This is the second year in which I have participated as one of the people who gets an advance look at the collection. I also have an opportunity to sew those that have most personal interest.
This is actually quite different from the "tester calls" you may have seen from a number of independent pattern designers recently (I did one of those for Love Notions last year).
The few of us who do this for Jalie sew up the patterns we like best and check out the instructions as sort of sewing copy editors. In my experience so far changes to the exact patterns themselves have never been necessary.
I really like being able to see the collections early. I like seeing the garments made up in this period by other sewers as it generally helps me see the potential for the designs for me.
Some patterns of course aren't always relevant for me or for my family. No one figure skates or is in competitive gymnastics for example, and this year I didn't opt for any of the men's patterns since the men in my life just want me to sew more editions of the patterns I have made for them already. I guess that also speaks to the success of earlier patterns.
So annually I pick and choose and make only those patterns that have most immediate appeal to me.
Some of you may remember that last year my resolution was to make more independent patterns. I have stuck to this, the jumpsuit I made from True Bias and posted yesterday is an example.
This process of sewing more widely from different designers has been really interesting. It has helped me redefine what really interests/matters to me most about sewing. Some of this was about remembering what I really like to do, some of it was getting over some bright and shiny object attraction.
So here's my new list of what matters to me when I choose a pattern. Your list may, and probably should be, quite different:
- I am a construction technique fascinated sewer. My favourite sewing moments occur when I encounter a way of putting a garment together that I think is particularly clever, ingenious or new. This would be as opposed to seeing the same old text book technique suggested when I figure I know a more efficient way of doing the same thing.
- I am a really busy person. I just don't have the time to work on seven iterations of a muslin before I cut into the good fabric - and even if I had more time I probably don't have the disposition to do that. Let's face it I am more of a how-hard-can-it-be, jump in and see what happens kind of person. I am more and more interested in a repertoire of TNT patterns that I can make up in different fabrics. Another favourite part of sewing to me is just watching that needle go up and down in the fabric. Of course I will try new patterns, like jumpsuits, but the bulk of my happy sewing is with patterns I know I trust.
- My life requires basics. There is not a lot of room around here for shoes you can't walk in or fabrics that require special care. And there is not a lot of time for putting an outfit together or styling it. I love being able to reach into my closet and pull out a top, bottom, and jacket/cardigan and feel like I am more or less presentable. Or a dress in the summer. I need the right components for my life. And I am pretty sure I would rather look stylish than styled.
- I really appreciate real pattern makers. I am figuring out that if you have sewn for four years and have decided to launch your own pattern line that can show. As a matter of principle I believe completely that genius or at least great talent can happen anywhere, at any time, but there is a lot to be said, as part of the development process, for knowing what you don't know and learning it. Also how many ultimate, indispensable, essential, iconic and only-tee-you-will-ever-need patterns can the universe hold? I have about five Indie pattern makers so far I think are solid and probably more than that I am wondering about.
- I sew for more people than just myself. I dis-extend my extended family with my sewing. And since bodies are various and children grow up at the speed of light a big size range means a lot to me. I have resolved not to spend more on patterns every month than we spend on utilities - which will be a novel experience for me.
So understanding all of the above I am returning to sewing more and more Jalie patterns.
I have also added two new insights into the mix:
- Jalies are great TNT basic for more creative work
- I can make the same pattern in different sizes for different effects, for example I now make the pull-on pants in three different sizes for different looks. The fact Jalie has such a large size range, only an inch difference between sizes, makes this possible, versus a S-M-L range
I will be doing a review of some of the new Jalie collection in this order on these dates.
I am really looking forward to sharing these patterns, definitely some real winners for me in this collection:
Charlotte Cardigan: Saturday May 18:
Tania Jacket: Sunday May 19:
Nikita Knit Sports top/dress: Tuesday May 21:
Nicole Knit Dress: Thursday May 23:
Simone Wide-legged Pants and Gisele Woven Top: Saturday May 25:
Michelle Dress: Sunday May 26:
Of course my versions won't be exactly like the cover shots, but I am excited to show you what I made!