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Articles > Best Patterns of 2008 [Diane Egelston]

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Best Patterns of 2008  Free  (01/27/09)

In this Article
  • Read about the Hottest Patterns of 2008
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  • Best Patterns of 2005 Part 1 Part 2
  • Best Patterns of 2006
  • Best Patterns of 2007

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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 2008
    by Diane Egelston
    Welcome to®'s 4th-annual Best Patterns roundup. Our list emerged from 2008's most frequently and favorably reviewed patterns, with the top ten selected by PR member votes.

    As you'll see, we sew-ers are a practical, cheerful bunch. In 2008, with world chaos and change doled out in equal measure, we found creative refuge in our sewing rooms with patterns we knew we could count on. Three of the 2008 top ten member favorite patterns were on 2007's Best Patterns list, leaving me to conclude that we wanted a little control and a few sure bets in our corner of the universe.

    Our favorite patterns in 2008 demonstrate a winning formula for sew-ers of all skill levels:

    Pattern companies known for consistently positive results
    + the new range of yummy, forgiving knit fabrics
    + designs requiring a minimum of fuss and fitting
    = success in the sewing room!

    When the Best Patterns ballot went out, I was surprised not to see more international magazine patterns included. Throughout 2008 I had noticed an unprecedented number of these reviews in PR's daily newsletter. A world-wide corps of talented reviewers and Cidell's tempting article (International Superstars) had clearly generated seductive buzz.

    Sure enough, PR statistics supported my hunch. In 2008 44% more Burda World of Fashion (BWOF) pattern reviews were posted than in 2007; Burda Plus reviews increased 28% in the same timeframe. So, with 931 BWOF and Burda Plus reviews written and posted in 2008, how did only one BWOF pattern wind up on the Top Ten ballot? Simple. More of us are sewing and reviewing BWOF patterns, but we're reviewing dozens of different patterns. As more sew-ers try the magazine patterns, we're likely to see a larger number of these patterns receiving multiple reviews.

    Now, on to your wonderful 2008 Top Ten!

    Number 1: Jalie 2794 "Sweetheart Top"
    Knit top with sweetheart neckline in two sleeve lengths.

    Pattern sizing: Range of sizes from Girls to Plus (bust sizes 21" - 50")


    Photo by PeggyL
    PR members are having an unapologetic love affair with Canada's Jalie patterns. Originally focused on athletic-wear, Jalie has expanded its casual clothing line and its knit tops are perennial PR favorites. Since its debut in late 2007, the Sweetheart Top has received unanimously positive reviews, despite a few personal fit and construction challenges. Reviewers particularly like the neckline shape and the bustline fit. Thanks to darts masquerading as gathers, no full bust adjustment (FBA) is necessary. Reviewers suggest careful marking to get the gathers and the built-in shrug in the right place.

    Number 2: Vogue Patterns 8379 "Dress"
    Wrap front dress with collar and sleeve variations has soft pleats and a side tie.

    Pattern sizing: Misses 8-22 (bust sizes 29.5"-42")


    Everyone who makes this second-year-in-a-row favorite loves its classic wrap styling. With neckline and sleeve changes, by lengthening or shortening, and by choosing a casual or dressy fabric, this timeless basic can be made countless times. While one reviewer added walking ease to the front skirt panel, most felt the dress provided plenty of coverage. As with any v-neck design, it's best to check the neckline to make sure you like its depth. Reviewers of all skill levels were delighted with this patterns' results.
    Photo by Knitters Delight

    Number 3: Jalie 2682 "Womens' Tops"

    Stylish V-neck top, raised neckline at back, with or without sleeves. View A has a zipper at front neckline for more coverage.

    Pattern sizing: Girls - Plus (bust sizes 21" - 50")


    Depending on the fabric chosen, this Top Ten 2007 alum can be worn for workouts or work. Sized up and sewn in fleece, this pullover makes an excellent cool-weather layering piece; just be mindful of the self-lining feature when selecting fabric. Some reviewers used a lighter-weight lining, to avoid bulk. When you make this top, be aware that many reviewers found the empire seam too high, and a few reviewers felt the back neckline should be lowered. As with any pattern new to you, it's best to use inexpensive fabric the first time around.
    Photo by Heatherrique

    Number 4: Vogue Patterns 2925 "Wardrobe"

    From the wardrobe collection, this pattern has a cute knit top, Lined skirt, jacket and ribbon faced pant all in one envelope.

    Pattern sizing: Misses 6-22


    Although this pattern provides a complete wardrobe of jacket, top, pants, and skirt, most PR reviewers used this pattern for the pretty little top.

    Photo by 2BSewing

    All like the pattern's shaping, and many have sewn more than one version. Reviewer suggestions included reducing the neckline and armscye seam allowance to 3/8" for easier turning and hemming.

    Unfortunately this pattern is now Out of Stock but who knows they might just bring it back! Fingers crossed.

    Photo by Kbenco

    One reviewer used the pattern to its maximum advantage, rating the jacket and pants "good patterns" and the top and skirt "outstanding".

    Number 5: Vogue Patterns 1027 "Dress"
    Calf length dress with semi-fitted, pleated and lapped bodice, bias skirt with inseam pockets and stitched hems.

    Pattern sizing: Misses 6-22 (hip 32.5" - 46")


    This graceful dress is that rare combination of a designer label and an "easy" Vogue rating. Reviewers of all skill levels loved this DKNY design, while providing some great suggestions for those making it for the first time.

    As drafted, some reviewers found the back bodice large and the bodice length short. As always, measure the pattern carefully before cutting your fabric. Other tips included reducing the back neckline seam allowance, eliminating the pockets and the elastic in the sleeves, and finishing the ties by sewing them right sides together and turning.

    Photo by Dei
      Number 6: Simplicity 4076 "Misses Knit Tops"

    Variety of Knit Tops including Wrap Shirred, Twist and a Gathered Scoop Neck

    Pattern sizing: 8-24 (bust 31.5" to 46")


    A Best Pattern in 2006, with its five sleeve and three neckline variations, sew-ers can create an entire season's worth of knit tops using this pattern. Of the 122 reviews written since 2006, three sew-ers rated the pattern as "okay, but didn't work for me" and five rated it as "recommended with modifications." Suggestions for success included: checking the View D sleeve length and stabilizing the neckline with a slightly shorter length of clear elastic to eliminate gapping. Generally, when sewing with knits our reviewers have found that shoulder and neckline stabilization improves their garments. Simplicity patterns don't necessarily include this in all knit pattern instructions
    Photo by Meggie Lulu

    Photo by Sandi S

    Number 7: New Look 6735 "Wardrobe"

    Knit Wardrobe

    Pattern sizing: Misses 8-22 (bust 32.5" - 44")


    PR reviewers found that this knit coordinate wardrobe flatters a variety of body types. Its bound neckline gives the scoop-necked top a professional finish, and the top's center back seam provides for a better back fit, especially for sew-ers requiring narrow or sway-back adjustments.

    Reviewers have sewn the top and skirt in the same fabric to wear as a dress or separates, and Nancywin made full use of the pattern's coordinates, sewing the pants, skirt, and two versions of the top. Reviewers gave a heads-up on the pants waist. Some may find that it sits a little too low for comfort; one reviewer also noted that the elastic application method for skirt and pants makes post-application fit adjustments difficult.

    Photo by RobinE

    Photo by Nancywin

    Number 8: Burda World of Fashion 01-2008-116 "Wrap Over Top"

    PR sew-ers wear knit tops over camisoles for warmth, fashion, and modesty; this Burda WOF top comes with a cami built in.

    As much as reviewers like this pattern, they also note that the top and ties are too short, and the sleeve cap is too high. Reducing the cap by approximately 1/2" flattens the top of the sleeve and makes sleeve insertion easier. Reviewers also liked to finish the ties, rather than exposing the fabric's wrong side. For a fun variation, one reviewer twisted the ties in front and knotted them in the back.

    Knit Wrap Over Top

    Pattern sizing: Misses 36-46

    Photo by Nancy K

    Photo byLauraLo

    Number 9: Simplicity 3678 "Knit Dresses"

    Empire waist Knit Dresses

    Pattern sizing: Misses 8-24 (bust 31.5" - 46")


    Simplicity appealed to many PR reviewers with this pretty collection of empire-waist knit dresses. Two neckline and four sleeve variations make this dress a near-unanimous hit. Some sew-ers found it easier to gather the lapped bodice instead of making pleats, and several reviewers found it more flattering to evenly distribute the gathers across the skirt front.

    Recommendations also included a center back skirt seam and darts, rather than gathers, for a smoother fit in the back.

    Photo by RobinMCPA

    Number 10: Simplicity 4020 "Knit Tops"

    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")


    Last on our '08 Top Ten list, and among our 07 favorites as well, is another Simplicity knit top. Most PR reviewers have made the kimono-sleeved version. This top lends itself beautifully to Asian-inspired prints, which are readily available from our favorite knit fabric merchants. For those who have made the dolman-sleeved version, results vary. Some do not like the unfitted top and closely-fitted waistband, which may be Simplicity's attempt to temper the dolman silhouette with a modern sensibility. Dolman sleeves are meant to be loosely fitted and narrowed at the wrist, so if this isn't a style you like, you might want to avoid Views A and B of this very popular pattern.
    Photo by shesflipped

    Photo by Jodi B.

    Right now, if you're anything like me, you're plotting your next pattern purchases and dying to get to your sewing machine. I hope you've enjoyed reading our reviewers' tips and techniques and checking out all the beautiful garments resulting from these patterns. Once you've had a chance to try the patterns yourself, please share your experiences with the rest of us at Patternreview. Happy sewing!

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