictated to by a pattern company that needs my dollars to survive.

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  34. I think what's pushed me completely over the edge is that the new company that owns the Big 4, in addition to being mum on BLM, rebranded the BMVK lines to "Something Delightful", which to me smacks of 1950s era social views and belittles the customer base. I have a metric ton of patterns, but I also recommend patterns in my business, so I think I'll be giving more recommendations for indie brands.

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  35. Yay! and good for you. I too bought big 4 when I could get on sale. then! but now i go for INDIE designers. What I learned is: the 4 design for white skinny people. not real humans. (and if you are a newbie,I am not, the directions are limited.) Having said this, I have gotten some freebies from these indies that are the best fitting and most current to my lifestyle. I have followed you for many years now and love what you do "hacking" a pattern to make it yours. YOU should be designing. I too have chopped and fitted to me every time I bought a 4 pattern, so why am I not designing? time I guess. I take a purchased item and draft a pattern from it then start chopping I have had so much fun since this stay at home has begun. Recently retired, I have gotten back to my sewing space and have decided to use only what is in here, except for thread and needles have not bought a pattern or fabric since FEB. My hubby is astonished. I once told him I was buying for my retirement. Just did not know it would happen like this.

    Be well and keep on sewing. Pegeth
    Carolyn have you tried Style Sew Me a Black owned indie. the clothes are grat fit well and are reasonably priced

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  36. Peg - I've used one of Erin's (Sew Style Me) patterns. I made the Madison Cardigan last year and reviewed it on the blog.

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  37. I am a long-time reader. As a matter of fact, I credit you with inspiring my now abundant stash of beautiful fabrics and patterns. I have enjoyed your blog because of what felt like your pure exuberance for sewing and making pieces that would work well in your day-to-day life. Pattern companies, numbers, color, has not been front of mind and will not change my joy in seeing you make outfits regardless of whether or not your include a pattern company names and numbers.

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