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  • Jenni Beth

5 out of 4 Sews

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

I wanted to share a little more of my sewing journey. One of the pattern makers that I like to sew for is 5 out of 4 patterns. I absolutely love their tagline: "Never Stop Sewing, Never Stop Growing." They draft for everyday clothing for the whole family, and their patterns typically have a ton of options. So you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Just before Christmas I sewed up a number of "Halftime Hoodies" for my kiddos. Here are a few pictures. This is a great pattern, because it has very inclusive sizing from size 2 to size 18 (All my kiddos in one pattern, at least for this year...probably by next year they won't). It also has options for a hood/crew neck, kangaroo pocket, and thumbhole cuffs or regular cuffs, and an optional drawstring. I had a lot of fun mix-and-matching fabrics colors and patterns. The instructions are very well done, and each sweatshirt takes about 2 hours cut-to-done.

I first started sewing for 5 out of 4 in the spring of 2019 (a little less than a year ago, turns out). My first pattern was the Men's Swim Trunks, which I made for a couple of my big kids. I played around some on this one, trying to add zippers to the pockets, and was somewhat successful (i.e. I got the pockets done, but wouldn't really recommend the way I did the hack to anyone else...) Shortly after that, I participated in my first 5 out of 4 pattern test: the Ruth swim bottoms. I sewed up a number of those for my daughter, some paired with the Stella top (pictured above) and some paired with the Agility Tank. Shortly after that, I applied to be a part of 5 out of 4's promo team, where I have sewn up one of their patterns every month and promoted them in various sewing facebook groups and other social media platforms. Here are some of the things that I have made:

Here are the patterns that I sewed, top-to-bottom, left-to-right: Women's and Girls' Taylor Tank Dress, Girls' Nora Bolero, Women's Zen Pants, Women's and Girls' Sydney Dress, Women's Shiela Tee, Girls' Shenanigans' Skort (and a Nora Bolero), Easy Tee Tanks paired with Rachel Pant shorts for 4 of the kids, Nancy Raglan (I made three different ones of these...probably my favorite pattern so far), Men's Rocky Tee, Kids' Hayden Henley, Women's Calypso Top, and Women's Annabeth Sweatshirt. I found all of these patterns to be well-drafted with easy to follow tutorials. These are regular, everyday clothes that my family wears all the time. In fact, whenever I make something new, whoever it is for proceeds to wear it almost constantly for a few days (until I pry it off of them) and then it goes into their regular rotation :)

So much love for 5 out of 4. I look forward to sewing up everything they draft :)

This post contains various affiliate links. Purchasing patterns using these links does not cost my readers more, but the designer does provide me with a small commission from any sales. The commission helps to fund my fabric costs, and is very appreciated.

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Why "Sewing and the Trivium"

The Story

Classical educators like to divide education into developmental stages called the Trivium. These are called "Grammar," "Logic," and "Rhetoric." Grammar refers to the first steps of learning anything: learning the vocabulary of the subject being studied and memorizing facts about that vocabulary. Classically speaking, this corresponds to the elementary years of learning - years when students never seem to grow tired of astounding the adults around them with fact after fact about things they are interested in. Have you experienced talking to a six year old who is really into dinosaurs? enough said...

Adults also begin learning with the grammar of a subject. Each subject has its own unique terminology and facts that need to be mastered before one can explore the more complicated applications of that subject. Sewing is no different. What is a french seam? What kinds of knit fabrics are better for different applications? What is a dolman sleeve or a raglan top? These are grammar queries.

In classical education, logic refers to the action of logically processing the grammar facts students have learned, or are learning. The student who is particularly suited to this type of thought is the middle-school scholar - the student who wants to argue his or her way through the world and "be right" about all the things. This pattern of thought includes bringing different ideas together, comparing and contrasting them, analyzing what an authority figure says about an argument, and deciding whether different arguments are consistent with each other. In the sewing world, logical questions include things like, "How is knit fabric different than woven fabric?" and "Why does this pattern ask for a particular fabric type?" as well as tasks such as mashing two patterns together or changing the sleeve/length/placket from how the pattern was designed.

The final part of the classical trivium, rhetoric, is when a student makes an argument of his or her own by developing a "thesis" or main point and then laying it out for someone else in writing or speech. Typically, students are ready for formal rhetoric in their high school years - years that they are very concerned about what they look like to other people and gain an interest in learning to craft a message in a way that will be most effective for their purposes. Examples of rhetoric in sewing would be fully-formed tutorials or sew-alongs - or even the writing of a blog post itself. Anything that is explaining previously thought-out/tried-out projects can count as rhetoric. 

My goal on this blog is to lay out my sews and thoughts using this framework. And that is why I chose this title.

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