Owning a Brick & Mortar Shop is Hard Work!

I’d totally be lying if I didn’t tell you that I’m soooooooo tired right now. It’s been a whirlwind of prepping, cleaning, buying, paying, needing this, wanting that, ordering, transferring ownership of certain things like bills, shoveling snow, working, selling, and well the list goes on and on. Wow. Guys (gals) owning and running a real life shop is hard work. I haven’t been sleeping well either because I’ve been so excited and jittery and stressed out about all of it. That’s what my stress does to me – I don’t sleep and I don’t eat. Ha ha. More like I just forget to eat and the butterflies in the stomach fill me to a point of not even wanting to eat. Weird.

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I’d totally be lying if I didn’t tell you that its pretty fun though. I mean, yeah, its hard work, but its fun. Just proves that hard work can be fun. And quite satisfying. And it leads to more and more ideas and creativity and wow. I’m so inspired by so many things right now, I feel like I could explode. The fact that I’m way too tired to follow through on all these ideas hardly matters. Ha ha ha!

So what can I tell you? Last week was my first full week as a brick and mortar entrepreneur. Did I make a million dollars? No. I have to say that I’ve done a lot of prepping for this venture and now I feel like I’m finally ready to just start helping people find the fabric they want and need and well, selling my wares. Admittedly, getting the word out is probably one of the harder parts of owning a business. I know this from my online adventures. And then of course there’s the bills and there’s the scheming for what’s next and there’s a lot of people giving you advice and pulling you in all sorts of fun new directions and then there comes a time when you have to finally find your own voice and start doing what you know you feel in your gut to be right. It’s so crazy. Today is that first day where I’m beginning to feel that calm after the storm. You know, where you exhale and think, I’m ready.

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I’m baring a bit of my shop owner’s soul to you and though it might not make any sense whatsoever, I’m ready. I’m actually ready to start sewing again – haven’t touched my machine in weeks. And there’s a little something something on the horizon where I’ll need something like a whole wardrobe of new things. Yikes! But exciting. Guess I’ll not want for fabric, right? Anyway, just wanted to pop in and say, I’m back baby! We’re ready to roll again. For those of you who’ve emailed me – I’m slowly getting back on top of that. All orders from the online sale have all gone out. Whewwww! The online shop is back up and running too. If you live in the Salt Lake City, Utah area – HOP IN to A Fashionable Stitch (988 East 3300 South, SLC). I’d love to see your bright little face.

Thanks everyone for your incredibly encouraging words from my last post. I’m definitely a little anxious about what this new venture holds, but your words meant the world to me and really gave me hope that I can do this. Thanks. I totally needed that. Now, off to cut out a Papercut Ensis Tee in some pretty lovely wool double knit from les shop. And what about you? What’s on your sewing table?

  • Maiken Pedersen - Merry Christmas, and good luck with your new shop. Thank you for a very useful and nice blog, that has been a big inspiration for me, as I just started sewing this year. Thanks also for your great online shop, hope that you will expand it with fabrics eventually… :-) ReplyCancel

  • Amber Williams - Sunni
    I think this is great. You will do wonderful. Your passion is so contagious. You have helped keep me on the cutting edge with my sewing students at Davis High. Thanks for being such a great sewing enthusiast!ReplyCancel

A Fashionable Stitch enters a new phase….

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You guys, I’ve got some really really big news. My apologies for my absence here. I feel like I’ve been running around with my head cut off and to be honest, my head is still spinning (on my finger no less). I taunted you in my last post with this news, just a little. As crazy luck would have it, the owner of the fabric store that I work and teach at (Yellow Bird Fabrics) decided to sell. It was a big decision and one that was made because of circumstance – nothing bad or life threatening though, which is good. She asked if I wanted to buy. I know, I know. This is the CRAZY part! And after some serious fretting and sweating and thinking and inner turmoil and “should I really do this?” type stuff, I decided to dive in, head first. And now A Fashionable Stitch enters a new phase. We are a bona fide brick and mortar shop! Yeah. You could say I’m walking on air right about now.

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I never thought I would actually own a fabric store. In fact, I played around with the idea for awhile and thought, um no. Then after being approached with the opportunity to buy, I felt different. I really wanted it. There are so many things that appeal to me about having a brick and mortar shop. The personal contact with customers. Having parties (oh yes, there will be parties!). Educating people in person. Feeling fabric in person. Seeing fabric in person. Decorating. Scheming about how to package things – I love packaging! There is TONS to do and I already feel like I’ve done a ton and that a ton has been done by Amy, who went before me. She’s given me a legacy, seriously and its wonderful. You guys, I own a fabric store! Isn’t that just the craziest?

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So what does this mean? It means that me and my mister will be quite a bit busier, but all for something that we both love – Mr. S totally digs that I’m into fabric and I totally dig fabric, so we’re definitely going to have a lot of fun. I’ve got a really fine group of ladies working for me – I am so lucky! You’ll be hearing so much more about them in the days to come. They all have really fabulous ideas and many of those are going to be popping up here on the blog. I’m pretty sure you’re going to get a handful of behind the scenes here at AFS headquarters (and now we actually have a real headquarters!). There is so much to do and I want you all to be apart of it, if only through the interwebs. The online store will be expanding to include more notions and a select amount of fabrics. And I’ll also continue to blog, of course – a passion I’m much too loathe to give up.

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There’s much more to say, but I’ll save some things for future posts. You’ll be hearing about the shop a lot. Sheesh. It’s so exciting. Oh. my. goodness. I’m pinching myself even now…

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And because we have some serious celebrating to do right now and because its Black Friday – the online shop is having a sale. Right now. I’ve tried to stock up on everything, so clean me out, would ya? Save 25% on your total purchase today and tomorrow, when you enter THANKS2013 at the discount code section during checkout. While supplies last. Can’t be combined with any other offer. Here’s to something brave and new. Thanks everyone!

  • Barbara J - Congratulations Sunni! Must be a giddy time for you! Wishing you all the best in your new venture … a brick and mortar one no less!ReplyCancel

  • Ellen - Oh Sunni! Congratulations on your new venture! Such a dream come true!ReplyCancel

  • Helen - Wow! Really brave, but amazingly exciting at the same time. Congratulations! What a dream come true!ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - Congratulations! What a fabulous opportunity!ReplyCancel

  • Joanne - Congratulations! I know your store will be amazing!
    Joanne recently posted..The Everyday Skirt that Lives up to its NameReplyCancel

  • Kate - Congratulations Sunni! What a dream-come-true! Your wonderful design sense will make a well-curated shop even better!ReplyCancel

  • lisa g - how awesome!!! i am so excited for you, mega congrats on the new venture!
    lisa g recently posted..HowJoyful bearReplyCancel

  • K-Line - What an awesome life-change! Just to clarify: Will the online store cease to exist? Just trying to figure out how I’ll continue to get all that good iron-on interfacing in strips.ReplyCancel

  • Sunni - @everyone!!! – Thank you all for your support and encouraging comments. Here I am, hyperventilating over here!

    @K-line – The online store will definitely still be open. May sound a little weird, but I do feel a duty to keep my online shop up and running because I have so many customers that purchase all these crazy notions from me. We’ll actually be carrying more items and a few select fabrics too. I’ve linings next on the agenda for adding to the online shop. More interfacings. More notions. Yay!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - Sunni, this is AMAZING news!! Congratulationsx10000, you have earned this and I cannot wait to see what you do with the business and how you can make it blossom even more than it already is :) Might be trying to pick your brain in the future, you have been warned! Haha! But in all seriousness… you are awesome, and I’m so happy for you! Yay!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - Wow… you are truly living the dream!!! Imagine hanging out in a fabric store all day, and then imagine it’s YOUR fabric store… what a lovely lovely thing!! :)

    I’m so glad to hear your online shop will still be open; there’s stuff I get from you that I can’t find elsewhere so that’s a relief! Add some merino fabrics too – I’ll support the heck outta that! ^__^
    Amanda recently posted..Pattern De-Stashing!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer S - I’m so happy for you! I know you weren’t the happiest at the jobs you were doing and that this is the perfect niche for you. After all I’ve heard about Yellow Bird, I was always hoping that someday she’d go online with her products (hint hint ;) Maybe someday I’ll convince DH that Utah is a great place to visit with an empty suitcase.ReplyCancel

  • Tracy - Congratulations!!!! I’m so excited for you :-) I’d write more, but I have to go shop now ;-) (thanks for the discount code ~ I was hoping for one)ReplyCancel

  • Sue @ A Colourful Canvas - Congratulations!!! How very exciting this news is. When I was much younger, I dreamed of having a sewing store, and for all the reasons you’ve written. {{SMILE}}ReplyCancel

  • Connie - Congratulations you fearless woman, or maybe you are feeling the fear and jumping in anyway. Whichever is true I wish you much success.ReplyCancel

  • Diane @ Vintage Zest - Congratulations!!!

    I can’t wait to see what’s in store for you! Pun totally intended. :)
    Diane @ Vintage Zest recently posted..Handmade Gift Feature, GIVEAWAY & Freebie from Warren Tales!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - So exciting, Sunni! I just celebrated by buying some lovely items from your shop. :) I’d love to have a brick and mortar shop for all the decorating possibilities – especially at Christmas!!!ReplyCancel

  • sewdooley - Congratulations, we’re all cheering you on and look forward to hearing more about your venture.
    sewdooley recently posted..International InspirationReplyCancel

  • Carolyn - Congratulations Sunni! That is awesome and amazing! I know that you will be very successful because this is so you!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Zeddie - Congratulations! I have ordered from Yellow Bird (after seeing fabric on your blog). Will you be selling fabric online? Do you plan on stocking belt kits again (either at Yellow Bird or at A Fashionable Stitch)?ReplyCancel

  • Laura Mae - That is amazing news and so very exciting! Congrats!
    Laura Mae recently posted..Joining the ClubReplyCancel

  • Marie - Congratulations – such exciting news. I think you will do an amazing job with your real life store and know it will be a huge success.ReplyCancel

  • Beth B. - Congratulations!! This would be a dream come true for so many people, I bet you feel like you’re walking on air!ReplyCancel

  • Tasia - Congratulations!!! I’m so excited for you. It’s such a lovely store, so welcoming and bright, what a wonderful opportunity. This is such an exciting new chapter in your life. Can’t wait to hear what it’s like running a fabric store! Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Becky - This is just stunning news! I wish I lived near you so that I could come visit. I am very excited for you, and I wish you the very best in your new adventure. Hooray for you!ReplyCancel

Shop Update!

Well, hello there! I’ve been MIA for a little bit now and believe me, I know that I owe y’all some posts on fitting. Those of you who have emailed me (and heard nothing back) I’m super sorry. I have a huge huge announcement that I’ll be making soon that has not only kept me incredibly busy (oh so busy) but it was also one of those things where I needed to step away from everything else for a bit. I’ll be telling you more about it come December 1. But I’ll hint that its local and it has to do with my shop. Oh my goodness, its so incredibly exciting! Well, scary and exciting. I hope you’ll be excited (and willing to help out a little) too. Anyway, moving on, the shop has been long overdue for an update – both cosmetically and inventory wise. One thing that brings me lots of joy, especially around the holidays is my shop and soooooo….

I’ve got new products for you. With even more on the way. Sigh… The life and times of sewing notions and supplies. I do seriously, get all sorts of jazzed about sewing notions and supplies. Especially really good ones. I’ve been holding onto some products for the shop especially for the holidays. I have to admit that I feel that gift giving for a garment sewer is actually quite personal, meaning that sometimes its actually really hard to know what to get for them. I know my mister has this problem. He thinks I have everything I want in that category and to be honest, I kind of do. There are really outrageously expensive things that I would still like to acquire someday, but right now we don’t even have the room. So keeping these types of things in mind, I’ve amassed several choice items for the shop. Because this post would be mega long if I listed everything new, I’ve got a few highlights here. Hop on over to the shop and check out the new stuff – you can see it all if you scroll to the bottom where there are “newest” items listed.

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Silk Basting Thread. I love using a nice basting thread and these fit the bill. They come in a package of three different colors and they are simply splendid to hand sew with.

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Gingher serrated shears. OK, so here’s the thing with serrated shears. They are MARVELOUS! I don’t know if you’ve ever had the pleasure, but this lovelies grip fabric as they cut. They are, hands down, the only type of shear to use when cutting slippery fabrics. They are AWESOME. Everyone should have a pair of these. Everyone.

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Clover Thread Nippers. Carbon Steel baby with a little vintage style resin handle. These are the bee’s knees. You’ll never need to buy another pair. These would be a great gift for someone still using their sewing shears for thread cutting….

Just a few goodies for upcoming holiday larks. Keep your eyes peeled for more upcoming products in the shop. There’s a bundle! Yay! Hope you enjoy! I’ll be back soon with more sewing news (the big news) and more informative tutorials and posts. Later friends.

There’s Something About Kollabora…

So after my post on Pattern Review last week, I have to admit that I too completely agree with the feeling of most of the comments. The platform is way outdated. I do love Pattern Review, but as many of you stated, this community needs a serious makeover. I hadn’t posted a new project on there in some time and tried to go about doing it just yesterday and sheesh, it is sooooooo ugly. So janky. Although I’ve heard rumors of updates to this site, I’m beginning to wonder if they are just rumors. Seriously. I’ve heard about these updates for about a year now. Show me the money already!

I remember when BurdaStyle first came about. It was awesome. I loved being apart of the BurdaStyle community. But admittedly, I feel its a bit janky these days too and its been quite some time since I’ve used it. I started looking into My Sewing Circle. Hmmm… Then I found Threadbias and while I like the layout, it seems very much geared towards quilters. I mean that’s cool, but I don’t really quilt or piece in that way.

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I was a beta tester for Kollabora and at the time, I remember feeling overwhelmed with everything else in my life and felt like one more online sewing community was going to break the bank. I’m still really busy these days and it is starting to feel like there are just too many online sewing communities, but I have to say, there is something about Kollabora. Remembering the beta testing days, I went on there just yesterday and they’ve made updates. They’ve made incredible updates. They are cool.

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And the really cool thing about the updates is that they have been made. Like, they have actually changed from the beta testing days to a more updated interface, meaning people are actually working on this site, which sorry to say, seems a far cry from what’s happening on PR. Its really easy to use. I like the current, beautiful layout and design. I like the way my projects look. I like the way others’ projects look. I like how easy it is to “heart” something and follow people. You can curate inspiration boards, you can have wishlists, your profile looks really nice and well, I think I’m converted.

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I’m not affiliated with Kollabora other than being a member, but I would love to see more people on there. I would love to see people reviewing patterns on there – like they do on Pattern Review – and I would love see this community grow into something even bigger and better. I think that Kollabora could get to the point of having online classes – just like they do on Pattern Review. And they’ve already started a supplies page for things like patterns and kits and fabrics and more. I think they would totally dig forums too (I didn’t see a forum or message board on there). If you alerted the Kollabora staff to things that you want to see happen in the future, I think there would actually be a good response to this. All of this, with an updated interface that people seem to be working on all the time. So I don’t know about you, but I’m on board with Kollabora. I’ll be uploading tutorials, reviews and playing around on there a lot more. I love it.

I know that nobody needs one more item on their plate, but I think if you do choose an online sewing community, my vote is for Kollabora. It’s lookin pretty nice people. What do you think? Do you think we should all start a migration from PR to Kollabora?

  • Tiffany - I’ll have to check that out. … And are those stuffed kitties at the top or tiny Daleks in disguise?
    Tiffany recently posted..Sewing: Picking a Winter Jacket PatternReplyCancel

  • Donna - I agree, PR is well overdue for a makeover. It’s success is purely due to the community that’s posts on there, not the site itself. If the community moved to another site and determined the content it would be success too. Kollabora has great potential. Count me in.ReplyCancel

  • Sunni - @Donna – YESSSSSSSSS!!!! Exactly. “It’s success is purely due to the community that posts on there, not the site itself. If the community moved to another site and determined the content it would be success too.” You took the very words right out of my mouth. Yay!ReplyCancel

  • Alessa - Someone else also recently posted about Ravelry and the lack of comparable sewing communities, which reminded me to hop over to Kollabora again after quite a while. I also did a stint at My Sewing Circle and had a look at Threadbias, but I’ve come to the same conclusion as you have: for now, Kollabora seems like a nice platform with an easy to use (and quite pretty) interface – and more than two garment sewists among what feels like a hundred quilters. ;) I’m definitely going to be a bit more active over there and see if we can’t get together some people to share their projects. :)
    Alessa recently posted..VerityReplyCancel

  • Debbie Cook - I will check out Kollabora … thanks for the tip. I’ve been on PR since the beginning of PR and, really, the only changes I’ve seen have been for the WORSE. I’m extremely computer literate and I find it clunky and a royal PITA, and can’t even imagine how others who are less geeky :-) can stand it. Promises to update, improve, blah blah blah have been being made for YEARS, and it just keeps getting worse. I love the idea and I love the reviews, which is why I keep going back, but I would really prefer another comparable option so I didn’t have to. Bottom line is PR is one person and it’s obvious she has other priorities (which is her choice) so it keeps sucking for end user.
    Debbie Cook recently posted..Cake Patterns Red Velvet 0369 Take 2ReplyCancel

  • Nora Abousteit - Hi Sunni,

    Thank you so much for this wonderful post about Kollabora.

    And to all commenters: Thank you for your nice words and insights and ideas how we can make Kollabora better.

    In case you don’t know me, I’m Nora, I started Kollabora.

    The Kollabora team would love to learn more from you and understand your wishes and needs better.

    Let me know if you’re up for some site testing and answering some questions?

    If yes, please send me an email (nora at kollabora dot com) and put in the subject heading “Site Testing”

    Hope to hear from you! And see you soon at Kollabora :)

    NoraReplyCancel

  • Diane @ Vintage Zest - I have not used Pattern Review to review a pattern yet. I have looked on it prior to purchasing patterns or sewing my own versions, even though I wish it was easier to scroll through reviews. Also, I never link my finished projects up.

    Additionally, some people find my webpage by searching for a specific pattern, like “Simplicity XXXX.” I find myself doing the same thing because a lot of people don’t like futzing around with the interface to search OR to add. Kollabora is cute and all, but since I have been a member, I don’t see it as a review site yet. People just post up tutorials from what I had seen. We’ll see!
    Diane @ Vintage Zest recently posted..Peach Crumble & Plum Pie!ReplyCancel

  • Anonda - Thanks for the heads up on Kollabora. If more people use another sewing community, PR might actually be obliged to update. Right now they pretty much have the market cornered due to the legacy of the community so whether they make good on their promises to update (and no, not just a change in color scheme like a few years ago but a REAL update) people will still gravitate there. It also shows up very high on any Google related search related to sewing patterns. The hot mess that is Burdastyle frustrates me because it was so exciting, fresh, and full of potential in the beginning.ReplyCancel

  • Lauren Dahl - Um, RE: migration…YES PLEASE!! PR is soooo outdated. I feel like I should be sewing all 1990s patterns with shoulder pads and high waists when I am on that site. You said it was “janky,” and that is the perfect word to describe it. No user interface to speak of. Outdated branding. Ick. It’s just so aesthetically NON-pleasing. Let’s all pray to the sewing gods that Kollabora takes over the world.ReplyCancel

  • JenL - Thanks for your thoughts. I’ll add Kollabora to my travels for awhile. It’s definitely a cleaner looking site, though I did notice some technical glitches that were somewhat aggravating. (No anchor link type functions-so going back to the main project page, after seeing an individual projects, always returns to the top of the page rather than the last location). I hope that gets fixed. The bigger images on the project page are nice.

    Unfortunately it seems as though most users are not interested in doing a pattern review. Of the several projects I looked at on Kollabora (excluding yours!) the project description often consisted of not much more than ” more details on my blog. ” It’s fine for those who don’t want to give more info, but it is one of the things that IMO Burdastyle falls short on too. If the sites were designed differently, I think that uploading users would be more inspired to provide more info. I have never uploaded a project to PR, but I assume there is a clear template that prompts for certain information. Kollabura does not seem to have that, and so the information provided about patterns seems to be really limited.

    It is nice to see projects for inspiration purposes, but despite the clunkiness of PR, it does seem to achieve its objective. There have been some updates on PR, at least I noticed one…clicking on a image on the main review gallery produces a larger popup image. Before, the result of a click was random – you could end up looking at a larger picture, the review itself, or be redirected to a blog/flickr page. Anyway, there still seems to be a gap in sewing webland, if anyone has the energy and means to fill it!
    ~JenReplyCancel

  • Sarah - I really don’t use PR that much mostly because it is tired, and I like to look at pictures of finished makes – there’s just too many steps to get into each review and the photos are often pretty dodgy. Postings on Burdastyle or blogs tend to have better pics, and descriptions. I’m on Kollabora too, and it is very nice to look at but I do feel like I should only post my ‘cool’ makes on it. I’m 35 and I think the vibe of Kollabora is aimed (at the moment) at neon loving 20-something hipsters. I don’t write a heap on either Burdastyle or Kollabora about the specifics of my make because I feel if I’ve already sat down to write a blog post, I’m not going to waste time duplicating that info. I do tend to say if I think the pattern was great, and if I have significant dramas I recommend reading the blog post to provide others with a cautionary tale.
    Sarah recently posted..Finished – the birthday top – New Look 6808ReplyCancel

  • Kaci - Abandon PR??? HEY NOW. While I 100% concur with your opinion about the outdated look of PR, I *love* the site and the ability to search by project #, pattern maker, etc. Kollabora is super pretty and all, but it’s never going to be as useful as PR, even if it’s visually more gorgeous. Kollabora does not have the sturdy database backbone to ever be as useful to me as PR.

    I love Deepika’s vision with PR and I think it’s time for her to make sure the site gets a visually pleasing redesign. The problem with redesigns is people always initially freak out, so I think a vocal enough group of PR lovers/users need to demand a visually appealing layout so that we don’t lose the wisdom of our garment-sewing crowd to eye candy sites like Kollabora and Pinterest.ReplyCancel

  • Lessles - Oh yes! PR. I hated the interface so much I even contacted them and told them so. Deepika said they were launching a ‘new ‘ look, but that must have been a year ago now? Nothing so far, such a shame because it’s a really useful site.ReplyCancel

  • Sunni - @Debbie Cook – AMEN Sister!
    @Nora Abousteit – Yay! You know what’s awesome, that you came on here and commented. You care! Haven’t heard a thing from PR. Hmmm…
    @Lauren Dahl – Yes, let’s all pray that Kollabora takes over the world. Please….
    @JenL – I agree. There are many projects on Kollabora where the user simply linked to their blog. I want that to change. But guess what? It never will unless we do something about it! We can’t sit here and expect it all to change unless something is said and we go on there and be the example. If more people post more reviews then it will become more review oriented. Plus, again as I have stated many times here, this site is new. It will not happen overnight. PR has had its day to shine and it has, but the maintenance to the site hasn’t happened in years. Will it ever? I wonder. Seriously.
    @Sarah – Agreed. The photos are laughable. I can’t even see them. They look terrible on PR. Yet on Kollabora, they are big, beautiful and the whole look of a review is exactly what I want. Plus you can do more than one photo.
    @Kaci – Yeah, I love Deepika’s vision too, but the site has been around forever and never changed. Sorry, that tells me that someone doesn’t care to have it change. It won’t. I would put money down that even in a year, nothing will have changed. My post here is but one of many around the interwebs asking for change. Has it happened? Nope.
    @Lessles – Yup. Exactly. It’s been a year and nothing. Hmmm…ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Liz - I find Pattern Review very clunky, and I grew up through the early internet age. It does have lots of information though, and I do know my way around it now. I think they do need to update. I know on my blog that people enjoy being part of a community – I try and encourage that on my blog, but I’m only a small amateur at the blogging/community game.ReplyCancel

  • BeckyT - Thanks for the notice about Kollabora. I joined and added a tute on converting a zippered wedding gown into a corset back dress. I didn’t realize it at the time but I guess you’re just supposed to put 1-3 pics of your project on the page? I put 16! HA! Oh well, I can take them down…maybe. You’re right, it’s a great community!ReplyCancel

  • Debbie Cook - Looks like I might have to eat my words … Deepika has put a call out today for new UI testers. I would respond to her but I’m petty sure I’m not high on her A list. :-) But hopefully this means something is actually happening and improvements are soon to be seen by all.
    Debbie Cook recently posted..Cake Patterns Red Velvet 0369 Take 2ReplyCancel

  • Sunni - @Debbie Cook – REALLY????? This would be wonderful! But have to say, I want to see it and try it first. I hope I have to eat my words. I really do.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer @ Workroom Social - I love Kollabora! I think it’s got a great UI and is a great community for modern day makers. Interested to see the new PatternReview.com too!
    Jennifer @ Workroom Social recently posted..Video tutorial: How to sew french seamsReplyCancel

  • mary - PR has a wealth of information and database that Kollabora just doesn’t have to make it a suitable substitute for PR. Yes, PR is clunky, janky, and outdated. However, that is where their is a sewing community. Kollabora seems to struggle with the same issues I have with the burda site. People don’t do actual pattern reviews. I appreciate the template that PR has for reviews. I don’t want to go to someones blog and hope that they might provide the info I need. The PR reviews are efficient for me in terms of giving me useful info.I have used the forums on PR for information and there really is some great stuff there, the sewing machine reviews are really helpful too. I totally get it that people get frustrated with PR’s site. I do too. But at the end of the day, how a website looks isn’t going to help me with my sewing.ReplyCancel

  • Nora Abousteit - Hello all – here a bit of a more targeted response to some comments. Again, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts publicly.

    @Rose We hope to add more details in the future. For now we wanted to make sure that people get inspired and can easily share what they’ve made. Requiring too many details would slow that down. In any case, it’s good to hear your concerns and I will talk in our next product meeting about that.

    @raquel from JC An Argentine friend of mine came up with the name (I only changed it to “k” since I grew up in Germany and the domain was available). I was desperate for a name and he asked me what the site was about. I said “collaborating!” and he said, well, Spanish that’s colabora.

    @Sunni (RE your comment to lisa g) yes, we’re working on the site. Day and night and it’s not always easy to figure out what features and iterations make the most sense. So your blog post and the comments are worth gold for us:)

    @Sunni (RE your comment to Rose) We had the empty dance floor problem. Usually no one wants to start dancing. Good is though that our team is full of passionate crafters and so we could start with our own creations. And now, more are joining the party, and hopefully the entire world will dance with us :)

    @Kristin Hi! Hope you’re coming to our Open Lab this coming Thursday? Would love to hear more about what you wish from the community. And yes, sometimes answers or feedback take time, we’re still relatively small… I hope that will change of course.

    @Catherine Daze We don’t sell anything (anymore). We tried that in the beginning, but it was the wrong approach at that time. I hope you can check the site out again. Eventually, though, we will offer members to sell their patterns etc. We already launched brand pages, any brand (blogger, companies) can apply. Also, we need to make some money to pay the team :) Let me know if you have other ideas for revenue, we’re very open for that!

    @Sarah I will check on that mistake, sorry about that!

    @Leigh We hope to inspire different skill levels. Sometimes an expert knitter wants to start sewing, or an expert sewer wants to start knitting. In any case, the content is determined and created by the community, not by us. Please come back and visit, I hope you’ll find something for your taste.ReplyCancel

  • Mel - I keep going back to PR for the forum-based community. It’s lovely, and really, forums are pretty standard functionally. I’m used to it, and I’m looking forward to seeing the new version there. Having said that, I’m willing to give Kollabora a go. The UI looks nice, but at the moment it seems like you may need to blog/visit quite a few blogs to really get involved in the community (I don’t blog, thought I do obviously read ). I would feel awkward using the PR template in another site, it feels a bit rude. I looked at your Jacket Express post – if I was to review something, I’m guessing you wouldn’t mind if I copied/modified the questions you used there?ReplyCancel

  • Sunni - @Mel – I agree about the “rude” part, but I still like giving some sort of review of a pattern. That really is invaluable info. Of course you can copy my questions on my Jacket Express post! I was trying to think of newer questions to answer – add your own if you like. Maybe we can create our own new Kollabora template! yay!ReplyCancel

  • Carson - Thank you for this; I always end up going to PR to see what a paper pattern REALLY looks like made up on real people before I buy, so it’s a really good resource in that respect, but I’ve never become a member because it’s so visually and navigationally daggy. I joined up on MySewingCircle when some online friends were doing it, but it just doesn’t seem to get used so blah to that. I am a reasonably avid member of ravelry (I’m a knitter too) and I’ve started wishing there was a garment-sewing equivalent of that site.ReplyCancel

  • Judi Short - I don’t like Burda Style at all. And Pattern Review doesn’t work, either. I guess for now I will find my pattern ideas from word of mouth or someone’s blog. Kollabora is pretty, and beter when I finally found the filters, but didn’t see anyone critique a pattern, rather they just show what they made from a pattern, or how they modified a pattern to make it their own. And, I agree, Sunni, that there are only so many blogs a girl can follow, too many irons in the fire, fabric to feel, patterns to fold, etc.ReplyCancel

Focus on Fit: Pattern Review

This is something that I always do before I start out on a new pattern. Always. Pattern Review is such a great resource. Yes we all know that the site is a little bit janky, but once past that, the reviews are invaluable. Today I thought I would show you how I utilize it, just in case you were completely lost as to how to find anything on the site. But first, a few words. Before getting started on any pattern, its a really really good idea to read the pattern reviews of that pattern. Someone brought to my attention that one of the patterns on my pinterest board didn’t receive favorable pattern reviews and after they had tried it themselves, they concurred with the reviews. They also said that I should take this pattern off my board and no, I’m not going to do this. Friends, I don’t have time to check all the reviews on all the patterns I post there. Please understand that. That is your homework. If you find that you like what I have to say here and you find a pattern that you want to make from my pinterest board, please go on pattern review to read the reviews before you delve in. I don’t have any secret info on whether or not the pattern was well drafted or if it has fitting problems that are the same across the board. I only put patterns there because they look like basic patterns for all sewing levels (there’s a couple of Marfy’s and Stylearc’s on there). I also updated the bulletin message for that particular pinterest board. Now, let us move on.

Before I even purchase a pattern, I have a look at its reviews. Or if I’ve already purchased the pattern long ago, I have a look at the reviews before diving in. This can make or break a pattern for me. I actually won’t even start a pattern if its got serious problems from the get go based on the pattern reviews. To utilize the pattern review function on the Pattern Review site (ha ha) here is a step by step tutorial.

Advanced-Search

On the left hand side, click advanced search.

Search

From there a screen will come up and you’ll enter in the pattern company name from the drop down and the pattern number – you don’t have to enter anything else, by the way. Then click search and reviews will pop up.

Pattern-Reviews

Sometimes it happens that no one has reviewed a certain pattern, so you have to go out on a ledge on your own and then of course, its up to you to write a review of the pattern and put it up on Pattern Review.

My second favorite place to peruse on Pattern Review are the Message Boards. Sometimes, someone will post problems they are having mid construction and try to get some advice from other pattern reviewers. It’s a great way to find out even more about a pattern.

message-board

So to do that you’ll click on the Message Board tab. Then click search board on the right.

Search-Boards

Then enter a word or two on the subject your looking for. You’ll need to click either “Titles & Descriptions” or “Messages.” Then click enter and several message boards will pop up.

I know these are simple tutorials, but I have to admit that sometimes I find the site a bit overwhelming to navigate and when you try to search things many times, what you’re looking for doesn’t come up. So this is out there to help you out a bit more. Also, if you’re not a member, sign up! It’s free and I barely get one email from Pattern Review a month. Nothing big. It’s great when they have pattern sales and they have great classes too.

Do you use Pattern Review? Interestingly enough, I find Pattern Review much more helpful than any other “sewing community” out there just because all the reviews tend to take on the same format and they are all reviews, not just beautiful photos of someone in a garment (though I do love that too, just sayin). What do you think?

  • Camilla - Thanks for the reminder. I have come across this site but forget it’s such a great resource for finding out what a finished pattern will look like. I will check this out before starting any projects in future.ReplyCancel

  • caroline - I used to love PR, but now I find it very hard to upload photos and I’ve pretty much stopped using it (other than stopping by to get previews of new Burdastyles). I wish PR would go the Ravelry route and find innovate ways to update its format and “get with the times.” It’s like using the internet in 2003!ReplyCancel

  • MariaDenmark - I love patternreview – and have used it on and off for over 10 years, back when there weren’t blogs like today – actually this was were I met my best friend.
    I know from Patternreview owner that there is a new (and more user friendly) design coming up within the next month or so..
    MariaDenmark recently posted..The Great London Trip!ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany - Haha! “Janky” – I don’t think I’ve heard that word before, but yes, PR is janky. :)
    Tiffany recently posted..Sewing: Make Your Own Jeans PatternReplyCancel

  • Siri Andersen - I live in the pile of rock that is Norway, so I had not heard of this site before. I have browsed a little and find it very useful! Thanks for sharing the link ;) ReplyCancel

  • Mary - I am a long time PR member, and love the site. Janky, I guess…but it’s familiar to me now and I can use it easily. One tip I offer is that Friends of PR get some goodies not available to others, and these things are worthwhile. I have an online pattern catalog which is linked to reviews and to my wishlist. When I am buying patterns, I can automatically see the reviews. When purchased, I can click on the pattern in my wishlist and it is transferred to my pattern library.
    Mary recently posted..art play and the PR Lined Jacket contestReplyCancel

  • Sewing princess - I find it appalling you got such a remark on your board! I like reading PR reviews though the site could do with a redesign.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - I always check PR and I love it. Never thought to get on the forums though. And the big thing? I need to contribute reviews myself. I always have the good intention to post a review, but then it slides to the backburner. So thanks, you’ve reminded me to give back a little of what I get :)

    http://livefaithhomeschool.blogspot.ca/2013/10/sew-skirt-burda-7342.htmlReplyCancel

  • James - I’m brand new to sewing and found PR by accident while doing an internet search about 2 months ago. I bought my first patterns from there and go there often to read reviews on patterns I am interested in. Good stuff.ReplyCancel

  • June - I use google to search PR – for example, if I want to find out more about, say, blindhem tension, I type this into the google search box:

    blindhem tension site:patternreview.com

    Much better results, faster, etc. If you’re looking for a pattern and what to see what people are saying outside of reviews, the google search will also show you forum topics.
    June recently posted..FO: Snow mittensReplyCancel

  • Bela S - I use it like June. I prefer to Google and that will link me with relevant reviews. The PR interface is just too dated. When I consider a pattern the review piece is maybe only 20% of my decision because not every reviewer has your body type or your skill level OR as is often the case on Patternreview knows how to take a decent enough picture. When something is a hobby, don’t be afraid to diverge from the path a little. I’ve learned a lot from just taking a chance on some tricky patterns.PR gives me the heads up on the tricky things. Some of my favorite reviews are ones where a reviewer took on a pattern that many people panned and made it look amazing by choosing better fabric and taking the time to adjust fitting issues.ReplyCancel

  • LadyD - Is its is quite US focused (I’m in UK) I tend to only use it for the pattern reviews (always handy to check before starting a project) and for the messageboard. I’ve yet to find as comprehensive a sewing forum.
    I’m not interested in any of the other facilities so tend to completely ignore all the other ‘links’ etc. on the page.
    It could do with a bit of streamlining and be made more ‘mobile phone’ friendly but I cope. The search function is the key.ReplyCancel

  • BeckyT - I joined PR back in May on the advice of one of the blogs I read. I even joined as a Friend just because if you are a paying member, you get an additional 10% off at JoAnn’s after all the other discounts. It has already paid for itself. Funny though, despite the title, I didn’t realize they actually REVIEWED patterns! HA! I’ve never used the feature but I will now. I used it primarily at first for reviews on a cover stitch machine I’m still itching to buy.ReplyCancel

  • maddie - I use Pattern Review a lot, but mostly for reviews on sewing machines (I’m currently in the market for a new one). I didn’t know that you could search patterns in the message board. Thanks for the tip!
    maddie recently posted..Weekend: Italian Market PhiladelphiaReplyCancel

  • PatternJunkie - I love PR but concur that they need an overhaul…the design is SO outdated it’s appalling! Such great information, just wish it was presented in a more user-friendly format.
    PatternJunkie recently posted..Monday Morning Eye Candy: Summer PerfectionReplyCancel

  • Dona - I always use Pattern Review…..and yes it is a bit overwhelming with all it has on it, but it is interesting and useful. The classes are kinda spendy but worth every penny.ReplyCancel