Friday, 31 October 2008

NOT Sew Hip!

There is a new sewing magazine hitting the newstands today, Sew Hip. Hooray! I hear you shout! Erm, well, no actually. On the surface it looks fab, all bright, colourful and full of promise but on the inside it's a little lacking in substance.

Sew Hip is a British magazine and you'd image the contents would be British too? Erm, no. Most of it is American and Australian. You'd think they'd have chosen the best patterns for the first issue? Erm, no. Amongst the patterns are 2 tote bags, 2 quilts and 2 needle cases? Hardly inspiring!

There is a cute toddler outfit and I thought I'd give it a go. I started with the blouse but had a little trouble with the pattern. I had a look at the instructions, the picture captions are wrong but that happenes sometimes in magazines. Getting the pattern is a little tricky as you have to enlarge it 200%. I have one of those all in one scanner/copier/printer things and after an hour of tracing, cutting and cursing I managed to get the pattern the right size. That's when I realised the first problem.

Problem number 1.
The pattern parts are labelled the wrong way around! The "sleeve" part is wider than the body and the "body" part tapers towards the bottom. Hmm, that doesn't sound quite right does it.

Problem number 2.
The cutting instructions are awful!. It tells you to fold the fabric with the selvages together and cut the pieces. Erm, we're doing a toddler top here, the pieces are pretty narrow so you're going to waste a heck of a lot of fabric doing it like that and you'd wouldn't fit all the pieces on 1m of fabric doing it that way. I used my brain and folded the selvages to the centre of the fabric giving me 2 folds across the width. The pattern doesn't actually say to cut 2 of each pattern piece, you are left to figure that out for yourself. It's nothing to an experienced seamstress but a beginner may get confused. Also it says to observe the grain lines and fold lines but there aren't any on the pattern!

Problem number 3.
The elastic guides seem to be a little out. The cuffs end up 4" wide and the neck only 7" wide. I made the cuff elastic shorter but used the 14" measurement for the neck but the neck looked much tighter than the one in the magazine.

Problem number 4.
I should have realised earlier but the sizing of the pattern is really big. It's supposed to fit a 6-12 month old baby and I know peasant tops have a lot of ease across the chest but this one measures 30"!!! If a 6 month old has a 18" chest that gives 12" of ease! I tried the top on my 4 year old daughter, the sleeves and body length were a little short but it fitted her!

I had wanted to make this top for a 1 year old but I'm going to have to draw my own pattern from scratch as this one is awful. I haven't tried to make the bloomers, the top put me off!

I looked at the other patterns to see if they were any better. They aren't. There is a pattern for a felted bag. It says you can felt any pure wool fabric, not just old sweaters. Erm, no. You can only felt handwashable wool because superwash/machine washable wool has been chemically treated so it won't felt in the washing machine. Trying to felt superwash wool is a common mistake to make and you would have thought they'd put something about it in the instructions as it is rather important but no, they didn't.

Now I appreciate there are often teething problems with new magazines but this was too much for me. Did ayone proof read it at all? Do they actually know what they are talking about? I honestly don't know!

I don't think I'll be buying any more issues of Sew Hip and I won't be recommending it to my friends.

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