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Articles > Best Patterns of 2013 [Diane Egelston]

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Best Patterns of 2013  Free  (01/20/14)

In this Article
  • Read about the Hottest Patterns of 2013
  • Related Articles

  • Best Patterns of 2005 Part 1 Part 2
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  • Best Patterns of 2012
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    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 2013 by Diane Egelston 
    How lucky we are to have each other, here on We share our sewing successes and challenges; we get feedback; and most fun, we build rich friendships, based on our common interests in art, craft, fashion, and creativity. While developing this year's Best Patterns article, I was struck by how our sewing community has changed over the past decade, with the riches available online. In our content-rich virtual world we can feed our sewing passions with a mouseclick and never feel alone, whether there is another sewer within miles of our real-world home.
    So make a cup of tea and get comfortable. Come see our community's top pattern selections for 2013. If you're like me, you'll be eager to choose some of these patterns for yourself and add at least a few of these pieces to your wardrobes.

    Number 10: Vogue Patterns 1314 "Misses' Dresses"
    Description: Pullover, close-fitting, lined dress has draped sides and narrow hem.
    Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 6-22


    There is nowhere to hide in this simple, fitted knit dress, and when sewn well and not sausage-casing tight, it shows every curve to its greatest advantage. Reviewers recommend sewing the lining, as the inside layer will provide more wearing confidence. As reviewer grays08 wrote, "you might as well give yourself a little more forgiveness in how it clings!"

    Although the dress is very closely fitted, some reviewers found that the pattern ran large. In her detailed and instructive review, caper81 suggested cutting the lining first to check the fit. Use swimsuit lining, which can be found in basic colors at a reasonable price.

    Photo by caper81
    Photo by timesha

    Number 9: Simplicity 1716
    Description: Misses' knit mini-dress, tunic and top can be made with a front twist or draped neckline with five different sleeve variations to choose from.
    Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 4-20


    Simplicity continues to delight PR reviewers with its great basic knit garments. This top or dress, with its pretty twist or cowl neckline variations, can be made just as easily in a plain or patterned fabric. Other details include pleats at the shoulder and sleeve and side ruching, all of which add interest to an otherwise simple knit top. A center back seam makes it easy to make fitting adjustments, particularly useful when making the tunic or dress length. In her detailed writeup, reviewer couturemom recommends assembling View A's front section completely before sewing the shoulder seams. This simplifies and speeds construction. In the same review, couturemom also cautions against using too heavy a fabric for the twist neckline variation.
    Photo by couturemom
    Photo by Jessica Dean

    Number 8: By Hand London "Anna Dress"
    Description: An effortless Summer dress featuring double pleats at the bust, kimono sleeves and a paneled a-line skirt. Variations include both slash and v-neck options, plus midi and maxi skirt possibilities and a dramatic thigh high split. Super quick and simple to make, cut it short for the perfect festival dress, or make it worthy of the red carpet with a maxi skirt and thigh high split.
    Pattern sizing: UK 6-20/ US 2-16


    The online sewing community provides the perfect incubator for clever marketing campaigns. Independent designers are brilliant at generating enthusiasm for their patterns with community participation through contests and sewalongs. By Hand London conducted an inspiring Anna Dress Sewalong, complete with helpful fabric and construction hints. In member margy.64's comprehensive review, the Anna Sewalong got a lot of credit for making the Anna Dress easier for beginners. Reviewer cathytxtwfr agreed that the instructions were "a bit sparse," but she found additional construction and alteration help to which she linked in her review.

    As I read through the Anna reviews, I was stunned at the dramatic variations, owing simply to fabric choice. From long and formal to short and casual, this dress can be constructed to suit every possible taste.

    Photo by margy.64

    Photo by cathytxtwfr

    Number 7: Grainline Studio 31002 "Scout Woven Tee"
    Description: A woven t-shirt with capped sleeves and scoop neck. Fitted at the shoulders, this top falls into a loose shape below the bust. Techniques involved include straight seams, bias binding, setting sleeves and basic hemming.
    Pattern sizing: 0-18


    A woven tee can be a wardrobe superstar - as easy to wear as a knit tee, but dressier. One of Grainline Studio's Scout Tee's many delightful attributes is that it is downloadable, so anyone with PayPal or a credit card can buy and assemble the pattern on a whim. Grainline pattern designer Jennifer Beeman provides her considerable sewing and drafting expertise via posts on her blog, making the Scout Tee a perfect choice for a sewing novice's first project. In her review, member yoshimi described its lovely simplicity this way, "...people who have experienced the sadness of dart-less/panel-less blouses would love it, too, because they know how difficult it is to achieve a pretty blouse with such few seams."

    Photo by Lori V

    Photo by swirlgurl

    Number 6: Vogue Patterns 8766
    Description: Lined dress has underlined bodice variations and narrow hem. A, B and C: close-fitting, boned bodice and princess seams. D, E and F: fitted bodice. D: purchased belt. C and F: purchased ribbon for belt. E and F: pleated sleeve cap. Note: all garments are cut on the crosswise grain of fabric.
    Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 6-20


    Once you fit this pattern, you have an entire wardrobe of occasion-ready dresses, from formal cocktail wear to twirly-skirted garden-party frocks. The trick to getting this dress right is paying attention to pre-construction basics. As member Anne Cherry stated in her comprehensive and helpful review, "It's actually pretty easy to construct - only 4 pieces. Getting grain right, cutting and hand stay-stitching took far more time than actual construction."

    Photo by Anne Cherry

    Photo by GoodbyeValntino
    Number 5: New Look 6097
    Description: Workroom from Project Runway, misses' belted knit dress with neckline and sleeve variations.
    Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 10-22


    What would the Best Patterns roundup be without a knit wrap dress - faux wrap or otherwise. Helpful tips for making this dress include shortening the front facing by an inch to help the neckline lie flat and using spray starch to tame slippery fabric, especially where topstitching. Thanks to reviewers SewWil and aprilsweetie for those great ideas.

    This well-fitting classic design suits many body types, and if you're unsure of your construction skills, choose a busily-patterned fabric to hide any little sewing flaws. For various helpful and well-written tips, check out member caper81's review.

    Photo by MNBarb

    Photo by caper81

    Number 4: New Look 6150 "Misses' Top"
    Description: Misses' knit top in two lengths has surplice or boat neckline and can be made with 3/4 sleeves, ruched short sleeves or sleeveless.
    Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 10-22


    Dressing for work can be a challenge, especially if one tries to stick to simple speedy wardrobe choices. I recently threw out a Nordstrom RTW top very similar to the sleeveless surplice-front version of this New Look pattern. I'd worn this top to a tragic raggy state, and now, thanks to this pattern, I can replace it! Part of the magic is in the fabric - a gauzy lightweight knit is perfect, and you can easily make it look expensive by adding an underlining to the front piece.

    All reviewers found this pattern simple and easy. In her writeup, member Heatherrique suggests eliminating the front facing and sewing the sleeves in on the flat, as skilled PR sewers usually do.

    Photo by Heatherrique

    Photo by craftsanctuary

    Number 3: Vogue Patterns 8904 "Misses' Dress"
    Description: Close-fitting, pullover dress has self neck binding, tiers, and raw edge finish. A: sleeves. B: self armhole binding
    Pattern sizing:Misses' sizes 8-18


    This Marcy Tilton design is an opportunity to showcase interesting fabric combinations. With its well-placed layers, the dress allows an unselfconscious close fit. "I really like that the dress is form-fitting, but magically it does not reveal too much," states reviewer JudyCook. Check out her extremely helpful review for alteration and construction tips.

    Reviewers with narrow shoulders found that they did not have to alter, so measure the shoulder length and compare it to yours before cutting. Be sure to mark the fabric carefully so that you can apply the layers as intended. To get the most from the pattern, you can also use the underlayer to make a "killer sheath dress," as reviewer stonecutter17 points out.

    Photo by dsharp

    Photo by JudyCook

    Number 2: Grainline Studio 31004 "Archer Shirt"
    Description: The Archer Button Up is a loosely fitting button up shirt with long sleeves. View A has angled cuffs and a back pleat at yoke. View B has straight cuffs and a gathered lower back detail. Shirt weight fabrics ranging from silk chiffon, silk crepe de chine, cotton shirting, chambray, lightweight denim, and flannel.
    Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 0-18


    It's not a wonder that Grainline's Archer Shirt pattern is popular with PR reviewers. Thanks to Grainline's digital pattern product, it's an instant-gratification project. As long as you have a computer and printer, you can have the pattern in your hands without leaving the house or waiting for the mail to arrive. To make the pattern even more appealing, Grainline designer Jennifer Beeman has posted Archer Sewalong tutorials, complete with beautiful photographs and detailed instructions.

    Many reviewers, such as Jstarr4250, have produced multiple versions of the Archer. In this review Jstarr4250 describes how she knocked off a cozy denim duster, in her seventh Archer version. PR sewers have used both buttons and snaps for their closures, providing more opportunities for variety with the basic pattern.

    Photo by ArtAttack

    Photo by Jstarr4250

    Number 1: McCall's 6844 "Misses/Miss Petite Cardigans"
    Description: Close-fitting cardigans (do not meet at center front) have collar extending into front band, and narrow hem. A and C: shaped hemline, wrong side shows. Designed for medium moderate stretch knits.
    Pattern sizing: Misses' sizes 0-16


    Quick and easy, with a boatload of style, this close-fitting knit cardigan jacket won the vote for Best Pattern of 2013. With its simple lines, this jacket offers a wonderful creative canvas, as described in this review by member beanchor. Although drafted to remain open at center front, many reviewers found it sized generously enough to pull closed and wear belted. This pattern generated a lot of sewing joy, as demonstrated by member Christas, who said, "I LOVE this pattern!". Many reviewers planned to give these cardigans as holiday gifts.

    Reviewers suggest selecting a smaller size than usual, as the pattern runs large. They also thought it unnecessary to interface the collar and downright silly to set in the sleeves. Just do them on the flat, as with most knit tops.

    Photo by beanchor

    Photo by MrsCharisma
    What fun I've had putting this piece together, and today I know I'll be nabbing some of these patterns and rooting around in my fabric stash. I am inspired and excited! How about you?
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