Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Review: "Sewing Kit HD" iphone app

Sewing Kit HD is an upgraded version of Sewing Kit.  Vesta Software is the developer of Sewing Kit HD.  This app helps you keep track of your pattern stash, fabric stash, notions, books, projects etc etc.  So far I've only used the pattern storage and the fabric storage portions of the app.  As far as I know, it's only available on the iPhone/iPad for now. 

Some of the Pro's of this app:
1.  List/pictures of all patterns at your fingertips!  It's easy to see what you have already when your out stashing. 
2.  I like that I can keep a log of all the fabrics in my stash.  I would never be able to remember fabric content other wise.
3.  You can keep your measurements, no to mention family/friends measurements
4.  Overall, it's a great concept.
However, there are a lot of con's to this app:
1.  Why on earth did they not give the folks who already paid $8.99 the chance to upgrade to "Sewing Kit HD" for a small fee?  I paid the price as I wanted the updated interface.  I don't know if the developer will be focusing his efforts on just the HD version, or if he'll continue to update the regular version. So something to consider when you're deciding which to buy.
2. Crashes All.The.Time.  (I have the iPhone 4s).  I've found a few ways around the crashing which I'll post below under Tips for using.
3.  Half the time when I take a picture in app, I get a blue screen.  Not sure what happened to the picture.  I often have to retake the picture a few times when that happens.  When this happens, any unsaved data on the input screen is lost as well.  Rather annoying. 
4.  Yardage field is less than useless...  You can only store a whole number there. 
5.  For Simplicity patterns, I get front and back cover pics.  The other Major companies, if the pattern happens to be in their database, I only get the front cover and line drawings.
6.  The bar code scanner is useless.  It hardly ever found the pattern (and when it did, the only information added was the pattern company name, pattern number, size, and any pictures associated with the pattern).
7.  This seems to be different for different people, but for me, it finds Butterick and Simplicity patterns easily enough (when I manually enter it, not via the bar code scanner). But I had to manually take photos of my McCall's as the program never found their pattern pictures. 

Tips for using Sewing Kit HD:

1. Take any pictures with the camera phone and then import them into Sewing Kit. I've done this a few times vs taking the picture within the app and so far, importing pics from my camera roll, seems a lot easier and less buggy.

2. When you first enter a pattern, select the pattern company, enter the pattern number, then click in Body Type. Why? Because if you head directly into say category which is a menu selection, it stalls. By clicking into Body Type you give the app enough time to go fetch whatever pictures it can/can't find. I found that I needed to do this with independent pattern companies that I added to the pattern company list as well as for the Big 4. For whatever reason, it likes to go looking. Once it's done, then you can then finish entering your data.

3. Don't bother with the bar code scanner. If it happens to find your pattern (and that is a big IF) the only information it fills in for you is company, pattern number, size, and pictures. I've had the program crash while trying to use the bar code scanner, and the info it autofills isn't worth the extra hassle.

I think now that I've worked about the above tips, I'm actually happier using it.  I do like that I can see how many yards of fabric I need when I do find that perfect fabric for a pattern.  (I always take a picture of the back so I have that information). 

If you work with Sewing Kit or Sewing Kit HD and have any tips of your own, please share!