Thursday, 21 January 2016

Scrap-busting Sailboat Skirts


Spending a lengthly spell at Christmas staying with relatives meant that I couldn't WAIT to get stuck into some sewing projects when we got back home. I finally articulated my plans earlier this week, but I'd been aware since we returned that the scraps-and-small pieces tubs needed dealing with. So I went to work...


Pattern:

I'm setting you the following challenge: type 'Oliver and S Sailboat' into a Google image search. If you have a small person to sew for, I dare you to try and NOT immediately buy the pattern! Unless you already own it, you may find it almost impossible. 

One of the things I love about this pattern is that the garments genuinely seem to look awesome on girls as well as boys. Just as great looking sewing patterns for men are relatively thin on the ground, it seems that there are slimmer pickings for boys as well. When I looked into the independent children's sewing pattern companies last year, I did find some fantastic boys patterns, but the quantity of options was significantly less, which makes this pattern a total win, IMO.


I bought the Sailboat pattern in PDF form in the smaller size range, which runs from 6-12 months to 3T. I used the straight up size 2T for my first version (the pink one) and it although Dolores's waist is slightly smaller than the pattern sizing was designed for, it fits her perfectly right now. I made the denim version in the size 3T to keep for later this year. For that version, I lengthened it by a couple of cms and made a back waist facing piece rather than folding over the denim to encase the elastic, as I felt the denim would be too thick and potentially uncomfortable. 

As with all my experiences of Oliver + S patterns, this was a total joy to sew. Their patterns are usually fairly involved (for a child's garment pattern), with well drafted details and clever constructions steps. I finished the pink skirt and almost immediately dived back into the scraps-and-small pieces tub to see what else I could find for another go-round. 


Fabric and notions:

Although I'm not a fan of dressing Dolores in pink, I can't deny the fact that she is already responding to that colour more powerfully than I would like. However, this pink needle cord is a raspberry shade that I can handle better than most others. It was a small piece, no more than 40cm in length, that was left over from some sampling work I did over a year ago. It is beautifully soft and a real pleasure to sew. The buttons were from my stash, which I originally bought from Britex in San Francisco back in 2006-ish. I've seen these buttons crop up elsewhere on sewing blogs, and the reason that I hadn't used them until now is that I only bought four. Perfect for this project, and Dolores adores them. 


The denim is thicker and much crisper than the cord, although it has some stretch content so hopefully it'll still be fine to wear. It was the final scrap from the piece that also became the Sweet shorts Fail and super cute fawn pinafore dress. Consider this denim busted! The front facing and back waist facing fabric was a tiny whisper of a piece that I got from the scraps bin whilst teaching a sewing class at the Village Haberdashery. 


No voyage into a nautical sewing pattern would be complete without some anchors somewhere or other! These gorgeous plastic buttons were in my stash and I believe were a gift from a sewing friend. HUGE apologies but my memory is too foggy to remember from whom exactly. Please know that they are loved and I am so grateful!!!


Thoughts:

These projects made me soooo happy, both in regards to the construction and the outcome. And as you can see from these pictures, Dolores was equally happy dancing about in her new pink skirt. Whenever we put her in a dress or skirt, she instantly and automatically starts circling the room!

Although they are more expensive than many children's sewing patterns, particularly PDF's, I feel that Oliver + S patterns are totally worth it. I intend to make both the top and trousers parts as well to justify the purchase further.

Cost:

Pattern: $13.95 (approx. £9.80) available here
Fabric: £0
Buttons and notions: £0 (if they've been in the stash for longer than I can remember the original price, then that's £0 in my book)
Total: Either £9.80 or £4.90 per skirt. 

Which leads me to my current conundrum that I would like your opinion on please. I'm not sure how my project total costs should work. If a pattern costs me £10 but I use it twice, does that make each garment cost £10 because that is what it would cost if I only made one? OR does each garment end up costing £5? If you think the latter, what happens if I go on to use the pattern a third and fourth time? Do those garments then cost £3.33 and £2.50 respectively? Or do all four then become £2.50 each? I'm obviously not going to go back to previous blog posts and adjust the total cost, that would be insane. I'm over thinking this aren't I? Even if I am, I still need to come up with a strategy I can stick to. Please help!


20 comments:

Knitlass said...

Great skirts!

I'd add the pattern cost to the first project - or if you make two as you have here, then 50% for each. Thereafter I would price the pattern as £0

Victoria said...

You might want to note your cost per item, but I think it would be useful for readers to see the total cost in terms of if they are only making it once. So full pattern cost and then your cost in brackets?

Anonymous said...

Lovely skirt! And for your costing I would only add the cost of the pattern to the first make, then consider all future makes zero cost :)
Cassandra

Maxthecat said...

Terrific skirt! Want one myself (!). How about put the cost of the pattern (it helps me know the budget) but then list how many times you have used it? That will give us a good clue as to how handy the pattern is! Thanks again!

Maxthecat said...

Terrific skirt! Want one myself (!). How about put the cost of the pattern (it helps me know the budget) but then list how many times you have used it? That will give us a good clue as to how handy the pattern is! Thanks again!

Louise Perry said...

I can't do your challenge's or I will end up buying it! I was however inspired by your scrappy post. Turned out my scraps bin and have so far made a pair of leggings for Imogen and plans for another pair! Love Louise x

Christals Creations said...

Oh my. Lovely but no money for new patterns this month, (or for the foreseeable future), will save it for a less rainy day idea. ;)

Sewing Sveta said...

I use patterns from magazines so I divided price of magazine for amount of items I made from this magazine%))) Usually it is only one item, but if I make two, yes I change the price for the first one. I save this info in a file%))

Anonymous said...

Hi! I woud not include the pattern's price in you costs, because i see it as a tool to create the garments. Do you include the costs of the garn, needles, machine use, etc? That said it is still interesting to know the price of the pattern. I suggest you mention it seperately with the number of times you used it so far.

Kathryn said...

Zoe these skirts are just so cute! I share your love of Oliver + S patterns. Have you tried the Music Class skirt? I made it up as gifts a few times and really loved it. If you'd like to try it let me know as I'd be happy to loan it to you.

I tend to count the cost of the pattern in the first time I make something then leave it out of the cost of subsequent makes. It's a great idea to keep a note of the costs and it's definitely something I'd like to try and do a bit more consistenly this year.

Rebecca Woodward said...

You may be right, I'm struggling not to go buy this instantly!
The accountant in me says allocate the pattern cost to the first blog post (so if you make 2 like here, split it) and after that it's a sunk cost, ignore it!

Alessa said...

Those skirts are super cute! Now I'm itching to buy that pattern for my little goddaughter...
I've seen others count the cost of the pattern for the first make, and count it as zero (but possibly name it for our info) for subsequent makes.

Alyssa Wesselmann said...

So cute! I wanna make a skirt like that now! (just need a little one to sew for. . . sigh)
As far as how to count the cost per make, count the cost of the pattern for the first make, then don't for all subsequint makes. If you immeadiatly make 2 items out of the pattern, as you did here, devide the cost between the 2 items, then don't count it for anything else you make from the pattern. Just enjoy having the pattern and count extra makes as free!

Kristen said...

I'd say count the full cost the first time then divide it up subsequently but note the pattern's full cost and number of uses - so if this was the 4th time using a $10 pattern, count $2.50 this time, but note that it's a $10 pattern used four times (US here, sorry about all the $ symbols!). The cost per use goes down as you use it, it doesn't become a free pattern, even though you aren't going to go back and update the cost - or # of uses - for older makes. But I wouldn't count stashed fabric and/or notions as free if I knew I'd purchased them (but I don't add up the cost of my makes because I almost immediately forget how much things cost!)

Mother of Reinvention said...

Those are lovely skirts and it must be really satisfying using up your scrap stash and turning it into something so cute and so wearable. That is a hard one. If I was making up a Bill of Materials for a product I would probably include that pattern for it and just divide the cost by the number of units you would produce (oh God, I've gone into work mode). In reality I don't count the cost of patterns towards anything as they are a splurge for me. I only buy paper ones so at least I have the option of recouping my losses by punting it should I need to, or giving them away. Xx

Fabric Tragic said...

I think I said on your IG account I want an adult version - those pockets are way cool. Maybe I can buy the PDF and print it at 200%!!!! Anyway I think if I've made a pattern more than twice, then after that it's costs are written off and future versions are free!

pootleandmake said...

Adorable, I've the button front and your choice of buttons. Wish this came in adult sizes :)

Roni arbel said...

What a great pattern!I'm happy to see you can use the smaller remnants for a tiny human!
For each make I divide the price I paidpaid for the pattern by the number of times I used the pattern. This method helps me understand what patterns were cost effective. I call it "cost per make", just as I would calculate the " cost per wear " of an rtw garment (for example if I pay 100$ for a coat but wear it for 8 winters, it is cheaper than the 5$ T-shirt I only wore once)

brooke said...

Those skirts are so cute! I've recently made Oliver + S for the first time, although I've had the pattern since my son was born, since he's now 3 I thought I'd better get cracking before he's too big! Such a great experience, now I want to make more before he grows out of it.

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