Episode 40. Projector Sewing with Gowri Paary

Projector Sewing with Gowri Paary The Asian Sewist Collective Podcast

In this week's episode, we're giving you an overview of projector sewing and chat with Gowri about her projector sewing practice. We weigh the pros & cons and talk about the realities of projectors vs. paper patterns. Learn more about Gowri and follow her @bypaary on Instagram. For show notes and a transcript of this episode, please see: https://asiansewistcollective.com/episode-40-projector-sewing-with-gowri-paary If you find our podcast informative and enjoy listening, you can support us by buying our limited edition merch, joining our monthly membership or making a one-time donation via Ko-Fi: https://ko-fi.com/asiansewistcollective

Links 

Patterns & Designers mentioned

Zadie jumpsuit by Paper Theory

Claudia dress by Tessuti

https://www.tadahsewing.com.au/

https://www.twigandtale.com/

Resources

https://fabscrap.org/

Facebook group Projector for sewing

Top tips for projecting patterns

Jasika Nicole’s blog post

Show transcript

Gowri
You know, you want to avoid the two flowers on the nipple, issue.

Ada
I mean I’ve done it

Nicole
Or if you wanted to like actually set it up

Ada
Welcome to the Asian sewist collective podcast. The Asian sewist Collective is a group of Asian people from around the world brought together by our shared appreciation for fiber and textile arts, and our desire to see more Asian representation in the sewing community.

Nicole
In this podcast, we explore the intersection of our identities, and our shared sewing practice as we create a space for Asian sewists and our allies.

Ada
I’m your co host, Ada Chen, and I’m recording from Denver, Colorado, Denver is a traditional territory of the US, Cheyenne and Arapaho peoples. I’m a Taiwanese American marketer turned entrepreneur and these days you’ll find me running my own natural skincare business called Chuan’s promise. That’s C, H, U, A, N apostrophe, s, promise and sharing my marketing tips on my blog. Most importantly, for this podcast, you can find my sewing @i.hope.sew on Instagram.

Nicole
And I’m your co host, Nicole, I’m based outside of Chicago, the original homelands of the Council of the three fires, the Ojibwe, the Potawatomi, and the Odawa people. I’m a Philippine American woman, a lawyer by day and a sewing enthusiast the rest of the time, you can find me on Instagram at @NicoleAngelineSews.

Ada
Before we dive into this week’s episode, Nicole, can you tell us about your current sewing project?

Nicole
Yes, and I’m hoping to get your advice on what I’m working on too. So my husband wants a short sleeve button down shirt. And I have a cotton that we got in Hawaii on a past vacation. And he would like the, oh, he never asks me to make him anything. So he’s like, I would love this in a short sleeve shirt. Okay, we’re leaving in a few days, but I think I can do it. My question for you is, can I just take a straight cut button down shirt that has long sleeves, make the bodice and just make the sleeve short?

Ada
If… I think it depends on those sleeves, like if it’s tapered, then you’re gonna probably have to do some sort of grading. So the dimensions aren’t super off.But mostly… I’m gonna… Is it a men’s pattern?

Nicole
It is. Yeah,

Ada
I think you should be okay. I’m not entirely sure because I think it really just depends on the sleeve and you just need to make sure the sleeve head fit.

Nicole
That sounds right. Because the shirt that he wants the collar is a more traditional collar, but it’s a long sleeve. It’s the shirt that I made him for Christmas last year, which is like, why I just want to do that because I’ve only got a couple days and I’m like, oh done this before. Great. But but it’s a long sleeve. And I do have a men’s simplicity pattern that I got ages ago that’s like a more like a camp shirt that has the folded down collar. Like almost like a bowling shirt kind of but it is short sleeves. So now I’m wondering maybe I can swap out the sleeves.

Ada
I guess you could measure the sleeve head of both of the patterns and see if they are the same and they line up. But also if he still has that shirt that you already made. Why don’t you just pull that shirt out and like, not roll it up, but like kind of imagine if you chopped off half the sleeve

Nicole
or cut the sleeve? Just

Ada
or cut the sleeve? I don’t know how attached he is to this shirt.

Nicole
He is very attached to it actually. So okay, I think it’s doable. So the fabric is 100% cotton. Just your basic not quite quilting cotton I think I don’t know I might call it a poplin and it has a blue, different shades of blue that are like wavy lines. And then every once in a while there’s a tiny person on a surfboard.And it tickled him so I was like Okay, babe, I’ll make you something I could have done, started this much longer ago. But you know, we’re only taking off in three days. Oh, I should put in one of our new labels. Yes. “This was a panic sew” perfect. Done. I could also put the “made with fabric gotten from travel”. I forgot how it goes. Yeah, “purchased while traveling”. There we go. So you can have two labels.

Ada
That can be cute.

Nicole
We shall see; buy our labels, y’all. They’re really cute.So that’s what I’m working on. That’s what I’ll be working on over the next couple of days. What about you Ada, what are you working on?

Ada
It’s kind of a really unsexy sew but I’m very I feel very accomplished

Nicole
okay,

Ada
so I ordered some more machinery for work and this machinery that I ordered the original one that I ordered, I ordered one to start with to figure out if I liked it or not, and if it did what I needed it to do, because it was kind of a hack. And it did and when I originally ordered it, there was an option to buy a neoprene sleeve with it because there’s a heating element keep it warm while it’s going just to like reduce the energy consumption and make it a little bit of like a smoother process to use. So originally it was like 20 bucks for the jacket. So I was like Okay, I will buy this one and then see how it works and I got a reminder email a few weeks ago from Fab Scrap, which is this nonprofit based out of New York and Philadelphia that does a lot of textile recycling and gets textiles from designers who are no longer using them. So deadstock and they sell them online. And last year, I purchased during I think it was a Black Friday sale. And so then I got a code for this year to use. And they sent us a reminder being like you haven’t used your code yet, like on the website, and low and behold, they were selling neoprene, which is the same thing that my sleeve was made out of. So I think you can guess where this was going. I was like, my brand color is green, and they have a green one. It’s like tencel modal on the outside blend in, I think, or one or the other. And then like it’s a thinner one. So I ordered three yards because they only sell in full yard increments and it arrived. And I basically unvelcroed the current sleeve, and then just plastered it onto the Velcro, the neoprene I got and I didn’t even trace it, I just cut it out and followed the guide. And it’s bias bound finish the original one with Velcro. Instead of doing that I was like well, I ended up it’s actually the originals made from one thick neoprene but the one the neoprene I got is about half that thickness. So I just doubled it up. And I just doubled it up, cut it out on the fold. So I didn’t have to sew the fold together. And then instead of sewing it, I just surged the cut edges together.

Nicole
Oh,

Ada
and I could not, I swear I have Velcro somewhere in my sewing space, I just can’t find the remnant I had. So on the first one I sewed on some snaps just to see if the quote unquote “fit” on the machine worked. And it did and held up yesterday. I think for ease and to save myself like you know another hour of hand sewing, I’m going to find some Velcro and finish the rest of them with Velcro. And so I’m very proud of figuring it out because it is quite a perfect and cute fit. And the green is so much cuter than the black.

Nicole
And it’s also a business expense.

Ada
It is a business expense. I mean this, this neoprene was like quite cheap. So it does feel like a very useful use of my sewing skills.

Nicole
There we go. sounds useful to me.

Ada
Thank you so much for joining us on this week’s episode of the Asian Sewist collective podcast. If you like our show, please consider supporting us on Ko-fi by becoming a one time or monthly supporter or, new this season, buying our stickers and our very funny sewing labels. Your financial support helps us with overhead expenses and will allow us to give back to our all volunteer team who work super hard to provide you with new content each week. The link to our coffee page is K O dash F I .com/asian. sewist collective and you can find the link in our show notes on our website. And on our Instagram account. Check us out on Instagram at Asian sewist collective, that’s one word, Asian sewist collective, and you can help us out by spreading the word and telling your friends. We would also appreciate it if you could rate, review and subscribe to this podcast on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Pocket Casts or wherever you get your podcasts. So today we are going to be talking about projector sewing. And we can’t exactly pinpoint when sewists started using projectors for sewing but our researcher Sareena found sources between 2005 and 2015. Which makes sense because it’s also when PDF patterns started becoming popular.

Nicole
And we talked with Gowri from at by paary. We did an interview with her because she’s experienced in projector sewing but we just wanted to go over some stuff beforehand and you will love the interview and read to it. So let’s talk about some pros and cons. Pros: No printing, no taping, saving time and money, which sounds really good. You know, it’s faster than waiting for a paper pattern to arrive from a pattern company or a print shop if you’re printing out you know A0 sized things, no more patterns to store. And you know, I was saying that if I gathered all of my patterns that are printed or even paper patterns and put them in a pile I bet that would take up a lot of space that I could reclaim with projector sewing. You can still trace a pattern onto paper if you’re not sure, you know and you don’t want to cut straight into the fabric but you can also just cut straight into the fabric without doing that as well. And darts, it’s really easy to put markings directly on the fabric I struggle with remembering like what the best way to do it is when I’m sewing regularly like do I use a tracing wheel? Do I mark it out so with a projector or you just project and do it to it. And some of the benefits of projectors used for cutting are the same benefits of PDF patterns. So you have a large variety of designs. You are of course supporting small and independent designers. There’s global access, errata and updates get sent to you directlyAnd you know, all of those are just emailed straight to you.

Ada
That sounds lovely. On the other side, there’s cons. So first of all, that’s, there’s the projector price, right, you have to buy a piece of additional equipment and we’ll get into price a little bit later. Then there’s also the maintenance. So dust, electricity, the bulb life on the projector and mounting it on either a ceiling or a wall or figuring out if you can get one that sits on your table, you do have to, like with your sewing machine, protect a projector, from dust between your cutting sessions. And you’re probably gonna have to clean and change the filter and bulb as recommended in your user manual. You also kind of have to think about where you’re going to be using it, I mentioned you can put a projector on a table. But if that means you’re going to be putting it away and storing and after each time you use it, you have to recalibrate it every time. Regardless, you also need to make sure there’s space around the projector for airflow so that nothing’s covering the vents. And bulbs from projectors will also emit some excess heat. Compared to watching a movie you know, for an hour and a half, two hours straight. I don’t think you’re gonna be cutting for two hours straight, but the uses are short. And something important to consider is that because of projector requires light and dark, you might have to cut when at night or in low light depending on how bright your projector is and where you’re getting the image to show like are you by a window? do you need to pull the blinds down? you also might not be able to use it on very textured fabric. Because the fabric, let’s say a rougher boucle or brocade, something you know, think about like in your hand the handfeel is chunkier, that might actually produce a shadow and that could interrupt your cutting. Skilled sewists know that you probably want to get an accurate cut on any fabric like that otherwise it will show in the pattern. And some disadvantages in cutting with a projector are very similar to using a PDF pattern like the traditional printing and taping and cutting it out way. Sometimes. I don’t know about you, Nicole, but I get a little caught up in the hype or instant gratification or pattern sale and I am very susceptible to impulse purchases.

Nicole
Yes. Just Yes. And with projector sewing Yes, you save on paper and glue and printing. But how cheap is it really to choose protector sewing? And I guess it depends on how much cheaper your projector is, if the projector pattern is $2 cheaper than a printed pattern, and your projector is $200 you start saving after buying 100 patterns. So for some of us, that sounds like a lot. For others of us, I could easily buy 100 patterns that I want I’m sure. So your break even point depends on how many patterns you buy. And at what rate. Some additional costs to be noted are again, those replacement bulbs, the cost of the mounting so both the actual physical structure as well as any labor that might be incurred when you are seeking to mount that. So I don’t know how to mount things I could probably figure it out. But perhaps this is one of those times where I would you know engage professional for that. And you do need a projector with a remote control if it’s mounted out of reach.

Ada
So if you are curious about projector sewing, which we are definitely, after prepping for this episode and talking to Gowri, where do you start so there is a Facebook group called “Projectors for sewing” they are 57,000 members strong. And they have about 600 posts a month. So they’re pretty active. And they have a lot of comprehensive resources including how to choose a projector, how to get set up and advice for designers who want to make their files sewist friendly. There’s also videos for newbies and a visual quickstart guide. And in their projectors absolute basics file, they indicate that you should probably first know the size of your desired cutting area. So like your table or your self healing cutting mat in the height of the cutting surface. So the difference between where the projector is going to be and where you’re actually cutting, whether that’s a table or the floor. Before you actually choose which projector you’re going to be getting.

Nicole
With regard to the projector itself, you will need to think about some basic requirements. So the throw ratio or the distance between your lens and where the image is projected is something you have to think about. You want to create an image big enough in relation to the distance from your mat to your projector. So if you don’t have enough space between your projector and were you planning on cutting, you might not be able to get the right picture scaled to cut on your fabric. You also have to consider native resolution. So native 720P projectors with a few known exceptions, are needed to avoid aspect ratio distortions. So 1080P, so a higher resolution projector, they’re not recommended because the image will be smaller with those projectors or may have higher resolution than your computer has, which would lead to distorting the image. So, you will need at minimum, a laptop or computer, an HDMI cable, a projector and a sturdy setup with a firm and flat projection surface and a fixed location for that projector.

Ada
It can be a bit overwhelming at first, and there are a lot of different configurations that can be successful. So keep in mind that you might encounter technical challenges. But if you are a good troubleshooter and have good tech skills, you might enjoy this challenge, I find it very similar to getting a 3d printer and having to constantly calibrate and figure that one out. But back to projectors, when you are setting it up. It’s the calibration, the brightness of your room, the install and setup that are the hardest learning curve in getting set up. But there is a very handy calibration tool that you can find in the resources of the projectors for sewing group that we will also link to in our show notes to help with that. Here’s where it might get a little complex or like variables that could introduce complexity into your setup. If you use a phone or tablet, these work for projecting but you kind of have to use your fingers to zoom for each pattern. So that might not be as accurate or consistent. And so a computer might be more convenient for calibration to edit and stitch pattern files together, then, you know, there’s some projectors that are ahead of the times or like maybe they’re like current wireless connections. Those can add a layer of troubleshooting versus plugging in an HDMI cable to your laptop. Some more wireless connections, though, can mess with your projection size. So you always want to double check before cutting. I mean you double check before cutting in any type of sewing I would hope but especially here.

Nicole
Nope. I’m just kidding, sometimes I double check.

Ada
You’re just going for it. What are these, like pants for ants you’re just gonna like cut tiny tiny pants.

Nicole
Measure once cut once. That’s the saying, right.

Ada
So other things that can introduce complexity are if you want to move or put away that projector, requires recalibration each time that it’s moved unless you can ensure identical placement and angles. So for example, if you’re placing it on a table all the time, maybe marking the spot with tape or a mark somehow, like I don’t know, Sharpie? Cordless and battery projectors are another option. But if the projector moves when you change the batteries are plugged in, that will require you to recalibrate it. And unstable projector mounts and projection surfaces that aren’t flat can also mess with calibration without a reliable and sturdy physical setup, it really listening to this and listening to myself rattle through these, it really does sound like my 3d printer all over again, I thought it was gonna be so easy. set it and forget it. And here I am. Every time I want to print a plant stand or something struggling all over again.

Nicole
This is a good reality check for me, because after we talked with Gowri, I was like, Oh, I’m so doing this, this is going to be amazing. I’m gonna totally figure it all out. And I’m like, Yeah, am I gonna figure it all out though? But you know, I think this is we’re giving you lots of things to think about. And Gowri, you know, shares her experience and gives tips during the interview. And you know, one thing that also considers like, what about digital grading and hacking? So Gowri does share what she does, you know, we all have patterns and need to make adjustments sometimes. But you know, how easy is it really to shorten a leg or grade between sizes, et cetera, et cetera.

Ada
It’s also possible with software and you can you have a choice, I guess of free options to add margins or move pieces around on your screen or your projection surface or fabric. And people sometimes use software to add large margins to the file so that all of their pieces can be moved around freely on the fabric or they might quote unquote “stick” A0 AO pages together so that you don’t have to cut pieces in half. Because if you’ve ever sent an AO file to a copy shop, maybe the way that the pattern designer laid out the pattern means that like half of the bodice is on one page and the other half is on the other page. And you still have to cut them out and put them together. So if you’re doing a projector file, you could potentially just copy paste those on the computer and not in real life. And most projector patterns have no limit on sheet size. So they are wide and they have large margins and a grid. And the goal is really to be able to move the file around so that you can have it line up over your fabric. Or as you’ll hear later, you can move your fabric around to fit the pieces or vice versa. And so yeah, there’s many ways that you can play with pattern pieces between a projector and your fabric.

Nicole
And you can use your projector for more than just sewing. You know we like multi use items here and you can use them to decorate cookies and cakes or make applique embellishments or even to project movies. Gowri has some really great ideas as well about how she has used her projector in other settings.

Ada
So let’s get into the interview. This week we are welcoming Gowri who is at by paary on Instagram, a ferocious maker who you might have heard back in season two on episode 19 When we talked all about saris. So welcome back Gowri.

Gowri
Hi, nice to be here.

Nicole
Thanks for joining us again. We ask our guests about their cultural background and if it influences their sewing process, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started sewing?

Gowri
I’m from Malaysia currently living in New Zealand. I’ve been away from Malaysia for about 11 years now I think, I’m of Indian heritage. So a Malaysian Indian and I started sewing about nine years ago when I had my son. I wanted to make a bunting banner and they were too expensive to buy. And my auntie was like, oh, that’s real easy to make. I’m going to show you how to do it. And since then, I’ve been like hooked and safe to say starting sewing every day. I think.

Ada
Can I ask if this was like a actual Auntie you’re related to or like a Auntie you know, friend,

Gowri
Actual Auntie this time.

Ada
I love it and didn’t you just like, yeah, you could sew a bunting banner, which if anyone doesn’t know it’s those cute little like, I think they’re mostly triangular. And yeah, that you like hang up in a room?

Gowri
Yeah.

Ada
So we’re not talking about bunting banners. today. We’ve been talking about projector sewing. So Gowri how did you get into projector sewing? And was it easy to learn? Like, did it take you a long time to figure out?

Gowri
So I started seeing, I think it was in one of the Facebook groups. I do follow this Australian sewing and inspiration Facebook group when I was living in Adelaide. And someone mentioned like it was just a one off. It wasn’t very popular because this was going back like three years. And someone mentioned about using projectors to sew and immediately I was like, oh my goodness, I don’t have to cut and tape. Because I absolutely hate that. And it takes away sewing time, you know? And then I kept looking into it and New Zealand, I don’t know if you know, you hardly get stuff here. So everything’s expensive if you get something so when I checked a projector it was like $700 or something. Yeah, like ridiculous. And I said, Oh, I’m not going to spend that much money. I’ll go back to cutting and pasting. And then my husband said, Oh, why don’t you check Amazon and we can try and get it shipped here or something. And so that’s what we did. But before that there was a Projector for Sewing group on Facebook that I joined. And the lovely people there put together this file. So you can actually like measure your ceiling to your table. A lot of people’s cut on the floor. I don’t want to do that. And so you can measure all of that and see your room, how big is it? How small how much you want to project. And then from then I sort of just thought, Okay, everyone is getting this VIVIMAGE Explore. And I said, Okay, that seems like one of the best ones to get. And at that point was the cheaper one as well. So I thought we’ll see which shipping and everything came up to about 200 New Zealand dollars, which is still quite a bit, but then it was cheaper than paying like 800 or $900 for the other ones, you know? And then we Yes, I bought that. And it was I was really surprised at how small it was because I was imagining the big clunky one that you get in like, yeah, it’s like this big. And it comes with a little stand and everything and one of my friends, she doesn’t sew, she knits and things. She’s in Dunedin and Heather and Heather has a 3d printing machine. And she said, I will print out like the holder that you could drill up to the wall.

Ada
Oh my gosh, she printed a mount for you?

Gowri
Yes, a mount.

Ada
That’s a good friend.

Gowri
She’s lovely. She’s very sweet. I met her actually in Australia. And she was like, Okay, I’ll do it for you. And I’ll post it to you. And let me know if it works. And it does. It’s still up there. Still

Nicole
Hasn’t come crashing down yet.

Gowri
It’s amazing. Yeah. And then she printed it for me sent it through and we just got someone to someone was doing some work in the shed before us putting up my aerial hoop. And so he just like oh yeah, I could drill that in and he came in just drilled it up there and ta-dah. It’s still there.

Nicole
It’s useful to understand the potential costs of the of the projector I think part of I still cut and tape more than I probably I probably could take that time for sewing. I don’t mind it as much though. Sometimes just cutting tape. But time is money, right? So if you’re thinking about how much it costs to print at home, whatever that costs you, yeah, and time versus, you know, exact shipping things, and it doesn’t, you know, 200 doesn’t sound too bad.

Gowri
Yeah. And it’s, it’s way cheaper in the States. I think people bought it for 40 $50 Especially when it’s on sale and things like that, that

Nicole
Why are we not doing this now?

Ada
Yeah now I’m like, Oh,

Gowri
and there’s a few there’s Apeman, Bomaker… I don’t know if I’m pronouncing it right. But you know, there’s quite a few. And then I think when they have sales and things like that it’s way cheaper in the states to get it then you know, getting it here. I also got another one for kindy. So I own a kindergarten and on like rainy days and things when the children are inside. Occasionally, we have movie night. Oh, if we have pajama day. And so I bought one and I sent it to my cousin in San Jose, when she came to visit she brought it down also, like real tiny. And so I thought, oh, that can be my backup. But yeah, and that one was any like, 80, not even I think $70 or something like that. Because she brought it in so I don’t have to pay for the shipping. Yeah, so it’s actually pretty. I don’t know, I feel like it saves so much time because for me with the two kids and with the you know, my business and studying as well at the moment like this, if I can cut my sewing time in half, like I’ll do it. Yeah. So yesterday, I spent a cut out five things that I needed to sew. And it only took me an hour and a half.

Ada
So you only sew what the projector now?

Gowri
Yeah. Mostly, unless I get patterns given to me like, Minerva gave me some Vogue patterns. And they also gave me the Zadie which I absolutely love. Yeah. And then I was like, oh, okay, fine, I’ll just use this paper pattern. And then I mean, it was worth it in the end. But you know, because then it saves you the trouble of like, tracing it and, and all of that stuff, which takes so much time and by the end of it, I’m exhausted and then I don’t want to sew on that day, you know, but with the projector just cut into it. And then I can immediately start sewing.

Ada
So unlike the rest of us who I’m like literally looking at my windowsill, which is my storage for patterns right now. You don’t have a windowsill full of like binders with patterns or a drawer or like

Gowri
I believe, yeah, no, I used to, I had these big, clunky, rectangular ones that go under the bed. You know, flat storage. Yeah. And I had like, filled with it. And then all the there’s a Tallboy here, like drawers. And all of it was filled with patterns. And I just chucked the whole lot.

Ada
Wow

Gowri
Because I was just like, I’m done, I’m done with you. I’m done storing, because every time you know, the kids or my husband opens stuff, and they’re like, oh, there’s a pattern here and then rolled up. And then sometimes, like a genius arrived outside, they like for example, I had the Tessuti Claudia dress, but then when I roll it, it gets rolled inside and I have to open the whole pattern again to see what pattern it was. And sometimes it’s two or three sheets. And you know, it’s just yeah, like for me, I was just like, Okay, that’s it. And I’m all about decluttering if I’ve not used anything in a year, two years, I just give them away. I hate like lugging things around. And I think that’s because we move so much. I just feel like it’s not worth it to just keep lugging stuff around. Fabric is different. Fabric collecting is a hobby on its own.

Nicole
Of course, of course, we all get it.

Ada
okay, so it sounds like you’re faster at sewing now. Like you’ve cut out a whole step of like printing the pattern taping the pattern cutting the pattern, or like getting a copy of one and cutting it or even getting a tissue on and cutting it. So sounds like it’s definitely faster. I guess my other question is, like, has projector sewing changed what you sew and or do you think it’s like changed how you approach your sewing practice?

Gowri
Yes. So when I buy a pattern, I’m always now looking for the projector file or even a layered A0 file. I just as long as I can project it onto my fabric. That’s all I care about. And I have actually approached pattern companies said hey, look, can you please layer your AO files? It’s, you know, easier. And that’s a huge factor of me now buying patterns as well, I’m like uhm I feel, files are not layered. A lot of them are amazing. I don’t know if you know, this company called Below the Kowhai and it’s a kiwi company she mostly makes for children’s clothing. Her name is Sophie. She’s got a couple of adult clothing patterns as well. But I said, oh look, I really want to make this pinafore and you don’t have a layered file. I can’t like I’m blind, like my eyes going wonky with the lines and stuff. So can you please get me a projector file? And she was like, oh, it’s gonna be a while, but she did it. Eventually. She’s like, Guess what, we’ve got projector files for this. And most of them are great like that, because they know they know sewing’s moving. Some just outright say, Sorry, I can’t I don’t know how to do it. I’m not doing it, which is fine. I guess it’s not priority for them. But it just opens up a whole level of sewists, I suppose you you’re keeping up with the times and you’ve been a bit more creative with it. So definitely, it’s changed how I like buying my patterns, or which pattern company I would want to support.

Nicole
So when you don’t have a projector file, and you only have the AO, how much different is it working with the AO versus the projector file,

Gowri
it is a little bit harder, especially if, for example the A0 has two or three files and half a skirt is on page one. And the other half of the skirt is on page two, like that’s where I have to get a little bit creative, I’ll look for maybe if it has a logo, or if it has a notch. And then I sort of like all the fabric to one side, and then go on to the next page. And start wherever the notch is again and place my fabric to match that notch and then continue. So it might not be 100% accurate. But you know, if it’s like a knit fabric, you’ll get away with it. Yeah, things like that. And like shortening the length as well, I kind of do exactly the same thing. Just need to shorten, I always need to shorten by four inches, because I’m a little bit challenged that way. And

Nicole
Riiiight yeah,

Ada
wait, How do you, explain how you do that, like you’re, Like you’ll cut until

Gowri
ok so there’s a notch in the pattern, right. And then in the first part, so just say the first page, I sort of bring it to that notch. And then after that, I’ll go on to the second page where Right up till that notch. And then when I got to the second page, I sort of dragged the fabric to meet at where I stopped basically. Yeah. And then continue coming from there

Ada
Wait, but like if you’re taking like four inches off pants, for example.

Gowri
Yeah.

Ada
How do you, do you just stop cutting four inches?

Gowri
Yeah, no, I stop at that line where it says, you know, shorten/lengthen yeah, and then I’ll take my ruler. And we’re like, okay, four inches, and then I’ll drag my fabric to that four inches, and then continue from there. So a little bit like annoying, but I mean, it does the job, which is fine, which still saves me time from like taping and tracing.

Ada
Got it Can you do other hacks, this or besides like lengthen, shorten adjustment?

Gowri
Yes. So for example, if it’s grading between two sizes, I’ll give you an example. My son’s waist, he’s eight, but his waist is the size five. And his length is the size eight. So I can if it’s a layered file, I can pick five and eight. And I cut the waist at the five and I can grade it. And then the length I keep because it’s just you’ve only got those two lines. And you can just take your rotary blade and just go, shhhhh, if you don’t trust yourself, then you can always draw on it and then cut it out. But yeah, because you can just see it’s right there. You don’t have to faff around with you know, like, all the lines are too close or whatever. Yeah. So I feel like that really helps with you know, trying to, like, a layered file. So even if it’s A0 file, that’s completely fine as long as it’s layered. And that helps me with the grading and things. And especially with kids patterns. You don’t, most of them are not in two separate pages as well because it’s quite small they will fit into on A0 file. Yeah, it’s just the adult patterns that I’m a bit like oh, please get me a projector file.

Ada
To follow up. I think one will be really short. You just mentioned a rotary cutter. So when you do this, are you only using a rotary cutter or do you have you know, fabric shears out still and when you I guess they’re doing this because normally like when I cut out paper pieces, I’m that person that’s like Jigsaw-ing it together to like, if the pattern says I need 2.4 meters I’m going to do it in 2, you know, Grainline be damned but I gather that it would be a little difficult to do that on a projector.

Gowri
m not entirely actually I find it quite easy because I can just move fabric is this sort of like you know if I want it vertical or horizontal I can just move the fabric around. And I actually find it easier because then I can move like There’s little spaces where you can fit maybe like a little sleeve, I can just like move it closer to the cut line just to, you know, save fabric. And it’s worked amazing for me. And yes, a rotary blade 99% of the time unless it goes out of my self healing mat. And then I’ll have to just like use a scissors and go around, because I don’t want to cut into my table, which I’ve done a million times, I’ve just find the rotary cutter just so much easier, because then you can just swoop around, you know, the, when the pattern especially when it’s got curves, it’s just easier to just round the rotary cutter.

Nicole
So when you’re moving the fabric like all over the table, do you find it difficult to like realign the fabric grain, or at least anything like more difficult than using a regular pattern, you have any tips for keeping the grainline straight.

Gowri
So I feel with a projector files so some of the projector files come in, they will say, for example, if it’s the bodice right, it there will be a line in the middle, it will let you choose if you want to cut on the fold. Or if you just want to open it out the whole bodice. That’s incredible, because if you’ve got florals, and you’ve got, you know, you want to avoid the two flowers on the nipple issue.

Ada
I mean, I’ve done it

Nicole
Or if you wanted to actually set it up

Gowri
this gives you that like, oh, okay, I can actually, you know, because it’s flat, and it’s open already. You don’t have to. And it’s great if you want to do pattern matching as well. Like if you want the head of your line and the body and bum to align or whatever, you can actually get that done because you’ve got an option of the bodice, and then you’ve got a line. So do you want to cut it on the fold? It’s your, it’s up to you, if you want to lay it flat. It’s also up to you. And I love that option. So I feel like yeah, I tend to save more on my fabric as well doing that. Yeah.

Nicole
And that is really revolutionary to me as well. Because something that I like to cut on the fold. But I know it’s not always good. And last season we talked about in our zero waste sewing episode, how like to save fabric, you cut on the flat and like, I don’t want to like draw the other half or deal with all that. So if I could just be like, click, and it’s the whole thing. I think that is really amazing. It’s incredible.

Gowri
Yeah. Especially with pants as well, you know, because you’ve got the crotch and things like that. And you’re like, oh, actually, I don’t want to, you know, I don’t want to do this on the fold, or you want to be able to see it. Yeah, that’s real helpful.

Nicole
Can our producer also points out that it’s super helpful if you want to cut on the bias, which I have not jumped into yet because I cannot get cuz everything like, all together. Things shift. So like this sounds awesome.

Gowri
Yeah. And if you scared, like, for example, with the grain and and, you know, with eyesight like mine, I’ll just put put a pin through it. So you know, the pins at the grain. And then if I need to cut the bias tape or cut on the bias, I just like tilt to the side. And I’m like, Okay, sweet. I’ve got it. And then I cut. Yeah. So it’s real, it’s real easy, because it’s all there. You can just see it, you know? Yeah. I love it.

Ada
Do you end up like marking your pattern pieces then and, and like saying like, this is the front bodice and this is the back bodice? Or do you just kind of go,

Gowri
I’ll just go but sometimes, especially with I just made shorts for my daughter. And also, which is the back, which is the front, you know, and I just like at the end of the crotch. I’ll just write b or F. So it’s not Yeah, and I’m Oh, yeah, it’s and I’m going to sew over anyway. So yeah, so it does get sometimes bit confusing, but it’s not like it’s not hard. Yeah.

Nicole
I have a silly question. And this will lead us into like a discussion about your setup. How dark does it have to be when you’re cutting? Because I have poor eyesight as well. So I’m like, when I think projector, I think dark room

Gowri
Yeah, I do. I have in my sewing room, we’ve got the blinds. So I do put the blinds down if I really absolutely must cut during the day. And I’ll just like get the blinds down, which is also still a bit annoying if it’s like a real bright sunny day. And because it’s my sewing rooms attached to the garage, and so it is darker in here anyway, but I tried to do all my cutting at night because I like to do and I’ll do batch cutting as well because I find it so much easier. I just get all my patterns. All my projector files lined up. And I’ll just cut one by one by one and it’s so nice to just click X and close all at once when I’m done and so I do like four or five like yesterday I spent hours like okay, I’ve got two and a half hours but not enough time to sew. And I was like I’m gonna just So cut like five pens took me an hour and a half to just cut up five patterns.

Ada
An hour and a half?

Gowri
yeah, that’s it. I just, juuu, juuu, juuu, just put them in little piles. And then I can always like this morning I got up and in 15 minutes like I made this leotard. Well, I still got one more band to go. But for my daughter, because she’s doing she’s playing a turtle in Alice in Wonderland.

Nicole
Awww

Gowri
Yeah. Sounds like a turtle costume. Right? I’m just gonna sew you a green leotard. And we’ll we’ll fix it to the shell later, minor detail. But

Nicole
the cleanup process sounds so wonderful, just like hitting that little X because I laughed when you said that. Because there are definitely unfolded un-put away patterns right now. I know exactly where they are. And they’re just like, hanging out. I’m sure my husband would appreciate if I could just go do it. And it’s like, on every everything, every surface.

Gowri
Yeah, because it was helpful for me because my kids have a little space in my sewing room where they can do the art and my daughter is always making something and my son is into clay and ceramics. And he’s always doing something with his clay. So they’ve got drawers where they can pull out stuff and put away. And once I left a taped pattern out, and that became raw material. After all that taping together. She was like, Oh, look, scrap paper, and she drew all over. This is before they knew not to touch my stuff. And I was thinking, oh my goodness, like all that effort. And then I had to go and print it again, you know? And I’m just like, yeah, do whatever you want, like, don’t touch my sewing machine.

Ada
I guess going back to in the beginning when you said about costs, so I’m trying to like total it up. So it sounds like a projector. Like almost any projector you don’t have to get the fanciest one will work for this. So it sounds like the range is like 50 to 200, maybe 300 US Dollars convert to your local currency. If you’re not in the US, I know that the exchange rate is wild right now. 50 to $200 for the projector. And then you’re basically picking your future pattern purchases based on if there’s a projector file or maybe an A0 available. And then what you need is a table, a self healing mat and a rotary cutter. Which if you’ve been sewing for long enough, you probably have one two, or all three of those lying around. And yeah, are there any other costs? Besides that? I guess the mount right like your mount came from a friend.

Gowri
Yeah. And the mount you can get it on? I think I’ve got it for $10 on Amazon for the second one. When I bought it. Yeah. So it’s not like, I think you can even get it from your like hardware store. It’s not

Ada
okay. Yeah. And if you’ve got to have someone already installing something on another ceiling, you either have to install it yourself or hire someone to do that. So like all in we’re talking anywhere from like 60 to 300 something USD.

Gowri
Yeah. And that’s it.

Ada
You never have to print it or cut or you don’t have to buy paper or ink, toner and tape again. Yeah. I mean, I print out of an office. Right. And, and there’s like many jokes about that. And I know that’s definitely changed, I think over the last two years in terms of like folks not going into offices as much as they did. And so like, where do you print? How do you get your patterns? And I think that’s changed a lot of at least like PDF pattern sewing behavior. Yes. And so I’d be curious to see to see like, you know, if folks are going forward, not really going anywhere, or don’t want to pay for that printing, and they kind of do the math like, how does the doing the math for them on this episode kind of help out. Our producer Koss also wanted to point out that projectors have maintenance costs. So one day, you might need a replacement bulb or you need to change the filter. So those can add to the ongoing costs. Yeah. Which I think depends on what kind of projector you get an the quality and what you need there. But my guess is that the ongoing maintenance costs of a projector are probably comparable, if not cheaper, I would guess we have research into this, than like a printer.

Gowri
okay, yeah, I feel that maybe. And you’re also saving on paper, you know, you’re not wasting that much paper. I mean, we all know how many, like some patterns have like 40 something pages, and

Ada
I’ve seen it up to like 70

Gowri
Yeah, so that’s, you know, real ridiculous and especially patterns if you can’t choose your sizes, some of them don’t come layered anyway for you to print. You know, you’re having to weed through that as well. And I feel like it’s because like Nicole said, time is money, right? And if you’re not spending all that time, you know, doing all this unnecessary things you’re going too. And when I lived in Australia, I don’t have never printed A0 files in New Zealand, but one page of Black and White was $8. And so if like a patent comes with three pages, you’re like, Oh, is it really worth it now?

Ada
Because on top of the pattern cost that makes like the pattern essentially, like 40,50 bucks,

Gowri
yeah. So even if you sew with if you want to do a muslin before you cut into your really nice fabric, it’s so much faster with a projector. You’re not like, yeah, and then you kind of like, okay, these are the adjustments I need to make. And, yeah, it’s pretty straightforward.

Nicole
We’ve gone over a lot of really great stuff. Do you have any advice for people who want to get into projector sewing and any tips for people who already sew with it?

Gowri
Yeah, so if some a lot of people have actually mentioned that they either live in a rental or they don’t want to put holes in the ceiling and things like that. You’ve got those projectors that sit on the table, as well, Koss, I think bought one, it’s portable, you can move it around, you can set it up, especially if like you’re living in a rental and you can’t put any holes up there, you can put it on the side of your table, if you’re cutting on the floor, but it all depends on your ceiling to cutting surface height. So if you’re on a table, you need to measure your ceiling to the table. Or if you’re cutting on the floor, which I will not advise ceiling to your floor ratio, and things and this stuff file in the Projector for sewing group. You have to read through that. But they address all your concerns, like every single thing. And there are also people on there who are like selling projectors, either they get some, I think this is in the States so they get their projectors from schools. So they’re not some of them not used as much and things and they sort of like refurbish it, fix it and things like that. And then they’re selling it for quite cheap as well. So that’s probably another option for people to live in the States. Yeah.

Nicole
The resource that you were talking about, and the projector for sewing group. Is that available anywhere outside of Facebook? I just have not been into Facebook anymore.

Gowri
I’m not entirely sure actually, is

Nicole
I’m gonna get back in there for this.

Gowri
Yeah, I was not really into Facebook as well. So I don’t I’m not really in it. But that’s yeah, this group was definitely great. They do have a file in it. If I don’t know, once you can download it and then not have to be in the group. But that group is great for like asking questions. And people actually tell you, hey, there’s a sale going on on a certain brand of projector if people want to get it, you know, and then that’s really helpful because then everyone goes like, right? Okay, Christmas, I’m gonna get, you know, so and so. And it’s quite cute. Lots of partners come on that as well to look for their partners who sew and they’re like, I have zero idea about sewing. But you know, my partner sews, do you think you could point me in the right direction and things like that. So which is quite good. And there’s also heaps of pictures of people’s set up, other people’s set up so you can see. Oh, okay, my sewing situation is really similar to this person. You know, I’ll have a look at what they’ve put up and how they’ve set up. Yeah, so it’s quite nice. It’s quite like a community that’s kind of like helping each other. You know, sew better.

Nicole
My husband is on Facebook regularly. So I might just like steer him. that direction.

Gowri
Yeah… “For me?”.

Ada
Yeah, for me. Yeah.

Nicole
Yeah. Just check it out. Check it out.

Ada
Okay, Gowri you also mentioned your kids before stealing one of your paper patterns and drawing on it and I, well I do not have that as an immediate concern. I have volunteered to teach a friend’s kids. So you know, it could it could be in the future if I let kids into my sewing space. And I know that you also you frequently share your love of sewing with your kids on your Instagram. We see them pop up on your stories and your feed. And so have they tried projector sewing?

Gowri
Yeah, my son definitely has. He was really curious about it. And he made Tadah patterns. It’s an Australian children clothing company. And Lauren. She’s got some She’s amazing. And she started projector files recently as well. And so she let me test all her new projector files, which is really sweet. And my son made the raglan tee. And then when my dad came down because my you know, haven’t seen my friends in three years, and he was like, oh, I want to make a t shirt for my dad for his birthday. Yeah. And it was really cute. He actually cut the entire pattern out by himself. It’s I mean, it’s like five pattern pieces. And yeah, he was like, Oh, I’m gonna do this. And he did it like he just, I was like, just be real careful with a rotary cutter. Like I don’t want him slicing his fingers but He was really careful. And he just went around. And he was like, Oh, this is nice, you know. And also, because I suppose you can lay it flat with pattern pieces, sometimes your knit fabric can move under your pin, when you pin it and things like that. And this way you can ensure the whole thing’s flat. And I’ve got a massive cutting table, which is actually a dining table, a six seater dining. So all my son needed to do was just jump on a IKEA stool, the plastic stools, and yeah, and that gave him you know, so he had a bit more space and things like that to cut. And yeah, he, he actually loved it. And another one that we used for was he needed to trace a pattern on to something he wanted to color in something. So just got an image like Google image, and he just could use that project on and draw out the picture. And then he could go and color it in. So it’s actually really useful for lots of things; embroidery is another one. So Below the kowhai had this embroidery pattern. And I just needed to, sorry, Twig and tale, It’s another New Zealand Company, they had an embroidery pattern. And I just wanted like a simple the bee with some flowers. So I just bought after I’ve cut up the bodice for my daughter’s dress, I just put that and projected the pattern on it, which is quite nice, because then I can enlarge it if I want to, or make it smaller if I want to as well.

Ada
wooooow

Gowri
Because the most important thing about projector files is it comes with a grid. And it’s either one inch by one inch, or I think it’s like two centimeters by two centimeters depending on your cutting mat, or your ruler, whatever you prefer to use. And then that’s how you adjust your pattern. So you click on the grid and you make sure the grid measures up to like one inch by one inch. It’s just like when you print, you know, and it has the they have a test square exactly that. So but the beauty of it is like with files like embroidery files and things, you can just go like Oh, actually, this is too small. And then I can just enlarge it. Oh, look, it fits into this bodice really nicely. Yes, it’s amazing.

Ada
And you’re gonna have to do the math for that.

Gowri
Nooo! I hate math like math is my poor subject. So if something can do the thinking for me, I will outsource it. Oh, thanks.

Nicole
I had no idea how much math was involved in sewing until I started to sew. And I’m after working eights because I got this system that I work in. Yeah. All of this sounds really awesome. And I say this a lot listeners know I go, I’m gonna do that. I’m gonna do that. This sounds like I might actually be I think there’s so many pros. There are cons of course. But I’m definitely intrigued and really grateful that you came to share your experience and wisdom with us today. Let’s close out with reminding our listeners where can they find you? They can find me on Instagram at by Paary.

Ada
Thank you Gowri. Thank you so much for joining us on this week’s episode of the Asian Sewist collective podcast. If you like our show, please consider supporting us on Ko-fi by becoming a one time or monthly supporter or by buying our stickers and selling labels. That’s right, we have merch, buy the labels they are hilarious. Your financial support helps us with overhead expenses and will allow us to give back to our all volunteers team who work super hard to provide you with new content each week. The link to our Ko-fi page is K O dash F I.com/asian sewist collective and you can find the link in our show notes on our website and on our Instagram account. Check us out on Instagram at Asian Sewist collective That’s one word, Asian sewist collective. And you can help us out by spreading the word and telling your friends. We would also appreciate it if you could rate, review, and subscribe to this podcast on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Pocket Casts or wherever you get your podcasts.

Nicole
All of the links and resources mentioned in today’s episode will be in the show notes on our website, that’s Asian sewist collective.com And we’d love to hear from you. Email us with your questions, comments, or even voice messages if you want to be featured on a future episode at Asian sewist collective@gmail.com This episode was brought to you by your co hosts Ada Chen and Nicole Angeline. This episode was researched by Sareena Granger produced by Kossoma Kernem and edited by Clarissa Villando and Henry Wong. Thank you so much to the other members of our collective who made this week’s episode a reality. This is the Asian sewist collective podcast and we’ll see you next week.

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