Monday, March 16, 2015

steam punk

Hello, happy Monday to you all!

Did you have a good weekend? Ours was pretty nice, we even got to spend some time outside soaking in much needed sun.

And, I sewed, of course. I'm quite surprised that after almost 5 years of constant sewing it's still my absolute very favorite activity to do. I'm so lucky :).

I actually started working on two new quilts this weekend. Yes, I was definitely on fire. One of them is a super colorful, perfect for summer Cotton + Steel quilt which I will show you in the next few days, but today I'd like to talk a little about Steam Punk quilt .

I bought this pattern ages ago but somehow I did not feel like tackling all those curves so I put it in the "some day " pile and promptly forgot about it. And then yesterday I suddenly knew it was time to tackle this beauty.

my first three blocks
I finally opened my pattern and I must admit, I was more than disappointed with what I found inside. The templates needed to make this block don't have seam allowance added which is kind of a pain since there are tons of curved edges. I found adding exact 1/4" seam allowance to curved edges quite annoying and time consuming. Later I noticed that it says the pattern is for hand piecing and thus no seam allowance. But come on, how difficult is it to add seam allowances to templates right from the beginning and let people choose? Because, really, how many of us are going to hand piece such a quilt?


I was also kind of disappointed by lack of any useful instructions and tips. I mean, this pattern involves curved piecing as well as applique. So simply saying attach A to B is not good enough in my opinion. Thankfully I've done my share of piecing to know what to do and I've read a lot about needle turn applique in Sarah Fielke's books. One of her tips is to cut out the extra fabric in the middle of the block to reduce the bulk and help the block sit nice and flat. I think this kind of advice should have been included.


I'm also cutting my corner templates larger than the actual size as this helps with squaring up the block.

All in all, I think I will enjoy making this quilt a lot. But I'm still wondering. Am I too picky to want to get more than just templates without seam allowances and super basic instructions for a premium priced pattern? What are your thoughts?

Svetlana

39 comments:

  1. Even if I was going to hand piece this block I'd want seam allowances added to the templates. Guessing at a seam allowance when cutting for hand piecing is a really poor technique. I'd be disappointed in this pattern also. Your idea of cutting out behind the appliquéd circle is brilliant and reduces a lot of bulk.

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  2. I totally agree with you--I would be deeply unhappy with this pattern. However, even with a poor pattern, your blocks look just great!

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  3. I’ve been working on Steam Punk quilt blocks as well and I’ve handpieced as well as machine pieced them. I bought a set of acrylic templates which are very helpful. There’s a group on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/groups/steampunkquilt with some helpful discussions too! Your blocks look wonderful!

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  4. I've heard others say the same thing. I only have the gtsb pattern and there are some tips in there that I found useful but it's by no means comprehensive, although I am hand piecing it. I think as bloggers we are used to step by step tutorials though and I wonder if this is usual for a pattern?! Your blocks look beautiful :)

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    1. Yes, I've wondered about that too. My thinking is if a free tutorial gives you so much useful information shouldn't a paid pattern deliver at least as much?

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  5. I agree with you on all your points.

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  6. I agree too. And no seam allowances would have me a bit miffed. You might as well just sketch out the block yourself. I've never paid for a pattern with that little info.

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  7. I agree that it should give more details! Sew A to B isn't exactly "instructions" if you ask me!

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  8. Krásná práce, Svetlanko! J.

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  9. I think I know who wrote this pattern and if I'm correct I have a different pattern by the same person/company. I too was underwhelmed by the instructions, pattern, and overall packaged appearance. I think the price is too high for what is provided. Your blocks look good though.

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  10. I purchased this pattern about two years ago and haven't started yet, for all the reasons you've listed. I know I CAN figure out the 1/4" seam allowance but I haven't been inspired to yet. And I now know that it is a hand piecing pattern but I think for the price, 1/4 line would have been nice! Thanks for sharing your tips!

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  11. I bought this pattern awhile back and had exactly the same complaints. I thought it was priced way too high for so little and was especially irked by the templates being curved and not having a seam allowance. Your blocks look great and I think over sizing the corner template to be able to square up easier is a really good tip!

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    Replies
    1. Seems like quite a few of us were annoyed by the same things. Pretty disappointing, I must say :(

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  12. I don't think you are too picky. I've only bought 2 patterns so far and both are by Denyse Schmidt. I was very impressed with her instructions as they are very complete. Your pattern sounds totally lacking!

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  13. As a pattern writer I'm always bemoaning the inadequacy of other published patterns! I know the thought and work involved in putting a pattern together and I don't think it's fair to charge a lot for very basic instructions where a lot of knowledge is assumed. I think you are right in having higher expectations! Jxo

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  14. I would be annoyed too. I bought a pretty pricy ruler and pattern and the instructions for squaring up were awful. I spent a fortune on fabric and was not real happy with the result. Wish I could have sent it all back for a refund.

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  15. I have this pattern, too, and I bought the acrylic templates someone in Australia was selling. They are offered in several colors and you can have your name engraved in them! I've been overwhelmed by the thought of the fabric selection for this quilt, so I haven't even opened the pattern! I'm glad to hear of other people's experiences with it. Your blocks look really great.

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  16. Oh, I agree. I love the look of this quilt but after trying another by this designer, I won't be doing any more.

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  17. Uh oh, I have bought another of Jen Kingwell's patterns but haven't opened it yet. I hope I don't have the same problems. I agree with you, there should have been clear instructions. Whatever was she thinking?

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  18. This is puzzling me; you'd need a seam allowance regardless of your method of piecing. I can't imagine what reason there would be for a template to not include one.
    And I would definitely expect more from a paid pattern than free tutorials. Although, bloggers *are* awfully kind and generous, so I guess I should amend that to - I'd expect at least as much.....
    I wish I'd known it would be 'okay' to remove some bulk ~ I recently made a dresden quilt (well, still making it, but I'm at the quilting stage) and I really thought I ought to cut off the excess fabric under the blade points, but didn't find anything online that supported that thinking, so I left 'em as is... Live and learn, huh? :-)
    ~Tracy

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  19. While I understand the frustrations involved here, it seems unfair to single out one designer in this manner. The pattern was designed for hand sewing, where the seam allowance is less important, as the template is traced for the sewing line. As such, I am not sure that it is reasonable to expect instructions for putting the blocks together in a manner unintended by the designer. There are many handsewers, look at the EPP Pasaglia quilts! I would have contacted the designer, in person, for input. A lovely design, regardless.

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  20. I recently made one of these blocks while my friend was working on her quilt. She had ordered the pattern and then, later, the templates when she realized there was no seam allowance on the pattern. I get the whole hand piecing thing, but, really, how hard would it have been to draw the extra 1/4" line on the pattern pieces!?! The block is an old block with the appliqué circle so if you don't even get proper pattern pieces it seems like a big waste of money, you pretty much have to buy the template set.
    Your blocks look lovely, and I think it makes a great quilt, so I'd probably buy the pattern and templates, but I don't think you're asking too much. I have the hexagon quilt, smitten, and it's the same way - no seam allowances and so I bought the templates

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  21. I've seen this written so many times about these patterns - such a shame. On a different note I used your tutorial for a comforter and it came out brilliantly - thanks so much (it is on my blog if you want to have a look :-))

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  22. Wow. I have the pattern, have wanted to make it, never opened. Very disappointed by this news. This is a pattern by a highly praised well known designer and I cannot believe it is so poorly written.

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  23. Besides that, how do you even find the templates? I have no idea.

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    1. I think you can find them on Etsy.

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    2. Thanks, Svetlana, for your thoughtful comments. Everything that has been said, is what my quilt guild friends had been saying for years. This was the impetus for my decision to start making and selling hand-made acrylic templates, in 2013. I'm glad that quilters find them helpful. Cheers, Lisa in Australia.

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  24. Your blocks are lovely!
    It's so disappointing to hear this about the Steam Punk pattern. I've seen it around for awhile now and have thought about making it. I know I could probably figure it out, but that's why I would buy a pattern, so I wouldn't have to figure it out. I'm making the Gypsy Wife and there's some of the same problems in the instructions. Good thing I know a bit about putting blocks together or I'd be totally overwhelmed by it!

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  25. Yes, such gorgeous blocks! I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting more instruction or 1/4' seams added, regardless if the pattern was intended to be hand pieced. Or perhaps a disclaimer that states the fact that it doesn't ~ I'm sure that would have turned away many people.

    Luckily there are plenty of people who are kind enough to share their thoughts, process and tips to help others out! Thank you for that Svetlana!!

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  26. I'm a Jen Kingwell fanatic! She can do no wrong in my book. That being said, hand piecing blocks from her "Circle Game" pattern is tricky without the seam allowance. I'm doing an okay job, but having the seam allowance printed in the pattern would make her awesome patterns even better! Your "Steam Punk" looks so great. I will have to remember to cut the corners larger for easier squaring up. Have fun!!!

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  27. I am totally with you. I love Jen's finished quilts, but to me the patterns are just too far out of my reach. They're no longer fun and are too much work. I've had to have my engineer partner put in curved seam allowances on her patterns for me. Crazy how you need a degree to sort out a block!

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  28. I purchased the acrylic templates which are wonderful and have the seam allowances! I've also machine pieced all of mine and they look wonderful! Cutting the corner pieces larger is also something I did. The key in my opinion is using a glue stick to match all the curves, instead of pinning...so much easier!! Your blocks are wonderful!

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  29. I purchased the acrylic templates which are wonderful and have the seam allowances! I've also machine pieced all of mine and they look wonderful! Cutting the corner pieces larger is also something I did. The key in my opinion is using a glue stick to match all the curves, instead of pinning...so much easier!! Your blocks are wonderful!

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  30. Oh it's so nice to hear someone else had the same reaction as me when they opened the pattern. I love the quilt and drooled over it online before I bought the pattern. Then when I opened it, and saw how little guidance is offered, I just put it in the drawer for another time. I see that someone organised to make and sell acrylic templates online and these are now for sale at Amitie, which would help a lot. But, yeah, very disappointing in terms of instructions.

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  31. I just want to thank you for ALWAYS making your posts SO informative! Those kind of tips...like cutting the corner pieces larger makes A HUGE difference to someone who is trying to learn..( me )! I don't think I am anywhere NEAR this skilled to try this pattern, but if I ever do, I will be glad for your advice! LOVE your color choices:) as...ALWAYS!

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  32. Gorgeous blocks and fabric choices.

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  33. I think if you present yourself as a professional and charge a hefty fee that you should deliver a professional grade product, otherwise you are perpetrating a fraud. This sounds like it would be disappointing even if it were a free pattern.

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  34. I totally agree about the pattern shortcomings. And it was almost $16! Will you be showing quilting ideas for it?

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  35. Good for you, I also feel we should get a little more for the price of these patterns. I love this quilt, finally pulled it out and spent an afternoon making my own templates, why pay $40 plus shipping? After making a trial block I am in love with this quilt, machine piecing it. Thanks for the tip to cut the outside corners a little larger. Very nice job on your blocks, love your fabric choices.

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