For August, the monthly craft question was, Do you like to use patterns and templates when crafting or do you just wing it? Do you plan and measure your projects carefully or not?
For some crafting fun, we asked some of our favorite craft bloggers and designers to respond.
Heidi Borders a.k.a. EcoHeidi
When I design, for some reason, my ruler has more glue on it than anything. I rarely use a pattern/template in the actual design concept. I wish I did, as most of the time, especially for a project for print/web, I have to go back and figure out the pattern. I hate writing instructions so I procrastinate until my deadline. Sometimes a manufacturer will want a sketch of my project for approval, so I do sketch, for approval. Otherwise I just pretty much wing all my design projects. If I have to make two of the same design I usually change something. All of the above is subject to change without notice.
Sharyn Sowell of Art That Fits
I’d rather stumble about and fail my own way before that lovely “aha!” moment when everything works beautifully, just the way you’ve planned it in your head. Not using a pattern forces me to think clearly about what my own look is and to learn where from unsuccessful attempts. A failure, though not much fun, gives me opportunity to look carefully at my work, to analyze where I went wrong and see what I should do differently next time. Then I have another go at it, and do that as many times as I need to to succeed. Then I can use that knowledge as a stepping-stone for future efforts, carrying the knowledge forward into the next project. For me, not using a pattern or someone else’s template is a good metaphor for life. Not expecting perfection, learning from failure, not imitating others and persisting until you succeed is can be slow and messy but it fits for me.
Pat Sloan of Creative Talk Network
What an interesting question for me as I write patterns for a living! LOL I tend to use patterns and templates and instructions for projects I’m not as familiar with (like beading a bracelet I’d follow the directions carefully). When doing a craft I’m very familiar with I just skim for sizes and start, then read when I need to! And the careful measuring all depends on the project. If things have to line up or match to make it work then I do measure, if I’m dumping a bit of paint to work with … no measuring!
If the project is very simple and does not use much fabric, I usually wing it. But if the fabric usage will be more than a scrap, I will make a pattern to make sure it works out right, if I don’t already have one. Then I measure carefully. I love fabric and can’t stand to see any little bit wasted, so I’m very conservative in my cutting.
Fabrizio Martellucci of Crafting Mad
I tend to wing it at times but might use a pagemap to spur my inspiration. I do measure everything so that it fits with my card size but it’s probably the technique known as “mark it with your nail and cut with your guillotine.” I also use the tip of a poker tool to measure the size I need to cut the paper too !
Marie Segal of Art From the Heart
I am not a pattern crafter. Most of the work that I do is just making up stuff for others to do and writing about it. Ideas evolve in my head. I have been working in polymer clay for 31 years, so now most of the planning, patterning, and figuring is done in my head before actually making it. When I am learning something new I prefer to have someone show me. And when I read instructions, I mostly look at the pictures to figure it out. I rarely measure unless I need it for writing instructions.
I have yet to craft with a pattern. but at the same time, i usually try not to just wing it. i sketch my ideas out in my notebook and try to figure out the measurements before i actually start the cutting or making. if it’s a sewing project, i sometimes will make a mock pattern using bedsheets or paper before i cut my fabric pieces.
I actually make my own patterns and then share them for free at MerrimentDesign.com. I’m currently making a baby sunhat with ruffles for my daughter Elise. It’s super cute and I can’t wait to share it with the crafting community! And It’s my personality to plan and measure carefully – even when I don’t need to, like for sewn stationery and such. Call me a purist.
I tend to work backwards with my projects. I like to envision the finished project then figure out how to complete it. I learn more this way and am able to then adapt this pattern to other similar projects. Many times I’m working with odd sizes and shapes (like with curtains) and would have to pay much more for a customized pattern. Rolls of brown craft paper and pencils are my favorite pattern-making tools!
I like to check out tutorials to learn new techniques, then I like to take what I learn and “Wing” it to create something that fits my own personality.
I am of the “no pattern” persuasion. For me, the joy of crafting is in the discovery of “What will happen if…” I don’t measure, but I am getting pretty good at estimating. 🙂
I just wing it! Don’t like measuring!
I generally like to “wing-it” when crafting. I like to let a project reveal itself with the materials I have. I might see something that inspires me and then I try to re-create it or use the idea to inspire something completely different with the same color scheme or materials. I rarely plan a project out completely…. If anything I plan to make a project, but how it will turn out, even I don’t know sometimes. However, I highly recommend that planning and measuring be involved, especially if supplies are limited. Either that, or be prepared to “make it work” no matter how your original idea works out.
I have never been a pattern user… I find for myself, they are too restrictive, so I just wing it! That’s probably why I have drifted into the pattern designing business!
People have been asking me how to do this, or how to do that, for a number of years! That is also the way I became involved in teaching craft classes, sewing classes, art classes, and painting classes. It flows into most other areas of my life also … like cooking. I usually just take a bowl, and start adding ingredients. I figure the basics of making a cake are flour, baking powder, sugar, and some liquid. After that, it’s all about inspiration! Add some bran, and you get bran muffins, add some oatmeal and cinnamon, and you have oatmeal muffins; add some bananas and you have … well you get the picture. Maybe it’s just that I like to do my own thing. I like to think I am independent, but my husband says that I don’t like being told what to do. Either way, it works for me! And I say, to each his own. If you love to have a pattern, where everything is mapped out for you, that is the way you should go. My customers on my tutorial site e-mail me and say that my patterns leave nothing to the imagination, and that they are explicitly explained, so that is my ideal dream, to be able to pass on my talents so others can benefit from them, and to present them in such a way that it becomes as easy for someone else to complete my tutorials as it is for me to design them!
I never used the patterns and must admit to write my first own pattern was truly a challenge for me 😉 I love improvise and pretty often have no clue what I get finally, so no, I do not make sketches and plan carefully. Impromptu is my favorite thing in designing.
Great question – and it’s a hard one to answer. Sometimes, I wing it and just see what the result is; sometimes, I really want to challenge myself and see if I can recreate, as closely as possible, someone else’s crochet pattern (though, I probably still put my own twist on it in some way!). I do think, no matter what, even if you follow someone else’s pattern to the stitch, it still is your creation. 🙂
I usually wing it, I can look at something to get my creative juices going and then come up with my own version. I do not plan or measure until it comes down to writing the instructions for a project where they are needed.
Sometimes. If a project must be structurally sound, I don’t like to veer away from the pattern/template/instructions. However, I am all about just winging it, letting my intuition and instincts be my guide when it come to embellishing.
Since I create original designs, I make my own patterns and write the instructions for them. It usually involves some trial and error as I try to perfect the design and write the instructions so that they are easy for the crafter to follow. It’s no fun if the instructions aren’t clear, and I want the crafter to enjoy the experience! Whenever I craft outside my areas of design, like knitting, I definitely use a pattern!
I am a winger when it comes to making my own patterns and templates, if I don’t have what I need in my stash.
Here is the other side of the coin, I am super careful about measuring and making sure everything is exactly the right size. 🙂
I have a set pattern style that I like to use – it takes after a favorite pattern writer of mine. I do a little of both – measuring and winging it.
I am a fly by the seat of my pants crafter for the most part. Sometimes I will use a pattern but usually if a pattern is involved it’s because I made it up myself and it’s meant for other people to use when I type up the project! 🙂 Careful measuring and planning just don’t suit my style my ADD is too crazy for that. I simply don’t have the patience needed for detailed placement, measurement and planning.
I rarely use any kind of pattern or even follow instructions. I do, however, look at other projects to get ideas and if I have no idea how something is put together, I’ll try to find out. I rarely measure either and this is one area in which I’m quite sure my projects would benefit, but then, to me, the joy in crafting is about experimentation, not replication. Would I get “better” results if I followed directions? Probably, but then, I wouldn’t be me!
I used to use patterns, but more and more so I just wing it. I do, however, when I’m winging it, plan and measure to make sure I have enough supplies and it’ll turn out the way I want it.
When it comes to patterns, it depends what I am making. I would say the majority of the time I “wing it/make it up” as I go. However, I love making up patterns and tutorials because then I can make it again. I used to use patterns all the time. But the last time I bought a pattern was over 2 years ago, and I never used it, I made up my own pattern instead. It was for an apron and I have made over a dozen aprons since then- with no pattern. But if I am making a quilt, I would measure exactly and use a pattern if needed. As far as measuring, I always measure what I am making, but I rarely use a pattern. It just depends on what I am making and if using a pattern is necessary or not.
Oh dear I hate to say that I am both. When I am designing of course I just wing it and then refine and refine. But I also love using patterns, sometimes I just want to make something and know it will work without the fuss of a zillion attempts. I have patterns that I love so much that I have had to tape them back together after too many pin holes ! I generally sew toys and softies so a bit of fudging is Ok, the need to be absolutely precise with cutting is not as important with toys as it is with something like quilts…….hmmm that may be why you won’t see many quilts on my blog.
Most of the time I just love to wing it. I end up learning a lot just by making mistakes OR amazing myself that I made it with no pattern or template at all. I think it just depends on what you like to do best. There are those certain projects though that I do rely on the pattern and they always turn out great … if I read the instructions carefully of course.
When creating I rarely use patterns. I simply go with the flow and use the materials I have on hand. If it is not exact, I will keep going until I achieve the desired look. I feel this gives my work a unique look.
Well, that is certainly an interesting question for a doll pattern designer. My quick answer is “of course I use patterns/templates/instructions.” The truth is, for me personally, I do and I don’t. I tend to like visual instructions (like diagrams) or pattern pieces versus written instructions. That’s me. However, everyone is different so all my patterns include diagram sheet(s) showing the steps from start to finish, pattern piece sheets labeled so that you can use them to complete the doll from start to finish, and written instructions containing more detailed sewing verbiage. So, whichever type of crafter you are you can follow the design from start to finish.
I like to have a pattern for reference but I always improvise. I can’t live with myself if I simply copy someone’s work, I need to put my own spin on it.
I prefer to “wing it.” To me, patterns – unless absolutely necessary – are a time waster. Usually I am just inspired by the project and then choose to make it my own. Which I think is what being creative is all about!
As a crochet designer, everything I do is ‘winging it’! With that said, I do have a typical method or plan of doing things that I routinely follow. I usually start with goals and a sketch, some swatching and notes to myself about the qualities I want to show in the project. I also like to use templates for writing my patterns and instructions.
If I’m sewing I MUST have a pattern. Sewing makes me nervous anyway and to just “wing it” would undo me. Pretty much every other craft I fly by the seat of my pants.
All of the above! It all depends on what the project entails. There is no better way then experience and experimenting. It is those happy mistakes that make something turn out wonderful and exciting. Play and have fun – that is what it is all about. Be Creative and push the envelope! Create excitement and interest, add a little and delete some and see where the project takes you!
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