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Quick Tip: How to Mark a Dart – Quickly, Easily, Accurately

As I sit and sew alone, like most of you do, too, I find that I have so many things I want to share with the sewing community. Some of them you may already be familiar with, but if not, they may be game changers for you, so I have to share! I hope you enjoy this quick tip on how to easily and accurately mark darts.

Step 1

Put a 12” x 12” corkboard underneath the dart to be marked, with the pattern still in place and attached. Insert pins through all thicknesses at the dart tip, midway through the dart legs, and at the dart leg/seam allowance intersections. Here is a quick video demonstrating the process.

This is what the marks should look like after completing Step 1.

Step 2

On the wrong side of the fabric, line up a see-through ruler along one dart leg’s marking points and draw a line with your removable marker. Repeat for the other dart leg.

Use a ruler as a guide to mark the line.

 

Both dart legs drawn in.

That’s it!!! Easy, right?

Happy Sewing!

Christine Groom
Owner/Designer, ZigZag Designs

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Writing a Pattern Review is Easier Than You Think! Here’s How.

Since its inception, in 2001, PatternReview.com has become a resource for sewers all over the world. Over 400,000 members use the site to read and write reviews on patterns they have made or are interested in making, post and answer questions as group topics, participate in sewing contests, hold discussions on everything from sewing machines and equipment and yes, even about people like us, independent pattern designers.

We are writing this blog to express our gratitude to those of you who already use and post reviews of your experiences with patterns, and to encourage you keep it up and to give it a try if you haven’t yet posted a review. When you take the 10 minutes or so to inform others of your experience, you help so many people decide if the same pattern is right for them. In your review, you will cover topics such as, how well the pattern came together, if the instructions were solid and clear, if you made any alterations, if you would make it again, etc. You will also post a few pictures, preferably of you in your garment, but on a dress form works well too, if you are camera shy. Try to take at least 3 images; front, side, and back views. Have them ready to upload before you start your review. How to manage your images is covered in Step 10 of this blog. If you’ve never uploaded images before, please read Step 10 first and get your images all ready to go before writing your review.

If you’re ready, lets get started with the tutorial!

  1. Login into your account
    • If you don’t have an account yet, please create one. It’s easy to sign up and membership is free!
  2. From the menu bar, choose “Reviews”, then select “Write a Review” at the bottom of the option list.
  3. In the next window, you will be asked, “What type of review do you want to write?” Select “Pattern” and then click “Next”.
  4. In the next window, on Step 1, select “Commercial Pattern” if you are planning to review one of ZigZag Designs’ patterns. (We hope you are!)
  5. Then, from the “Choose Pattern Company” drop down box, click the up/down arrows to activate the list, and scroll to find the pattern company you want to review. They are listed in alphabetical order, so scroll almost all the way to the bottom to find ZigZag Designs, and highlight your selection. The pattern field will populate automatically after you select a company.
  6. Once you’ve made your pattern company selection, proceed to Step 2, “Now the Pattern Number or Name”. (Ex: ZigZag Design patterns are named Rosita Jacket, Tammy Top, etc.). Simply type in the pattern name and then select the “Find” button. If you are the first to review a pattern, great! Someone has to start the conversation, and we and the Pattern Review community will be glad you did!
  7. After selecting the “Find” button in the previous step, you will arrive at the “Write a Pattern Review” window. Select the “Write a Review” button.
  8. You will then be taken to the window form where you will write your review. PatternReview.com has made this process really simple for users. You will find a series of check boxes, drop down lists, rating stars, and then the big review box. Be sure to click the “Click here to load a template to help you write a review” button. This template is truly handy if you don’t know how to get started or what to write. Just answer all the questions that you want to and erase the rest if they are not applicable or if you don’t care to respond.
  9. After selecting and checking all the boxes and writing your review, you may preview what you’ve completed, save as “work in progress”, or publish your review to the site. You should play with and explore these options, but for the purpose of this tutorial, let’s move right along to “publish to site”.
  10. After you select “publish to site”, you will be directed to a window where you can load your images.
    • Your images need to be formatted as .gif or .jpg only, and should be 600px wide.
    • You should use your editing tools in your image software to crop in close to the garment, rotate the image to the right side up position, and enhance any color or exposure issues if you think would make the image better. We use iPhoto to crop, enhance and rotate the image.
    • Then, move the image to your desktop by clicking on the image and dragging it to the desktop. By doing this, it will automatically be saved as a .jpg, so that takes care of one of the Pattern Review image requirements. Whew!
    • Once you have all of your images on the desktop (you can load up to 5), open them with the “Preview” application. Select “Tools” from the menu bar, and then “Adjust Size”. Change the width to 600 (don’t worry about the height) and then click “Save”.
  11. With your images ready to go, click the “click here” button on the “image loading window” shown in Step 10.
  12. You will be redirected to a window where you can select up to 5 images to upload. To do this, activate the first “choose file” box by pointing your curser and clicking on the first “no file selected” box.
  13. When you click in each “no file selected” box, you will have the opportunity to choose the image file you want to upload from your desktop’s directory.
    • Each of the 5 images (you can use just one if you like, but more are appreciated) must be selected individually, so repeat this step for each image.
    • Notice the right hand column titled “Main Photo”? Select one of your images to be the main photo for the review.
    • Then, select the “Upload My Photos” button to start the upload process.
  14. That’s it – you have posted a review to PatternReview.com!!!! Whoopie!!! The community will now begin to comment and thank you for your review.

As an independent pattern maker, we need your support to review each garment you make from our patterns. If you make more than one of any pattern, you can add it to the review you just posted at a later date. Please do take the 10 minutes to share your experience with our patterns with the Pattern Review community. We work very hard to produce solid patterns you can trust every time for consistent, accurate, and positive results. If it is anything less, we want to hear from you so that we have the opportunity to solve the problem.

Patterns by ZigZag Designs:

The Tammy Top

The Rosita Jacket

Thank you for your time. We hope this tutorial was helpful and inspiring. We look forward to your reviews!!

Sincerely,

Christine Groom

Owner/Designer

ZigZag Designs

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PDF Sewing Patterns: An Environmentally Friendly Solution and “How To” Tutorial

I’m encouraged by how passionate people are about their sewing patterns; not just the style and fit of them, but how they are packaged as well. Before venturing into the pattern making business, I gave considerable thought to what my product was going to look and feel like. I chose to go the way of electronic PDF files for a few reasons. 

Primarily, I chose this method for environmental concerns. I hate the paper waste of pre-printed patterns. As a user of commercial patterns, for many years before I became a pattern maker, I have purchased my fair share of them, most of which have never been opened. I have accumulated quite a collection which created a storage problem. So, I bought containers to store them in, and then the containers needed to be stored, etc. I think you see where I am going with this!  I find that PDF patterns are easier to file and sort electronically, making for better record keeping of what I own. I keep my files in “cloud” storage (I use Dropbox). 

Having them electronically filed keeps me from buying duplicates, as I can quickly search and find out if I already own a particular pattern. Additionally, it provides for easier and more savvy fabric shopping. I can call up my folder for dresses, for example, on my electronic device, pick a pattern and review it’s yardage requirements while I’m in the store. No more guessing what I might need! If I had decided to go the way of printed patterns, I feel I would have been contributing to the problem, as I see it, of paper collections.  There is a lot of waste in that.

Let’s take a minute to think about the waste: the ink and paper that would be used to print patterns, the cost of producing, shipping, selling and storing them in multiple fabric store venues and in my studio, and then the time and money it would take to put the patterns into more paper, envelopes, and mail them to the end user. And, lets not forget the unlikely possibility that they might not sell (tongue and cheek here!) and end up in the landfill.  But this decision is not met without adversity; however, there are those who have not yet tried to print and assemble the home printer ‘tiles’, some who have and are just not fond of the process, and others have not yet found an economical way to have the large format PDF file printed for them. Today, I’d like to address of few of those concerns.

I produce two types of electronic files. Both are included with your pattern purchase. One of them is in a large format, intended to be printed at your local printing company, and the other is formatted in 8 1/2 x 11 inch “tiles”.  These “tiles” are intended to be printed on your home printer, and assembling them should be easy after you ensure your print set-up is correct. So, here we go with the tutorial portion of this blog!

Large Format: What You Need To Know

  1. Unfortunately, not all printing companies are priced the same. Be sure to shop around and find the most economical solution for your needs. The file you receive from me is a 36” wide PDF.  (The length will vary pattern to pattern depending on the number of pieces in the pattern.) You should be able to email the PDF file you receive from me to your printing company and ask for pricing before committing to the job. In doing this, you will be able to shop around from the comfort of your home and not only save yourself a bunch of time but also from any costly surprises at the time of checkout.  In seeking out business printers, don’t forget to ask your local blueprint and banner printing companies too! Often I find they have much better pricing.
  2. Ask for black and white, not color printing. There is no need to pay the extra expense unless you want to. The file you receive from me comes as a nested, multi-sized set. The sizes are broken out in color and in different line styles.  The line styles are different enough so that you will easily be able to identify your desired cutting line when you get it home.

Home Printer Tiles: A Step-By-Step Tutorial

Follow the steps in the order provided below, and you should be on your way to easily printing out your tiled PDF pattern!

Printing
  1. Open the PDF file with Adobe Acrobat and find the page containing the 4 x 4 inch test square.
  2. The 4 x 4 inch test square is located within the pattern. You can easily find what page it is on by looking at the included pattern layout map first. (In the example below, the test square is on page 14 of the pattern tile layout map.)
  3. Scroll to the page containing the test square and then select File > Print from the task bar.
  4. When the print dialog box appears, select the “Current Page” checkbox. In the “Page Scaling” checkbox, select “None”, or, if you see the “Page Sizing & Handling” section, select “Actual Size”. 
  5. Print out the test square page only.
  6. Using a ruler, check to ensure the printed square measures 4 x 4 inches. It’s important to get the test square printing out the right size before printing out the rest of the pattern tiles. 
  7. If the square printed out 4 x 4 inches, do a little happy dance and then go ahead and print out the entire document at this time. 
  8. If the square did not print out 4 x 4 inches, you will need to refer to your printer user manual to see if your printer has a preference that my be over-ridding your print dialog box.
  9. If the idea of getting any more technically involved at this point is irritating you, like it does for me, then may I suggest this is a good time to go visit with a friend and use her printer instead 🙂
Assembling the Tiles
  1. Prepare your assembly space and put on your favorite TV show, Podcast or music selection. This will take about 30 minutes to complete.
  2. On a large surface area, and using your pattern layout map as a reference, layout the first row of tiles in the order they need to be assembled.
  3. For the first row, you only need to trim the left sides of each tile. When trimming, do not cut off the guideline.  Hint: It’s easier to align properly when you align and stack the guidelines on top of each other before taping in place. 
  4. For the remaining rows you need to trim the left and top sides of each tile. Again, be careful not to cut off the guidelines.
  5. While keeping the tiles in the correct order, trim them all before beginning beginning assembly. 
  6. Once all of the pages are trimmed, continue referring to the pattern layout map as your guide and begin at the top. Then, in a left to right motion, align and tape the tiles together. You do not need to use a lot of tape for this assembly. You just need to secure the squares together with a small piece of tape in each corner and one in the middle of each guideline. 
  7. When you reach the last tile and have it secured, I recommend you trace the pattern pieces with your favorite tracing paper. The taped-together home printer paper pattern tiles are a little tough to deal with on fabric.
  8. And now you are done! Another happy dance at this point is entirely appropriate here. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me! I am always happy to hear feedback and help in whatever way I can. You can email me at any time at zigzagbychristine@gmail.com. And, you can view and purchase all of my digital patterns, including my newest release, the Tammy Top, at my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ZigZagPatterns.

Happy Sewing!!
Christine
Owner/Designer, ZigZag Designs