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Articles > Best Patterns of 2006 [Diane Egelston]

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Best Patterns of 2006  Free  (02/28/2007)

In this Article
  • Read about the Hottest Patterns of 2006
  • Pattern Descriptions, Photos and Recommendations
  • Get inspired!

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    About the Author
    Diane Egelston is a long-time PR contributor who has been playing with fiber since Sputnik went into space. While her stash began with a collection of potholder loops, weaving has taken a back seat to sewing, knitting, and playing the piano. Diane is a writer and runs a communications and performance consulting practice.
    Best Patterns of 2006
    by Diane Egelston
    Following our tradition from last year when we brought to you Best Patterns of 2005, I present yet another eye candy, inspirational article written by our very own, Diane E! Hope you'll enjoy the winners of 2006 and try a few if you haven't already done so.

    Number 1: Kwik Sew 3378 "Twist Top"
    3378 has easy to sew versions of the twist top pattern we love so much. There are 3 sleeve length variations; full length, 3/4 length and short sleeves. Pattern comes in sizes from XS - XL ( Bust size 31.5" - 45" )


    Photo by alrscout
    First among the most beloved patterns of 2006 was Kwik Sew 3378. The original Burda "twist-top" style topped the 2005 favorites, with this KS pattern placing ninth. Kwik Sew's pattern is more accessible to those looking for precise step-by-step directions, as well as to those who prefer not to have to trace their patterns and add seam allowances. This top's styling has a bit more mainstream appeal, with a higher back neckline and three sleeve variations. Many reviewers commented on the low neckline. Some raised the neckline and others simply wore a camisole underneath. This pattern's excellent drafting and lovely style lines appealed to beginners looking for an interesting project, as well as to experienced sewists seeking instant gratification..

    Number 2: CJ Patterns 426 "Shirred Top and Princess Wrap"
    Pattern envelope contains a self lined, tight-fitting shirred top with bateau neckline and shirred bodice with sleeve variations. Also, close fitting, pullover, princess seam, wrap top with gathered waistline detail and sleeve variations. Pattern comes in 5 sizes ( Bust 30.5" - 48").


    As our world of beautiful knit fabric choices expanded in 2006, so did our pattern options. One of the prettiest new patterns to emerge was Christine Jonson's Shirred Top and Princess Wrap. One reviewer said that sewing this top helped her to understand why Christine Jonson's patterns have been long-time favorites among many sewists. Made for occasions as diverse as a debutante ball or a trip to the neighborhood grocery store, PR reviewers found the princess wrap a quick, yet elegant addition to their wardrobes. The Shirred Top was touted as a wonderful way to camouflage a little tummy fluff, and Christine's method for constructing the bateau neckline is notable for its unique and clever engineering. While all reviewers who made this pattern in 2006 identified themselves as intermediate or advanced sewers, this is a pattern that can easily be undertaken by someone learning to sew.

    Photo by Barbara Elfman Bell

    Number 3: Simplicity 4076 "Wrap Top, Twist Top and More!"

    A Wrap Shirred Top, A Twist Top, A Gathered Scoop Neck Top, the possibilities are endless with this pattern. Did you know that the twist top version was included in this pattern on PR members' request? Yes, kudos to Simplicity for listening to us! The pattern comes in a variety of sizes (in different envelopes) ranging from size 8-24 ( Bust 31.5" - 46")


    The third most popular pattern in 2006 was another twist on an old favorite. That having been said, to call Simplicity's 4076 a "twist top" pattern is to overlook the rich choices available in this envelope. Three necklines and five sleeve variations span the gamut from a gathered scoop-necked tee to the ever-popular faux wrap-front. Reviewers of all skill levels and figure types found this pattern a pleasure to sew and wear.

    Photo by Rosephreak

    Number 4: Vogue 8151 "Today's Fit"

    Pullover tops with set in sleeves. Contains two versions; wrapped front, band, shirred sides and long sleeves. and crew neck top with three-quarter length sleeves and optional tie front. Pattern comes in sizes (in different envelopes) A-J (Bust 32"-55").


    Vogue's Today's Fit 8151 sports two views for knit tops. View B, the most frequently reviewed, is a bound crew neck tee, and View A is a banded faux wrap-front with waistline ruching. Both views feature bust darts, which make these tops particularly appealing to sewists seeking a better bust fit. Reviewers found Sandra Betzina's conversational instructions comprehensive and helpful.

    Photo by Steffie

    Number 5: New Look 6407 "Darted Blouses"
    A collection of blouses with collar, v neck and lots of sleeve options. Blouses have bust and waist darts. Pattern is multisized and sized from 10-22 ( Bust 32.5" - 44" )


    With its beautifully fitted shirt pattern, 6407, New Look gave PR members many style choices in one astonishingly well-priced envelope. Judging from the comments on this pattern's reviews, there are many PR members who have successfully sewn this shirt without posting a review. Careful measuring is a must for this pattern, as this shirt is designed to fit closely to the body. For some sewists used to wearing knit garments or those having more style ease, this fitted shirt in a woven fabric may feel uncomfortably tight. This is a blouse for a which a touch of lycra may be the ticket to perfection.
    Photo by Mary Stiefer

    Number 6: Simplicity 4112 "Built By Wendy Misses Shirt and Sash"

    Vintage inspired blouse with sleeve detailing and a fabric sash. Pattern is sized from 4-20 ( Bust 29.5" - 42").


    Simplicity's Built by Wendy blouse is a fresh take on a lady-like blouse with a retro feel. With design choices such as a bow-tie collar and puffed sleeves, this blouse begs to be sewn in floaty chiffon or georgette. The two-piece long-sleeve option offers opportunities to do some really interesting treatments with geometric prints cut on the bias.
    Photo by CarolineG

    Number 7: HotPatterns "LaRue Messenger Bag"

    One size downloadable bag pattern made available by HotPatterns.


    PR members have long known that we can make stunning accessories at a fraction of the RTW price. The HotPatterns company handed us a wonderful gift in 2006 with its LaRue Messenger Bag download. This free pattern gave us the opportunity to have some fun with a "Devil Wears Prada" designer knock-off, and PR members wasted no time coming up with some very swanky interpretations. This bag's size and shape provides ample embellishment possibilities, and its fold-over design allows it to function as both a shoulder bag and a clutch. Originally intended to be a download with a short lifespan, this pattern is still available to those seeking a stylish accessory pattern. If you plan to make this bag, read the reviews for all the terrific tips provided. But I know you were planning to do that already...
    Photo by Melody

    Number 8: Simplicity 5914 "Gored Skirts"

    Gored skirts for woven fabrics. Size 6-22 ( Hip 32.5" - 46")


    Finally, a skirt among our favorites, and what a pretty skirt Simplicity 5914 is! This six-gore pattern in multiple lengths can be made in either a tulip or A-line silhouette, producing many fun flirty skirts to wear with our lovely knit tops. The faced waistline gives a bulk-free finish under close-fitting tops, and the style lines are exactly what many of us look for when trying to visually balance our figures. While this skirt is unlined, several reviewers found it simple to add a lining for comfort and a couture finish.
    Photo by Sew it seams
      Number 9: Amy Butler 022CH "Cabo Halter"

    Halter neck top for woven fabrics. Sized (in one envelope) from 2-20 ( Bust 31.5" - 43")


    Amy Butler produces wonderfully appealing accessory patterns with terrific detailed instructions. In 2006, Butler added the first garment to her line, and we loved it. This style could be casual or elegant, depending on the fabric and coordinating garments. Many of the Cabo Halter's reviewers consider themselves beginners or advanced beginners, and they found it fast and easy to cut out and construct. One reviewer suggested that sewists carefully measure the pattern before cutting and assembling, especially at the underbust. This step helps to avoid fitting problems that would be difficult to fix in the fully lined bodice later on.
    Photo by milwaukee_kelly

    Number 10: McCalls 5137 "Pullover Dress"

    Pullover dress with gathered front bodice, extended overarms, self faced bands, midriff, gathered front skirt, back ties and lower bands. Pattern is sized from 6-20 ( Finished Bust Measurement 44" - 55.5")


    One of the best things about sewing is that you can take a trendy style and make it yours. Several of the major pattern companies came out with a version of the ubiquitous "Duro style" dress, and PR members had fun taking this simple design and playing with fabric and ease, to put a personal stamp on a popular garment. Generally our reviewers saw this style as an opportunity to mix patterns and colors, taking stash fabrics and coordinating them to their best advantage. Our reviewers also offered a common caution: measure the pattern carefully so that you don't end up with a garment large enough for two. It is worthwhile to note that the smallest size measures 44" at the bust, which would give the wearer more than 10" of ease. For this dress, one can easily size down and be happy with the result.
    Photo by varga100

    Number 11: New Look 6470

    A knit coordinates pattern with drape neck tops and skirts. Pattern is multisized and ranges from 8-18 ( Bust 31.5" - 40" ;Hip 33.5" - 42")


    PR members count on New Look patterns for fashionable coordinates at a true bargain pattern price. This knit top and skirt combo can be made in the same fabric, as a "dress", and can then be combined with other garments to form the basis for a wardrobe capsule. The elastic-waist skirt can be made in knits or wovens, and the diagonal seam provides more fabric play possibilities.
    Photo by SarahWeb

    Number 12: HotPatters "Classix Nouveau Razor Sharp Pants"

    Flat-front straight legged Pants have angled front pockets, front & back leg creases and a fly front fastening with concealed buttons or trouser hooks. Pants feature a faced waist that sits at the natural waist, front & back darts and belt carriers. Sized (in different envelopes) from 6-26 ( Hip 34" - 56.5")


    Straight wide-legged pants continue to show up on the runways and appeal to PR members. Our reviewers found this pattern's angled back crotch curve key to the flattering back fit. While one reviewer found that the wide legged silhouette made her feel "thick", she stated that they were very comfortable to wear over time. All in all this pattern was simple to sew, but several reviewers commented that the fly front instructions were a bit more complicated than necessary.
    Photo by touran

    Number 13: Onion 1016 "Anorak"

    Semi-fitted Anorak with lined hood. The hood is cut on to the front piece which is crossed center front. Darted front, CB seam, and flared sleeves with cuffs. Sized from 34 - 46 (Bust 31.5" - 40.5").


    Oh how we adore luxe outerwear! This wonderful Danish pattern produces a fashionable outdoorswoman's dream jacket. Everything about this jacket is shapely, from the hood, to the hem, to the curvy sleeves. Although the pattern instructions are written in Danish, PR members Maria and Dr. Sue helped English-speaking PR members by writing instructions in English.
    Photo by Izzie

    Number 14: Textile Studio 1416 "Madison Avenue Dress"

    Sleek fitted stretch knit dress features a self-faced V-neck form fitting side and hip shaping with a trumpet skirt in mid-calf or ankle length. Sized from XXS - XXL (Bust 33" - 45"; Hip 34" - 46").


    The Madison Avenue Dress is not a new pattern but the reviews show that it's certainly one of our favorites! Reviewers commented that this would be a pattern straightforward enough for a beginner, with a shapely stunning result. As with all simple styles, fabric choice is key to success. Several of our reviewers used Textile Studio knits, and it is no surprise that the pattern designer came up with beautiful fabric choices for her dress. We have seen this dress on a variety of figure types, and we have to say that it loves our curves and we recommend it to all seeking a quick project yielding gorgeous feminine results.
    Photo by Tarawebster

    Number 15: Kwik Sew 2694, Jalie 2449, Jalie 2005 "Our Tried 'n' True Favorites"

    Wrap Tops and T-Shirt Patterns.

    [Kwik Sew 2694 Reviews]
    [Jalie 2449 Reviews]
    [Jalie 2005 Reviews]

    And last but not least, I'm dubbing these three patterns TNT or "Tried and True." . These patterns also cropped up in last year's favorite line-up. Reading sewing blogs and discussion boards, I've been seeing patterns referred to as "TNT" or "tried and true".These are among our most loved knit patterns, and reviewers had fun adding many personal touches to these basic silhouettes. One ingenious reviewer created a nursing top with the Kwik Sew pattern, ending up with a lovely specialty garment that would be hard to find at any price in RTW.

    I hope you enjoy reading this article as much as I've enjoyed researching and writing it. PR members certainly love to sew tops and knit garments but are not afraid to tackle any pattern as long as the style is interesting and it promises a figure flattering silhouette.
    -Diane E

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