I'm not sure if I'm late to the party, but I've only just discovered Hobbycraft is selling dressmaking patterns made to your personal measurements. So I decided to try it out.
I'll explain how it works and the pros and cons ......
You need to open the website for Hobbycraft made to measure patterns rather than the main Hobbycraft website. It explains how the process works and you can browse the 157 patterns. There's glossy photos, but they don't always give a clear idea of what the garment style is actually like.
To get a clearer idea of the design you have to tap the picture and it scrolls through other images. There's also the option of seeing the line art and a 360 degree view.
You'll need to create an account, choose and buy your pattern. The prices appear to be £5.99, £9.99 & £13.99.
You must download the app....now here's a word of warning as at this point I went down the proverbial rabbit hole...................DO NOT OPEN IN THE FAYMA app if you've bought your pattern from Hobbycraft. You must download the Hobbycraft Pattern app for android and ios(my ipad is too old to download the patterns even though I could install the app). You can't download the patterns without a mobile device which meant I had to work out how to store them in my 365 files. FAYMA appear to design the patterns which are sold through Hobbycraft and has it's own app which has the same patterns, but you can't see your Hobbycraft purchases!
After buying your pattern you need to set up a measurement profile. You can have more than one profile which is great if you sew for other people or your size changes. I called mine Di May 2022 so I knew when it was created.
I'd strongly advise having a friend help you with creating your measurement profile! There's quite a few measurements that aren't easy to take on your own.
The app walks you through the process which needs 2 photographs, front and side view, and over 30 measurements.. Unfortunately I didn't take any screen shots.
You need to wear close fitting clothing and set your camera up so you can stand against a plain background. You choose the option for working alone or with a friend. I was on my own and it tooks loads of attempts for the app to accept my photos. My biggest problem was finding somewhere to actually take the photos, then the light wasn't really bright enough, after setting up another light it cast shadows around my profile that affected the measurements.......however it did give different measurements for my lob sided shoulders. Next came all the measurements using a tape measure. This whole process was supposed to take 20 minutes, but all the faffing taking photos meant it took much longer. At least I only need to do it once unless my measurements change significantly.
Now I was ready to download my pattern, I chose a basic T Shirt to test out the sizing. I can't find out how much wearing ease is included in the design which might influence if I buy something.
You have to choose what format you want it in and this is a definite PLUS as there's so many to choose from, including Projector. My pic shows what I could fit onto my screen and there's at least 2 more choices not shown.
It seems if you want to download the same pattern again you can change the size profile and the format.
Each pattern piece comes as a seperate file and is designed to be placed onto a single layer of fabric with the wrong side on the top. I imagine this is great using a projector, but extremely paper heavy when printing. You get a whole front and back and 2 sleeves.
Sticking the pieces together is easy. Each sheet is labelled with the file reference and page number as well as which edge to cut off and which to glue. Be aware that the small triangles on each sheet don't actually match, but they do tell you which sheet number to match against.
Having cut out this simple T there was a lot of waste
Knowing I have uneven shoulders and the photo measurements had picked up on this I was keen to see if my pattern pieces were different sizes on either side....no they weren't. So for me there's no advantage having to print whole pattern pieces.
I'm not a fan of cutting out on a single layer as I don't have a big enough space, so in future I'd try to only print the pages for half of the pattern. It'll be trickly to track, but less wasteful on ink and paper.
The information tells you what types of fabric to use, but there's only lmited info about how much fabric is needed for each size.
There's a good Glossary of terms used in the pattern instructions.
I couldn't find anything in the instructions about the width of the seam allowances, however they are printed on the pattern pieces. The space between the lines is 1/4" which has made me question where to cut. It suggests I should be cutting off the outer black line .......
1/4" is fine for jersey, but not for many other seam finishes and doesn't allow for any alterations needed to make more room. Yes I know these are made to measure patterns, but we all have some wierd asymetric places on our bodies.
The instructions have clear diagrams with short, concise written instructions that aren't overwhelming. They show where to sew as well as a profile diagram showing how many layers of fabric there are.
I do feel the instructions for setting in the sleeves could be better..................
There's also a good guide to sewing jersey without an overlocker.
The finished top fits well, especially round the neck and shoulders. The hips are a bit wide for my liking, but thats easily sorted as is the length if I wanted a base top to tuck into trousers.
Once I started digging around in the app I discovered the Pro Patterns. These will be brilliant if you want to create your own designs. They're basic blocks created to your measurments for 18 different styles including knits.
My advice would be to make them as toiles to refine the fit before designing with them and you can use them to alter other brands of patterns to refine the fit for your body shape.
Here's pics of just a few of the Pro Patterns.
Will I use them again?
I'm going to say PROBABLY....................... I have loads of patterns and I know how to make them fit. I might try a trouser pattern next time and the pro patterns could be a game changer cutting out all the mathematical elements of drafting my own...mind you I enjoy that as well!
I can really understand why people want personalised patterns and these have much better instructions than Bootstrap and Lekala. I'd be interested to hear from people who have tried both formats. Hobbycraft doesn't have the refinements about body shape available from the other companies, but, that might be why you have to take profile pictures.
For me the fit was good on a basic stretch garment...I really should try a pattern for wovens next.
You only have to measure yourself once if you're happy with the patterns that are created.
There's loads of fomats the patterns can be downloaded in. Probably really good for anyone using a projector.
The pages go together easily with plenty of information about trimming and glueing.
The same pattern can be downloaded again using a differnt size profile or output format.
Clear, detailed instructions for most processes.
The Pro patterns look a brilliant idea for anyone wanting basic blocks. You could use these to compare to other brands of patterns to help you alter them to fit.
Creating the measurement profile, especially the pics, is time consuming and for me frustrating, but you only have to do it once.
Each pattern piece is a seperate file giving you the whole pattern piece, even two sleeves. For me it uses far too much paper.
The pattern pieces are put onto the wrong side of single fabric. This needs a lot of space. For pattern matching I want the right side of the fabric on the top. For many designs that's not a problem as the fabric can be turned over, unless it's an asymetric design when the style would be flipped to the opposite side, like a mirror image of the intended design.
The 1/4" seam allowance will be too narrow if it's the same on patterns for woven fabrics. It wouldn't allow for French, felled or open seams.
The fabric requirements are only estimated based on a small range of sizes
Yes, there are some down sides, but thats's the same for many brands. I still want to try out more complicated styles to test the fit and wouldn't commit expensive fabric until I'm confident the sizing works....just like any pattern. Once I'm confident with the sizing who knows what's possible.