Colourful thoughts & I'd love your opinion...

These thread colours are making me feel so happy at the moment. My thread rack is opposite our bed and from early morning the sun shines brightly through our unlined curtains (black-out curtains seem to make me wake feeling bleary), giving me time to mentally sort them from my pillow...these five seemed to me to be the most exquisitely vibrant colours - sometimes it's hard to believe that a manufacturer can get it so very makes me think that there must be men going about their work in laboratories and factories, stumbling upon the perfect thread colour perhaps only once every couple of months and leaping from their chairs with joy when such a thing happens and perhaps gobbling a chocolate chip cookie to celebrate. What absolute perfection - I think they look almost too good to be real.

They've ended up temporarily on Dinosaur-boy's boat for these photos...I don't know where they're going...

Carrying on the sunshine theme...I actually made this yellow teabag holder a couple of weeks ago, but then the weather became so gloomy that it seemed unseasonal to post something so apologetically cheery.

It, and several others, will be finding their way into my shop at some point over the next week or so...but time seems to be going sneakily fast now and I can't quite believe that on Friday my little Teacakes will be at home for seven weeks...there is so much to do before then and my dream of having my hair cut and taking the cats to the vets before the Teacakes are with me all day seems most unlikely to actually end up happening....which will mean waiting seven more weeks for a haircut because the place that I go to is in a wonderful, architecturally beautiful place that in the spirit of restfulness allows neither children or mobile phones to enter the building. But I'm so tempted to try and squeeze them into my pockets on this occasion if I don't manage to make my way there this week (they can go out of pocket to the vets and will hardly be noticed amongst the mewling menagerie in the waiting's just less fun trying to cross roads with two children and a heavy, unsettled cat carrier).

So this week keeping me busy is a handful (well, actually far more than a handful) of make-up bags...and also trying to write the Tabitha Bag pattern that I mentioned in my last post - indecision has been cleared away in time to try and squeeze the writing of it into this last week of the school term...and I'm realising that it may well take the entire week, for not only is it the most complicated, multi-pieced thing that I make, it is a bag that I now know so well that I easily steer around the little quirks in my pattern, knowing where to give or take an extra centimetre or two...but I'm very aware that I need to hone my pattern to iron these things out before I can pass it on to other people to buy.

So while I'm thinking of pattern writing, I'd really love to hear your thoughts on a couple of things. What do you like in a pattern: diagrams or lots of photographs? Bullet-pointed instructions or a tutorial written with hints and tips for how best to go about each step? And finally, are you happy working from a PDF file on your computer, so that you can have your pattern almost as soon as you've paid for it, or do you tend to prefer to pay a little extra and send off for your patterns and have them arrive a few days later on paper? I'd love your opinions (irrespective of whether you'd ever buy my bag pattern).

Sorry for so many samey pictures...sometimes the light seems just too good to not take a whole series of photos of the same thing...but then picking which ones to blog can lead to much quicker to just put them all up there!

Thank you so much for the people who've resubscribed through Bloglines (problem still not rectified...oh dear) and for the lovelies who stopped by to check what I was up to when they noticed that nothing had appeared in their Bloglines from me for a while.


  1. I love the Tabitha bag-- and have liked especially the neutral linen ones with fun fabrics peaking through the slashed bottoms.

    If I am using a pdf pattern, I really prefer to print it out, so I dislike having lots of photos in the actual pattern instructions. That said, photo tutorials are wonderful because what can't be said in words (or sometimes even in a diagram) can be shown in a photo. But in a pattern, I prefer working from diagrams.

    Being a scientist(ish), I also like short, to-the-point instructions, rather than lots of details.

  2. I prefer lots of pictures. I am fairly new at sewing, and while I am good at visualizing the written instructions, it always makes me feel more comfortable if there is a picture that says, "Yep, you are on the right track."
    At the same time, I agree with Vegetablog: printing out a large number of photos in a PDF pattern would be a bit daunting.
    I like the idea of PDF patterns, as it gives you the option to re-print the pattern pieces. I bought Amy Butler's Birdie Sling pattern a couple of years ago and after cutting out the pieces for a dozen bags the actual paper pattern pieces aren't at all the same shape they once were... but that could just be me and my snip happy scissors.
    Happy Pattern Writing.

  3. I love PDF patterns. being in Australia the cost of postage can be a little offputting, but worst is the waiting time for it to arrive. I get very impatient lol

  4. PDF is fine. I love love love lots of photos and or diagrams.

    Love the tea bag wallet and the Tabitha bag.

  5. I'm a big fan of PDF patterns and don't really mind picture in PDF form but to save on printing perhaps put all the pictures at the end and just reference them at the appropriate step?

    I think a mix of diagrams and photos is ideal. Honestly some steps don't show well in a photo because of the print of the fabric or the color of the thread etc. But in general I prefer photos.

    I like directions that are clear and concise, I do like tips but prefer them to be visually seperated from the actual directions.

    Reading through this I seem a little demanding... hope it helps though :)

    Oh once you have a solid draft you should have some one or a couple people test it out that way they can help find any errors or unclear elements before you publish it.

    I'd be happy to volunteer ;)

  6. As a buyer of your zippered pouch (I know...we ALL hate that word) pattern, and a not very experienced sewing machine operator, what drew me to your pouch pattern/tutorial was the photos and your extremely thorough, conversationally toned written instructions. I'm guessing a more experienced seamstress wouldn't need all the photos, but they were extremely helpful to me. Thanks! Hope all is well.

  7. Florence, the sinshiney teab holder is the perfect shade of yellow. It has that calm, restful quality that suggests sitting quietly in an armchair with the sun forming a pool of warmth to curl up in. Ahh, bliss and very much needed in this cold, dull weather.

    As for your pattern, I like the idea of photos (even though I love pencil drawings so very much) and bullet points to make it easier to keep track of where you are. A section at hte end with more informal tips, etc would be really good. I do admire you as I wouldn't know where to begin to make my patterns remotely possible for people to follow! xx

  8. Definitely lots of diagrams! And very explicit instructions - I can sew but I struggle with the 2D into 3D bit, so the more detailed the better. The only problem with PDFs can be with the printer - in the US the default is foolscap, I think, but UK is A4 - and some printers don't print right up to the edges. So I prefer to buy the pattern rather than download, just to be sure, and to avoid having to fiddle around with taping together big pieces. I love the format of the Amy Butler bag patterns, which leave nothing to the imagination - but with just a few more photos.

    I'm being a bit picky, aren't I - put it down to not being a competent seamstress!

    Pomona x

  9. Gosh, thank you so, so much for all the wonderful advice - please do keep it coming.

  10. those colours are just beautiful and as it is a grey day here in Melbourne Australia, they really stand out to me.

    As for patterns, I am very visual - I like lots of diagrams and less words! Hope this helps!

  11. I love PDFs and lots of photos of tricky steps - I have made bags from paid-for PDFs before and the most helpful parts for me are seeing the photos once - which I don't have to print out! Diagrams are good too. Is it greedy to want both?
    i like having the option of printing out the pieces over and over too cause I am careless.

    the tabitha bag is very lovely and would be a pattern I would buy.

  12. Hello, I love your blog, pictures, colours, inspiration and the extreme sport of cat ownership, my cat is ten and these extreme moments still happen. The colours are sooo beautiful they remind me off tutti frutti sweets. As for the bag pattern, I would be happy to pay a bit more and have it in front of me. I like written instructions, with guidence and pictures for the difficult bits, I have only made very simple lined shoppers from my own pattern but I would love to be able to make something as perfect as your Tabitha bag. Sorry to ramble on hope this comment helps xxx.

  13. I just left the annon comment didn't mean it to be never mind, I'm Emma and rubbish with computers

  14. Having read your zippered pouch tutorial (and made a bunch of them as well), I am confident that your instructions will be thorough and FUN! Just "be yourself." I am a magazine editor, by profession. If you want someone to look over your text, I'd be happy to. Meanwhile, put me down in the PDF camp because I'm really, really impatient.

  15. PDF would be good. I tried your zipped make-up bag from the instructions on your blog, and found the photos very useful. I like a combination of written instruction, photos and diagrams. I like to see what I am making is supposed to look like, even if it doesn't end up like that.

  16. I like a PDF (verses snail mail) IF the pattern isn't pieced on to too many sheets :).

    I like a mixture of either pictures/diagrams with bullet point directions, not lengthy explanations.

    I can't wait for this pattern ... I love your bags!!

  17. PDF patterns most definitely! Your colourful thread makes me smile. Price point: the Tabitha bag is lovely and I would have no problem paying $20 (CDN) for it. $35 if it was licensed for small-scale selling. :)

  18. PDF please - would hate to wait. Lots of photos too! (I'm definitely a visual learner!) I have today bought some febric that made me think of your Tabitha bag, just need the pattern now!!!
    Chris x

  19. Hey Flo
    Don't forget women can work in Factories and design the gorgeous colours too!

    Love that yellow tea bag holder.

    Enjoy the summer holidays!

  20. Wow, thank you so much for all your helpful comments, advice and offers of help.

    C D - no, no! I'm sorry, I love the idea of bespectacled men standing round having strokey-beard moments over thread colours far too much to even entertain the idea that women could be doing this job. Yes, women probably are doing it in reality...but not in my head!

  21. Hi, I think i would prefer a pdf pattern and bullet points are always good too, so i can follow each step carefully, as a newish sewer i find them easier to follow. Also while photos are good i think diagrams are really useful too and would probably find them more helpful. Hope that helps.

    I love the fabric you have used for your teabag wallet, very summery and cheerful.
    Hope you get your jobs done this week before the end of term, im dashing around like a mad thing too!


  22. I love the pretty thread colours - like sweets!

    It's great you're doing the bag pattern. I'd go for the PDF option though from my own lazy point of view, I'd prefer to be able to print out full sized pattern pieces rather than have to enlarge. Lots of photos (or clear drawings) of the steps are brilliant for clarity.

  23. I think I would like a PDF pattern that I could have straight away and print off when I wanted to.

    I prefer bullet points but I alos like the extra little hints and tips- maybe put the hints and tips in a separate block for people to read if they want to but then they still have the bulleted bit for conciseness and clarity. I like diagrams to show me how to do things but in my crochet book I found that they were indecipherable so I ended up buying another one that had photo's! So diagrams need to be so clear. Show them to someone else first and ask if they can understand them.

    I love all your stuff and wish I had time to make it all, read it all and even just visit here more often!

  24. Hello,
    do beautiful work, I invite you to you and wish you success, greet, w.


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