Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pattern Review - Sweet Greetings Portfolio

As a part of my 52 week : 52 craft challenge, I recently made Amy Butler's Sweet Greetings Portfolio set, and this week I've been blogging about my top tips for following patterns and promising a full tutorial review.

In the past I've followed a number of Amy Butler's patterns, both from her books and from her collection of free online patterns.  In general I find her patterns really easy to follow and I appreciate them for their clarity and thoroughness: for example, lots of diagrams, clear explanations, clear details of materials and also suggested options for alterations/customisation.

For my 'Sweet Greetings' Portfolios I chose to use some fabric from Amy's new collection Gypsy Caravan, and chose the fabric tie rather than ribbon tie option (instructions explained this option) and I couldn't for the life of me find any brads, so I bought some 'do it yourself' fabric buttons, trimmed down the back and just sewed them on for decoration.

I'd really recommend this pattern for a just-past-beginner sewer or higher... It's quite a simple and straightforward project, but with all the pockets, ties, and finishing stitches it will put a good range of skills to use and take just enough time that you'll feel like you've accomplished something significant.  Small project, fair amount of work, but big payoff at the end when it comes together.  Also, the skills you'll hone making both portfolios are enough that by the end of it you'll be left thinking about all sorts of ways you could adapt the project, make notebook covers, etc...

My only criticism (and partly this is my fault for not noticing this when I read through from the beginning following my own top tips for tutorials and patterns) is that the dimensions of the larger portfolio made the finishing steps a bit awkward on my machine.

Ie. The chipboard inserts measure 7" by 10.5" and after inserting them, you are instructed to do a finishing stitch using your zipper foot.  The only problem with this is that the arm of my sewing machine, only reaches across at maximum 6 1/4" inches, making it a tight squeeze for the finishing stitches.

With a bit of manuevering, I did find a solution by tilting the side of the portfolio up but it was quite an awkward solution and my needle was grazing the side of the chipboard as I sewed. Also doing it this way meant I didn't use the zipper foot in the intended way (with the chipboard next to the edge of the foot), but I still managed to find a way.

If you have a sewing machine with a longer arm you'll be fine or you can always hand sew it finished... but those who know me, know I'll do anything to avoid ANY bit of hand sewing.  I highly recommend this pattern, and the beauty is that you could really play with fabrics to get a different effect: I'm thinking of making a similar one with some gunshot grey suiting I have, and making a slightly smarter professional looking portfolio as well.

Of course, there is still a bit of time to enter the giveaway to win the set of portfolios... and week #23's 'Under the Sea' Mobile item has be relisted on ebay ending Sunday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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