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Articles > Best Patterns of 2009 [Diane Egelston]

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Best Patterns of 2009  Free  (01/12/10)

In this Article
  • Read about the Hottest Patterns of 2009
  • Related Articles

  • Best Patterns of 2005 Part 1 Part 2
  • Best Patterns of 2006
  • Best Patterns of 2007
  • Best Patterns of 2008

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    About the Author
    Diane Egelston is a writer, editor, consultant, and facilitator, whose professional life has miraculously aligned with lifelong fiber passions. Diane's current projects include developing a blog and editing Sandra Betzina's latest book. Interests are frequently sparked by her husband and two teenaged children, who keep life rich and real.
    Best Patterns of 2009
    by Diane Egelston
    Participating in the PatternReview community has permanently altered the way I approach sewing, which in turn, plays a huge part in the way I dress. I noticed this right off when I began thinking about this article. In some respects PR's 2009 Top Ten Patterns list is a random assortment of member favorites, unified by significant numbers of positive reviews. To this inveterate PR addict, though, the patterns screamed "Wardrobe!"

    At PR we love wardrobes -- talking about them, sewing them, and showing them off to win prizes. Clearly, one can create a vacation or business casual wardrobe using some --or all-- the Top Ten '09 patterns, but with the out-of-the-box thinking so typical of PR sewers, one can create a wardrobe to easily fit any occasion or lifestyle. Isn't it simply a matter of fabric choice, hem length, and fit?

    So, whether you'll approach these patterns as a cohesive group, begging to be used in a late winter or spring wardrobe, or you'll mine the list for that one must-sew piece, settle in for a tasty read. See how your fellow PR reviewers played with the patterns to suit themselves, their skills, and their lives.

    Number 10: McCall's 5522 "Misses Shirts"
    McCall's Pattern Description : Shirts A, B, C and D have front gathers, princess seams with topstitching, front bands, collar and sleeve variations; includes separate pieces for A/B, C, D cup sizes.

    Pattern sizing: Misses' 6-20


    Photo by Renee B
    According to reviewer lynnewill, this shirt "amps up the basic buttondown" and many reviewers said they'd used the pattern multiple times. The lovely princess lines and empire waist impart a nouveau-Edwardian shirtwaist feel to the waist-conscious silhouette; sweet feminine details such as ruffles or puffed sleeves lend themselves equally well to soft or crisp fabrics such as rayon challis or silk duppioni.

    Thanks to the cup-size choices, most sewers will not need to make a full-bust alteration.

    Number 9: Burda Magazine 04-2009-101 "Skirt with Front Pockets"
    Burda pattern description: slightly flared skirt with hemline a hand's width above the knee.

    Pattern sizing: 36-44


    Two versions of this skirt are showcased in the Burda magazine: one in work-appropriate wool tweed, and the other in playful cotton pique. PR reviewers also took advantage of this gentle A-line basic to dress up or down. Some chose to line the skirt, which required skill and a good reference book, and others simply left it unlined, as Burda suggested.

    In this particularly helpful review Kbenco helps us figure out the cryptic Burda yoke and facing instructions with a photo of the skirt's inside. With the side zipper, some reviewers found the working buttons on the front yoke unnecessary, but those with smaller waists and larger hips thought that the buttons were an added benefit, making it easier to get the skirt on.

    Photo by Amanda S.

    Number 8: Burda Magazine 01-2009-106B "Trendy Top"

    Burda description: knit top sports pretty sleeve flounces for a feminine touch.

    Pattern sizing: Burda 34 -- 42


    PR reviewers loved this simple top with the rounded v-neckline and graceful flounced sleeves. It's a simple top to sew, with one exception: some may find the inset corners above the sleeve ruffle challenging. If you'd like to avoid these inset corners, PR member Sew4Fun suggests cutting a separate ruffle piece and attaching it to the upper sleeve, then sewing the center front and center back sleeve seams. This simplifies construction and allows you to use a different fabric for the ruffle. Also, with any v-neck top, you'll get a variety of opinions about neckline depth, and reviewers' diverse thoughts about this top's neckline are no exception. To be safe, be sure to tissue fit the pattern or make a test of the neckline before committing to your favorite fabric.
    Photo by Christas

    Number 7: Jalie 2804 "Empire Crossover Top"

    Jalie pattern description: Empire crossover top with banded neckline and modesty panel. View A has a double layer lower bodice with gathered top layer. View B has a flat single-layer lower bodice. Choice of cap, short, three-quarter or long sleeve. The sleeveless version has a casing at shoulder seam for adjustable ruching.

    Pattern sizing: Girls' ages 2-13; Women's US (Euro) sizes: 4 (34) -- 22 (52)


    Optional midriff ruching makes this knit top a terrific choice for those of us who struggle with puddles of fabric at the back waist, for those wanting to hide a little tummy, and for those who need maternity wear. Frankly this pretty ruching detail works for everyone; just make sure to fit the side seams snugly, or you'll have sags and bags around your waist and lose the desired effect. Check your knit's stretch carefully before cutting this pretty top, as many reviewers found it more closely fitted than other Jalie tees.

    Reviewer MelissaB compared this pattern with another in her Jalie collection, and in this picture showed its straighter, more narrow draft. Reviewer Morzel created a clever nursing feature using this top, shown here. Since the built-in front camisole extends from side to side, it's even more important to use fabric with enough stretch or to size up. If you don't, you may end up with a too-tight bustline, causing the empire waist to pull up.

    Photo by mars418

    Number 6: Jalie 2805 "Women's T-shirts"
    Jalie pattern description: T-shirt with jewel neck (A), mock turtleneck (B), regular V neck (C) or overlapped V neck with decorative buttons (D) and choice of cap, short, three-quarter or long sleeves.

    Pattern sizing: Girls' ages 2-13; Women's US (Euro) sizes: 4 (34) -- 22 (52)


    If you've checked the price of good tees lately, you know how gratifying it is to make your own with fine fabric. Lucky for us, we have many great pattern choices. This multi-faceted Jalie pattern takes over for Hall of Fame favorite, Jalie 2005. Members of all shapes and sizes were delighted with this pattern and its choices of necklines and sleeves. As with all Jalie patterns, the majority of reviewers loved the instructions and some are particularly happy to have directions for sewing knits with a conventional sewing machine. The v-neck band application frustrated some sewers, but I've found that a little hand-basting keeps the layers from shifting when you sew the neckline by machine. Some also found the necklines a little high, so again, test the neckline depth before cutting special fabric.
    Photo by Mahler

    Number 5: Burda Magazine 02-2009-108 "Knit Top with Bateau Neckline"

    Burda pattern description: knit top with full- or 3/4 -- length sleeves and bateau neckline

    Pattern sizing: Burda 36 -- 44


    Dozens of PR reviewers loved this simple Burda tee. For many it was their first Burda magazine pattern. Its closely-fitted silhouette is perfect under a suit jacket and its pretty bateau neckline begs for a special necklace. The magazine's construction sequence suggests turning and stitching the front and back neckline separately, before sewing the shoulder seams. While this seems like more trouble than it's worth, it does create a true bateau slash-neck. Using this method also makes it easier to stabilize the neckline with clear elastic, allowing you to give the elastic just the right stretch. Without stabilizer, the neckline relaxes like a slight cowl, becoming a pretty design feature.

    As with many Burda knit tops, reviewers found the sleeve cap unnecessarily high. Shaving 1/2" to 3/4" off the top of the cap makes it easier to attach the sleeve on the flat, instead of setting it in as you would a tailored blouse sleeve.

    Photo by racehorse

    Number 4: McCall's 5525 "Trenchcoat"

    McCalls pattern description: Semi-fitted, lined, double-breasted jacket and coat have collar, lengths and sleeve variations, shoulder pads, princess seams and side front pockets

    Pattern sizing: Misses' 8-16; Women's 18W-24W


    According to reviewer Opals Passions, beginners can make this classic trench, and the only challenge for a new sewer is the lining. With a good reference book, she says, this coat is "a breeze to sew". Reviewers of all skill levels found the McCalls instructions easy to follow, even during the more complicated construction steps. Mark the fabric pieces well, and you won't have any trouble.

    Reviewer Terri A recommends highlighting the many steps in your chosen view, to avoid getting confused between views. Based on reading the reviews, I suggest testing different interfacing weights to make sure your fabric won't end up too stiff, especially around the collar and front facings.

    Because the trench has very nice waist shaping and a tie belt, take the time to tissue fit and alter the vertical length to get the shaping in the right place. Thanks to reviewer Erica B. for the heads-up on the incorrectly drafted back buttoned yoke. It's wider on one side, so before cutting, be sure to correct the pattern piece. As Erica says, "fold it in half and even it out."

    Photo by Terri A

    Photo by PhyllisC

    Number 3: Simplicity 3503 "Misses Day or Evening Knit Dress or Gown"

    Neckline and hemline choices make this easy-to-sew knit dress the perfect choice for a special occasion. Choose a beautiful one-of-a-kind knit in a dramatic dark color, add a little embellishment to the plunge in front or back, and you'll have the perfect party dress. Lighten the color and lengthen the hem, and you have a playful maxi dress for the beach, pool, or any lighthearted moment.

    When making the long version, take note of your fabric's weight. A heavy acetate slinky, for instance, will require careful stabilizing so that the neckline doesn't dip lower than you intend.

    For excellent tips, read CynthiaSue's review of the full-length halter-necked version.

    Simplicity pattern description: Misses' knit dress in two lengths with bodice variations

    Pattern sizing: Misses US (European) 6 (32)- 22 (48)

    Photo by Jacqui315

    Number 2: Simplicity 2603 "Misses Knit Top and Cardi-Wrap"

    Simplicity's pattern description: Misses' knit top and cardi-wrap with front variations

    Pattern sizing: Misses XXS -- XL


    When Deepika launched the Cardi Sew Along, she created a lot of excitement about this versatile tank and wrap combination. Using Donna Karan's "cozy" wrap as inspiration, dozens of PR sewers created their own couture snuggies in various luxe fabrics. Reviewers got into the spirit of showing the myriad styling options, and included many photos in their reviews. Lately I've seen Karan cozies with "infinity" collars, where the wrap folds back on itself rather than hanging loose. With this pattern, any version is possible.

    To create a sleek line, sewers found it best to maintain a tailored shoulder line, fitting the cardi body and sleeve to avoid a dropped shoulder. As mentioned the pattern includes a scooped-neck tank featuring a gathered neckline and wide neckband. Reviewer Sew4Fun used the cardi sleeves to create a gathered-necked tee.

    Another reviewer, aSewingNuMommy, made a coordinating wrap and nursing top, allowing her to swaddle her baby while nursing discreetly.

    Photo by 3kids1036

    Number 1: Jalie 2908 "Women's Stretch Jeans"

    Jalie's pattern description: Women's flattering stretch jeans with slim fit through the hips and thigh and a flared leg, back and side front pockets, zip fly with button closure. View A has a low rise (2-3 inches below the navel) and View B has a regular rise (at the navel).

    Pattern sizing: Girls ages 2- 13 Women's US (European) sizes 4 (34) -- 22 (52)


    Days before starting to work on this article, I spent a good part of an afternoon altering a crummy pair of RTW jeans. When I read this Top Ten list, I wondered how far I could have gotten on these fantastic Jalie jeans in the time I spent getting marginal results with my altered pair. A side benefit to reading all the Jalie jeans reviews was getting great ideas for future RTW alterations!

    Less than a year into this pattern's short life, these jeans have a cult following, propelled by the lively Sew Along created by PR member Dawn (cabinbaby). At 85 pages long, the Sew Along thread is chock full of tips, techniques, and tutorials, one of which is BrianSews's waistband mini-class on page 31. Any new, but serious, jeans sewer would do well to read the entire thread. In addition, Dawn's detailed review contains many helpful links and tips.

    Reviewers loved the choice of low and high rise, as shown here in becca a's review. All reviewers commended the Jalie instructions, and many enjoyed using Sandra Betzina's fly-front tutorial And for taking care of "gaposis" you cannot find a better step-by-step pictorial guide than Emilie's Jeans Alteration.

    I don't know about you, but I'm inspired by seeing all the reviewers' well-fitting jeans in gorgeous fabrics. Maybe we should have a second-wave Sew Along for those of us just catching on!

    Photo by Heatherrique

    Photo by kidmd

    So there it is! What a terrific collection of member favorites. As I mentioned, I'm going to create a coordinated wardrobe using these patterns, and having seen what our reviewers created, I'm excited to get started. I hope you enjoyed looking back over our 2009 successes, and I look forward to seeing how you use these patterns, as well. Once you've had a chance to try the patterns yourself, please share your experiences with the rest of us at Patternreview. Happy sewing!

    Newsflash: Did you know that PatternReview hosted it's FIRST Fashion Show at the American Sewing Expo in Michigan last year? All the wonderful garments shown on the runway were based on our Top 10 lists over the years. Highlights from the show and the winners!

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