Friday, May 30, 2008

Read patterns

Lindsay T has an amusing story of "reading patterns" in her student days and a nice poll on her blog about which sewing resource you use most. Her post inspired me to write this.

It was a difficult choice for me between online resources and sewing books (I voted online resources).

I did learn a lot from the sewing books I bought the last two years ( and these I bought mostly by recommendations of other bloggers), and from the 25 year old Burda book that still regularly helps me out. But as those of you who read my blog for some time already know, I'm quite fond of all resources that can be found on the internet on blogs or websites like Threads magazine. This magazine is a wealth of information too, I bought 4 older issues this week on E-bay, amongst which the issue on the construction of a Chanel jacket.

Pattern reading is something I do when I use a Vogue or Butterick pattern (which is not so very often), usually to see whether there is something special to learn. Last year I wrote a post on how much I learned from those patterns when I got to know them in the 80's. Here in the Netherlands those patterns were hardly sold at the time, and very expensive. (They still are very expensive, the price for a Vogue pattern is 15-19 euro, which is US $23-29, for less than that I can buy 2 BWOF magazines with a lot of patterns in each issue, luckily the Butterick coat pattern was in a half price sale this month).

There's not so much reading in a BWOF or Knip mode instruction. I mostly don't read them and do rely on "the part of the brain where sewing information is stored" (as Lindsay called it so nicely), but when I get stuck or just want to know if there is a better way, I rely on the books and tutorials on the internet.


This is a picture of my small collection of sewing books, and as a picture can not be made of the internet information, I just give a reference to my site with links to tutorials (to advertise it a bit, the main work on it is done).


  1. Oh! Wow! I pay about $15 Australian ($13.50 US?) for Vogue patterns. I thought that was ridiculously over the top - I never once thought that Europe might have it worse than the Antipodes! Mind, I also pay $16 AUD ($15 US?) for a BWOF...

    We don't get those 99c pattern sales like in the US - we get 50% off, which means all the patterns are still so expensive!

  2. The price of BWOF at my Barnes and Noble increased 25% between April and May, from US$10 to US$12.50. There are probably 2 or 3 patterns in each issue that I would consider making, which makes them a pretty good value. BUT...I paid US$0.88 for McCalls and Butterick Patterns this weekend which makes BWOF a little more expensive than that. And I do need like to have instructions and use them compulsively when they're available, which I sometimes regret.

  3. Sigrid, I'm happy I could serve as inspiration for this post. It's a shame that patterns are so expensive in Europe!

  4. Wow, those prices are really high! I have to say, I hesitated a bit on Lindsay's poll trying to decide between books and online sources. In the end, I went with books because when I hit a snag, my (rather extensive) collection of sewing books is where I turn first.

  5. Ohhhh you have a copy of Decorative Dressmaking on your shelf! I LOVE that book!

    The information explosion on the internet is a relatively new thing so if you've been sewing for awhile and are not internet savvy, you don't realize what's out there! I do tend to turn to the extensive book and magazine collection I have amassed as well as notes from sewing classes taken to figure out techniques.

    My new love is vintage patterns with all of the instruction information contained in the pattern envelope!!!

  6. Sigrid .- you look very well with the blouse. Thanks for the photo with the completion of the chest. greetings. Paco

  7. I see we have "several books in common! LOL!