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Customised sewing patterns with PicknSew

If you've ever struggled to achieve that perfect fit, I highly recommend PicknSew and their customisable, made-to-measure sewing patterns. This innovative concept could just become the future of pattern design!


The pattern mentioned in this article was provided to me free of charge for the purpose of this review. However, this article has not been reviewed by PicknSew prior to its publication and any opinions and assessments expressed herein are independent and based solely on my personal experience with the product.



As a sewist you're probably no stranger to the frustration of patterns that just don't quite fit right. Despite diligently selecting what seemed like the correct size, the end result may have been a garment that was too short, pulled in all the wrong places, or had unflattering gaping. Traditional sewing patterns often adhere to pre-determined standard sizing and offer limited view options, leaving little room for customisation. Therefore, achieving that perfect fit can feel like a daunting task, especially without the expertise to tailor patterns to your unique measurements.


But that is where companies like PicknSew step in, offering an innovative solution to this all-too-common dilemma.


Established in Berlin in 2023 by trio, Isabella Heinz and Sina Klama (leading the fashion design), and Dr. Simon Nieschke (overseeing business operations), PicknSew is revolutionising the art of pattern making.


Central to their approach is a user-friendly website where you can generate personalised designs and customised patterns tailored to your measurements. Thanks to their 3D pattern generator, achieving that perfect fit is as simple as inputting your measurements and letting their technology do the rest.


But the benefits don't stop there. PicknSew also offers a thoughtfully curated selection of sustainable fabrics and sewing supplies. This comprehensive approach makes PicknSew a one-stop shop for all your sewing needs, streamlining the entire process from design to completion.


This was my first experience with a custom sewing pattern tailored to fit my unique measurements. I can now truly appreciate this concept and see it becoming the future of pattern design. If you want to find out more, continue reading for a firsthand review of my experience customising and sewing one of PicknSew's patterns, and be sure to head to their website (click below).

 

Wrap-up of this review

 

The process

I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of designing and customising a pattern with PicknSew. Whether you're a beginner or more experienced sewist, their user-friendly interface, clear steps, and helpful 'How to' videos on YouTube make the process accessible to all.


Below is a summary of the steps I followed. Although I deviated slightly from the recommended by completing my measurement chart first, I found this order to work smoothly as well.


Step 1: Input your measurements

These measurements form the basis for constructing your garment, and can be entered before or after customising the design. All you need to do is input your measurements into the 'My Measurements' profile tab within your account in order to generate a personalised profile that can be assigned to any future patterns you purchase.


While taking your measurements might seem overwhelming, PicknSew offers helpful videos demonstrating where and how to take each required measurement. I sometimes find it confusing to know exactly where to place the measuring tape, so I utilised each of these short videos and found them really helpful. It is worth noting that having someone else available to take your measurements can make the process much easier with that extra pair of hands being beneficial.



Step 2: Choose your garment base

Scroll through the range of garment "bases" and select the design that suits your style. Each selection comes with a detailed description and a 360-degree view feature (like a click and swivel), allowing you to view the garment from every angle. The chosen garment will serve as the foundation for your customisation.



Step 3: Become a designer

Now comes the really fun part! Customise your chosen base garment by selecting from various options including sleeves, pockets, and length. The 360-degree view option will provide an updated preview of how your selections will come together.


Step 4: Add your optional extras

PicknSew offers additional extras such as fabric, matching thread, and other haberdashery items to complement your project. You can easily add these extras to your order during this step or simply leave them out.


Step 5: Select your preferred delivery format:

PicknSew offers four different formats (PDF DIN A4, PDF US letter, PDF DIN A0) that you can choose from, which are delivered via email as a printable PDF for at-home printing, or via post as a printed copy.


Step 6: Await delivery

Your custom sewing pattern will be prepared and delivered. Depending on the chosen format, the order will be either emailed or posted within a few working days!

 

The pattern

For my base pattern, I opted for the Leslie Pant (#mypantsleslie) by Juliana Martejevs—a timeless straight-leg pant featuring an elasticised waistband (perfect for my work attire).


When it came to customising the design, I decided to incorporate side seam pockets (a personal must-have), opted for a cropped length to suit my shorter frame, and add two tucks for added interest. I requested the pattern to be emailed as an A4 PDF file, consisting of 19 A4 pages for printing.


Printing the pattern was straightforward, following the typical print-at-home instructions. I simply ensured to set the scale to 100% and verified the test square measurement. However, my printer decided not print to the edge on the top and right side of the page, leaving a small margin on each page. Despite the pattern assembly requiring edge-to-edge taping, I till managed to assemble it successfully and accurately.


Instructions

As mentioned earlier, this particular pattern is by designer Juliana Martejevs, and offers options based on both standard measurements (XS to XXXL) and customisations, such as this one.


Included with the pattern is a 28-page colour instruction booklet, available in English, German, and French. The instructions cover all essential information, including materials, printing instructions, fabric layout, and cutting instructions.


My only minor issue with these instructions, unrelated to PicknSew, is that the accompanying photographs depict a garment made from black fabric. I've encountered this issue before with another sewing pattern, and it can make interpretation that little bit trickier.

 

Fabric and notions

For this pattern, light to medium-weight fabric with or without a small amount of elastane is recommended. Think light linen, denim, or seersucker. In addition to your typical sewing essentials (i.e. sewing machine, thread, pins, scissors, etc.), you will also need 3cm wide waistband elastic.


I opted for a medium-weight (230gsm) fabric composed of 87% linen and 13% cotton with a washed finish from Kattun Stoffe. I had been wanting to add a pair of navy pants to my wardrobe for some time so this was the perfect opportunity.


Since I was running low on elastic, I also purchased Elastic tape 3cm in black from Kattun Stoffe, and for the pocket bags, I used a lightweight cotton voile in navy to minimise the bulk.

 

Layout and cutting

As always, I would recommend pre-washing your fabric as per the care instructions before commencing any cutting or sewing. For more on pre-washing your fabric, check out my article 'How to: Pre-wash your fabric'.


While most patterns include a layout and cutting plan, I don't tend to follow them. Since every size and fabric will be different, I usually play around to see how little fabric I can use.


With this pattern, as you can see from the image to the right, my pattern fitted beautifully within the 140cm wide fabric I purchased (excluding the pocket bag which I cut in a cotton voile).


The pattern itself was fairly minimal, with very few markings. I would have loved some more notches, but to be honest I feel this way about most patterns, so it's a personal preference. I find additional notches go a long way in ensuring perfect alignment, so I usually add a few as I go.


I also found that the grain lines were quite short compared to what I usually prefer, but this was an easy fix. I simply extended them with a marker and this made it easier to align the longer pattern pieces, such as the pant leg, with the selvedge edge.

 

Fabric preparation

Once your fabric is cut out and ready to go, there is very little prep work required prior to commencing sewing these pants. The below ideas may just make the sewing process that little bit smoother:

  • Ensure you have transferred all pattern markings and notches onto your fabric. This is a given but in particular double check you have marked the positioning of the side seam pockets.

  • Pre-press the hem: I always find pre-pressing the hem allowance while the pieces are flat makes the hem process much easier.

  • Overlock: The instructions do tell you to overlock all pattern pieces straight after cutting. While I did overlock the outer edge of the pocket bags, I chose to leave the rest. Instead, I overlocked as I went as I prefer a closed seam wherever possible.

 

Sewing and construction

The Leslie Pants are classified as 'Easy', indicating that they are suitable for the more advanced beginner who has some familiarity with using a sewing machine and experience with basic techniques. I found this classification to be pretty accurate.


The pattern will have you practicing some really common and useful sewing techniques, including:

  • Straight stitching.

  • Edge finishing seams.

  • Top-stitching.

  • Creating and inserting side seam pockets.

  • Inserting pleats.

  • Attaching and top-stitching an elasticised waistband.


For my project the pants came together a bit quicker than the estimated timeframe of 6 hours, taking me around 3-4 hours. I found the most time consuming element was the elasticised waistband.



Changes I made while sewing
  • The instructions tell you to simply edge finish the hem, turning up 6cm and finishing with a row of topstitching. I chose to finish the pants with a double turned hem for a neater finish. I simply turned up 1cm then 5cm, equalling the original 6cm hem allowance.

  • As mentioned previously, I chose to finish the edges as I went, opting to overlock some seams closed for a neater finish. This choice is a personal preference.

 

Fit

Regarding the fit, I was really excited to see how these pants turned out, especially considering they were tailored to my measurements. They fit nicely at the waist and hips, sitting comfortably on the natural waistline. Additionally, the length feels just right, being a perfect slightly cropped style. I am also really glad I included the pleats, as these add a touch of extra fullness while still maintaining a flattering look across the front.



While sewing the waistband, I noticed that I may have slightly stretched the elastic, resulting in the pants feeling a little looser than originally planned. This was my first attempt at this waistband finish with topstitching, but it's something I've wanted to try for a while. I'll definitely give it another shot, but perhaps with a different type of elastic.



I have worn my navy Leslie Pants a few times now, and I have loved pairing them with a denim or sport jacket with high top sneakers for a more casual look, and a black peplum top for a more work appropriate look.

 

Personal reflection

What I loved:

The process! It was really interesting and fun to design and customise a pattern through PicknSew to your own tastes and measurements. With a fashion design background myself, it was nice playing designer again instead of simply choosing from 1 or 2 pre-selected options.


What I didn't love:

Nothing! I really enjoyed this experience with both PicknSew and the pattern. I look forward to seeing more customised patterns on the market in the future.


What I might do differently next time:

While this is less about the process and more about the pattern itself, I would definitely incorporate a wider waistband, around 5cm, to align with my personal preferences.


 
Please get in touch or leave me a comment. I would love to know if I have inspired you to check out the customised sewing patterns on offer through PicknSew!

Thanks for reading.

Emma xx
 

This is a personal blog. Any views or opinions contained on this site are my own. Unless stated otherwise, I am not affiliated with any brands, products, or organisations mentioned, and do not receive any sponsorship, payment, or other compensation for any of the content on this site.

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