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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Spring Vogues, oh my

I must admit one of my great pleasures some mornings is getting a notice in my inbox that new patterns are up. I love a new pattern.

Yesterday it was Vogue.

I was a bit stunned by this season's collection to be honest.

Increasingly I am only interested in patterns and clothes that I can see  worn in real life. After all a real life is all what we all have and most of us don't have an infinite amount of sewing time. Seems to me to be a pretty clear calculation there.

On this basis I have been increasingly impressed by recent releases from Stylearc, been making some of those looser dresses lately and loving them:

I have also been excited by Jalie's new patterns. Jalies grow on you. I have found  their patterns so often turn into ones you make again and again. Here are some of those I see with that potential in the newest collection:

I mean both the Stylearc and Jalie patterns are stuff you would actually put on.

I wish I could say the same about the new Vogues. I would have thought the business model would include clothes that a lot of people would want to sew and want to wear.

On that basis, in no particular order, are some that caught my eye this week:

O.K. let's start positive. This dress does have potential for an event. It keeps the attention at the top of the body, which is a good thing, and means you don't jam yourself into Spanx for the wedding. I am not knocked out by this dress but it would be wearable and if you could find some drapey fabric would be nice, although finding nice draped fabric is not that easy.

Now this one is a bit of a contradiction in terms (notice too how you can see the model's navel? Wonder what the lining is?) Back to contradiction. The bodice of this dress is designed to show boobs but you can only wear it if you don't have boobs (model with navel doesn't even quite fill this out but is covered which makes my point) and she also seems to get away without side boob problems with that armhole too. This unit would involve a lot of sewing time for something you  would definitely not wear on a repeat basis, only once when you are going to the Academy Awards but not sure if those folks are entirely all sewers.

Now this one is beyond, just beyond. I am not at all consoled by the fact that military breastplate is detachable. How many dumb features can you fit into one dress? Apparently a lot. I wonder if they will sell one copy of this pattern.

Look at the model's face in this one. She feels the same way I do about this knee heavy outfit. She's not taking this one home. Like wearing the duvet.

This is a back to the future number. I distinctly wonder if the next trend is the '70s? Seems to look like it. Quite sure my sister and I made dresses like this years ago and quite sure we tacked that neckline closed halfway up.

O.K. I have already made this bathing suit, when I was about 13. Out of broadcloth with buttons for the top and a zipper in the bottom. In the dark ages swimwear fabric was not available. I can tell you from intense experience then that these bathing suits are a bitch to fit and definitely made only for sunbathing not for swimming. The problem of course is that we aren't supposed to sunbath anymore (any other idiot ever spend time holding a home-made tinfoil sun reflector up to her face to get a tan? Those trips to the dermatologist these days are a riot now aren't they?) and that if you go into the water in something like this it is the equivalent to falling overboard in your clothes (something I have done myself on more than one occasion while trying to learn to sail). Everything gets saggy and heavy and sort of falls down. Not all vintage garments are worth reviving. What's next? Girdles?

Seems to me that on a regular basis the pattern companies try to convince us that mega width pants are O.K. Really? Where would you wear this outfit and not feel like a dork? If you were 7 feet tall and wearing 5 inch heels and just stood there maybe, possibly, but the rest of us would look like Frigidaires.

This seems to me to be more wearable. The wide top is balanced by pants that are slimmer in the hip.

Another back to the future number. If it was 1972 and you were bringing a jellied salad or an onion soup mix dip to a backyard pool party this might work, check your calendar.

Right now the Indie patterns are looking pretty good to me. 

What do you think?


sewingkm said...

I'm totally with you, Barbara. None of Vogue's new patterns would work for my retired lifestyle. StyleArc and Jalie patterns look more"normal" to me. Thanks for the review and assume you're back home now. Karen

MaryEllen said...

I had to be very careful not to spit out my coffee while reading your comments this morning . You are so right on these choices from Vogue & I loved your sense of humor & comments . The duvet comment was my favorite!!

Laceflower said...

I love Style Arcs' styles but hate the taping together of the pdf patterns. Have to be careful of their sizing as well. I am 5' 7" and had to cut off several inches of their pants patterns!
The Vogues, oh my!!

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

You are so funny! But the 70s are back with a vengence - first it was the "Boho Look" which in my opinion was done best by Oscar de la Renta in the 70s. And now Vogue has patterns for it in other 70s styles - though I do like the halter/palazzo look it just won't look that great on my older body.

If you're not fashion conscious or of the mindset been there, done that - you will definitely skip these looks. Although from the internet's reaction, the fashion conscious and those who've never worn the 70s look are loving this latest release. For me it was okay. I will probably buy 2-3 of these and the Tom & Linda Platt is one of them. I have a denim tencil that the dress will look amazing in and I will wear with some tennies!

As for Style Arc ~ the best patterns are still available only from Australia and being a typical American I hate waiting for them to arrive. So I have to wait for them to be available on Amazon and have amassed quite a collection. Now to sew them!

Angela said...

ROFL, I about burst a gut reading this! THANK YOU for stating what seems to me to be so bloody obvious! The top dress that is ok... not as painful as the others, but that thing going down the back loses me. That 2nd dress, white, with the model's navel visible - seriously, who could wear this AND make it look good? Precious few. No one with a few extra pounds or boobs that are no longer completely perky (I'm out on both counts I can assure you). I can only imagine fitting would be a bear unless you are the perfect size. The military breast plate dress? UGH. Hubs would think I had lost my mind. The heavy knee outfit, the other patterns with wide-legs... yeah, without joking I can say that if I were to come out wearing those my husband would fall down in a chair laughing and ask what my costume was for.... a couple of the patterns remind me of Marcy Tilton designs, and I've never cared for them. Admittedly, I've been a dramatic dresser - just regular clothes that don't interfere with daily activities thank you very much.

I agree with you about Style Arc and Jalie - I have several patterns from each. I simply want to sew things I can wear, that are comfy (a top priority) and look presentable to the general public. Since I will not be attending any awards ceremonies this year, I'll pass on some the wild designs.

corsadriver49 said...

Barb, you got it just right here (and made me laugh.)
I do wonder if Vogue are getting desperate? Some of the new indie pattern houses are really racing up alongside with, yes, you said it, clothes we actually want to wear.
Style Arc just keep coming up with the goods time after time and I am sure Jalie are equally good and I would make more of their patterns if I could just get past turning out endless pairs of Jalie leggings for the granddaughters! If ever a pattern was good value, this it it. The girls just keep requesting more. They fit so well, straight out of the packet.
Real clothes for real lives. Count me in.

Abbey said...

Ah yes, Vogue releases: the day of each season where I keep repeating, "Oooh that's neat, but I'd never wear it." =) I love looking through the designs (especially the designer releases, which I am sure some folks just buy for the collection factor more than for making/wearing...) but so many are just not practical for my life, or yours, or most other people's. I mean, I'm young and flat-chested but I'm not turning up to the office sans bra or with my diaphragm on display!

Some of the dresses are perfectly nice and wearable enough for occasions, but the fact is that my daily summer attire consists of less fussy things. Having said all of that, I do enjoy the releases and am glad Vogue is still around; they just won't be my go-to patterns for daily wear, and that's okay!

Jean Shaw said...

That Paco Peralta pattern is reminiscent of some items that one of my sisters-in-law wears. I'd do the short version over leggings for yoga OR the longer version by itself. And either in a fabric that has more drape.

Other than that, nope. Vogue is losing me. I agree that Syle Arc and Jalie are more attuned to reality.

Birdmommy said...

I always have my doubts about the patterns that only have illustrations. In the one with the black and white top, the 'model' has no hip curve at all; her legs appear to be tubes that meld somewhere in her torso. I suspect the proportions of that outfit on an actual human aren't nearly as attractive.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that the last year or so Vogue patterns has been very unappealing. Your reviews of most of these is spot on.


LinB said...

We still bring congealed salads to parties down here, lol. I love that sweetened gelatin, canned fruit, and cottage cheese qualifies as a vegetable because you call it a "salad."

And, my mother made a similar two-piece bathing suit for me -- metal zipper and all -- out of terrycloth, when I was eight or nine years old. I'm sure I must have nearly drowned the first time I wore it into the lake, swimming. I distinctly remember the unpleasant feel of putting the still-wet suit back on the next day. It took days to dry, hanging in the sun on the clothesline. I do not miss the days of the non-stretchy bathing suit.

Anonymous said...

I'm the one person who will by the Guy Laroche pattern! I'll do without the breast plate and buttons, thank you. But I think the rest of it is interesting. And yes, I'll wear it. Most likely to the grocery store.
Laurie Port Joli

Xpresso said...

Recently I was told that, for the big pattern houses, if a pattern envelope only shows drawings, instead of models, it means the pattern has never been tested. The Black and white top with the white pants is a maybe but I'd like to see it on a model (even if the model is the size of my right thigh).
Otherwise these patterns leave me cold. I notice the model with the navel is also showing on the pink dress. In the old days we would have referred to that as a maternity dress.

Erika said...

I'm with Carolyn - the 70s are back. And my short hourglass figure appreciates it. I love that style arc with the pleat in back, but boy would I look dumpy in it. The 70s appreciate curves.

that said - that lace and blue-stripes number? yeah. hard to imagine.

Vicki said...

Funny! And agree.

paloverdeblooms said...

I take your point but will disagree with some of it. I loved this Vogue release. I put a huge number of them onto my wishlist. It's not that I intend to sew all these designs since, after all, a lot of patterns are purchased merely to be aspirational. Take the Guy Laroche number: I think it's fabulous. I love the military details and have you looked at the interesting sleeves? The pattern is worth buying (on sale) just to check out the details. There's an example of this dress in a navy color way floating around on the net. It has wonderful embroidery embellishing it which makes me love the style even more. That said, the design doesn't read as summer to me at all.
I do understand the difference between what many pattern designs are and what we really wear every day. I have my typical uniform of A-line or fuller knee-length skirt and fitted top. I wear it all the time. I'm still an hourglass and I lived through and loved '70s fashion. I'm glad it's popular again. As for all the dumpy Stylearc sacks: bleccch. You can keep them. They're not for me!

KS_Sews (Dressmakingbacles) said...

I love reading pattern release reviews.

I found the Jalie release snooze worthy and haven't looked twice at the baggy style arc patterns for months now. I LOVED the Vogue release!!

The wide pants do work. They work and they are fierce when part of the right outfit!!

June Gould said...

yes, yes, i am with you all the way with the new vogue patterns. i used to love vogue but not recently. I am afraid that i hated the 70s style the first time around and don't think much more of the current revamp! As for the Indie patterns, I think too many of them are too casual with not enough real style or pzazz to them. I do like dpstudio, Pauline Alice, named clothing and some of the Style Arc patterns though.

crgalvin said...

Love your commentary ❤️ I had just about given up buying new patterns and often resort to adapting and altering new ones until companies like StyleArc appeared. Have made 3 of those but find the detail in finishes e.g. plackets, waistbands etc is poor. Have recently been trialling Lekala, excellent for getting the right size by entering one's personal measurements, computer generated pattern delivered by email and at a bargain price - ticks all the boxes for this retiree.

Anonymous said...

If I had a totally different body and life I could imagine liking the pink dress with the back interest (actually maybe its mainly the shoes I like?). Suspect the plaid top with the white pants in real life looks 1970s maternity-ish? I do like the gathered trim on the white cavalry uniform.

Are you home from your travels?


AlaskaBerninaGirl said...

Duvets, girdles and Frigidaires, you're killing me smalls! I might possibly make and wear the wide too but that would it for me.

Beth (SunnyGal Studio) said...

I look forward to new Vogues as they are one of the few pattern companies making interesting patterns, complex and different designs which I'm always looking for. I have such great success with their dresses and jackets and I find the indies are often so simple as to be indistinguishable from one another. So many indie patterns that are just the same. I hope Vogue and Burda continue to issue the quirky and complex along with more everyday wearables or we will all be wearing the same old basics. I have been underwhelmed by Style Arc, made a couple and not worth the price to me.

Catherine Daze said...

I hear what you're saying, but I liked this release. And interestingly the ones you really disliked are generally the ones I liked! Not the white one with the navel though. I'm tempted to buy the Guy Laroche because of the interesting details, and I'd wear the Paco Peralta outfit and the 70s maxi. That's what Vogue's about for me; interesting and quirky patterns. I have years of Burdas to raid for simple and wearable designs.

Style Arc are brilliant though, no question about that. The only indie company I've made more than one pattern from.

Lyndle said...

Love this. It is soo what I think when I see these releases. (What do you make of mccalls/ new kwik sew "craft-your-own-tartan-mommy-and-me-pinafore with bonus matching chair cover" type patterns? Are they weird in North America too?)
Have to say, though, that the onion soup -reduced cream dip lives on in New Zealand, frequently in a non-ironic way. (Yes, we have cellphones here. It's not actually the 70s). I think, however, that scone-dough pizzas with tinned spaghetti on top have not stood the test of time, even here.

Cuscini said...

Oh, how you make me laugh! The folks at GOMI's thread for Patterns that make you go hmm would welcome you with open arms. Nonetheless, I've seen several active bloggers and posters on Facebook who are raving over these patterns. Apparently the pattern designer for the white, cut-down-to-the-navel dress has posted advice on how to raise the chasm a bit.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you, and just don't understand the fawning over the latest Vogue release. I've recently had a cull of sewing patterns, ditching ones that were bought on a whim to try a new style or fabric. I'm concentrating on sewing cloths that I'm going to wear on a daily basis, and I realise now that my style is very simple: pencil/A-line skirts and sheath dresses for the office, tops to wear with jeans at the weekend, and cocoon style day dresses. Those over-worked dresses have no place in my wardrobe, and neither do wide-leg trousers. I find myself purchasing more independent sewing patterns now, having recently purchased some from HotPatterns, and Stylearch, and I find that their POV suits my own.


mags said...

Completely agree, so disappointing Why on earth do the only make patterns for skinny tall women. I haven't yet met one sewer who looks like that. I like a lot of the style arc patterns. Made their Stella coat this year, wouldn't necessarily recommend the instructions though.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to say that I really liked quite a few of the new Vogues. StyleArc (and sometimes Collette) aside, most of the indie patterns I have seen are a massive snooze fest for me, no interesting design lines or shapes or drafting, just boring looking 'Very Easy' type patterns. But that rant aside, here is what I like about some of the new releases: regarding V1545, the white dress, I would throw away the top and make it as a skirt. Such a cute skirt. And for V1548, the military overlay dress, I would toss that overlay, there's a nice v-neck hiding under there, the bodice lines are lovely, chuck the ugly cuffs and hem the sleeves at that nice s-curve seam, and lengthen the skirt to the floor. Maybe continue the boule effect on the skirt, or possibly make it more a-line. Made up in a pretty voile or gauze fabric, it would be a pretty summer maxi with some coverage on the shoulders and arms.

Marg in Alberta said...

I would go out in that grey bra-banishing dress if I knew it would get me onion soup mix dip!

KellyT said...

I couldn't agree with you more! Loved all your comments. I find the whole fashion industry is out of touch with what people wear.