I say part 1 because there may well be a part 2 or a coda when I eventually make the pattern, but that might be for a while!
I am really into the concept of the system generated, algorithmically derived patterns that allow for custom measurements. Lekala have been doing it for a while. Bodies aren’t standard sized and so having flexibility to put in your own measurements and have it print out something unique is A+.
I saw Fayma advertised on Instagram by a fellow fat sewist, who had had a good experience with a simple shell top pattern. As I recall, Fayma had asked for fat sewists to promote their company in order to advance their representation, as their algorithm can handle a very wide range of sizes – though I can’t see on their website any numbers about where it caps out.
The pattern range is great. There were loads I really liked and could see myself wearing. The prices are also appropriate, and there was a promo code available when I ordered too. Those are strong positive points. The measuring process is really thorough, but needs you to download an app and submit photos too so it can process your body shape into the computer data. Lots of people don’t have smart phones, which is a problem, and I wouldn’t have been able to take all the required measurements if I lived alone. Even with my husband helping, it took about 20 minutes to get all their reference points listed.
The problem came with the printing. When you buy a pattern, you select the file format you want and that’s the only one you get. I chose A0 because I’m not a huge lover of sticking together A4 pieces, especially to make fat sized garments! I ordered a dress and jumpsuit. Every single pattern component came on its own A0 sized page. From pocket bag templates (of which there were four separate ones for no apparent reason) to back neckline facing pieces – even wrist cuffs which are approx 8″ by 3″ rectangles – everything took up its own piece of paper. Everything that could have been orientated to save paper was not at all considered – the dress was quite A-line, and instead of being horizontal across two pages (or better yet printed as ‘cut on fold’ with other smaller pieces beside it) was placed vertically to use four sheets of A0 for one dress front panel, since the bottom corner of the A-line just nudged across a page border.
When I buy an A0 pattern, my expectation is that the pattern is optimised for A0 printing. Fayma even have a post on their blog/social media about low waste sewing. That doesn’t correlate with the excess printing. I spoke to them to ask about this as I was really disappointed, and was advised to try printing the smaller facings etc as A4 myself and use A0 for big panels. But remember that bit about only being offered one file format when you purchase? Exactly. For transparency, they did ultimately re-format the pattern in A4 for me as a courtesy but I was advised that’s not a regularly offered service.
I spoke to Patternsy about it, as one of their services is sorting out pdf printing more efficiently. Ultimately we decided not to go ahead with their professional service, but it was validating to me to hear I wasn’t losing the plot entirely with this or expecting too much. (They were lovely though and I do recommend them for printing!)
I haven’t made the patterns yet because all this really got the better of me, which is a shame because I love the styles I chose. I’ll make them eventually I’m sure, but I had such high hopes. I think digitally created, unique-measurement patterns hold a big role in the future of home sewing – but not like this.