Monthly Archives: June 2015

Why do girls and boys clothes button differently?

As I was drafting a recent pattern (the shirt dress pattern which is about to be put through its paces by my wonderful team of testers), I found myself hesitating over which way the buttons should go – EVERY TIME I sewed a new sample.

I have obviously been buttoning myself up successfully for *cough* many years, but still, I can never remember which way they go when it comes to putting in button holes.  And Googling isn’t always immediately helpful – “ladies clothing has buttons on the left side” it tells me – great, but what does that mean? Whose left?  The wearers’ left or the viewers’ left?

So I get confused.  And I have to do an image search or inspect the buttoned garments in my wardrobe.

"Left is the hand that is Left when I Write"

“Left is the hand that is Left when I Write”

The thing is, whenever I put on men’s clothing (I used to buy army surplus trousers and jackets in my grungy youth)  it’s immediately obvious that they button the wrong way.  So you might think that I should know instinctively on which side I should put the buttons.  But I don’t.

Left-Right Confusion

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Call for pattern testers!

After weeks of drafting, testing, changing, grading, and drawing and writing instructions, Sewabaloo is looking to expand our team of pattern testing volunteers.


The next pattern is a lovely button-down shirt dress in three variations, sized from age 1 – age 12:

View A – a short sleeved collarless shirt dress with patch pockets and ties at the front;

View B – a sleeveless pinafore dress with deep inset pockets and ties at the back; and

View C – a peplum blouse with cap sleeves, a Peter Pan collar and ties at the back.

It’s a straightforward sew, incorporating simple techniques such as understitching, gathering and topstitching, although accurate and careful pressing and pinning will be required throughout.

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Thoughts on teaching my girls to sew

The fantasy goes something like this:

My darling daughters, inspired by my love of sewing, ask me to teach them.  I show them how to sew by hand, and they fully engage with the process, enjoy the contemplative and soothing nature of the repetitive stitching motion, and produce divine hand sewn clothes for their dolls and gifts for their grandparents.  They ask me to show them how to embroider, so I sit them down with a children’s cross stitch set and they work diligently and patiently, to produce gorgeous little samplers for their rooms and to personalise gifts for their grandparents.

Sewing the Dream

Sewing the Dream

They ask me if they can please use the sewing machine, and they sit quietly and attentively while I explain the safety aspects and show them how to thread the machine, and they confidently yet carefully produce row after row of neat, parallel stitching, smooth curves and sharp corners, and ask to make clothes for themselves.  So I show them how to read a pattern …. And so it goes on, through to adulthood, by which time they have learnt a valuable life skill, learnt patience and perseverance, and have a satisfying and gratifying hobby.


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A sneaky peek – packaging artwork

We’re just so very, very excited.  Beyond words excited.  Chain-eating marshmallows excited.  – We have our first cover artwork illustrations finished!

The amazing Poppy Tshaya Kay is providing the packaging artwork for our patterns and we are thrilled with how the first batch have turned out.   Sewabaloo have been admirers of Poppy’s work for a long time, and when she agreed to join our team it felt like a coming-of-age milestone for our little company.  Suddenly we felt all ‘grown-up’.

Poppy’s style is beautiful and simple, capturing the innocence and scraped-knees of childhood perfectly, yet she is still able to give a clear and accurate representation of the garments which will be created from the patterns.  We hope you love them as much as we do, this is what Sewabaloo is going to be all about.

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Paper or pdf patterns?

Are you an analogue or a digital kind of a sewer?  How will you decide between the convenience of a downloadable pdf pattern or the solidity of a paper pattern?

The benefits of digital patterns are obvious – you can purchase a pattern and receive it almost immediately.  You don’t have to pay for or wait for postage, you can print the pattern from home and start making straight away, and you can print it again and again and again, in different sizes, you can make sizing alterations without tracing, and you can keep it safely on your computer.

All of your beloved and precious paper patterns could fit onto this iddy-biddy little USB stick.

All of your beloved and precious paper patterns could fit onto this iddy-biddy little USB stick.

But how much do you really enjoy taping multiple sheets of A4 together?  Unless you have a home plotter or are willing to take your pattern to the local print shop (which negates the immediacy of the digital pattern, as well as the cost saving of not having to pay for postage), printing, trimming and taping sheet after sheet of A4 is what you will be doing.  As a crafty type you might well enjoy this, or you might find it frustrating  when you just want to get to the good bits.


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