Goth Skater Dress

So something looks a little different! Last summer I chopped off all my hair, went platinum (yes, blondes do have more fun!) and lost over 30 pounds (more on that in another post).

This dress was the first thing I made in my new size. It is the Lady Skater Dress by Kitschy Coo.

Gothic Skater dress sewn by The Finished Garment
Such a fun dress.
Gothic Skater dress sewn by The Finished Garment
Yes, blonds do have more fun.

The thing about losing that much weight, is that nothing at all fits anymore. I went from a decent me-made wardrobe to nothing. But the thing about that is that you get to start over. I was feeling kind of stuck in a wardrobe that didn’t really fit me, both literally and figuratively. I didn’t really want to dress like a mum anymore, and I don’t have the kind of job that requires the corporate wardrobe stuffed in the back of my closet which suddenly fit again.

Gothic Skater dress sewn by The Finished Garment
I like the black ribbing a lot.

So when I made this dress I decided to choose something way more fun than I normally buy. Roses and skulls. I feel a bit more badass than normal, so I figure I’m doing it right.

Gothic Skater dress sewn by The Finished Garment
Love this print.

This pattern is perfect. It is super easy to make and the fit is great! The only problem I ran into was of course the infamous Awkward Skull Placement™. There was a 1/2 inch of skull on the bodice front that I thought would be fine but then I decided it would irritate me constantly. I had to shorten the bodice by just a sliver. If I hadn’t, the length of the bodice would be perfect, but what’s a girl to do!

Summary

Pattern: Lady Skater Dress by Kitschy Coo available in sizes 1-8 (using their own pattern sizing system). I chose the short-sleeved view. There is also a long sleeve version.

Fabric: Red Goth digital jersey: 92% cotton, 8% spandex, and 200 g/m2 with black tubular ribbing. From l’Oiseau Fabrics.

Size: 5 (or was it the 6?).

Cost: Pattern: £7.20 Fabric: About $30.

Sewing Level: Beginner.

Modifications: none.

Results: Great. Great fit and very comfortable.

Red Goth digital print jersey.
Red Goth digital print jersey.

Up In The Sky – Kitschy Coo Skater Dress

Sometimes it’s fun to make something quick, easy, and adorable and the Little Girl Skater Dress by Kitschy Coo checks all those boxes.

Little Girl Skater Dress sewing pattern by Kitschy Coo, as sewn by The Finished Garment
This is the size 7/8 in a watermelon colour theme.

This is the second time I’ve used this pattern. Last time I did this in a winter dress with long sleeves and using french terry. This time I used cotton jersey and made the sleeveless version.

Little Girl Skater Dress sewing pattern by Kitschy Coo, as sewn by The Finished Garment
This is the size 5/6 in red and turquoise.

The fabric is from l’Oiseau Fabrics. I used their jersey for the dresses and ribbing for trim. All are really high quality and perfectly suited for the pattern.

Little Girl Skater Dress sewing pattern by Kitschy Coo, as sewn by The Finished Garment
This is the size 3/4 in turquoise and purple.

The pattern combines two sizes in one, and this works great for my kids, since they can wear the dress for a long time. I didn’t make any alterations at all.

Various cotton spandex jersey prints in a sky theme.

This project is part of the Kids Clothes Week sew along, the Monthly Stitch August challenge: Triple Trouble, and the Stashbusting Sewalong.

Summary

Pattern: Little Girl’s Skater Dress by Kitschy Coo available in sizes 18m-8y. I chose the sleeveless view. There are also short sleeve and long sleeve versions.

Fabric: Starlight Jersey Knit in red and turquoise. Cloudy jersey knit in pink. Stretch ribbing in Aqua, purple and lime. All 95% cotton, 5% spandex. All from l’Oiseau Fabrics.

Size: 3/4, 5/6, 7/8.

Cost: Pattern: £7.20 Fabric: About $24/dress.

Sewing Level: Beginner.

Modifications: none.

Results: Great. Makes a cute, comfortable dress the kids love.

Little Girl Skater Dress sewing pattern by Kitschy Coo, as sewn by The Finished Garment
Little Girl Skater Dress sewing pattern by Kitschy Coo, as sewn by The Finished Garment

A Renfrew in Stripes

My latest sewing project is for me! Lately my blog has been full of projects for other people, but I have been sewing for myself as well.

The Renfrew Top sewing pattern by Sewaholic, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
The top is really comfy.

My latest project is the Renfrew Top by Sewaholic Patterns. I made this once before, but the results were so-so.

This time I made quite a few adjustments. First, I went down two sizes. I made size 12, which is about 2 sizes smaller than the size chart indicated I should use. This made the fit at the shoulders much better.

The Renfrew Top sewing pattern by Sewaholic, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
You can see from the back how this shirt fits better in the shoulders.
The Renfrew Top sewing pattern by Sewaholic, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
I really like the fit.

I skipped the waistband altogether, which wasn’t especially flattering on me, and lengthened the top by three inches to make up for the length in the band and then some. I’m a little long in the ribcage and ready-to-wear shirts are often too short. This is the length I prefer.

The Renfrew Top sewing pattern by Sewaholic, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
I prefer extra length at the bottom, rather than a band at the waist.

I also skipped the zigzagging around the neckline that is called for in the pattern instructions. Last time, I tried this on the back of the neck but I didn’t like the look. to hem the shirt, I used a double needle. I’m much happier with this finish.

The Renfrew Top sewing pattern by Sewaholic, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
This top turned out much better than the last one.

I also used better fabric. This jersey is a bit more expensive than the last time, but has much better recovery. That makes it a little more flattering, but also more comfortable. It’s also really bright, which I like. Who says kids should get all the fun?

The Renfrew Top sewing pattern by Sewaholic, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
Who says bright colours are just for kids?

I am so much happier with this shirt. It feels great and cheers me up when I wear it.

Summary

Pattern Review: Renfrew Top by Sewaholic Patterns. I made view A.
Fabric: Cotton-spandex Jersey, from L’Oiseau Fabrics.
Cost: The pattern was a birthday gift and the fabric was about 16$ a meter. Total: about 25$.
Size: 12.
Sewing Level: Adventurous beginner.
Modifications: I didn’t zigzag around the neck band, I lengthened the shirt by about three inches, and I skipped the waist band.
Results: So much better than the first Renfrew I made. I plan to make this again with the cowl neck.

Turquoise Skater Dresses

In the after-holiday sales I picked up some really bright turquoise French terry. It was only 5$ per metre so I let each kid choose there own piece of clothing. Two chose mini-hudson pants, and two chose the Little Girls’ Skater Dress by Kitschy Coo.

Little Girls' Skater Dress sewing pattern from Kitschy Coo, sewn by The Finished Garment.
This is the size 5/6.

I had been looking at the Skater Dress pattern for a while, but didn’t really have the right fabric. Ideally this would be made in jersey, but I thought the French terry be a little cozier. The dress ends up being great for our current cold weather, but still fun to wear and very comfortable. This French terry has a lot of stretch, which makes the dress very wearable, especially for kids.  It’s like your favourite sweatshirt, but it’s a dress.

Unfortunately, it’s been too cold for outdoor photo sessions and the light hasn’t been great lately generally, so you’ll have to settle for less than ideal photos this time around.

Little Girls' Skater Dress sewing pattern from Kitschy Coo, sewn by The Finished Garment.
This is the size 7/8.

I let the kids choose the colour of the contrast cuffs from my scrap bin. The cuffs are so bright, but they do really make the dress. With solid colours for the main part of the dress, they might be a bit plain, without that crazy pop of colour.

Little Girls' Skater Dress sewing pattern from Kitschy Coo, sewn by The Finished Garment.
Kid No 1 chose hot pink cuffs.

The pattern is sized to fit over two years. They fit a bit large. My kids are both at the lower ends of their ranges, but definitely too big to go down a size. I double checked the measurements, and tried the size 5/6 on my normally size 7 kid to check. Next time I might take the dress in a little through the bodice for my skinny girls, especially if I use a heavier fabric again. In jersey, it would probably be fine.

Little Girls' Skater Dress sewing pattern from Kitschy Coo, sewn by The Finished Garment.
Kid No 3 chose bright red cuffs.

This pattern is a really quick sew. I finished both dresses in an afternoon. The instructions were great and everything came together without any problems. I also have the women’s version of the skater dress, so I’m pretty excited to get to that soon.

Little Girls' Skater Dress sewing pattern from Kitschy Coo, sewn by The Finished Garment.
The dress is on the big size, but is supposed to last two years.

Project Summary

Pattern Review: Little Girls’ Skater Dress by Kitschy Coo, available in sizes 18m-8Y (in 4 different sizes).
Fabric: French terry, with jersey cuffs.
Sizes: 5/6 and 7/8.
Cost: Pattern: About 14$. Fabric: $5 per dress.
Project Sewing Level: Beginner.
Modifications: none.
Results: Great. The kids love wearing these.

Summer Skirts

We’re just experiencing the last bit of summer here, so I’m taking the opportunity to show you one of my very last summer projects – two fun summer skirts.

The Sunday Brunch A-line Skirt sewing pattern by Oliver + S, as sewn by The Finished Garment
These skirts are super popular with my girls.

I used the Sunday Brunch A-line Skirt by Oliver + S, which I’ve used before, and quite like.

The Sunday Brunch A-line Skirt sewing pattern by Oliver + S, as sewn by The Finished Garment
Love this skirt!

It’s a very quick, easy pattern, and makes a nice, basic skirt. I made this in sizes 4 and 6. The only changes I made were to lengthen the size 4 by one inch, and the size 6 by two inches, and lower the kick pleat to match. I also added the pockets from the Oliver + S Sandbox Pants, to the back of the larger skirt.

The Sunday Brunch A-line Skirt sewing pattern by Oliver + S, as sewn by The Finished Garment
I lengthened both skirts
The Sunday Brunch A-line Skirt sewing pattern by Oliver + S, as sewn by The Finished Garment
After I lengthened it, the skirt is just right for looking for chipmunks.

I used stash fabric for both skirts, leftover from other projects. This pattern takes a little under 3/4 of a yard of fabric, per skirt, which is what I had.

The Sunday Brunch A-line Skirt sewing pattern by Oliver + S, as sewn by The Finished Garment
The print is really fun for summer. I’m glad I could get two garments out of the fabric I had.

It’s a great pattern if you have just a little bit of fabric left over. But unfortunately, it meant that pattern matching was out of the question. Since this fabric would have been wasted otherwise, and these skirts were meant for casual fun, that seemed fine, this time around. I settled for an absence of awkward print placement, but I had to trace out the pieces with chalk a couple times in the size 6, to get that right.

The Sunday Brunch A-line Skirt sewing pattern by Oliver + S, as sewn by The Finished Garment
This print is Bella Flower in Blue by Lotta Jansdotter. And I swear I ironed it right before this photo was taken.
The Sunday Brunch A-line Skirt sewing pattern by Oliver + S, as sewn by The Finished Garment
This print is Scoot Scoot in Blue from the Havana collection.
The Sunday Brunch A-line Skirt sewing pattern by Oliver + S, as sewn by The Finished Garment
Each skirt took less than 1 yard of fabric.

The skirts are a big hit and seem to get worn at least once a week, which is a lot with my sometimes finicky kids.

This project was part of the Sewcialist Scraptember Sew Along and the Stashbusting Sew Along Kid Challenge.

Summary

Pattern Review: Sunday Brunch A-line Skirt by Oliver + S available in sizes 6m-8.
Fabric: 

  • Bella Flower in Blue by Lotta Jansdotter for Windham Fabrics, courtesy Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles.
  • Scoot Scoot in Blue from the Havana collection by Monaluna (organic).

Sizes: 4 and 6.
Cost: Pattern: 0$. Fabric: 0$ (all was leftover pieces from other projects).
Sewing Level: Beginner.
Modifications: I lengthened the skirt, by 1-2″, depending on the size, and lowered the kick pleat.
Results: Great. These were fast, are super comfortable, and are now in heavy rotation.

The Sunday Brunch A-line Skirt sewing pattern by Oliver + S, as sewn by The Finished Garment
These are still comfortable for playground fun.

Pattern Testing the Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Dress

Have you seen the Cowl Neck Dress and Sweater by Heidi & Finn? It is super cute, and oh so trendy.

So I was very excited to be a pattern tester for the newest version of the pattern, which now includes a sweater, a short-sleeved version, and an expanded size range from 12m to 12Y.

Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Sweater, sewn by The Finished Garment
The kids really like the tops and they are very comfortable.

And is it ever easy to sew! I finished about one project per nap. I love one-nap projects!

In the end, I made this pattern six times: three tops and three dresses, in three different sizes.

Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Sweater, sewn by The Finished Garment
This is the size 2T.
Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Sweater, sewn by The Finished Garment
This is the size 5T, in pink.
Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Sweater, sewn by The Finished Garment
This is size 7Y.

This project calls for knit fabric, and obviously a sweater knit would be ideal, but sadly the choices were limited at my local fabric shops and I had no time to order online.

The smallest kids chose the fabric for the tops (ack! so cute to watch them choose fabrics) – a slinky rayon jersey. In that fabric, the tops have a retro 70s vibe.

The pattern changed slightly during testing, and now has a banded waist, but these tops were made before the change.

Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Sweater, sewn by The Finished Garment
Such a cutie!
Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Sweater, sewn by The Finished Garment
This is a rayon jersey and it has quite a bit of drape.
Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Sweater, sewn by The Finished Garment
In this fabric, the top has a bit of a 70s vibe.
Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Sweater, sewn by The Finished Garment
The size 5 was a bit large. Next time, I’ll go down a size.
Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Sweater, sewn by The Finished Garment
The size 7Y is a much better fit.

For the dresses, I chose a ponte de roma that has a bit of a soft, sweater-knit texture. This fabric gave better results than the jersey. It’s a stable knit that is still very stretchy and has great recovery.

Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Dress,, sewn by The Finished Garment
This is my favourite fabric for this pattern. It’s a ponte de roma, and has just the right amount of structure, without being stiff.

I only made two changes. First, I shortened the sleeves by 1-2″, depending on the fabric and dress size. Second, I attached the cowl neck first, before starting the sleeves. I find it easier to work this way, but it’s just my preference. See a discussion on sewing flat versus in the round, here.

Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Dress, sewn by The Finished Garment
The dress is a huge hit.
Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Dress, sewn by The Finished Garment
Especially the bow.
Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Dress, sewn by The Finished Garment
This fabric is really the perfect weight for the dress.

I didn’t use a serger – I don’t have one. I just used my regular machine, which has a faux overlock stitch and I hemmed everything using a double needle. This worked very well.

Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Dress, sewn by The Finished Garment
Ack! So grown up.
Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Dress, sewn by The Finished Garment
I love the look of the dress.
Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Dress, sewn by The Finished Garment
This dress is perfect for fall weather.

The results were great. These tops and dresses are cute, cute, cute and the kids love wearing them. Yay!

Summary

Pattern Review: Cowl Neck Dress and Sweater by Heidi & Finn, available in sizes 12m-12Y.
Fabric: Rayon jersey for the tops and ponte de roma for the dresses.

  • Dakota stretch rayon jersey knit Hearts in navy, pink and teal (medium-weight knit, 95% Rayon/5% Lycra, 4-way stretch, 25% vertical stretch and 50% stretch across the grain).
  • Ponte de roma in grey, (medium- to heavy-weight knit, 80% Polyester/15% Rayon/5% Lycra, 30% stretch across the grain), magenta, and dark teal – not shown – (medium-weight knit, 50% Polyester/45% Rayon/5% Lycra).

Sizes: 2T, 5T and 7Y.
Cost: Pattern: 0$. Fabric: About $12 per top and about $16 per dress.
Sewing Level: Confident beginner.
Modifications: I shortened the sleeves, by 1-2″, depending on the fabric and dress size.
Results: Great. This was fast, and I love the trendy look.

Disclaimer: The pattern was generously provided by Heidi & Finn, in return for testing the pattern. As always, my opinions are my own.

Heidi & Finn Cowl Neck Dress, sewn by The Finished Garment
Adorable!

Shorts on the Line – The Scooter Edition

My kids always seem to grow like beanstalks over the summer. Inevitably, they grow out of their hot weather clothes sometime around July.

This year, the Shorts on the Line sew along arrived at just the right time to make something for the now much taller, Kid No 2.

The Oliver + S Sandbox Pants sewing pattern, as sewn by The Finished Garment. Fabric: Scoot Scoot in Blue from the Havana collection by Monaluna (organic).
I really love this print. So bright and fun!

For these shorts I used the Sandbox Pants by Oliver + S. It’s a really great pattern, that I’ve used a few times before.

Oliver and S Sandbox Pants
Oliver + S Sandbox Pants sewing pattern.

I didn’t make many modifications. I shortened the pants to shorts. I also left off the drawstring waist and used a simple elastic waist. I left off the buttons on the pockets as well. Kid No 2 is not a fan of either. Drawstrings and buttons are his kryptonite. They also take longer, so I’m not complaining!

The pattern calls for 1 3/4 yards for the pants, but I got these shorts out of 1 yard of fabric.

The Oliver + S Sandbox Pants sewing pattern, as sewn by The Finished Garment. Fabric: Scoot Scoot in Blue from the Havana collection by Monaluna (organic).
A nice basic short.

The print is Scoot Scoot in Blue from the Havana collection by Monaluna. It’s a really nice, smooth organic cotton. I love the print, but unfortunately it was printed slightly off grain, which made cutting and pattern matching a bit of a pain. I’ve used other prints from the collection, without any problem, so I guess I was just unlucky this time.

The Oliver + S Sandbox Pants sewing pattern, as sewn by The Finished Garment. Fabric: Scoot Scoot in Blue from the Havana collection by Monaluna (organic).
Check out the pattern matching with those pockets.

Kid No. 2 loves bright colours and fun, but age-appropriate prints. Unfortunately, most of the clothes in the stores for boys his age are in darker, and/or more serious colours – lots of  navy, grey and beige (yawn). One of the great things about sewing my kids’ clothes is being able to make them the things they really like.

The Oliver + S Sandbox Pants sewing pattern, as sewn by The Finished Garment. Fabric: Scoot Scoot in Blue from the Havana collection by Monaluna (organic).
The pants were a big hit.

This is also a stash-busting project for the Stashbusting Sewalong. I bought this fabric maybe a year ago, so I’m really happy to get it into regular rotation.

The Oliver + S Sandbox Pants sewing pattern, as sewn by The Finished Garment. Fabric: Scoot Scoot in Blue from the Havana collection by Monaluna (organic).
I got these out of 1 yard of fabric.

Summary

Pattern Review: Sandbox Pants as shorts by Oliver + S.

Fabric: Scoot Scoot in Blue from the Havana collection by Monaluna (organic).

Size: 6.

Cost:
Fabric: about $16. Pattern: $0, since I’d used it before.

Sewing Level: Advanced beginner.

Modifications: I shortened the pants to shorts, changed the waist from a drawstring to an elastic waist, and left off the buttons on the back pockets.

Results: Great. I’ve used this pattern a few times before and will definitely use it again.

The Oliver + S Sandbox Pants sewing pattern, as sewn by The Finished Garment. Fabric: Scoot Scoot in Blue from the Havana collection by Monaluna (organic).
This is a size 6, and is a bit big, but they’ll be worn again next summer.

Summer PJs

Last week was Kids Clothing Week (KWC), and what did I get done? Not much. I did plan a lot of projects though, so that counts right?

The one thing I did finish, was four sets of pyjamas. The spring PJs were a big hit with the kids, and they needed more so I just did the same thing again.

Bedtime Story Pajamas sewing pattern by Oliver + S, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
All the sizes!

The kids chose the fabrics – all Angry Birds prints. I used the Bedtime Story Pajamas sewing pattern by Oliver + S, for the bottoms, and appliquéd an angry bird from each print onto store-bought t-shirts for the tops.

Bedtime Story Pajamas sewing pattern by Oliver + S, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
Of all the prints my kids chose, this one is my favourite.

I’ve made these pyjama pants eleven (!) times before. Yikes, that is a big number. But they are definitely my go-to pyjama pattern for kids. Quick, easy and great results every time.

Bedtime Story Pajamas sewing pattern by Oliver + S, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
Ack! They are always cutest in the smallest size.

Summary

Pattern Review: Bedtime Story Pajamas by Oliver + S.

Fabric:

Fence in White, Stars in Blue, Rainbow in Pink and Rainbow in Purple, all from the Angry Birds collection and all licensed to David Textiles by Rovio Entertainment, LTD. I bought this at the local chain shop.
Sketch in Grey by Timeless Treasures for the waistbands and leg bindings.

Sizes: 18-24m, 4, 6.

Sewing Level: beginner, intermediate if not just the pants.

Modifications: None.

Results: Excellent! I’ve made these 11 times before. I would highly recommend this pattern.

Bedtime Story Pajamas sewing pattern by Oliver + S, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
Taking photos of tired kids at bedtime is sooooo difficult!

Just to be clear: The Angry Birds name is trademarked by Rovio Entertainment, LTD and used by the fabric manufacturer under licence. The pjs shown here are not official licensed products and are not available for sale. But you can always buy some fabric and make your own!

Girls in White Dresses Part II

A little while ago I showed you a white dress I made for Kid No 2. But of course Kids 1 and 3 also needed new dresses for summer.

Geranium Dress sewing pattern from Made by Rae, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
A perfect dress for summer.

In total I made three Geranium Dresses. I made them all assembly-line-style, so they are all the same, except for the fabric choices. It’s just so much faster that way!

Geranium Dress sewing pattern from Made by Rae, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
I made the size 2. I was worried it would be too large, but it was just right.
Geranium Dress sewing pattern from Made by Rae, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
I love this fabric. Such a pretty colour.
Geranium Dress sewing pattern from Made by Rae, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
I made the size 7, and it’s a little large, but hopefully that just means it will last longer. And yes, that’s Nemo photobombing.

I made one dress in size 2, and the other in size 7, and both were made with fabric from my stash.

Geranium Dress sewing pattern from Made by Rae, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
Yup, this one passes the twirl test.
Geranium Dress sewing pattern from Made by Rae, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
This one passes the jumping test.

The butterfly fabric was left over from some tops I made last summer. And the lilac has been in my stash for an embarrassing long time. So it’s great to get them turned into something wearable.

Geranium Dress sewing pattern from Made by Rae, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
I used white piping with this dress.

Since I’ve already sewn this pattern twice before, there’s not much to add. But it’s a great pattern, and I’m very happy with the finished dresses.

The fabric is Sunset from the Fly Away collection by Amy Schindler for Robert Kaufman.
The fabric is Sunset from the Fly Away collection by Amy Schindler for Robert Kaufman.
Geranium Dress sewing pattern from Made by Rae, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
This time, I used turquoise piping at the waist.
Geranium Dress sewing pattern from Made by Rae, as sewn by The Finished Garment.
I really like this pattern, and I’m so glad it comes in larger sizes now.

Summary

Pattern Review: Geranium Dress from Made by Rae.

Fabric: Sunset from the Fly Away collection by Amy Schindler for Robert Kaufman. FloraDots in Violet from the La Dee Da collection by Erin McMorries for Free Spirit Fabrics. The lining is white cotton batiste. The piping is made with Kona solids.

Sizes: 2 and 7. (Comes in sizes 0-5 or 6-12.)

Sewing Level: Beginner.

Modifications: I added piping.

Results: Great. This is the third and fourth time I’ve used this pattern and I would definitely recommend it.

Looking at bugs
Looking at bugs.

Does that pattern come in my size?

For those of you here for the sewing, I ‘ll have some dresses up soon. But first I wanted to look at something that I discussed in my last post on why it makes economic sense for indie pattern makers to extend their size ranges.

In my last post I showed a couple of distribution curves that illustrate what percentage of the population could use a pattern with a given size range. But I thought it would be interesting to see what range of sizes existing indie companies are actually offering.

I figured I would just choose the top pattern makers, but how to choose? The ones on someone’s list? The most blogged? The ones I like the best? The hippest style, nicest drafting or most clever instructions? So I hopped over to pattern review.com, and looked at some of the patterns that have made their top ten patterns of the year, over the past few years. You may or may not agree that these are the top patterns, but they’ve been sewn by a large number of people, and have obtained many good reviews.

A reminder: In the following charts, I’ve shown size range in the general population, across a normal distribution. Then I’ve charted the sizes offered for specific sewing patterns as the area under the curve (the green area) to calculate what percentage of the population could use the pattern. See my previous article for a more detailed description of these concepts.

Indie pattern range
A common indie pattern range.

First shown is a range of pattern sizes (6-18) used by some indie pattern makers. About 43% of the population can use these patterns.

This is the distribution curve for the Burda Magazine 04-2009-101 "Skirt with Front Pockets". Only 31% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern makers offered 5 sizes to cover that range.
This is the distribution curve for the Burda Magazine 04-2009-101 “Skirt with Front Pockets”. Only 31% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern makers offered 5 sizes to cover that range.

Next is a pattern from BurdaStyle magazine: 04-2009-101 “Skirt with Front Pockets”. Only 31% of the population can use this pattern. Considering this is a simple straight skirt, that would look good on a wide range of figures, it’s surprising that the pattern is offered in so few sizes.

This is the distribution curve for the Cambie dress from Sewaholic Patterns. About 49% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern makers used 9 sizes to get that range.
This is the distribution curve for the Cambie dress from Sewaholic Patterns. About 49% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern makers used 9 sizes to get that range.

The Cambie dress is similar to the curve used by indie pattern makers, shown above, with a couple extra sizes near the middle. However, since Sewaholic patterns are drafted for pear-shaped figures and I’m comparing pattern sizes based largely on bust measurements, in reality this curve is probably shifted a little to the right and probably covers a slightly larger percentage of the population.

This is the distribution curve for the Archer shirt from Grainline Studio. About 53% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern maker used 10 sizes to get that range.
This is the distribution curve for the Archer shirt from Grainline Studio. About 53% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern maker used 10 sizes to get that range.

The Archer shirt uses a curve similar to the Big4 pattern companies.

This is the distribution curve for the Anna dress from By Hand London. About 61% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern makers used 8 sizes to get that range.
This is the distribution curve for the Anna dress from By Hand London. About 61% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern makers used 8 sizes to get that range.

This is the Anna dress from By Hand London. Although their sizing system is slightly different, this dress goes up to the equivalent of a size 24. It’s a curve similar to that of used by the Big 4 pattern companies, but shifted up slightly.

This is the distribution curve for the Peony dress by Colette Patterns. About 61% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern maker used 10 sizes to get that range.
This is the distribution curve for the Peony dress by Colette Patterns. About 61% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern maker used 10 sizes to get that range.

Here we see the distribution for Colette’s Peony dress. It covers 61% of the population, just like the Anna dress above, but the pattern maker offers 10 sizes to cover the range, instead of 8.

This is the distribution curve for the Moneta dress by Colette Patterns. About 80% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern maker used 7 sizes to get that range.
This is the distribution curve for the Moneta dress by Colette Patterns. About 80% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern maker used 7 sizes to get that range.

Colette recently extended their size range with new patterns for knits. This is the size range for the Moneta dress. It covers 80% of the population, in only 7 sizes. This isn’t one of the top patterns on pattern review.com (it’s too new to be considered), but I think it’s interesting to look at, compared to the previous size range for this company.

This is the distribution curve for the Tiramisu dress by Cake Patterns. About 85% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern makers used 5 sizes to get that range.
This is the distribution curve for the Tiramisu dress by Cake Patterns. About 85% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern makers used 5 sizes to get that range.

The Tiramisu dress is also a dress for knits. It covers a slightly larger percent of the population (85%), but this time with only five individual sizes.

This is the distribution curve for the Jalie 2919 "Pleated Cardigan and Vest". About 8% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern makers included 27 sizes (including children's sizes) to get that range.
This is the distribution curve for the Jalie 2919 “Pleated Cardigan and Vest”. About 8% of the population can use this pattern. The pattern makers included 27 sizes (including children’s sizes) to get that range.

Finally there is Jalie. Their large size range is part of their marketing strategy and their patterns are often drafted for both kids and adults. Jalie 2919 can be used by 88% of the population. It’s the largest percentage, and they definitely have the largest number of sizes per pattern (27!). But, compared to some of the other companies, Jalie doesn’t offer the largest sizes.

Some Caveats

These numbers are only approximations based on the model I described in my previous blog post. The same statistical caveats discussed in that article apply to these curves. Keep in mind, I’m using bust measurements, based on this chart, to do a comparison across various different companies, all of which use their own sizing systems. I used bust measurements because they are always listed, and because there is a historical precedent in vintage patterns. Using a different measure (waist, hips, etc.) would result in slightly different curves for each pattern. Overall, though, the differences between companies should be similar.

I’m choosing patterns from patternreview.com. It’s possible that there is a sampling bias. Maybe the people on that site prefer patterns of in a larger range of sizes, for example. There are probably many more patterns out there that have curves that look like the BurdaStyle skirt, than ones that look like the Jalie top.

Covering the entire ranges of sizes may not be the goal of a given pattern maker. In some cases, certain pattern companies may be marketing to specific niche markets, and so they may not intend to cover the largest range possible. In other cases, resources are limited. Nevertheless, I think it’s interesting to look at examples of what specific, successful pattern companies are doing.

Comments are always welcome! And I promise the next blog post will include actual sewing 😉