Sunday, 28 April 2013

Don't judge a pattern by its cover

I thought I'd try something different for this post -- I'm going to share one of my biggest sewing realisations with you! It may be staying the obvious, but it sure took me a while to get to such a conclusion, and I still do struggle with it on some level. 

So here it is --  over time, I realised that it is not the best idea selecting patterns by looking at the envelope. Indeed, the cover could be very misleading! Yes, I do try and check out PR for, well, pattern reviews, but this really only makes me steer away from bad patterns with lovely covers. On the other hand, potentially great pattens with bad photos/illustrations don't make way to my shortlist, and slip under the radar. 

Here are three patterns in this category that immediately came to mind:
I mean, McCalls's, seriously?! I would go as far as saying that the envelope is hideous! OK, view D isn't that bad, but the other views really aren't great, are they? If you manage to look past the terrible cover though, you will see a decent pattern, which could be turned into a wardrobe staple. If you need some more convincing, check out these beautiful versions - from four square walls, and yes i like that

The second one is Simplicity 2959 - yep, the one I used to make my wedding dress! But I couldn't bear looking at that pattern the whole time (10 months!) that I was making it! Yes, I did change it a fair bit, but let me tell you that every single version that I have seen made-up is much, much better than that terrible blue dress up there! I even feel a bit sorry for that poor model who, not only had to wear that dress, but smile for the photo. 
Then there's Simplicity 2444. I would like to thank the wonderful blogsphere for bringing this fantastic pattern to my attention! I have seen great versions here, here, here  and everywhere, and have made this pattern twice myself (see my cherry version here and fresh as a daisy version here). But judging by those two photos on the envelope - I would never have bought this pattern in a million years, despite my soft spot for Project Runway patterns. 

I must admit that I tend to "discover" these patterns by following lots of wonderful blogs (trusting that someone out there is much more able to look past the exterior), and looking on sites like Burdastyle and PR. But how about you? Do you know any ugly ducklings in the sewing patterns world that you would like to share with us? and how to you spot these hidden gems? 

9 comments:

  1. I tend to look at the line drawings but that last pattern review has never interested me, even though there are lots of gorgeous versions of it :-)

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    1. That's very sensible of you :) I wish I could pay less attention on the pictures!

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  2. A great post! One I've come across recently is Simplicity 2177. The line drawings aren't bad at all, but the photograph is just hideous - you can't even see the bodice of the dress, and the styling is so frumpy. I discovered it thanks to Andrea from Four Square Walls' lovely version here http://foursquarewalls.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/im-tellin-ya-folks.html

    I'm making my own version at the moment - it's a lovely pattern to use, and I can see myself wearing it all the time!

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    1. Thank you Elena! Great mention of Simplicity 2177 - I like the look of it (well, not exactly, but the made-up versions).

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  3. I agree with Elizabeth: ignore the picture and only look at the tech drawing. I have a few that had bad envelope art but made up well, simplicity 3775 and vogue 8413 being the main two. Having said that I still fall for Vogue's pretty pictures way too often.

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    1. Thank you for your input. I agree that Vogue is usually amazing at pictures!

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  4. I am totally reliant on the vision of other bloggers when it comes to choosing a good pattern. If I get the pattern cover image in my head first I think I'd never commit to buying it! You did so well to resist the visual torture of that blue monstrosity to make your beautiful wedding dress.

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    1. Yes, thank god for all the wonderful sewing bloggers out there :)

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  5. Great post- as a novice seamstress I'm still finding my feet and find pattern pictures a little intimidating.

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