Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pattern Writing - The "Inside Scoop" - Part 2

A while ago I spoke about how I work to create a new pattern design. If you missed it, here's a link to the start of my process.

When I decide that a pattern should be produced in final form, so it can be sold in your local quilt shops, I start by opening a few basic documents on my computer. I have a couple of documents for the layouts I will need:

The Pattern Cover and the Instructions.

My covers have a standard 'look'. I use the same font for the titles and other text, my logo is always in the same place and the picture of the project is as large as it can be on the page. Each pattern gets a pattern number, to make it easy for shops and distributors to re-order the patterns.
I include a reference to the fabrics I used for the project and the size of the finished quilt. If I am including several sizes, I will put this information on the cover too. 

I put 2 covers on each page and save the file as a PDF. The covers are printed  and cut in half by my local print shop. We have a great system - I email them the file, they print and cut them in half. They let me know when they are ready and I pick them up. The 'turn around' time is amazing - I can have covers the same day or the next day. My local printer is also a Canada Post outlet so it is 'one stop shopping' for me!

For the pattern instructions I have two options. 

Some patterns will need to be printed on 11" x 17" paper. These are the ones that have an applique pattern that is larger than 8" wide. I like to provide the 'full size' that a quilter will need to make the pattern. It would be frustrating to have to go to a copy centre to enlarge a design before you can get started.

My other option is 8 1/2" x 11" paper.

I choose the appropriate basic document for the pattern. Sometimes I am not sure if one will be better than the other so I'll start with my 'best guess'. If it is not working well I can always switch to the other style and just copy the part I have written into that new basic format.

I have the 'back information' laid out in my documents. It includes a place to write a sentence or two about the pattern. Sometimes this is hard to write but I think about what I would like to know about the design and that helps me develop this area. 

I repeat the quilt size here so you don't have to go back to the cover to find that information. The pattern number is here too.
Below that is the table with the Materials List. I include as much information as possible in the table, including the fabric numbers if I am using Northcott fabrics, where the fabric is used in the project and the amount of fabric required in both yards and metres. I refer to my paper file and double check all these calculations before this table is final. I include amounts for backing and batting (and for fusible web if it is needed for the project).

Next is information about the Equipment you will need to make the quilt. Most often this is your sewing machine, rotary cutting tools and thread but if I recommend special equipment or supplies, that is included here too. 

I always include the Skill Level for the pattern. This helps quilters decide if they have the skills and knowledge to make the pattern. Most of my patterns are designed for Confident Beginners with a few designed for Intermediate skill level.

A barcode and Patchworks Studio Logo and contact information complete the pattern back.

The first section of each of my patterns is General Instructions. I talk about seam allowances, and pressing in this area. I also include special instructions for the technique used in this pattern. This might be my top tips for fusible applique or other helpful hints for a particular design. My copyright information is also included here. I ask quilters to respect my copyright so I can continue to offer new designs. 


That is the easy part...now I have to write all the steps that you, the quilters, will need to do to make the project. I'll tell you about that in Part 3 of Pattern Writing - The "Inside Scoop".

The pattern that I used for the images in this post is one of my latest.  My Windswept quilt is a reminder of the colours of autumn and crisp, cool days and nights. Fused appliqué leaves are drifted by the wind and the innovative fabrics are from Northcott's Artisan Spirit Falling Leaves collection.

 These fabrics were designed by my friend Elaine Quehl and are in stores this month. Elaine's method results in such luscious fabrics - and now you can buy them and get that hand-dyed look in your own quilt.

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