Tuesday, 4 March 2014

My Open Letter to Vogue

Dear Vogue Patterns, 

Don't change (too much).  I love you just the way you are and I'm always excited to see the new designs that you deliver with each pattern release. You don't have to wow me each and every time with each and every pattern because I'm still trying to catch up on sewing up all the fabulous Vogue patterns that are in my stash.  

An Avid Vogue Pattern Sewer.

Shams over at Communing with Fabric wrote a very thoughtful and thought provoking open letter about her beefs with MBV. I like what Shams had to say because she didn't leave it there. She offered solutions and extended an invitation for others to voice their concerns with Vogue. I like people like that! I agree with some of her points that she made over the years but not with all of them.

She did have me thinking about how we're all quick to criticize and poke fun at the big four pattern companies and hold up the independent small pattern companies up on a pedestal.

What's up with that?

I just want to go on the record to say, I understand Sham's concerns but I have to speak for myself on this one.  I love everything about Vogue patterns. Is there room for growth and change. For sure! But they also offer fabulous products and services. I like that they offer easy and designer patterns and what some people might consider boring, I consider work appropriate. But on my time off from work I enjoy sewing and wearing something more on the funky side. There I said it, don't change (too much).

But Shams did raise a really interesting point about fit. I can see Sham's point about having to always do pattern adjustments. My pattern adjustments are to a different area than Shams described.

My suggestion for Vogue is to offer a personalized pattern grading service. Things are so different now than when I first started sewing. Now patterns are graded by computers. I'm thinking about Lekala Sewing patterns, a company that offers custom patterns according to your own measurements. Perhaps this might be something that MBV might consider to appease all of us with our own personal fitting issues and don't want to do the problem solving the old fashion way?

They can still offer the patterns as they traditionally do for those of us who do like doing the math but offer (at an additional cost) the option to have the pattern graded to your own personal measurements and body issues.

I'm totally not on board with wanting Vogue, Butterick and/or McCall's to adapt RTW sizing and RTW detailing. Or changing their sloper pattern. I find their sizing perfectly workable for my needs. And I like math. I just need to learn how to make a muslin so that I can check my work. I personally find RTW sizing to be ill-fitting and the reason I sew is so I have an alternative to RTW sizing and detailing. If I wanted RTW sizing and detailing I would shop for RTW and save myself a whole whack of cash and time. Sorry Shams, I can't back you up on this one.

And like Shams I don't want Vogue to abandon paper patterns in favour of downloadable patterns but see that it is a product offering that some people like. I don't mind waiting for my patterns to arrive in the mail when I order them online. If I wanted immediate gratification I would visit my local fabric store and pick up a pattern. Besides, for me nothing kills the mood than having to print off a pattern on the computer and then tape the piece together before I can cut out my fabric. I find downloadable patterns a big pain-in-the you-know-where. And what about those peeps that don't have internet service? I know that there are people who do like downloadable patterns but please offer both if you're thinking about going that route.

Hmm, crotch length. I don't have a problem with the crotch length on Vogue patterns and the length is such an easy fix. And I have a booty and thighs so I didn't get this issue. I do have pant-fitting issues but I found Sandra Betzina's book Fast Fit a valuable resource. Seriously, I really do recommend Betzina's book. This is another issue that Vogue can help consumers with if they offered a personalized grading and fitting service according to individual fitting needs.

The one thing that Shams did mention that I'm totally thrilled about...

Include the finished pattern measurements on the pattern envelope and in the catalog.
They will be doing this!!!! Very very soon.
This is excellent news! I will admit that I dislike having to search through the pattern pieces to find this information. It is an issue not limited to MBV patterns though. It would be nice if all pattern companies offered this.

Well, that is all that I have to say on the Vogue discussion. I guess I should put it into a letter and send it off to Vogue like Shams suggests. Thank you for the starting a great discussion.

Happy Sewing!


  1. Can I just say, I have wanted to raise the indie vs big 4 issue on my blog but don't want the backlash. I made the mistake last summer of criticizing a new release and woah!

    I agree that EVERYTHING the well-known Indies release is "AMAZING" and the best pattern EVER!!!! (Exaggeration: mine). And no one blames issues on the pattern, but rather on themselves. In contrast to mocking the big 4 releases and blaming them for horrible patterns.

    And, yes I complain about some items in releases too! Hey, it was a butt zipper!!! But I honestly critique the look of any pattern I see being released, including the indies. But you "can't" say that!

    Sorry I've rambled. The only wish list items I have for the Big 4 are:
    Finished garment measurements and a less cluttered back of envelope. (Maybe the front/back view could be moved to a small box on front and we can get a full b/w/h plus length and leg opening on pants!!!

    Cup sizing for woven tops and dresses.

    1. Wow there are folks out there *that* invested in their opinion, one way or another, to backlash against what you wrote last summer? Weird. I have a handful of indie patterns, and they are fine and all, but whatever...they all amount to sewing patterns to me that *I* have to work really hard at to make for myself. I don't give a fig who created it if it ends up working well for me. That one McCalls top I made that I know you made a ton of times is amazing, and it is pulled from a pattern whose artwork and design aren't anything special, if I am being honest. And Burda--OMG--Burda, God bless you all for taking into account a real woman's shape. :)

    2. I was just a few months into sewing and honestly stared my opinion and got blasted.

      I am enjoying my new found Burda-ism :-) aside from trying one thing that was completely unsuited to my body type, every Burda pattern I've sewn has been pretty awesome.

  2. The idea of Vogue adopting RTW sizing is crazy to me. Which RTW? They're all different and they change every year. And personally I would end up doing just as many pattern alterations, just different ones.

  3. Oh oh, I didn't mean to start anything between pattern companies, indie or not. I only made that comment/statement because I notice a trend amongst a few blogs where Vogue patterns are made fun of mostly because of their art direction. Even though the patterns are new releases and haven't been tested out. I don't like reading any criticism of a pattern before it has been tried out. At least try it out. And I would take it with a grain of salt since we all have different body shapes and issues. I wouldn't expect a pattern that looks fabulous on someone else to look the same on me. I was just making an observation with my comment.


McCall's 7630: Pullover Top

It's an easy sewing project for a loose-fitting pullover top. It's my second go with this pattern and I still want to make another ...