Monday, April 09, 2007

#$@%! Vogue patterns

After I followed the tip on keeping the hooking area of my sewing machine lint-free, my Easter dress sewing project proceeded smoothly all day Saturday and by early evening the dress was almost complete. I just had a few details to finish off: handsewing the lining to the bodice and sleeve seams, sewing on four buttons, and hemming the skirt. Before starting on the hem, I tried on the dress in front of a full-length mirror to pin the skirt where I wanted it. Something was wrong. I had pinned the bodice where the buttons would be, and it fit closely but not too tight. The waist, however, was far too loose. The fit was terrible. Somehow, what appeared on the pattern envelope to be a flattering wrap-style dress, on me was transformed into a frumpy floral flour sack.

I was furious.

In the throes of my tearful, pregnancy-hormone fueled hysteria, I berated myself with the obligatory "How could I have screwed this up?!" When reason returned, I took a good look at my flour sack and realized that it wasn't anything I had done to make the fit so poor. I've been sewing my own clothes for almost 25 years now, and while I've botched a few projects in my time, I've developed enough skill to sew some really beautiful things (often without a pattern, or by combining elements of several patterns). I had followed the directions explicity, and the only alterations I had made actually enhanced the fit in the one area where the dress looked right.

When I scrutinized the dress to see if I could alter it to fit better, I realized that because of the cut of the pattern, I was left with very little room to take it in where it was too loose, without making it too tight in other places. In other words, it was a lousy pattern. Fortunately, I hadn't paid full retail price ($22.50) , but by the time I took into account the pattern, fabric, and notions, I was into it for at least that much—not to mention the value of my time.

What really chaps my hide is that a pattern with such an exorbitant sticker price isn't better constructed to fit any one other than a model with all the feminine curves of an ironing board. Because if that's how the basic pattern is constructed, and the manufacturer just makes it larger in half-inch increments for each larger size, then all you really wind up with is a pattern for a larger ironing board—not for a womanly body. I will be sending my succinctly worded sentiments about their substandard product to


Mammy/Grammy Lo said...

I totally get the frustration with the pattern. I've been trying to get one of those camisoles with the built-in bra. I've now sent back my 2nd catalog attempt and have tried several styles. If you are a large woman, they are made more like bullet-proof vests than something that would fit properly. What makes a designer think that merely increasing the size from a flat saucer to a flat plate will work on a person with curves? The concept of cups or bowls simply seems to elude them.

Katie said...

It's so reassuring to hear that I'm not the only one who's had that problem!

Anonymous said...

Just attempted to make a pair of gloves for prom (pattern V7949). Pattern claimed it came in 3 sizes (S, M, L) all in one package. The only size change was in the length of the cuff of the glove, alittle longer for each size. Made one glove and it was darn hard to sew. I have made gloves without patterns before but this one had the plackets for in between the fingers and wanted to give it a try. You might as well sew it by hand because this took so much wrangling to fit under the machine. Got one done and of course it was too short in fingers (needed a medium)but pattern did not allow for different length in that area. I now have one glove and the other is in the trash, no way will I go through the extra frustration of that again, oh and prom is to the store to look for a pair of gloves.