Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pattern Writing - The "Inside Scoop"

For several weeks I spent a LOT of time on the computer putting the finishing touches on my 2 new patterns. I have quite a system for creating patterns which helps me prepare them for publication but it still involves quite a bit of time to get everything 'just right'.

I created the designs using Electric Quilt software  several months ago and made lots of notes about each project. When I decide to publish a design as a pattern for sale I go back to those notes and turn them into the supply list and the cutting, sewing and finishing steps that you can follow to make the quilt. That is when I find out if I have been successful in these 'preparation' steps!

Pattern Writing - The "Inside Scoop"

I create my design - a time consuming process in itself, trying ideas, different fabric arrangements, borders, or not.

First I create files for the new design: both an electronic file on my computer AND a real paper file folder. The folder has a printed picture of my design and any other printouts from Electric Quilt. These may be the rotary cutting instructions for blocks, printed applique shapes, block or quilt images that I have exported to other software so I will be able to use them when I write the pattern. The file gets a PS number (that's Patchworks Studio, of course). 

Next I begin making notes about the design. I determine all the shapes and sizes that will be needed for each fabric. This involves lots of counting and re-counting and studying my design very carefully to be sure I don't miss anything. I 'do the math' for all borders so I am sure to allow enough fabric. When doing this step I have to decide exactly how a quilter will make the quilt so I make notes about that too.

Windswept File

Holiday Lights File

I have to decide the best way for a quilter to cut all the shapes needed and from that I can determine the fabric amount that will be required. I calculate this both as 'yards' and 'metres' since my patterns are sold worldwide. Helpful tools at this stage are my calculator and a tape measure that has both Imperial (inches/yards) and Metric (centimetres / metres) on it. I could probably just have a chart to refer to but I am such a visual person that I want to SEE the conversion.

I often use my rotary cutting rulers at this step too. I use them to measure applique shapes so I am sure to allow enough fabric. I also do paper sketches to decide how the shapes might be arranged so there won't be a lot of fabric waste. I have to do this, too, when I calculate fusible web if the applique technique is fusing.

All these notes go into the paper file and when I am ready to create the pattern documents it is easy to grab the file, open my electronic file and get started.

Stay tuned to the Blog for more about the next pattern production steps. 

And leave a comment if there are specific questions you would like me to answer.

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