Layers wardrobe post mortem

The final nine pieces

I spent quite a few months earlier this year working on a set of pieces that were intended to all work together to give me layering options. It’s been a while since I finished the last one so it’s time to see how well it worked: have I actually worn them, and if I did was it in the way I planned?

Five of the pieces are firm favourites: the jumpsuit, the two wool jersey tops, the long jacket and the straight legged trousers. The jumpsuit and trousers get worn with the crew necked wool t shirt regularly, as planned. In fact the jumpsuit is such a favourite I keep thinking of making another.

Jumpsuit – the v neck top might be underneath but I suspect not

The jacket and v necked top come out regularly to be worn with my 80s button back dress. The 80s dress was not part of the wardrobe plan but I’m still using these pieces as layers so that counts. The jacket also gets thrown over lots of other outfits to provide pockets or a bit of extra insulation. Here it is with the printed dress from the wardrobe plan.

Jacket worn with printed dress

The trousers are not holding up well to wear: I made them from the remains of two different cuts of the same fabric and sadly there’s a very slight colour difference between front and back which is getting worse with washing. They have already been demoted to the category of things I wear for hardware work but I’m still glad to have them. I love the shape so I should make the pattern again some time in a better choice of fabric.

Trousers and crew necked top

But let’s talk about the failures because that’s always more interesting.

The printed dress has only been worn a few times but I’m not sure I’d class it as a complete failure. It’s too fussy for a regular day but it’s nice for special occasions and always gets compliments. I don’t think I’ll be making the pattern again though.

Printed dress

The pleather leggings ought to have worked. I had made the pattern twice before and wore the results a lot, and I’m always in need of warm layers for my legs. The problem is they just aren’t flattering; they’re too shiny and that brings the eye straight to the calves, my least favourite part of my legs. I also can’t find the right shoes to go with them: long boots make the calf problem worse – see below – and they look odd with trainers.

Jacket worn with pleather leggings

The cargo dress on is an interesting case. It looks best when worn alone, which you’ll have to take my word for as I have no pictures, but I’m less keen on it with layers underneath. Consequently it hasn’t left the wardrobe since the end of September. I’m hanging onto it in the hope of wearing it in the summer.

Cargo dress with a black cotton t shirt and the pleather leggings

Finally there’s the twisted loop cardigan, which I found annoying and immediately chopped up into a tie front cardigan. The trouble with this one is the fabric. A cardigan needs to be made from something warm, and lightweight bamboo jersey is not something I reach for on a cold day.

Bamboo cardigan worn with the trousers and crew necked top

It’s proved very useful to actively plan to make garments that can be layered, but they didn’t all work out. I should definitely stop trying to make cardigans work for me. And I should make more wool jersey t shirts; they are one of my least favourite things to sew but they always get worn and worn. If they could be bought at a reasonable price I’d buy them instead.

Thanks to my husband as always for photos.

Let there be light

I’d been complaining off and on about the bad lighting in my sewing area. My husband got me a task light for my birthday which helped a lot, but when I was making a black shirt with black top stitching in the depths of winter even that wasn’t enough. I’d read about LED light strips for sewing machines, and asked for some for Christmas. And I have to say, they are amazing.

Here’s my machine with the LEDs off. You can probably just about see the LED strip wrapped around the head of the machine in front of the needle bar. The machine is on, so the built in bulb is lit. These pictures were all taken at night.

And here they are switched on. It’s so bright! It doesn’t look as blue in real life as it does in this photo, but the illumination it provides is every bit as intense. It makes such a difference. The sewing machine bulb is barely visible beside the LEDs.

Here’s a better shot of how the strip attaches to the machine. Two little stick on plastic clips came in the pack. Those are stuck to the machine, one at each end of the strip, and the strip can be slid in and out of them when I need to change thread. The strip itself also has a sticky back for attaching it permanently, but that would make it almost impossible to thread the machine.

The power cable is just laid over the top of the machine out of the way of the spools, and the switch hangs down the side.

My set of LEDs was a fairly random one off Amazon – it was marked as ‘for sewing machines’ but really there are lots of other possible uses. Highly recommended!

Worth a second look: Spring 2015 Vogues

The Spring Vogues are out! Pause for hyperventilation.

In all honesty I wasn’t expecting to love this release. Spring pattern releases are almost always disappointing for me because so few of the designs are practical for the weather around here – spring in the UK requires long sleeves and lots of layers. And with this particular collection there was no immediate wow factor either. Normally there are a few knockout designer patterns that leap off the (web) page at me but not this time. This release requires a close look, but it’s worth taking the time to do so.

The designer section is normally full of spectacular dresses. And it still supplies a few: look at the amazing seam detail on the bodice of the Kay Unger design, V1432.

Vogue 1432

I’m not entirely sure why Vogue picked both V1434 (Isaac Mizrahi) and V1433 (Tracey Reese) for this release, as they are suspiciously similar princess seamed poufy skirted party dresses – surely one would have done and for my money it would have been V1433, which comes with a petticoat. But there’s also the much more grownup V1431 (Tom and Linda Platt), a long-sleeved pencil dress with a bodice overlay detail I’ve not seen elsewhere.

But this time around we’ve also got plenty of wearable but interesting separates. The Ralph Rucci pattern, V1437, is a case in point: jacket, skirt, and blouse with lots of detail.

Vogue 1437

And look at the back of the blouse in V1440, the Donna Karan pattern. This one also has an interesting jacket and it’s not alone; this is the best release for jackets I can remember.

Vogue 1440

There are two Marci Tilton Vogue Designer Originals this time around. V9089 is a romantic blouse, and V9081 is a colour-blocked dress and cardigan. Something about 9081 doesn’t really work for me – perhaps it’s the colours because I like the shape.

Vogue 9081

There are two Sandra Betzina patterns. V1442 is a knockout. It reminds me of something from Japanese pattern books or Burda when it goes wacky and nonetheless makes it work.

Vogue 1442

The other one, V1433, is also appealing – at least if you look past the sample fabrics to the line drawing. To me this design is crying out to be made in solids not prints.

Two vintage Vogues as usual – V9083 and V9082. No date that I can see, but they look like fifties designs to me – or thereabouts anyway. I presume this must be what sells best, but I’m afraid I’m thoroughly bored with these and long for something from the late sixties or the seventies.

Vogue 9083

There are two custom cup size patterns: V9078 is an Easy Options dress and V9092 is a Very Easy Vogue top, trousers, and dress.

9078 is a rare miss for Easy Options in that it doesn’t have many options. The two skirt variations are very similar indeed, and the other options are the usual short sleeve/long sleeve/sleeveless choice.

9092 is much more appealing, although it gets points taken off for having fake pockets. I vaguely recall a YSL look from a few years ago with a tunic top and slim trousers made up in a charcoal grey wool and although some of the details are different I think this would be a great starting point for knocking that off.

Vogue 9092

Very Easy Vogue is back on form. I love these culottes/palazzo pants (V9091). The designs in this section are all interesting, although I’m not sure how flattering the jumpsuit variation of V9075 will be in practice. That one hasn’t been photographed whereas the dress variation has, which may tell us something. (Edited to add: jne4sl and Isaspacey have pointed out I’m wrong, it is in fact the jumpsuit variation in the photos. I confess I didn’t look at the back view where it’s a lot more obvious!)

Vogue 9091

On the subject of photography it’s excellent, as it has been for the last few releases. More views of the garments than ever and plenty of detail shots. It really helps.

And as for the rest? There are some real gems this time around. V9077 is a very interesting shirt dress with enough variations that it really ought to have been the Easy Options pattern. I’m definitely buying this one; I love the bands.

Vogue 9077

I’m torn on V9097. I love the idea but I’m not sure how well it will work in practice and there’s no photo of it. The fabric suggestions given (Silk Crepe, Silk-like Broadcloth, Heavy Georgette, Lightweight Linen) don’t seem to lend themselves to making that top corner at the left neckline nice and crisp.

Vogue 9079

But the real standout is V9096, this amazing jacket. Do click through and have a look at the other views too because if the version below is too fussy there are not one but two simpler variations on the same idea. I like the middle one myself.

Vogue 9096

Overall I’m loving this release. There’s lot of patterns here that I could wear in real life, but with the sort of detail that inspires me to actually go out and sew. I’m already thinking about fabrics for some of them and they haven’t even hit the UK yet.

Winter Vogue patterns review

Hooray, the winter Vogue patterns are out! Is it sad that I look forward to each new Vogue release?

I always go to the designer patterns first (does anyone not?). This time they are almost all occasion wear. If there’s any common theme beyond that it’s seam detail and cutouts.

Cutouts can easily be over the top but the 1423 and 1424 both look very wearable. The one below is 1423.

Vogue 1423 envelope art

Donna Karan does not disappoint with a wonderfully OTT metallic one-shoulder wrapped style, 1427. I have no need of this dress, nor ever will, but I’d love to try it on. One very minor quibble: there are no finished garment measurements on the envelope for this one. Vogue been great about putting these on the envelopes of late, and all the other patterns I checked have them.

Vogue 1427 envelope photo

The two designer patterns which aren’t evening wear are nonetheless very smart. There’s a sharp day dress from Anne Klein, 1420, with interesting lapels.

Vogue 1420 envelope art

And then there’s 9046, a lovely, feminine, style from Claire Shaeffer. It’s not me at all but I can admire those tucks from a distance!

Vogue 9046 envelope art

I didn’t find any must-buys in this section which is most unusual. It may be because I have absolutely no need for posh frocks any more, but that doesn’t normally stop me. And sadly there’s no Ralph Rucci pattern, but we did get two last time so I can’t grumble too much.

The Easy Options pattern, 9050, is a princess seam dress with pencil or flared skirt, and two-piece sleeves with two length options. It must be difficult to get a lot of interesting style detail in a pattern that has to be both easy to sew and provide many different options, but this one succeeds. The neckline shape and seam detail at the waist keep it from being dull and all the variations look very wearable.

Vogue 9050 envelope art

Very Easy Vogue seems to have a focus on daywear this time out. There are one or two styles with interesting details. 9049 has unusually shaped lapels, pockets, and fake pocket flaps. And 9048 is a simple dress lifted by the addition of a collar. There’s also a nice basic princess seam jacket, 9068. 9056 is the inevitable peplum top. The peplum trend seems to have been going on forever; I won’t miss it when it finally dies.

Vogue 9049 envelope photo

There are two vintage patterns: 9051 is a day dress that I think is from the 40s, and 9052 is a day dress and jacket combo that’s described as circa 1949. It makes a break from the occasionwear of the designer section, but I’m slightly disappointed that both styles seem to be from the same era. I say this every time, but I long for a day when the vintage patterns are from the 60s or 70s.

Vogue 9051 envelope art

The Marci Tilton patterns are appealing. 9070 is a raincoat with lots of interesting detail. The sample is made up in a shiny burnt orange fabric, which gives a very creative vibe, but if made in khaki or black this could also be a very utilitarian look.

Vogue 9070 envelope photo

There’s also 9060 which is an unusual skirt, and 9057 a simple top.

The rest of the collection is very small and mostly consists of casual tops. There are also three wardrobe patterns, 9067 which is very casual, and a slightly smarter one in 9066. 9066 is also the custom cup size pattern. The pick of this section for me is the third wardrobe pattern, 9064, a boxy top with unusual seamlines combined with very simple skirt and trousers.

Vogue 9064 envelope art

Overall impressions? I’d like there to be more daywear in the designer section and that could probably be balanced out with dressier styles elsewhere. It seems to be a smaller collection than last time which might also be why I found less to like. The photography continues to be spot-on with lots of clear views of each style. And I’m still grateful for the much wider range of finished garment measurements on the envelopes.

Fundamentally though this collection didn’t dazzle, unlike the autumn release. My overstuffed pattern box is grateful but I’m now looking forward to spring.

Vogue hits it out of the park

I said I’d blog about fasteners for the white jacket next, but Vogue have released such a great autumn pattern collection that I want to talk about that instead!

I always start with the designer patterns, because that’s what Vogue is all about. And this time there are not one but two Ralph Rucci patterns. V1404 is a sweet dress (perhaps too sweet for me, but very Rucci) and V1419 an awesome unlined coat. I’d make it in a fairly light fabric and wear it as a winter dress. I was curious about the original styling and looked these up on Ralph Rucci’s collections on The coat is look 1 from the 2013 pre-fall collection and the dress is actually from spring 2013. I wonder if that one was originally intended for the previous Vogue release, where we didn’t get a Rucci at all?

Vogue 1419 pattern photo

There are three patterns with wonderful seaming from Donna Karan and DKNY: V1407, V1408 and V1409. I’m not so keen on Vogue’s fabric choices for these (to be fair to Vogue, V1409 at least is simply imitating the original look), but they would look fabulous made up in contrasting colours of the scuba knit that’s everywhere at the moment. The original V1408 is made up in different shades of blue – at least I think so, it’s hidden under a jacket in the fashion show. I couldn’t find the original V1407 at all.

Vogue Donna Karan seam detail designs

The fourth Donna Karan design, V1417 is a dramatic but very wearable asymmetric top and trousers combo. I’m not totally sold on the use of knit fabric for the trousers though. You’d need something with a good deal of lycra to avoid bagging.

Vogue 1417 pattern photo

And it doesn’t end there. Look at this wonderful dress from Mizono, V1410. It has an elastic drawstring allowing the length to be adjusted. Perfect for cycling. This is the sort of interesting detail that is the reason I use so many Vogue patterns.

Vogue 1410 envelope pictures

And talking of interesting details, check out V9035, the Marci Tilton pattern. The pockets are something you won’t see anywhere else.

Vogue 9035 envelope pocket detail

I could go on much longer, but the last one I want to highlight is V1405. At first it looks like a simple batwing knit dress. But read the description: draped midriff with stays and (p)urchased elastic, slides and rings for shoulder straps on bodice lining. There’s some internal structure there that would make it an interesting sew.

So that’s the designer section. What about the rest?

Easy Options has a blouse with cuff and placket variations and a princess seam dress with sleeve, collar, and skirt varations this time around. While I seem to have seen similar things to both before, they’re both nice styles and both rated Easy. I’d certainly have gone for the dress if I didn’t already have a few patterns like it.

Very Easy Vogue has some gems. There are stylish tops, jackets, and dresses. Some have subtle details that raise them above the ordinary, such as the unusual slightly set back shoulder seams on V9028, the side seams on V9026, and the curved shoulder yokes on V9019. Although I have to say my favourites are the simple but effective V9038 cape and the batwing dress V9021.

Vogue 9021 envelope art

The regular Vogue patterns seem a little too grown up for me this time around, although they continue a lot of the themes seen in the other sections. There’s an asymmetric dress V9024. V9031 is a skirt with seam detail reminiscent of the Donna Karan designs, but being a skirt rather than a dress it’s probably more wearable. And there are two very traditional patterns for little girls, V9042 and V9043 and an interesting man’s jacket in V9041.

The vintage patterns are conspicuous by their absence in this release which surprises me as 40s and 50s designs still seem to be everywhere in blogland. I’m not keen on wearing styles from those eras myself but there are plenty of people who are! I hope Vogue aren’t discontinuing this range for good. I’d love it if they re-released some of their sixties and seventies styles.

So in summary, Best Vogue Release Ever. And now I just have to wait until they come out in the UK!

Girly dresses: Summer Vogues

It doesn’t seem five minutes since the spring Vogue pattern release and now the summer patterns are out. As usual they aren’t available in the UK yet but that never stops me picking my favourites.

The designer section is strangely samey this time around: it’s one sweetly feminine dress after another. If that appeals, there are plenty of interesting variations to choose from. Want scallops? 1398 has you covered. Peplum? See 1399. Lace? Try 1393. Pleats and a button back? 1394, although making it up in a splashy print as in the photo below completely hides the details.

Vogue 1394 envelope photo

If you’re not into sweet and feminine there are a couple of edgier styles. DKNY has a throwback to the eighties in 1396 (and for the avoidance of doubt, that is a good thing.)

Vogue 1396 envelope photo

And Guy Laroche has an unusual shirtdress, 1400. I’m not convinced by the pockets over the bust, but look at the cut-out shoulders and the bands. I recommend clicking through to the Vogue website because the back view is good as well. Now if only we get a summer this year.
Vogue 1400 envelope photo

There are two new Vintage Vogue patterns: 9000 is a cute shirt-styled dress, and 8999 is a dress with a fabric hogging 20 gore skirt. You’re going to need about six metres of wide fabric to make it, but the end result will be spectacular. The pattern includes a bolero, but Vogue didn’t photograph it.

Vogue 8999 envelope photo

There are two Sandra Betzina Today’s Fit patterns. 1390 is seriously tempting. The shape is unusual and I love the pintucked version. I’m showing the line art because Vogue only photographed the plain one. I wonder about the fabric options though: linen, silk, cotton stretch wovens, knits, soft leathers or suedes. So, pretty much anything at all then?

Vogue 1390 line art

The Easy Options patterns are solid as usual. Two more very feminine dress patterns, and unusually a 9008 is a pair of shorts. At first sight the shorts don’t seem to have many variations but you can have pleat front or flat front, back yoke or darts, and two types of pocket.

Very Easy Vogue is the most interesting section. There are lots and lots of pretty dresses, but also some more unusual styles. 8996 admittedly is yet another pretty dress, but it has pockets. 8994 is an original shape. And 8992 is an interesting take on the wrap dress.

Vogue 8992 pattern photo

As for the rest? There’s a Claire Shaeffer Custom Couture jacket, which is not for me but is sure to delight many other people. The regular Vogues have a couple of great tops in 8991 and 9004

Vogue 9006 envelope art

Overall it’s a very girly collection, big on puffy skirts and tiny waists. But for those of us who prefer other silhouettes there are one or two options in there. And major kudos to Vogue for providing more finished garment measurements on the envelope. All the ones I looked at had at least bust and hip measurements. It makes such a difference when you don’t have to unfold the tissue to choose your size.

I thought this would be a popular collection- everyone loves a dress after all – but the overall reaction I’ve seen so far has been lukewarm. What did you think of this one?

Easily pleased – the Spring Vogue release

The Spring Vogue Patterns release is out. It’s not made it to the UK at the time of writing but that’s never stopped me looking and making plans before.

Spring and Summer are normally my least favourite seasons for patterns. This collection would be no exception to the rule, were it not for the fact that Ralph Rucci is back with this design, 1381. I love this silhouette and the style has all the detail you expect; this time there’s quilting on the yokes, waist, and cuffs in addition to the regular cleverly hidden pockets and kimono/raglan sleeves.

Vogue 1381

The rest of the designer patterns have no must-sews for me. I was going to say that most of them are too dressy for my lifestyle, but if I really love a pattern then that doesn’t stop me. I’ve been struggling to describe what’s wrong with them and it’s basically that they lack excitement. Take this Donna Karan jacket and skirt, 1389. Lovely, but so very sensible and grown up. Where’s the drama?

Vogue 1389

Of course I’m being slightly unfair because there is one pattern with drama, but not in a good way. Much as I love the 80s, 1383 is too much. One for the inner teenager?

Vogue 1383

There are two Vintage Vogue releases. I’m guessing these are 40s or 50s styles, which are not eras I’m a fan of, so I’m never going to buy these for myself. But both have lovely details. Look at the pleats on 8973. Now if only Vogue would release some of their 70s archive!

Vogue 8973

Easy Options is disappointing this time round. Only one pattern, which is also the custom cup size pattern, and it’s for a style I feel I’ve seen many times before. The options are two skirt shapes and three sleeves.

Vogue 8972

Very Easy Vogue contributes eight patterns to the collection. I normally find something to like here. There’s a cute shirtdress, 8970, and a dramatic evening skirt, 8980. However the rest are almost all loungewear – good in its place but I can get that from every other issue of Burda. Is it just me or did there used to be a lot of Very Easy Vogue dress patterns? Where did those go?

Vogue 8970

As for the rest? The ‘regular Vogue’ patterns? Well they are few in number, but there are some good ones. 8979 is a very interesting tunic top. There are two patterns for men: 8988 is for a suit and 8987 for a waistcoat. And there’s a very practical messenger bag pattern, 8990.

Vogue 8979

I would say it’s the usual spring disappointment – but Ralph Rucci more than makes up for the rest so I’m happy with this one and can’t wait for the sale! What did you think?

Much to like: Winter Vogues

I always look forward to the autumn and winter Vogue pattern releases. Sadly the autumn collection was underwhelming this year. The winter one came out in the US a couple of weeks ago and the good news is that it’s a definite step up.

The designer patterns are few but good. I’m disappointed there’s no Chado Ralph Rucci (again!) but what we do get is what Vogue designer patterns are all about: styles with unusual details or dramatic impact. My favourite is the Donna Karan pattern for leggings and a wrap top. I’m posting the technical drawing rather than the photograph because the whole point of this one is the seam detail in the leggings.


Another highlight is the spectacular evening gown from Badgley Mischka. If I had a glamorous evening event to go to, this pattern would definitely be on my shopping list. The pattern description also hints at some interesting techniques: ‘back pleated drape with weighted tab’. You don’t often get that sort of thing in Burda.


There’s also a selection of little dresses with interesting details: a cape overlay, a pleated bodice, contrast inserts and the like.

The most unusual designer pattern this time around is a top and skirt from Guy Laroche. I really like this one, and not just because it has pockets. I’m not sure how flattering it would be on a non-model but I bet it’s an interesting sew.


Very Easy Vogue has some hits. There’s a classic cape and a simple and pretty colour blocked dress – although given that this is the Winter collections, sleeves would have been nice. But I’m being a bit picky there because we also have 8495 (shown below) which not only has sleeves, but interesting ones.


Also in Very Easy Vogue there’s a simple overcoat with a slightly unusual draped detail at the back. But it’s not all good: there’s also this.


The undisguised elasticated waist would be fine if the dress had been made up in a really casual fabric. But with the sequins it just looks odd. OK pattern but poor fabric choice perhaps.

Speaking of belts, there’s something odd going on with the waist on the custom cup size pattern. This is a closefitting dress with a lot of seam detail at the waist. The model’s wearing a purchased belt in the full length pictures, but in the belt-free closeup you can see the intersecting seamlines haven’t matched up on the dress. It could be a sewing failure rather than the fault of the pattern, but I’d certainly look out for some reviews before buying this one.

The rest of the Very Easy patterns are knit tops, mostly with mullet hems. Nothing in there you couldn’t find elsewhere. The hoodie top is the best of them. It seems to have more waist shaping than is typical – at least in the model shots – and you could easily remove the mullet.

The Easy Options patterns are good as always. We get two dresses: a French darted style with a waist seam and a princess seamed style without a waist seam. As usual they come with a selection of neckline and skirt shape variations. Rather than just the obvious ‘pencil skirt version’, ‘A-line skirt version’ variations there’s a peplum option on the first and a mermaid skirt on the second.

The third Easy Options is a skirt, and probably my favourite style out of the whole collection:


This is so Vivienne Westwood. There’s also a pencil skirt variation in there, and one with the drape on both sides. Even better, it’s rated Easy. I’d have loved for this to have been available when I first began sewing; so many of the more unsuual styles were beyond my reach at the start.

The regular Vogue patterns are a mixed bag. There’s a lot of eveningwear but also some more casual styles. I’ll just pick out two: 8955 because I love the drama of palazzo pants:

And 8946 because it’s oddly like a maternity style, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. There aren’t a lot of maternity patterns out there, and although this isn’t intended to be one, it looks as if it could accommodate a small bump.


But the most important question is: will I actually buy any of these? And the answer is that I won’t be rushing to get them the day they come out in the UK, but a few are going on my Christmas list. And that’s a definite improvement.

What do you think? Love this release or bored by it?

Good in parts? Autumn Vogues

First of all, thanks for all the insightful comments on my sack-like dress. I’ve worn it out of the house a couple more times since the photos were taken, and I’ve decided to keep it as it is rather than trying to make it match the original or even give up and recycle the fabric. Although now I’ve seen MaciNic, Lisa, and The Perfect Nose‘s versions I’m tempted to try the pattern again in a more suitable fabric one day.

Oh and for those who asked about my shoes, they are Melissa; that particular style’s been discontinued but there’s still plenty of plastic goodness on their UK site at Not that I just had a quick browse while checking the URL or anything.

But on to what is normally my favourite pattern collection of the year; the autumn Vogue release. They are only on the US site at the time of writing. And while it’s an improvement over the 2013 spring and summer releases, I’m still a little underwhelmed.

First things first: one thing I really approve of in this collection is the photography. No wacky poses this time round (remember Spring and Autumn 2012?). This time every style is simply photographed front, back, and both sides, and often there’s also a closeup of an interesting detail. There are more photos overall than I remember in previous collections, and in many cases at least one of the pattern variations has been photographed too.

The designer patterns just aren’t grabbing me this time around. The two Donna Karan designs are the best of the bunch: Vogue 1361 is an interesting day dress and 1365 a useful coat. But the more I look at the dress, the more I think I’d be tugging at it all day long to make it lie correctly.

Vogue 1361 pattern photo

1362 isn’t for me but it’s what Vogue designer patterns are all about: a strikingly unusual style that I wouldn’t want to try to draft myself.

Vogue 1362 pattern photo

The others are all things I think I could easily find versions of in Burda. Take 1363 for example. Possibly I’m missing something here? Nothing wrong with it, but if I’m going to be paying Vogue designer prices (eye-watering in the UK and they’re never less than half price even in sales) I want a pattern with wow factor or some unusual detail, and this isn’t it.

Vogue 1367 pattern photo

The non-designer patterns have much more interest. I’m not a jacket wearer myself, but there is a trio of jacket patterns with clean, unfussy lines that are tempting me: 8932, 8931 and 8937 (below).

Vogue 8932 pattern photo

And three very different coats: the asymmetric 8933, cosy and easy 8930, and interestingly egg-shaped 8934 (below).

Vogue 8934 pattern photo

Very Easy Vogue has some great simple patterns with a twist. 8926 is a stylish casual jacket (if you click through be sure to look at the tech drawing and not just the photos) and 8925 is a simple princess seamed top that could be used in lots of ways. Although I can’t decide if 8919 (below) has been murdered by horrible fabric choice or whether the seam lines are just in a bad place.

Vogue 8919 pattern photo

The Custom Fit pattern 8936 is for a peplum top with skirt and trousers. I am not a fan of the peplum, and the fake leather Vogue chose to make this up in isn’t helping, but I think the proportions on this one are fundamentally really good. I’d like to see it in a different fabric.

Vogue 8936

There are three Easy Options patterns: 8927, a set of blouses, 8928, a set of skirts which while an interesting basic pattern don’t offer a lot of variation, and 8936, a colour-block dress that’s probably my favourite item in the whole collection.

Vogue 8923 pattern picture

It’s also good to see another pattern for men: 8940 is a man’s coat and trousers.

So on the whole there’s a quite lot to like this time around, but the collection as a whole doesn’t rise to the heights I expect of Vogue. Things are definitely improving though; I’m looking forward to the Winter release!

What did you think? Am I missing something about the designer pattern? Would you wear the red Donna Karan? And can that peplum be saved?

2012 inspirations and 2013 goals

I’m running a bit late with this, given that it’s now 12th night so we’re well into 2013. But here are the last two top fives!

Top 5 of 2012

It is really difficult to pick only five bloggers that inspired me in 2012. I get half my sewing inspiration from other people’s blogs. But here are five who particularly influenced me this year.

  • Allison‘s blog is one of the first I ever discovered. I love her style. This year I shamelessly copied her Burda 116-08-2011 dress, including the way she fastens the belt, and it’s my current favourite dress.
  • Kazz‘s style is a riot of colour and interesting shapes. She inspires me to be bolder!
  • Chanel No. 6 is always sharp, witty, and full of interesting observations. Her series on safari style has got me seriously considering trying it out.
  • Pretty Grievances posts hilarious critiques of designer fashion on Wednesdays and always makes me see things I wouldn’t have spotted on my own.
  • Petit Main Sauvage is the most amazingly talented seamstress. If I ever get round to drafting my own sloper it’ll be because of seeing the beautiful things she drafts for herself.

And finally goals for 2013. When it comes to sewing I am not a good planner. I have a huge but ever-changing sewing queue and I sew what I feel like at the moment I feel like it. But here’s what’s on my list at the moment. Any resemblance to what I actually produce this year is unlikely!

  • Make the sparkly Christopher Kane knock-off dress I was planning before Christmas.
  • Vogue 8825, a very 70s raglan-sleeved dress with amazing bell sleeves. I want to make it in electric blue chiffon. This is a huge gamble because the pattern is for knits!
  • Burda 138-11-2012, a vintage sheath dress with a lovely high collar and interesting front pleats. I have some dark green stretch fabric that ought to be perfect.
  • I want to make something from the Drape Drape books. Not quite sure what yet. I got the English edition of the first one for Christmas.
  • And finally one that isn’t a sewing project: get brave enough to take outfit photos somewhere more interesting. Right now most of the photos we take are in front of the brick wall of the garages on my street. It’s a nice backdrop (and amuses my neighbours) but some variety would be nice.

Having said all that, right now I’m hard at work on my sister’s birthday dress. I forgot how difficult it is to match checks so it might be a while!