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Articles > Best Patterns of 2007 [Diane Egelston]

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Best Patterns of 2007  Free  (01/15/08)

In this Article
  • Read about the Hottest Patterns of 2007
  • Pattern Descriptions, Photos and Recommendations
  • Get inspired!

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    About the Author
    Diane Egelston is a long-time PR contributor who has been playing with fiber since Sputnik went into space. While her stash began with a collection of potholder loops, weaving has taken a back seat to sewing, knitting, and playing the piano. Diane is a writer and runs a communications and performance consulting practice.
    Best Patterns of 2007
    by Diane Egelston
    When® emerged on the sewing scene six years ago, it both created and reflected a cultural shift in the world of do-it-yourself fashion. PR provides an enormous database to any forward-thinking pattern company executive, showcasing user opinions on patterns offered and showing what PR members want and are able to create in the absence of a ready-made pattern.

    In 2007, more than ever, PR sewers displayed beautiful custom-made clothing collections as they shared their experiences with fellow fiber-lovers from around the world. While writing this article I was reminded of all the valuable information one finds in the pattern reviews. If you're not yet in the habit of reading all reviews of a pattern you're preparing to purchase or sew, it's definitely worth doing.

    As you read through this list, you'll notice that we couldn't sew enough dresses, in both woven and knit fabrics. In our favorite-pattern lineup, Simplicity leads the pack with clear instructions and carefully drafted patterns. Simplicity's alliances with Threads and Sew Stylish magazines, as well as the "Built by Wendy" and "Khaliah Ali" lines have given Simplicity an edge with sewers who want to create their own fashion-forward clothing.

    Number 1: Simplicity 3775 "Knit Dresses"
    Knit dress in two lengths with sleeve, neckline, and bodice variations.
    Pattern sizing: Misses 4-20 (bust sizes 29.5" - 40")


    Photo by Pirouette
    This versatile knit dress topped our list. It is closely fitted, yet flattering on a variety of figures given its waist to high-hip ruching and graceful A-line skirt. With this simple pattern you can create an entire wardrobe of dresses which easily span seasons and work for day and evening.

    Photo by Beve

    Number 2: Simplicity 3867 "Sew Stylish Collection"
    Dress, top, city shorts, jacket and bag.
    Pattern sizing: Misses 6-22 (bust sizes 30.5" - 44")


    This year Taunton Press published a new magazine aimed at younger sewists with a high interest in fashion and creativity. This pattern is one of several versatile collections resulting from the Simplicity/Sew Stylish partnership. Although this pattern includes a summer holiday's wardrobe, our reviewers zeroed in on the dress and the top. One PR reviewer showed us how to see beyond the envelope to use the dress as a cool-weather jumper.

    Photo by narcissaqtpie

    Photo by zazzie

    Number 3: Simplicity 3835 "Built By Wendy"

    Dress, Mini Dress or Top
    Pattern sizing: Misses 4-20 (bust sizes 29.5" - 40")


    Our reviewers have made ample use of this pattern by turning out dresses and tops as designed and by taking the sleeves off the dress to create a vintage-style mini-dress. This is but one example of where our reviewers have taken a simple pattern and added couture finishing touches such as French seams.

    Photo by 007gurl

    Photo by mendospot

    Number 4: Simplicity 4020 "Pullover Knit Tops"

    Pullover Knit Tops with neckline, sleeve, and bodice variations
    Pattern sizing: Misses 4-20 (bust sizes 29.5" - 40")


    Reviewers of all skill levels love this pattern, and this year they zeroed in on its kimono-inspired lines by using beautiful Asian-style prints. One of our reviewers lengthened the top to make a lovely summer dress. While reading the reviews I was surprised at the near-unanimous raves, and inspired to take this pattern out of my neglected-pattern pile to sew for myself.

    Photo by IsabelleB

    Photo by nicegirl

    Number 5: Jalie 2682 "V Neck Tops"
    V-neck top with raised back neckline and sleeve and neckline variations
    Pattern sizing: Children's 2-13 (chest sizes 21" - 32"); Misses 4-22 (bust 33" - 50")


    The Canadian pattern company, Jalie, continues to provide our readers and reviewers high-quality patterns, with classic, yet fashion-conscious, style lines. Jalie's large envelope contains traceable patterns, from toddler to plus-size, printed on sturdy paper. While the instructions may seem skimpy to some, a careful review of the accompanying diagrams usually removes any first-time jitters. We have often seen the resulting garments modeled by adult women, but occasionally we are treated to an equally flattering, smaller-sized version.

    Photo by cabinbaby

    Photo by Stacy Sews

    Number 6: Ottobre Woman "02-2007-04 Puffed-sleeve T-shirt"

    Knit top with gathered neck, and short puff sleeves
    Pattern sizing: European sizes 34-52 (bust 80 cm to 122 cm or 31.5" to 48")


    As a result of our far-reaching internet world, we are seeing more and more international magazine patterns show up in our readers' reviews. We who were wedded to a "standard" five-eighths' inch seam-allowance have been taught a new way of sewing by our international sisters and brothers. Many of our reviewers began sewing with magazines such as Burda, Patrones, and Mrs. Stylebook. This year, Finland's Ottobre Woman magazine published several little knit-top jewels, and reviewers around the globe showed us how to use them to their maximum advantage.
    Photo by Sew4Fun

    Number 7: Vogue "8379"

    Wrap front dress with collar and sleeve variations has soft pleats and a side tie.
    Pattern sizing: Misses 8-22 (bust 29.5"-42")


    This is a classic wrap-style dress, which looks strikingly similar to everyones perennially favorite designer dresses. This pattern gives a sewist of any experience a fair chance to knock off an expensive garment at a fraction of the RTW price. One of our reviewers, who identifies her sewing skills as "advanced beginner," used this pattern to make two of the most beautiful dresses I've ever seen.

    Photo by loohoo44

    Photo by mirielgw

    Best Patterns

    Number 8: Vogue 8386 "Knit A-Line Dress"

    Knit a-line dress with lapped and gathered bodice fronts and gathered skirt in two lengths.
    Pattern sizing: Misses 6-20 (bust 28.5"-40")


    For the perfect little black party dress, reach for this pattern. Despite its deep v-neckline, reviewers noted that the bodice provided secure coverage. While our reviewers found the instructions and pattern markings adequate, some wished that more information about sewing with knit fabrics was included in the envelope.

    Photo by snowflake girl

    Photo by Leslie in Austin

    Number 9: Simplicity 3893 "Khaliah Ali Knit or Woven Top"

    Knit or Woven Top with sleeve, neckline, and bodice variations.
    Pattern sizing: Misses 10-18 (bust 32.5"-40") and Women 20W- 28W (bust 42"-50")


    Finding stylish patterns drafted for plus sizes is a challenge, and Khaliah Ali's Simplicity line is designed for a range of plus sizes. Ali's designs are trendy and fun, with inspiring pattern envelope photography. Our reviewers noted the ease of construction, as well as the deep v-neckline which requires a camisole underneath.

    Photo by Geek Sewing

    Photo by LoriB

    Number 10: Simplicity 3631 "Sew Stylish Coat"

    Coat or Jacket, Dress or Jumper, Slim Pants and Skirt
    Pattern sizing: Misses 6-22 (bust sizes 30.5" - 44") ( Finished Bust Measurement 44" - 55.5")


    Sew Stylish magazine featured this wardrobe pattern in its Fall '07 issue, showing "one pattern, 11 outfits." Our reviewers took this suggestion to heart, and made a stunning array of garments, including a variety of jackets and dresses. Beginning sewing skills and limited sizing did not deter our sewists, as our reviewers demonstrated with their beautiful results.

    Photo by Erica B.

    Photo by Tearsa

    Number 11: Amy Butler Frenchy Bags

    Hand bag or shoulder bag to be made in sturdy fabrics.
    Pattern sizing: Handbag (11.25" wide by 11.25" tall, excluding straps); Shoulder bag (14.75" wide by 16.5" tall, excluding straps)


    When it comes to gift-giving, PR members reach for favorite accessory patterns to help them out. Reviewers consistently found this Amy Butler bag pattern a good choice, with its excellent instructions and delightful shape. Utilitarian or glamorous bags alike result from this pattern, simply as a matter of fabric choice.

    Photo by pterion

    Photo by zetor

    Number 12: McCall 5330 "Pencil Skirts"

    Pencil skirts with optional front button closure or inverted front pleats Pattern sizing: Misses 4-18 (bust 29.5"-40")


    There's nothing like a basic skirt pattern to build up your wardrobe, and this pattern took our reviewers to work and play, with its flattering shape and multiple views. One reviewer gave thumbs-up reviews to each of the three views, adding a lining and invisible zipper to increase its sleekness and wearability. In one of her versions, creative use of the fabric's border print enlivened the simple elegant lines of the skirt. As shown by another of our reviewers, this skirt turns out beautifully in denim, showcasing special buttons or snaps.
    Photo by Sharon M

    Number 13: Butterick 4790 "Dress"

    Dress with back wrapping around to the front for a sheath and overskirt look.
    Pattern sizing: Misses 8-22 (bust 29.5"-42")


    This pretty vintage-style wrap-around dress delighted our reviewers with its simple construction and clever engineering. The only downside to this dress with its feminine circle skirt, is the requisite yardage and width, which ranges from 4 3/4 to 5 yards, in a 45-inch fabric. This makes the dress quite a fabric commitment, but as you can see, the results are well worth it.

    Photo by amacord

    Photo by Kaby

    Number 14: Kwik Sew 3338 "Close fitting Tops"

    Close-fitting pullover tops with neckline and sleeve variations.
    Pattern sizing: XS-XL (bust 31.5"-45")


    While we still enjoyed sewing simple knit tops, we became more adventurous with embellishments and variations, and we became far more picky about proper fit. This Kwik Sew pattern, with its specific instructions and fine drafting, provided a wonderful palette for experimentation. Using this pattern in concert with Marcy Tilton's instructional DVD, one of our reviewers gave us a gallery of tops one would only be lucky enough to find in a high-end boutique.
    Photo by Helen near Sydney

    Number 15: New Look 6557 "Sundresses"

    Sundresses with bodice variations.
    Pattern sizing: Misses 8-18 (bust 31.5"-40")


    Last among our top fifteen pattern selections, but definitely not last in style, is this lovely sundress. It's one thing to sew a closely-fitted knit garment and have it fit nicely, but it's quite an accomplishment to turn out a dress that fits this well in a woven fabric. This dress would be perfect worn at a garden luncheon or with a little jacket to an afternoon wedding. One of our reviewers liked the pattern so much that she made four of the five views.

    Photo by Pirouette

    Photo by labybegood

    Want more? Stay tuned for PR HALL OF FAME patterns. Coming soon...

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