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Articles > Best Patterns of 2011 [Diane Egelston]

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Best Patterns of 2011  Free  (02/07/12)

In this Article
  • Read about the Hottest Patterns of 2011
  • Related Articles

  • Best Patterns of 2005 Part 1 Part 2
  • Best Patterns of 2006
  • Best Patterns of 2007
  • Best Patterns of 2008
  • Best Patterns of 2009
  • Best Patterns of 2010
  • Discuss this article on the boards
    About the Author
    Diane Egelston is a writer, editor, consultant, and facilitator, whose avocational passion for public education has taken a front seat to professional pursuits. Since childhood, Diane has found calm in her exciting and chaotic world by making things and cooking food, especially bread and cake. Always glad for the chance to share creative joy with others, Diane is grateful for
    Best Patterns of 2011 by Diane Egelston's 2011 Top Ten is a gift to all busy sewers trying to fit sewing into their lives and creativity into their closets. Having recently returned to regular professional work, I'm challenged to dress appropriately without boring myself to death. With limited time but unlimited desire to express myself, I'm more grateful than ever for sewing skills and great fabric sources. And I'm grateful for this year's PR pattern favorites, which provide inspiration for easy pieces to sew and wear. Thank you all for writing the reviews and voting on your favorites!.

    Dresses dominate our list, and every one of them can perform at work or play, in cool or warm weather. Here are 2011's PR favorites, starting with Number 10.

    Number 10: New Look 6648 "Misses' Knit Tops"
    Description: Knit top with cut-on sleeves in four views with wide ruched waistband and optional self-fabric belt. Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 6-16


    Simple to sew, easy to wear, and first reviewed in 2006, these timeless styles add instant zing to a tired winter wardrobe. Read GodsgirlT's inspiring review to learn how she knocked off Louis Vuitton using this basic pattern. Few reviewers have tackled the crossover view, and self-described beginner AngeM found that the front neckline gapped. She suggested stitching the front closed, but you could also prevent gapping by stabilizing the front opening with clear elastic cut slightly shorter than the pattern piece.
    Photo by TriciaZ
    Photo by Lynnelle

    Number 9: Vogue 1236 "Misses' Dress and Belt"
    Description: Sleeveless DKNY dress with belt, designed for woven fabrics. Loose-fitting, with pleated scooped neckline. Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 8-24


    Members sewed this dress in cotton, rayon, linen, and lawn. Given its generous fit, this dress is best made in soft fabric that falls close to the body and doesn't cause too much bulk at the pleated neckline. In her detailed review, michellep74 suggested careful tissue fitting to ensure enough length over the bust. She also used Nancywin's tutorial for lining sleeveless dresses to replace the Vogue facing technique.
    Photo by littlebetty
    Photo by CJgal
    Photo by michellep74

    Number 8: Vogue 1247 "Misses' Top and Skirt"
    Description: Very loose-fitting top. Semi-fitted A-line skirt has front in-seam pockets. Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 6-18


    This Rachel Comey tunic and skirt are perfect for a range of fabrics, from utilitarian to luxe. Several reviewers have cautioned that the skirt may be too short for some, so measure carefully before cutting your fabric. This way you can add length in the right place to maintain the skirt's shape. For detailed instructions on how cmarie12 lengthened and customized her skirt pattern, see her review. This review is particularly helpful for those who want to sew a pattern that does not come in the necessary size range. cmarie12 's technique can be applied to many patterns.

    Photo by dixiediy

    Photo by RandB

    Number 7: Simplicity 2497 "Misses Dresses"
    Description: Misses dress in three lengths with neckline and sleeve variations. Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 4-20


    With its optional ruffled neckline embellishment, this pretty Cynthia Rowley design is a feminine addition to any woman's wardrobe. Gemaki's extraordinarily informative review includes many linked tips and ideas for everything from sewing with silk to inserting a lapped zipper. Reviewer cabrewer82 encountered fit frustrations and suggested that the pattern may work better for those with broader shoulders. Read her review for more about her experience. In addition, several reviewers found the neckline too low and suggested raising it to suit your preference.

    Photo by Gemaki

    Photo by aleah42

    Photo by Bonnie D

    Number 6: Vogue 1224 "Misses' Dress"
    Description: Partially lined, pullover dress has short dolman sleeves, elasticized waistline and neckline with tie ends, stitched hems and above mid-knee length. Purchased stoppers for tie ends. Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 8-24


    Tracy Reese's simple pull-on knit dress would be great over a lightweight turtleneck and boots in winter. It's perfect for larger-scale knit prints, since few seams will break up the fabric's design. Reviewers liked the lined skirt, which allows a broader range of possible fabrics, but they found that the dress runs large. As with several of our Top Ten patterns, be aware of the short length and measure carefully to tailor it to your taste and figure. Reviewer chickenlips created a lovely maxi dress with this pattern and offers comprehensive information in her review.

    Photo by Lazycat

    Photo by jenleeC

    Photo by chickenlips
    Number 5: McCall's 6078 "Misses' Tops "
    Description: Top A has front and back stitched pleats, front drape, lapped back and extended shoulder seams; top B has stitched front pleats and drape; top C has front drape and contrast loops. Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes XSM-XLG


    McCall's 6078 is a pretty knit top with variations to both front and back. Reviewers such as mochimo loved the cowl neck and simplicity of assembly. In her review, Deepika offered a tip for binding the neckline and armholes, adding an polished detail. Many reviewers found the top generously sized, but remember that your fabric will impact fit, so the greater your fabric's stretch, the smaller the size you may need.

    Photo by Mahogany Stylist

    Photo by cahmad

    Number 4: Simplicity 2443 "Misses' Dresses"
    Description: Misses dress with knit bodice and jacket or vest. Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 6-22


    A study in contrast, this Cynthia Rowley pattern contains a flirty sleeveless dress and a sporty companion vest or jacket. Worn with a cardigan, the dress is very First Lady, but its racer back limits the on-its-own wearing options. As one who gets nervous about wearing too many gewgaws, I sometimes overlook embellishments' designer value. Why sew this pattern if you're going to strip it of its personality? Take a look at the beautiful results from other PR members, and you will want those details for your own. Reviewer Lobolita made an excellent point in her jacket review: "To anybody considering sewing this pattern, I highly recommend going the whole way and not skimping on the decorations. Be bold. Wear meaningless ribbons."

    Photo by katiemons

    Photo by EmilyMT

    Number 3: Vogue 1220 "Misses' Dresses and Belt"
    Description: Loose-fitting, mid-knee length dress has shawl pleated collar, partial waistline seam, pleats, side slant pockets, princess seams in bodice back, back darts, short sleeves with turn back cuffs, stitched hem facing, right fly front button closure and tie belt. Pattern sizing:Misses' sizes 8-22


    A modern take on the old standby shirtdress, this is a garment every woman wants in her wardrobe. This is versatile one-piece dressing at its finest - equally at home with kitten heels or ankle boots. Although this dress is designed for stretch wovens, several reviewers have successfully made it in fabric without stretch. In her review, member rivergum provided detailed tips for using a non-stretch woven. In her comprehensive review, Catherine Daze pointed out a few fiddly places in the construction. According to Catherine Daze, you may want to approach the front placket differently. Read the instructions carefully before starting, and have a good sewing reference nearby.

    Photo by Catherine Daze

    Photo by rivergum

    Photo by eruuska

    Number 2: Colette Patterns Sorbetto "Top"
    Description: Sleeveless top with bust darts and a front box pleat detail. Designed for woven fabrics. Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 0-18


    A free download, this sweet vintage-inspired tank has formed the basis for zillions of PR interpretations. Browse through the review gallery for inspiration. The best news is that you can have the pattern immediately - you just have to download and assemble it. Requiring a mere yard and a half of fabric, this is instant gratification at its finest. I'll bet every one of you has a piece of fabric that could work, just waiting to be used. In addition to sharing her pretty rendition, reviewer margk mentioned a couple of common points: make sure the top's length is right for you, and check the dart placement. Some sewers found that they wanted the darts a little lower and shorter.

    Photo by wendybirde

    Photo by msmodiste

    Photo by SIGRID

    Number 1: 1) Vogue 1250 "Misses' Dress"
    McCall's pattern description: Description: Close-fitting DKNY cap-sleeved knit dress with front cowl drape. Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 6-20


    "Simple lines, flattering shape, perfect." Member heathertyfeatherty described our Top Ten member favorite beautifully in her review of this classic, close-fitting knit dress. For those wishing to add cut-on sleeves, member Debbie Cook walked through her method, with step-by-step photos and instructions. For an alternate approach, read ArtAttack's review, in which she linked to her method of adding sleeves with drop-shoulder seams. No doubt that this dress is a favorite, but reviewers did offer cautions and improvements. Member stitchywitch added side seams at the hip, so that she could alter the dress and shape the skirt, a feat that is impossible when you sew it as designed. Read her review for specifics, as many reviewers did feel the dress would have benefited from additional fitting at the sides to help prevent extra fabric around the abdomen.

    Photo by Kim12469

    Photo by kidmd

    Photo by ArtAttack
    It's the end of our 2011 Top Ten, and it's time to sew. Don't have any of the patterns? No excuses! Download the Sorbetto Top, pull out a piece of fabric, and get going. When you're done, go ahead and purchase a few of the others. And please write reviews of your experiences, so we all keep learning. Happy sewing!
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    -- Edited on 2/7/12 10:29 AM -- -- Edited on 2/7/12 10:41 AM -- -- Edited on 2/7/12 10:45 AM --