Sewing patterns can be a mind field for most beginner sewers. So, I created this sewing pattern review video for you, to help you get started. Let’s start by differentiating between pattern types. The largest companies selling paper envelope sewing patterns are Burda, McCall’s, Simplicity, New Look and Vogue.
Some of them now also include PDF versions which are downloadable like the ones I draft and sell. Sadly Burda restricts the amount of times a pattern can be downloaded and gives you no rights to your own copy. Whilst I completely understand that this is done to prevent illegal sharing of the patterns, it’s still think it’s a little mean spirited.
I have used all of the big paper envelope sewing pattern companies and would like to give you a few pointers, based on my personal experience. In my sewing pattern review, I compare the sizing charts of what you can find in the shops today and the measurement charts used by these sewing pattern companies. Basically, they are based on the 50s charts and since we all like to feel smaller than we are, over the years the difference between those charts and todays sizes has grown massively. Basically, they are about two sizes smaller than your average department store clothes. As you measure yourself before you sew, its not a big deal, but I have seen many students just cutting what they think is their size, refusing to cut that bigger size to fit!
As a schoolteacher for D&T I taught Textiles to students aged 11-18. For their final pieces they would use these patterns to create their beautiful final coursework products. Some patterns worked better than others and the best, by far, were the Vogue patterns.
The fit was very good and there were many stylish options for students to choose from. Vogue sewing patterns are the most expensive sewing patterns, but you can hunt them down at a much lower price, if you buy them on Etsy or even Ebay. Watch out for sales here.
Worthy of note is that McCall’s, Butterick and Kwiksew are all under the same umbrella. Do they all use the same basic pattern blocks to create their designs? I don’t know, but it is curious that these are the ones I would single out as the better fitting sewing patterns. That would makes sense, right?
New Look sells reasonably cheap patterns and if its not a fitted jacket or dress you are making; these patterns are fine. If you want something special, New Look isn’t your best choice of sewing pattern company.
As you all know, I sell pdf sewing patterns, which are downloadable, easy access, provide one document per size and have instructions both in video form and eBook. For beginners that is great news, as your hand is literally held throughout the process.
I couldn’t resist to show you a few more examples of the fantastic exam pieces, my students sewed up at Wolverley High School. They were absolutely awesome and we had a professional photoshoot too! These girls actually drafted their own patterns, which was even more amazing.
But, you have to get the pattern you need and like, wherever you may find it. My go to for an everyday patterns is Burda, as the fit is fairly reliable. Burda is best known for their sewing pattern magazine, which they release every month. Founded by Anne Burda, the Burda empire was build for everyone on a budget and with a sewing machine. It was a way to wear fabulous clothes without the price tag. Burda has come a long way and the monthly Magazine is now called Burda Style. It is still a gem for everyone on a budget.
Special edition magazines have the multi-size pattern sheets in them, which are the same as in other envelope patterns. When you are using the Burda Style magazine you get a different sheet. The patterns are all arranged on top of each other, which can make your eyes go ‘holy Molly’! But once you zoom in on the pattern you are making its not that bad.
Just like Burda, Ottobre, a company based in Finnland, has been producing sewing pattern magazines for 20 years! They have concentrated on children’s sewing patterns, but they also have a selection for ladies, which is worth looking at.
They produce a spring/summer and autumn/winter magazine. Recently they also started having some of their patterns and magazines in pdf form, so you can download your pattern and at the same time get the lovely glossy magazine, through the post.
Like Burda, they do not include the seam allowance. Is that good or bad? Depends which way you look at it. I like it for producing very accurate work and I dislike it for a quick sew, because it just takes longer! Now, because the magazine patterns can be scary, I decided to sew some of the patterns in the Celebration magazine from 2010 with you. It has cracking timeless pieces of cuteness and you can comment on which is your favorite. The products with the most comments we will start on. My magazine is on order and if you want to get yours you can do so here.
I can’t wait to start. Watch the sewing pattern review below, and don’t miss a thing by signing up now to the sewing course: Sewing with Pattern Magazines. This course will grow every week.
See you there!
Sewing with commercial Patterns: Introduction
In this video I am just talking about a few things that you may want to know about those patterns. I also introduce you to the pattern magazine I will be sewing from for the next month, right till the end of January. Basically we are having an Ottobre sew-a-long using their Celebration edition magazine. Meanwhile I will be working on the new Frocks & Frolics spring collection. Something else to get excited about but not yet
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