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Which Sewing Pattern Magazine?

21 April 2010, 15:56

There have been quite a lot of people wondering about the various sewing pattern magazines out there and which they should buy or subscribe to. Since I’ve been primarily sewing with pattern magazines over the last few years, I thought some of you might appreciate my opinions on the major pattern magazines (and no, I’m not getting any kickbacks or referral money from any of these links, if it wasn’t obvious!).

For all of these magazines, you receive a glossy magazine with lots of nice photos of models wearing the various designs, and there will be a section containing the technical drawings, instructions, and fabric layout for each design. Patterns are included in a special folded bunch of papers (usually stapled in the centre so you can pull them out easily without damaging the rest of the magazine). The patterns come in a variety of sizes, but none of these contain seam allowances and you need to trace them off the sheets provided.

I trace my patterns using a serrated tracing wheel and brown kraft paper, but many others prefer to use tracing paper and pencils. I add my seam allowances when I cut out my fabric by simply cutting 5/8”/1.5cm away from the edge of my paper pattern, but there are double tracing wheels available to do this for you.

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Prima linen shift dress

6 June 2008, 13:18

The third linen item in this week’s unofficial linen-a-thon is a cute and very casual shift dress from the May 08 issue of Prima magazine. I don’t think I’ve mentioned Prima much here before, but it’s a UK women’s magazine that features one sewing pattern each issue. If you subscribe you get sent them automatically, but if you pick up an occasional copy at the newsagents like I do, then you need to ring a premium rate number to have it posted to you (it usually works out to a pound or two on your phone bill, which is very reasonable).

Their patterns are usually a bit hit-or-miss with me, but when they get it right, I drop everything to buy the issue, even though this is the first one I’ve actually sewn up. Their sizing is pretty close to the Big 4 patterns and they include seam and hem allowances, and the patterns are printed on newsprint like the pattern magazines. One thing I really don’t like, though, is that they print their sewing instructions right on the pattern sheet so you’ve got to unfold this huge sheet just to read what the next step is if you haven’t cut up your patterns and prefer to trace instead.

On this pattern, I really liked the overall easygoing style and fit of the dress, and the gathered back yoke combined with the standing wide collar really appealed to me. This pattern included optional cap sleeves, which I decided to make to shield my poor freckled shoulders from the sun (when it occasionally shows its face here!).

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Hands in many pots

21 May 2008, 11:22

I’ve got my hands in so many different projects right, it’s almost hard to keep up with myself!

My first priority was re-creating my piece for the upcoming book, which (as I’ve seen it talked about elsewhere online) I believe I can now reveal is tentatively titled “Pillowcase Challenge” and is all about recycling vintage pillowcases into other items. You’re going to have to wait until next spring to see my creation in the flesh (along with a few other pillowcase-related tutorials I’ve got tucked away), but here’s a teaser of my sample ready to be posted:

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