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Articles > Best Patterns of 2010 [Diane Egelston]

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Best Patterns of 2010  Free  (03/21/11)

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  • Read about the Hottest Patterns of 2010
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    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 2010 by Diane Egelston
    Many of us confronted challenges in 2010, especially given the fragile global economy. In stressful times we count on our hobbies to give us a break -- we crave satisfying sewing projects without hours of fitting and fiddling, just as we love soul-soothing food. This year's PR Top Ten patterns are comfort sewing at its finest -- clean-lined long-wearing classics, easy to sew and easy to pair with existing garments.

    Our list showcases patterns with sweet feminine details like ruffles, gathers, and ties, designed for knits and wovens. Demonstrating the paradox of simplicity, our reviewers' photos show that these basic patterns produce an astounding variety of results, depending on fabric, details, and wearer.

    Counting down from number ten, here are the PR Top Ten favorite patterns of 2010.

    Number 10: Butterick 5495 "Misses' Top"
    Butterick pattern description: Loose-fitting tops A, B, C, D with front drape gathered into loop, dropped shoulder, seam details and stitched hems. A, B: sleeveless. C, D: short or long kimono type sleeves.
    Pattern sizing: BB(8-14), FF(16-22)


    Photo by Amy-may
    Reviewers recommended this top for its flattering style, assembly ease, and economical fabric use. Many reviewers simplified construction further by eliminating the center back seam and cutting the back on the fold, although for some, it's important to remember that the center back seam helps customize the fit.

    A few sewers found the faced neckline too flimsy for their taste, and member Sharon M offered a clear elastic option in her detailed review. Given this top's fitted bodice and flowing style, several reviewers lengthened the pattern to make summer dresses.

    Reviewers universally found the v-neck too deep, and many cautioned us to measure the pattern carefully at the waist and hip to ensure adequate wearing ease.

    Number 9: Simplicity 2599 "Misses Tops"
    Simplicity pattern description: Misses top with trim variations. Separate patterns included for B, C, D cup sizes.
    Pattern sizing: D5 (4-12); P5 (12-20)


    Pick up any current fashion magazine, and you'll see ruffles, gathers, and bows. Our reviewers loved this pattern for these details, as well as for its shaping and different cup sizes.

    Designed for woven fabrics, this pretty little top can be made as dressy as you wish and is perfect for adding spark to your work wardrobe. In her detailed review, PR member eugenia123 gave specific serger tips to simplify ruffle construction and application, crediting PR instructor Jennifer Stern for this technique. Overall, sewers found this top a satisfying project, noting only that the decorative details may need a little extra care to get the desired look.
    Photo by eugenia123
    Photo by barebear

    Number 8: Vogue 8634 "Misses' Top"
    Vogue pattern description: Close-fitting, pullover tops A, B, C, in two lengths, have collar and stitched hems. A: short sleeves. B: three-quarter length sleeves. C: long sleeves.
    Pattern sizing: Y(XS-S-M), Z(L-XL)


    A universally beloved pattern, this knit cowl top or tunic offers sewers of all abilities the opportunity to make a chic top using one of many stretch fabric choices.

    Reviewers were delighted to find this top easy to fit and easy to make, and PR member, Christas, made a beautifully fitted dress by simply adding length and hip ease to the tunic version. Select fabric with body, reviewers suggested, so that the cowl doesn't sag and look sloppy. Also, check sizing, and depending on your fabric's stretch, you may want to size down.

    Several reviewers chose to eliminate the under-bust seam, since it is merely a design feature and doesn't affect fitting. Additonal cautions include checking the width of the neckline and underbust seam placement to make sure each is exactly the way you like it.

    Photo by Christas

    Number 7: Kwik Sew 3740 "Tops"
    Kwik Sew pattern description: Close fitting pull-over tops have scoop neckline. View A has cowl collar and full length sleeves. View B is sleeveless and neckline and armholes are finished with self fabric bindings.
    Pattern sizing: XS-XL


    PR reviewers consistently praise Kwik Sew pattern drafting and instructions and they loved this pattern for both. Designed to be constructed from start to finish on the serger, this pattern may also be sewn on a conventional sewing machine. With interchangeable necklines, the top may be made with or without sleeves, offering all-season wearing options. Lengthened, this pattern makes a beautiful dress. Many sewers used this pattern as part of various capsule wardrobes entered in PR contests

    Photo by QuiltSewSewSue

    Photo by PattiB

    Photo by Sharonspils

    Number 6: Jalie 2919 "Pleated Cardigan and Vest"
    Jalie pattern description: Figure-flattering cardigan with tucks that run from shoulder seams to the waist. Hits just below the hips. The draped look without the bulk!
    Pattern sizing: Girls 2- Women 22


    Several particularly detailed reviews of this knit cardigan point out its merits and challenges. While reviewers love the ready-to-wear styling of this layering piece, they were frustrated by some pattern errors and instruction omissions. These have since been corrected, so before you make this for yourself, be sure to check Sew4Fun's review for her terrific tips and Jalie's additions. Among reviewers' concerns were tight armholes and narrow sleeves, even on those with slender arms. Reviewer Sigrid. noted that, unlike older Jalie patterns, this pattern's sleeve cap is the same, front and back, which doesn't render the formerly asymetrical sleeve cap's superior fit.

    Photo by JEF

    Photo by cabinbaby
    Number 5: Simplicity 2648 "Misses & Miss Petite Dress"
    Simplicity pattern description: Misses/Miss Petite dress with individual pattern pieces for slim, average, and curvy fit and for A, B, C, D cup sizes.
    Pattern sizing: Misses 6 - 24


    Photo by DreinPA

    The most tailored of our Top Ten picks, this iconic princess-seamed sheath dress delivers custom fit with a few carefully selected pattern pieces. In addition to its cup size choices, Simplicity added skirt-fit options, which help account for the differences in sewer's hip silhouettes. In her review, redhotpepper showed us how the "slim" choice fit her figure. Some reviewers preferred to line their dresses, which is not included in the pattern or instructions, but is easily done with the help of a good sewing reference. For those needing chic workwear, this dress is perfect, as demonstrated by DreinPA, whose hand-embellished version would be on anyone's best-dressed list.

    Photo by birdmcfarland

    Photo by redhotpepper

    Number 4: Jalie 2921 "Scarf-Collar Tops"
    Jalie pattern description: Knit top with scarf collar that can be tied in many different ways: A- Through a buckle; B- In a bow; C - Through opening at center front.
    Pattern sizing: Girls 2 - Womens 22


    Photo by eugenia123

    Reviewers loved this embellished V-neck and the tie options that spiff up the plainest fabrics. Most found the collar construction magical, with its beautifully finished result. Robin Denning's instructive review gave a heads-up about possible gaping at the back neck. This bothered several reviewers, so before cutting into your favorite silk jersey, you may want to whip up the top in a test fabric to see if you need to put a dart in the back collar. Several reviewers used an extra-stretchy fabric and Rostitchery's "full-tummy" tutorial to create stylish maternity wear.

    Photo by Leslie in Austin and kdburkhardt

    Photo by Paris75008

    Number 3: Simplicity 2451 "Misses' Skirts"
    Simplicity description: Misses unlined gored and pencil skirts, each in two lengths.
    Pattern sizing: D5 (4-12); P5 (12-20)


    Skirts are an instant gratification sewing project and a guaranteed way to dress up and feel pretty. In denim, with topstitching and button tabs, this basic skirt is anything but boring, and in a luxe fabric, absolutely chic. Most reviewers made the gored version, finding its flat-front and flared hem very flattering.

    For simple instructions on lining the skirt, read Sharon M's review.

    Photo by Mushywear

    Number 2: Simplicity 2369 "Misses' Dress & Separates"
    Simplicity's pattern description: Misses' tunic, knit dress in two lengths, and pants.
    Pattern sizing: K5 (8-16); U5 (16-24)


    Reviewers universally praised this pretty wrap top and dress. Unlike many similar patterns, most sewers were comfortable with the depth of the neckline and didn't bother with a modesty alteration. As one reviewer noted, the dress has a vintage feel, especially when constructed in soft floral knit. To date, no one has reviewed the pants, which could pair with the tunic and dress to make a complete warm-weather weekend capsule.

    Photo by Kim12469

    Photo by Sharon M

    Number 1: McCall's 5974 "Misses' and Women's Dresses"
    McCall's pattern description: Dresses A, B, C, D have bodice variations with front pleats, neckline variations, self-faced midriff, pleated skirt front, back zipper and sleeves in three lengths; dresses A, B have scoop neck; dress A has short sleeves; dress B has long sleeves; dresses C, D have wrapped bodice, "V&" neck and self-ties; dress C has three-quarter length sleeves; dress D has long sleeves; dresses A, B, C, D length is 1" below mid-knee.
    Pattern sizing: B5 (8-16); RR (18W-24W)


    McCall's touts this pattern as the "perfect knit dress" and our reviewers agreed, giving the pattern high marks for its exceptionally detailed fitting instructions. Even Victoria B, the sole reviewer who wasn't sure the dress flattered her figure, recommended it to others for its construction ease and design. With neckline, sleeve, and length variations, and by adding or subtracting the wrap ties, one can create an entire wardrobe of dresses from this pattern. Although the dress includes a zipper, most reviewers said it was unnecessary with the appropriate knit.

    Photo by ClaireEmily

    Photo by Amanda S.
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