New Directions!


Partlan Pattern Designs is closing. Martin does not have adequate spare time to work on the business and as it turns out, given a number of new church and other commitments in 2014, neither do I.

We considered outsourcing the pattern making and just focusing on designs. In exploring that option we realized we don’t have a robust business marketing strategy. For example, we don’t really have a collection of designs for a specific target market. The few designs Martin has in mind are fairly general and classic. The engineering behind apparel construction was always of more interest to both of us than the designs themselves.

It’s possible Martin will resume development of the Shannon pattern and other classic menswear designs when he retires from teaching. Or maybe it will just be an ongoing hobby. As noted in previous posts, it became pretty clear after our research that there isn’t likely to be much profit in selling menswear sewing patterns. Putting it another way, it looks like we would have to invest more capital and time than we’re prepared to invest in order to make it profitable.

In the coming days, I’ll be removing and archiving the content on this blog to prepare the blog for deletion.

We’ll still keep sewing, but I won’t be blogging here or elsewhere about sewing or style. So this is the last sewing related post. What you see in the first picture is a dress in progress that is a copy of this dress Miley Cyrus wore to the Bambi awards last year. This post on Wendy’s blog is where I learned about the dress.

Here’s a close up of the sleeve in my version of the dress.


I constructed the velvet cuff using 1 inch piping cord covered with two layers of cotton batting.

When not busy sewing and working on church projects we’ve been busy adjusting to life as new dog owners. For those who saw the previous tweets and facebook posts about our mixed terrier rescue dog Coco, here’s a snippet I posted on facebook Wednesday that explains what happened with Coco.

Sadly, Martin and I had to surrender Coco back to the SPCA this afternoon. She’s been increasingly prey-focused (squirrels, birds) and aggressive towards the cats, other dogs and certain people since we got her 3 weeks ago. She attacked Brownie kitty twice (jaws on neck) and has extreme difficulty controlling herself whenever he’s around. Yesterday Coco got vicious with a boxer mix dog at the dog park. The boxer provoked her first, but even after the owner got that dog under control Coco kept attacking with viciousness. Like she was another dog, not the one we first met 3 weeks ago. Today, a friend came with a sweet dog to play in the back garden. All was well for the first few minutes, then Coco attacked (bared teeth, growling, etc). We leashed her, settled her. A few moments later she tried to attack the dog again. The dog was just sitting there, and was obviously afraid. Martin & I talked over the various incidents over the last 3 weeks, e.g., leash aggression, near bites of our hands that felt uncomfortable because of the look in her eye, the aggression towards the post man, gardner, etc. It turns out we’ve BOTH been concerned. The little things adding up. Just in case the garden incident was a fluke (protecting her turf), we went back to the dog park. More attacks, this time with NO provocation. It’s almost like a “switch” went off in her brain sometime this week and now she feels free to attack. When we surrendered her, I mentioned that there was nothing cautionary in the notes about her behavior at the time of adoption and that we said we had a cat. In fact the notes indicated she was a cuddly lap dog who likes to lick your face. The surrender intake volunteer said she knew Coco — she knew Coco could be a real problem. It kind of shocked me. I asked why this wasn’t in the notes? She said they only record what is known from the previous owners, which in this case didn’t apply because Coco was found abandoned. So the SPCA knew she was a risk, and didn’t let us know because of protocol. Very sad.

This was a terribly upsetting experience for us, but we know we’re meant to become doggie parents. We’ve been busy since Wednesday researching reputable breeders from which to purchase a pure bred dog. I’m happy to say we are very likely to become the proud parents of an CKSCS-USA and AKC registered Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy born Nov 14 next Friday Jan 17, assuming all questions are answered to our satisfaction and the puppy’s health records are in good order. It’s sort of going in the completely opposite direction buying a certified pure bred dog, but Martin and I feel really burned by the SPCA rescue experience with Coco. We understand there are more reputable rescue organizations out there using foster parents who really get to know the dogs before placing them with families, but we’ve decided we do not want to do another rescue adoption. This way we know for sure we’re getting a healthy dog bred for companionship, not a special-needs dog we can’t trust around other dogs and small children let alone grownup people like the gardener and post man. It’s not that we don’t support rescue adoptions, just that we personally do not want to do another one.

We have already named her Annie :). If I do blog again, it will be a different blog about Annie, involvement in the daily and weekly work of my church and the wider community, and about living as a committed Episcopalian trying to make sense of life without getting too religious (in a doctrinal sense) but hopefully spiritual enough, open enough to receive the wisdom necessary to age with grace and self respect.
I’ll leave this post up for a couple weeks to give people a chance to visit and then I’ll take it down and delete the blog. I do miss reading blogs but am finding that spending less time online and more time outside, e.g., playing with the dog, walking the dog, gardening and so on is healthier for me, both physically and mentally. I will keep in touch on facebook and will visit blogs from time to time.
I wish you all the best in your endeavors and we thank you very much for your support and interest in our sewing pattern project!

22 thoughts on “New Directions!”

  1. Susan: Thanks for keeping us posted. I’m not surprised it’s not a viable model but it’s too bad! Best in 2014 Let us know when and if you start the next blog… Kxo

  2. Susan,
    It’s always interesting to read whatever you write, but like you, I’m spending less and less time on the computer and doing other, more productive (for me) activities.
    Good luck with Annie, and can’t wait to see her on FB.

  3. Susan, I admire you and your candor about your experiences,your life, and your dreams. I wish you and Martin all the best as you follow this new direction and assure you that the words you have written here are words of courage. Annie will be lucky to have you as family.

  4. I do wish the business had worked. I just don’t have the time right now to do everything I want to do. Learned a lot though.

  5. So sorry to hear about the dog. My sister currently has 2 rescue dogs and has had numerous ones in the past. They only had real trouble with one german shepherd who was passing through on a temporary basis. She usually visits the dogs over a period of time before bringing them home. It sounds like poor Coco was living in very tough circumstances before her rescue.

    Sounds sensible to cut your losses on all the time and effort you both put into the pattern business before it consumed any more of those valuable things.

    But it’s good to hear what you’ve been up to lately. Are you two actually building your new great room yourselves as a Twitter photo seemed to suggest?

    1. Hi Pat,
      We also know people with wonderful rescue dogs. And we know people willing to make a long-term commitment to special needs dogs. We weren’t willing to make that commitment ourselves though. If SPCA had told us what they knew about Coco we wouldn’t have adopted her.

      As for the great room, the pergola is actually a kit. The cedar structure was shipped from Vancouver in December and it’s fully constructed but we’re waiting on shipment from Ontario of the awning mechanism and fabric. It’s supposed to ship this coming week so we might be finished by the end of the month. Once the pergola is completely constructed with its awning and fabric we can put the furnishings in place. I’ll definitely post photos when the whole thing is ready.

      Thanks for visiting and I’ll be by to visit your blog soon. xoxo

  6. I’m sorry to hear about the demise of the pattern business. It did seem like a difficult nut to crack. On the bright side I feel like you’ve gained experience altering patterns and will put that to good use on your own wardrobe account.

    I think a dog is a great idea for getting a person into a more active life. Best of luck!

  7. Hi Susan, I was so sorry to read your announcement about Partlan Pattern Designs! You guys really have a great product and a strategy that was designed to work long term, so I’m secretly hoping you two will pick it up at a later time when your schedules are less full.
    As for Coco and the shelter, I’m so sorry to read your first experience was so negative. It’s this kind of deceptive policy that deters future pet owners who are considering adopting a rescue animal. Don’t lose hope and maybe one day you’ll open your door and hearts to an adorable fuzzy creature in need of love and affection.
    Whatever 2014 brings I hope it will be exciting and full of memorable moments!

  8. I have enjoyed your multifaceted blog. I hope in the future you do have a chance to blog some more. Being I have a degree in finance, I found your discussions of business plans, target markets, and economies of scale engaging. Not to mention your insight on pattern making.

  9. Sandy and I felt so badly for the experience you had with Coco. We love d every one of our doges and letting go, even when absolutely necessary, was deeply affecting to us. I hope that you will acquire that loving dog soon which brings so much humanity and warmth to every moment we are home.

    1. Thank you Tom, we appreciate knowing we have the support of our friends in wanting to become doggie parents of the right doggie for us. It will happen soon.

  10. Susan~It was wonderful to have connected w/ you. I always enjoy networking w/ others who share my passion. I wish you and Martin all the best in your future endeavors, both personal and professional! Take care and best of luck! Debra

  11. Hi Susan,

    I’m sorry to hear that! I was looking forward to trying the Shannon. Good luck with your new direction!

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