Pattern Reviews

I don’t always make my own patterns. It can be frustrated finding that right pattern and then hoping the instructions get you to the picture on the front of the envelope. Well, they don’t always work out as you plan (especially when you take little detours because you either ignore or skip the instructions). I figured I’d review a few of the patterns I’ve used (I own 143 patterns, at the moment).

I recently used this Butterick pattern (4780) to make Imogene a dress. I made view B, which is the yellow dress on the bottom left. I skipped the zipper bit and opted for snaps, so I added a little button facing on the back,  which turned out perfectly. I do think the zipper length could be shorten considerably. Honestly, just two or three buttons on the back would suffice. (I place 7 snaps 1.5″ apart down the back in lieu of the zipper, which ended up being a ridiculous amount of snaps.) Imogene measured a size 3, so I made a size 3 and it is entirely too big. The back droops. I’d suggest sizing down on this one. It also seemed pretty short in length for the width, so you may want to add a few inches to the length. I didn’t and now I am holding onto this little number for Imogene to wear in the fall with a long sleeve white tee and a pair of skinny jeans. (Which will look amazing, since I made mine with zebra print on the skirt and hot pink on the top with lime green snaps! Razzle! Dazzle!)

My favorite apron pattern is McCall’s 5643. The instructions are perfect. My results are perfect every time I make it. It is double sided, so everything is completely faced/lined so there is no tedious seam finishing necessary. It just makes a perfectly completed apron every single time. This makes an awesome gift apron. (Just ask my Aunt Susan or Jessica, since I’ve made them each on of these aprons. (My favorite it the one on the bottom left up there. Adorable!)

I also love Simplicity 2932 for an amazing apron. It is more complex than most aprons, but looks beautiful once finished. There are no facings, so you have to finish your seams (or just leave them all crazy- I’ll admit I’m know to do that at times). But this is an impressive apron. Plus, the fit is fantastic. It is complex, but the instructions are complete. I only make this apron for special people (my mom) because it is so much work. But believe me, it makes beautiful aprons!

McCall’s 5465 is sized entirely wrong. I mean, I know it is supposed to be kind of a big fit, not anything tight at all, but it is way off in sizing. I made myself a size 14, because in pattern world, that is what size I am. (Yes, I did just tell you my size. If you are not aware of pattern sizes, just know, a 14 in pattern sizes is a 10 in mall sizes. Just so you know. If you ever think, “Oh, I’m a 6, so I’ll make a size 6.” Then, not only will everyone hate you for being so skinny (okay, so we won’t hate you, we’ll just be envious, though probably not envious enough to do Jillian Michaels four times a day to get ourselves that small) but you will also have a garment made for a size 2 supermodel.) It was huge! Seriously huge! We’re talking Mumu! Really. I kid you not. It fit me 8 months pregnant and was huge. No joke. I used it as a swimsuit cover-up, after taking it in about 6 inches. So, really, if you want this dress (because the drawing is mighty cute, right?!) make it a few sizes smaller and don’t use woven cotton (that was a mistake, it made the big seem bigger. Like I had bedsheets on.), use something knit or silky or moving in someway. Something with nice drape is what you want, not something that looks like drapes on you. (Also, on a What Not To Wear Note: If you are big chested, this dress emphasizes that since it gathers just above the bust and falls from there. If you’re chesty, you’ll look bigger all over in this thing (unless you wear a belt, which I’m against. Belts. Me wearing them. You wear them all you want.).

And on McCall’s 5465– Can someone please tell me why it is essentially identical to McCall’s 5688?

Yes, 5465 has better cover art. But they are essentially the same thing (and made by the same company)! And sadly to say, I own both! Why? Well, I didn’t have 5688, or so I thought. Then I bring it home, look at it, ponder the fact that I made that exact dress and it turned out a Mumu, and realized they are identical. I inspected the matter further, removing the instructions, thinking maybe the “Stitch and Save” part meant they give you crummy instructions or something. Nope. Exact same instructions. Exact same pattern pieces. Weird.

I recently made this dress, Simplicty 2443. Holy Mother of Pearl did I pick a doozie?! First, me and knits don’t mix well. Really. I don’t knwo why I try. Well, I do know. I try because I love wearing knits, I just despise working with them. This is why you buy the stupid dress at H&M for $24.95 instead of making it! Ahh! So, I picked the world’s best fabric to wear, but the worst to sew, tissue weight cotton jersey. Yeah. It is awesome fabric to feel and look at. Put it in the machine and all your sewing nightmares come full force into your waking world. Really. That bad. The dress was complex. I opted to skip the zipper because I hate them (wearing them and sewing them in) and I skipped the interfacing because I typically do. (Not a fan of interfacing, though I do know it has it’s place- but so do shoulder pads.) My dress was a nightmare to sew. I finally managed to turn out a wearable item, though I’m not sure I will ever wear it because, well, I still hate it from sewing it. Yep. That bad. The cut of the dress is awesome! It is not too low in the front, has an awesome slightly racerback, cinches in at the natural waist, has pockets, and falls slightly below the knee. But it is complicated to get together, the top isn’t lined, and don’t use the thinnest cotton imaginable! Really. Think of some thicker, more appropriate knit. It is pretty true to size. I made a 14 and it fits perfectly. Also, skipping the zipper did nothing to the fit. It still goes on and off easily, though that may be because of the super stretchiness of my fabric and the lack of interfacing. I’ll come back to this one again because if you can pull it off, this is an amazing dress. So maybe another fabric and a little more experience will make turn this into a dream dress for me. Maybe.

I made Simplicity 2642 for a wedding. I made view A, the long short sleeve dress in the top left corner. I made it out of this awesome cotton fabric, that felt simply amazing. I also made it a size smaller than I normally would. Let me tell you, the pictures do not do this dress justice. It is my favorite dress. I wear it every single time I find it clean. No joke. The maxi dresses are in, but if you’re like me, you don’t like tiny straps and all. This dress is perfect. I skipped the shoulder ruching detail because I just didn’t feel it needed it. (Plus, I had a What Not To Wear Moment, thinking the extra bulk on the shoulder would make me look more top heavy than I already am.) It is the perfect fit. The elastic in the empire waist is amazing. It cinches, but is comfortable and fuss free. I love this dress. And it is EASY! No sleeves to set in. Nothing more difficult that single fold bias tape around the neck (which really is simple, if you don’t already know that). It just slips over your head, and looks amazing. Simplicity should really redo the envelope front because it makes this dress look like a hospital gown, which it certainly is not!

Those are just a few of the patterns I’ve used recently. I’m working on Butterick 5505 right now, making a backpack style bag for our many zoo trips. I also have a few more summer items I need to make for myself! (If only I had more time to sew for me!) I’ve also got a few sewing books I’ll be reviewing here before long. I just have to try a few more things before reviewing them! Be sure to check back.

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