Pattern Shopping!

There's an awesome sale going on at McCall's (and Vogue and Butterick of course, too) through the end of March. To borrow my mom's expression, I need another pattern like I need a hole in my head. But I can't resist. What I will do, however, is make sure that I get the most out of my little shopping spree.

If I have a pattern (or a combination of patterns) in the basic shape that I want to make my garment in, then I'm set: all I need to do is find the right fabric and put it all together. What I struggle with is drafting complicated patterns--you know, the ones with ruching and pin tucks and puffed sleeves and ruffles (but not all together, I hope!), especially if it's a shape I've never done before. So when I'm pattern shopping, what I have to look for are new shapes that I don't already have in my stash that can be versatile enough to be used over and over again (or at least when the fancy strikes).

But sticking to this guideline can be difficult. Vogue Patterns often entices me with their pretty fabric choices. On the other side of the spectrum, some pattern envelopes are so ugly that it is hard to see the good in them. It does help to be familiar with what's out there, and so I spent the morning wading through them again to decide just what I need. Here are my picks:

Even though I know I must have seen this dress before, it didn't stand out to me until it was literally right under my nose as the featured pattern of the week for Vogue Patterns. I have a dress in this design that I absolutely love (minus the drop waist) from Urban Outfitters, and I have been longing to replicate it for some time. The great thing about this pattern is that it can be used to make a dress or a blouse with very little alterations. Check out the line drawing and you'll see what I mean.
I chose my second pick for much the same reason: it will make a really cute dress, and could also be a blouse no problem. It also has lots of great details and pattern pieces that would be hard to replicate without a pattern. This does, however, make the pattern a tad bit more complicated, with tons of pattern pieces on what could have been a more simplified dress. This is the reason I try to avoid Vogue Patterns. I have to think carefully before buying this one.

This third choice is a pattern I will probably never make in its entirety. I have, however, been looking for the perfect bust pattern. I want to try this one because it is a bit rounder and the cups don't go all the way across the bodice the way my other Vogue Pattern does, yet it's still more complicated and visually interesting than my go-to Simplicity Pattern. Anything to add a little visual interest and contour to my bust line, and for $3.50 it's worth a shot.

Lastly, I am tempted to buy this pattern because it resembles this beauty from Nina Helland Sortland (in reality, she made it with this pattern in another great example of someone having a good eye for ugly envelopes!). I'm also noticing at this point that I am obsessed with loose dresses with an elastic/tie waist. We'll see...

And here are some patterns that I will NOT be buying:

While this one is really pretty, after looking at the line drawing I realized that most of the visual interest comes from the fabric, not the pattern. The design is actually a little too ruffly for me and would be hard to wear.

And lastly, make sure that you do not accidentally double up on any patterns. As I've noted before, pattern companies will often try to get the most out of their designs by reissuing or just simply reusing some ideas. Here are some examples from the McCall catalog:

The Vogue top pattern could easily be used to make the Vogue dress:

If you've got one pleated top pattern, you probably don't need them all (or the dress version):

And you could probably skimp on the cowl-neck dresses, too (from Butterick, Vogue and Vogue again):

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