SIGNUP - FREE Membership and 1 FREE Sewing Lesson
| FAQ | Login
Platinum Sponsor

Articles > Best Patterns of 2012 [Diane Egelston]

Back to Article Index

Best Patterns of 2012  Free  (02/14/13)

In this Article
  • Read about the Hottest Patterns of 2012
  • 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
  • Best Patterns of 2011
  • Discuss this article on the boards **Update link***
    About the Author
    Diane Egelston is a writer, editor, consultant, and facilitator. 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 2012 by Diane Egelston
    Researching and writing PR's eighth annual Best Patterns roundup provided boatloads of motivation to plan my next projects, as I found many beautiful interpretations of these simple-to-construct knit and woven classics. Missing from the top-ten lineup were pants, which found their way into the top fifteen via Sewaholic Patterns, the clear front runner for 2012 Pattern Company of the Year. Comprising four of the top fifteen patterns, and three of the top ten, this new entrant into the independent pattern company pantheon has garnered 185 reviews in the past two years, making it a super success right out of the gate.

    I asked Tasia, Sewaholic designer and owner, why her line is so popular with PR reviewers. "I think these patterns are popular because they're good, solid basics," she said. "They're patterns that people can make multiple times to build up their wardrobe, which is my goal when designing patterns."

    Basics are a good way to describe this year's top ten, but many of our reviewers' renditions are as unique as the women who sewed them. I hope you find as much inspiration here as I did, and I hope to see your results posted at

    Number 10: McCalls 3830 "Misses' Skirts in Five Lengths"
    Description: Skirt in five lengths have front and back darts, back zipper, faced waist and optional carriers; skirt A, B and C have back vent. Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 6-22


    A well-fitting basic skirt is an unrivaled wardrobe staple, and many PR reviewers have selected this straight-skirt pattern to make again and again. FoPR member Sheila457 chose it for a "Carnival of Skirts" sew-along, and FoPR member GoodbyeValntino thought the pattern was the perfect choice for an online class in which a simple skirt pattern would be fitted and customized. Several reviewers found the skirt's shape somewhat boxy, and pegged the side seams to narrow the silhouette toward the hem. Reviewer Betty Stitchup cautioned that the facing pieces don't match the skirt. Before cutting your fabric, check the facings against the faced pattern piece to make sure you don't end up with a surprise that's difficult to fix.
    Photo by Sheila457
    Photo by Betty Stitchup

    Number 9: Colette 1017 "Peony"
    Description: This elegant bateau neck sheath dress is simple to sew, with added interest from a fully removable cummerbund style belt which can be made in a matching or contrasting fabric, closing with a single button in back. Version 1 has 3/4 length sleeves, a contrasting belt, and in seam pockets. Version 2 has short sleeves, a matching belt, and no pockets. Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 0-18


    As FoPR member craftsanctuary says, Colette Pattern's Peony dress is "stylish with a touch of vintage flair." This sheath dress is livened up with a bateau neckline and removable cummerbund, and its streamlined shape provides the perfect canvas for special woven fabrics. While reviewers consistently praised the Colette instructions, they also overwhelmingly recommended making a muslin to ensure the proper fit. Bust dart placement seemed particularly challenging, and many reviewers invested time rotating or moving the darts to better fit their figures.
    Photo by julibchickadee
    Photo by velosewer

    Number 8: Simplicity 1916 "Misses' Knit Tops"
    Description: Misses' knit wrap top with sleeve variations. Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 6-24


    Over the years, Simplicity's knit top patterns have gotten high marks from PR reviewers, and this pattern with its multiple design options was this year's Simplicity favorite. As one who always adds a center back seam so that I can dart out excess fabric, I appreciate Simplicity's pattern makers saving me that step. These pretty tops are figure flattering, with their ruching and empire style lines, and they are also perfect for customizing, as reviewer aleah42 demonstrated for the Ready to Wear (RTW) contest. Most reviewers found the neckline a little too low, so be sure to tissue fit the top to see if it will work for you. In addition, the side-drape style appealed to some reviewers and worried others, but after looking through the reviews, I think it's a very pretty style worth a try.

    Photo by knitsewmuch

    Photo by aleah42

    Number 7: Vogue Patterns 8747 "Misses'/Misses' Petite Fitted Shirt"
    Description: Fitted. A, B, C, & D Cups. Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 6-20


    This fitted shirt pattern, with its high sleeve cap, princess seams, and front gathers, is feminine and flattering. Adjusting for the bust is a simple matter of choosing the correct cup size, and reviewers were pleasantly surprised by the fit accuracy. Reviewers added personal touches, such as FoPR member, 1SewSweet's sleeve bands. For extra tailored polish, some reviewers added sleeve plackets, but most were happy with the pattern's simpler sleeve-finishing method.

    Photo by 1SewSweet

    Photo by cleverkitty

    Number 6: Sewaholic 1103 Minoru "Jacket"
    Description: Zip-front weekend jacket with a secret hood hidden inside the wide collar with raglan sleeves and elastic waist. Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 0-16


    Reviewers love this jacket, with its dramatic collar and cinched-in waist. As FoPR member marec stated in her review, the Minoru is "highly recommended-fun, functional and feminine." With raglan sleeves, there are no worries about getting the shoulder seam in the right place. Reviewers consistently wanted more pockets, and Sewaholic Patterns responded with website instructions. As designer/owner Tasia told me, "there's nothing really out there like it, and many of us tend to need practical clothing more than pretty clothing, so this jacket fills that need." I think this jacket can be very pretty -- with its recreational lines, but made in a luxe fabric, it would make a stunning wardrobe addition because of the unexpected combination.

    Photo by marec

    Photo by chickenlips
    Number 5: McCall's 6559 "Misses' Unlined Jackets and Dresses"
    Description: Close-fitting, unlined jacket in 2 lengths has front extending into single-layer tie ends(wrong side shows). Very close-fitting, pullover dresses. E and F: front seam detail, bias upper/middle fronts, and lower front/back (cut on crosswise grain of fabric. All have narrow hems. Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 6-22


    It's hard to beat a classic pull-on knit dress for easy sewing and easy wear. "This is a very popular pattern for good reason. It is easy, has nice lines, and offers plenty of opportunity for creativity," states FoPR member DorothyK in her two-dress review. Another reviewer, FoPR member annie11 uses the pattern in her sewing classes, leaving the pattern scarce in her town. Review tips from annie11 include leaving the hem edge raw and dabbing seam sealant at the side seam ends, raising the low-cut neckline, and checking the length carefully before cutting.

    Photo by DorothyK

    Photo by Sharon M

    Photo by DorothyK

    Photo by margy.64

    Number 4: Vogue Patterns 8815 "Misses' Top"
    Description: Fitted top has raised waist/hemline variations and narrow hem. A and B: back zipper. Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 8-24


    This pretty blouse, designed for woven fabrics, is a little piece of magic for your wardrobe. Paired with a slim skirt or pant, it cuts a lovely hourglass silhouette, given the raised waist seam and soft peplum. Particularly well fitted, with subtle features such as shoulder darts, this top can be made in a variety of fabrics for casual to formal wear. FoPR member LonestarLady replaced the recommended bias tape neckline and armhole finish with bias self-fabric, a material which was a better pairing with her lighter-weight fabric. Reviewer mimi g. recommends lining the top, which results in a finer finished product.

    Photo by Sue Anfang

    Photo by LonestarLady

    Number 3: New Look 6808 "Misses' Easy Tops"
    Pattern sizing:Misses' sizes 8-18


    First reviewed in June 2008, this classic woven blouse continues to be enjoyed for its feminine details and customizable base. While for some reviewers getting the fit right was difficult, once achieved, the blouse became a favorite wardrobe staple. The neckline is pretty, but woven fabric requires darting and/or pattern alteration to avoid the occasional gapping or gaping that is easier to hide in a knit top. Reviewer JillyBe shared tips for ensuring a properly-fitted neckline in her review.

    Photo by pinkcatflower

    Photo by JillyBe

    Number 2: Sewaholic 1202 "Cambie Dress"
    Description: Fitted, fully lined dress with a sweetheart neckline and built-in cap sleeves. Your choice of classic A-line skirt or full gathered skirt. Both skirt options feature pockets. Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 0-16


    Reviewers loved this versatile dress with its lovely neckline and fitted bodice. As FoPR member twilltape put it, "The overall shape is simple and flattering." Reviewers also loved the pockets, which are easily deepened if one needed more pocket room. Because the bodice is fitted, several reviewers thought it worth investing in a muslin test before cutting into more precious fabric. The A-line or gathered skirts are forgiving, so once you've the bodice fitted and the waist in the perfect spot, all systems are go! As reviewers stated, this dress can go to a wedding or to the park, with a simple change of shoes, accessories, or fabric. The lining gives it an extra luxe quality and can be inserted without tears due to the well-written and well-illustrated instructions.

    Photo by retrotechgeneva

    Photo by Knitters Delight

    Number 1: Sewaholic 1201 "Renfrew Top"
    Description: Fitted knit top with sleeve and neckline variations. Sleeve and body hems are finished with bands. Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 0-16


    2012's favorite PR pattern and Sewaholic's best-seller is the Sewaholic Renfrew Top. According to Sewaholic's Tasia, "It's because it's the knit pattern for people who dislike sewing knits! A lot of people fear sewing with knit fabrics, so this top is finished with self-fabric bands to avoid hemming and make it easy to get a professional looking result. Plus, everyone wears tee shirts!" And everyone wants to make and wear the Renfrew Top. FoPR member poppykettle took her Renfrew all the way to Macchu Picchu, where she wore it joyously among the ruins. Reviewers love the Renfrew hem finishes, which give the top a professional look. The three sleeve lengths, neckline, and collar variations make many looks possible with one pattern. Reviewer acbrown28 ) determined that she could squeeze 24 looks from the pattern, and that was before she "cardiganized" it.

    Photo by poppykettle

    Photo by acbrown28
    So there it is - your list of favorites, selected on the basis of positive reviews and prioritized by your votes. During the voting, you were also asked which patterns you wished were on the list. Those pattern companies which received the most frequent mentions in your comments, were StyleArc (the Linda Pant in particular), BurdaStyle, and Colette (especially the Clover Pant). Maybe we'll see these companies featured in next year's list. Here's to sewing and sharing!

    Colette Patterns 1019 Clover

    StyleArc Linda Stretch Pant
    Copyright © 2013 ® All rights reserved.