Pattern Ponderings

I thought I would share a few of the lovely new Patterns coming from The Big Four pattern companies today.

First up is Vogue V9103, and I am completely in love with it!

V9103, Misses' DressLine ArtV9103, Misses' Dress

Those darts, that v-neck plunge! Le sigh, they’re perfect and I think I may have to pick up a copy of this understated perfection. As you can see from the above, there are a couple of different variations and I’m not entirely sure about the gathering in back however; I think in real life it would give a truly enchanting flair to an otherwise plain skirt. The fabric needed isn’t insane either. At just under 4m this could be a pretty and cheap make for the Summer!

Vogue have a tricky reputation, and even I will admit their Patterns can be entirely too snooty but they do design beautiful things. My advice? Read all of the instructions, even the bits at the beginning about how to use the Pattern and make sure you look at both the picture and the written instructions. They have a tendency to assume you have done this before which can trip up even a *ahem* seasoned seamstress!

Next up… McCalls M7154

M7154, Misses' Dress M7154, Misses' Dress M7154, Misses' Dress

This Pattern is truly sublime, don’t you think? It’s from the McCalls Archive Collection and I hope you are as pleased as I am all of these companies are re-releasing their Vintage Patterns! They call it swoon-worthy and I’d have to agree. Capturing the essence of that elusive between the Wars glamour they have another here, both of which are Patterns I think I may buy simply to gaze upon their glory.

Including sizes 6 to 22 this dress is to be made in fabrics which I think sound as lovely as the finished item… Charmeuse, Crepe de Chine or Crepe Back Satin. Yum! Because of this I think it places the skill level firmly in Adventurous Intermediate or even Advanced but the effort would be well worth it!

Finally, this interesting Vintage re-release from Simplicity 1166

I think if you were looking for a truly Vintage Summer look this is the one for you. I’d be going for the more covered up version however; if you were brave the bikini style top version would be super cute on any beach, don’t you think? I actually love the shirt on its own, and think it would also look amazing with a pair of jeans too!

Pattern includes button up blouse, bra top with crossed back, and full skirt with buttons up to a size 24… woop! It’s quite fabric heavy though, that skirt needs over 4m, yikes!

That’s it for Pattern Ponderings this week, have you discovered a delicious Pattern recently? Do tell… if you’re in or near Bristol, UK join Sewing Club on Facebook to swap and share Patterns.

If you’re as into Patterns and Pattern Making as I am watch this space too for more news on my Pattern Drafting Jeans Sew-a-Long as it’s just getting warmed up!

Happy stitching!

Introducing the Pattern Drafting Jeans Sew-Along!

I have been making my own Jeans and Trousers since I was about 16-ish, and I still remember the utter satisfaction- after another failed shopping trip to buy Jeans, any Jeans!- of rushing to my local Fabric Shop, buying the only Jeans Pattern available and making my first pair that very same day. They were great, I mean I’m sure they had a little wobble in the stitching here and there but even my Mum was impressed and I literally haven’t shopped for Trousers or Jeans since.

jeans sew a long

Blessed with my Grandmothers huge hips, as well as height it has always been difficult to shop for clothing. Fat or thin I have always struggled however; I was to receive a rescue of sorts that same year I was 16 when I toddled off to Art School to study Fashion and Textiles… dear reader, I was introduced to the mystical art of Pattern Cutting.

I honestly haven’t looked back.

Not only did it make sense in a way that made me happy, I was good at it! Have you ever had this happen? The simple joy of embracing a new skill and devouring all that you can? Heaven! I soon had students from the years above me asking for help and I think this was my first introduction to sharing ideas and skills, which I also loved. At the time I was obviously going to become a leading light in the Fashion World *ahem* and despite this not happening- mainly because I realized I wanted to work on film and a few years later toddled off to a different Art School to study Costume- I still adore Pattern Cutting and I want to start sharing this more here, especially after my enormously successful Pattern Month a few years ago.

Simply because I need some new Jeans myself I thought I’d start with Drafting a Jeans Pattern, Toiling and making the resultant Pattern up with tips on how to do so, fit and I am sure all sorts of further nonsense!

Sound good? Awesome!

I’m hoping to do this over the next month or so, starting today with Drafting the Trouser Block. If this is entirely new to you, you may want to check out my Pattern Month, which is a good introduction to all of this.

First off, I shall be using Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting book, which is my bible! and, whilst I shall share some of the Pattern pages here, I do strongly suggest your buying a copy if this is a subject you are interested in. You can read more about why I think everyone should own this book here. After the last Pattern Month, I was asked frequently if I would email or post more pages from the book, but I will not due to copy right. Please buy the book, it’s brilliant!

jeans sew a long 2 jeans sew a long 3

You’ll need a Pattern Master, because these are the best tools when Pattern Drafting, along with a selection of Pens and Pencils as well as a Calculator. I use coloured Felt Tip Pens because if I make a wrong line, or want to highlight a line I can do so. I also find them nice to draft with because pencils can be a bit messy and I tire quickly of sharpening them!

There’s lots of information on how to use the above pages here, I would strongly advise reading it before joining in unless you are familiar with the Winifred Books. Firstly it is important to take accurate measurements as the Basic Blocks are to be made up to your measurements. It is imperative that accurate measurements be taken so that the Block fit as accurately as possible, with minimal changes needing to be made in the later stages of creating your Working Pattern.

For the Basic Trouser Block you need to take Waist and Hip measurements, then check which size these most closely resemble in the Standard Body Measurements Chart here. The measurements listed on the Basic Trouser Block can then be found on the Standard Body Measurements Chart. I have found that taking measurements from the Chart greatly increases the accuracy of the pattern and saves time! We will then draft the Pattern and make a Toile to make the Working Pattern and in future posts I’ll cover things like adapting the Basic Block to Fit, altering the Length and adding Style Lines.

It is not easy to measure oneself however; if no partner can be found use a mirror to ensure the tape measure is placed as correctly as possible. I have a few hints and tips on measuring oneself accurately here.

Well, as I have drafted my Basic Block already- I make this Pattern up quite a lot!- I shall leave you to Draft yours, and of course check out Jeans and Trousers you like on the internet to get an idea of what sort of a Pattern you’d like to make… retro… modern… button fly?… high waisted?… aah the choice is endless! Finally, this process won’t be too difficult I promise! If you are an Adventurous Beginner I am sure you will be able to follow along, and anyone can feel free to comment or ask questions as they need or want to.

I’ll give you a week or so to gather supplies and get drafting, I can’t wait to see what you all make!!

Happy stitching!