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Articles > Hall of Fame 2009 [Diane Egelston]

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Hall of Fame 2009  Free  (02/10/10)

In this Article
  • Five prior "Best Patterns" recipients which also garnered 15 or more positive reviews in 2009
  • Related Articles

  • Best Patterns of 2009
  • Hall of Fame 2007

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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.
    Hall of Fame 2009
    by Diane Egelston
    We're delighted once again to present Patternreview's Hall of Fame: the five prior "Best Patterns" recipients which also garnered 15 or more positive reviews in 2009.

    "What becomes a legend most?" If you're a certain age or a student of modern advertising, you'll remember this post- "Mad Men" era ad campaign. Perhaps it's the retro vibe emanating from a couple of our Hall of Fame picks, or maybe it's the legendary status some have achieved, but that phrase kept wafting through my head while working on this piece.

    What keeps Patternreview members flocking to certain patterns? For one thing, an overwhelming number of reviewers found these patterns straightforward to construct, with clear instructions and pleasing outcomes. But more importantly, simple designs render these patterns at once timeless and customizable, so they paradoxically allow us to avoid trends or embrace them, making the most of our sewing and design time. Each pattern appealed to sewers of all levels, and disappointing experiences were nearly nonexistent.

    Simplicity 3775 "Misses Knit Dresses"
    Misses knit dress with neckline, sleeve, and midriff variations.
    Pattern sizing: 4 - 20


    Photo by kidmd

    Photo by Sallygirl
    Like many of our favorite patterns, this seasonless dress with the fitted bodice and sweet swingy A-line skirt looks terrific on sewers of all ages and body types. A change of accessories takes the dress from casual to formal, and the right choice of fabric puts it on a par with the priciest ready-to-wear. As if to demonstrate this design's timelessness, reviewer Ripple Dandelion completed her dress in 2007 and wore it for the perfect occasion two years later. A trend-specific dress could never be that versatile. For the most fit-forgiving view, try the ruched version; this style is meant to fit snugly at the waist and is delightfully camouflaging. And when making the v-neck style, make sure you stabilize the neckline in order to avoid showing more cleavage than you intend -- I definitely know that from personal experience. In her excellent tip-filled review, Amanda S. suggests self-lining the cap sleeves, which gives a professional clean finish.

    Photo by elily00

    Simplicity 3835 "Built By You Tie-sleeve Dress"

    Built By Wendy Misses Dress, Mini Dress or Top
    Pattern sizing: Misses 4- 20


    A funky 60s spirit lives in this happy little raglan - sleeved dress -- the perfect project for a beginning sewer looking to branch out into garment construction. As seasoned PR reviewer kdburkhardt wrote, "love it love it love it." Its simplicity calls out for a bold cotton print, which would provide visual interest while hiding still-developing construction skills. Though it might be tempting to avoid the zipper and use only the elastic neckline, I suggest new sewers try their wings by making the faced neckband and applying the zipper. Just heed many reviewers' cautions: measure your sleeves to make sure they are not too narrow, and do a neckband mockup to see if it's too high for your comfort. Not only will you ensure success, but you'll get more practice as well.

    Photo by JessB

    Photo by Deepika

    Jalie 2794 "Sweetheart Top"

    Top with sweetheart neckline, gathering at bust, neckline bands and choice of three-quarter or cap sleeve.
    Pattern sizing: Girls (ages) 2-13; Women 4 - 22


    What becomes a legend? Jalie patterns. With a consistent showing in the Best Patterns lineups, these patterns are renowned for their dependable drafting and beautiful fit. The Sweetheart Top has a lovely vintage sweetheart neckline, framing the decolletage and providing the backdrop for a cherished necklace. Reviewers loved the shape of this neckline, some raising it a little higher to suit personal taste. Reviewers also appreciated the Jalie instructions and diagrams. As stated by member Elnoramarie, "very good pictures to guide people like me who are more visually inclined." Many reviewers eliminated the elasticated ruching at the bust, though as member CissieW said, "I used it both times, thinking it might give me a little "definition" on the top! I like the elastic as I think it reinforces the sweetheart neckline look."

    Photo by Elnoramarie

    Photo by kathigarn

    Photo by Kay Y

    Hall of Fame

    Vogue 8379 "Misses Dress"

    Wrap front dress has soft pleats, side tie, and sleeve variations. B has collar.
    Pattern sizing: Misses 8 - 22


    If Vogue ever discontinues this pattern, I predict the first-ever sewing riot. Sewers have loved some version of the Diane von Furstenberg classic wrap dress since its Vogue pattern appearance in the early 70s, and PR reviewers of all skill levels found this current version approachable and fun to sew. They've knocked off high-end ready-to-wear wrap dresses using fabrics from luxe silk jersey to cozy sweater knit. Member Kristine Kay used the pattern to create a spectacular embellished "halter-like" version. Her clever approach to removeable trim is detailed in this review. This dress looks beautiful on women of all shapes and sizes, and PR member, Melody, offers this tip for plus-size sewers: "the thing that makes or breaks this for the plus size chicky is the length of the ties." She recommends adding your preferred length to the ties to make sure you have choices about how you wrap them.

    Photo by michellep74

    Photo by Kristine Kay

    Photo by Melody

    Simplicity 4076 "Misses Knit Tops"

    Knit tops with sleeve and neckline variations.
    Pattern sizing: Misses 8 - 24


    This versatile top weighed in with more than twice the reviews of any other Hall of Famer. Though the pattern is packed with plenty of variations to keep sewers busy, some reviewers have taken this classic basic and created their own unique designs.

    In 2006 member and Sew Forth Now podcaster Lori V was among the first to review this pattern, and she's still using this pattern as one of her trusted tried-and-true patterns. I picked up the phone and called Lori, asking what keeps her going back to 4076. "It always works," she said. "It's a nice basic easy-to-adapt pattern, and the sleeves fit well, with a little more ease in the bicep." Lori's favorite is the view with the gathered neckline, which she says makes a plain knit top special. As her skills have increased, Lori approaches the pattern a little differently, knowing that she needs to give more or less ease, depending on her chosen knit. She also says she's more patient now, taking time to make alterations to improve results, and taking steps to make sure the neckband fits close to her body. Any disasters with this pattern, I asked? "Never a disaster," she replied, but the first time she cut the pattern apart to deal with having too little fabric, the top ended up a little shorter than she would have liked. Although it's adorable, she rarely wears it. Lori has made so many of these tops that she has worn some out, and the last one she made was in December. Lori also told me that Simplicity is still a privately held New York- based company, and that she feels good about buying their patterns. Me, too, and now it's time to make this pattern for myself!

    Photo by Knitters Delight

    Photo by Heidi Ho

    Photo by homejewel

    As you look over these patterns you might be tempted to think, "oh them again!" But not so fast. Point your browser toward any swanky department store's website, and you'll see silhouettes mirroring every one of these Hall of Famers. Using these patterns and your favorite colors and textures, you can custom-make dresses and tops rivaling those created by some of the best designers. Most terrific of all, you can be sure you have boatloads of PatternReview wisdom to draw on while you sew.

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