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There is always a lot of discussion on sewing instructions with patterns. Ann of Gorgeous Things wrote about this subject this week, and there were very many people writing their views on the topic. Personally I prefer well drafted patterns with consistency in sizes (BWOF comes to mind immediately) that tell you where to match. It can be very helpful to have instructions on a specific, more advanced technique that is used in a pattern. In the 80-s I learned a lot using Vogue patterns for the first time, but now the internet gives so much information, the pattern companies could use these modern techniques to provide basic information or even more detailed pictures/movies on how to make a specific pattern. So I certainly second the opinions of those that these means of communication should be used better by the pattern companies.

Recently I  bought Claire Shaeffers pants pattern from Vogue, no. 7881, mainly because of the instructions. Reading the instructions however, I was very much surprised that there were no instructions for lining these pants. That is one point where I want to improve my skills, but I am disappointed.

Now the personal story about frustrating instructions:

Yesterday evening I thought to cut out a skirt from Knip Mode September 2008. It's this pattern:


I traced the pattern back in September but never made it. And I thought it might be a nice, relatively quick project for the little sewing time I have (postponing the piped vest till after the holiday). The instructions for the pleats in the front are quite detailed in the magazine, and the skirt as such looks simple to make. But before I got to the point of even cutting the fabric, it took me as much time to decipher the pattern and the cutting layout as I expected to need for basic construction, that I gave up in pure frustration. It is only now, after making pictures and doublechecking everything to write this post, that I see how it is meant! But the sewing spirit is gone.

First point: the line drawings of the back are hidden behind the line drawing of the front. As in my last post where I showed a jacket, some details can't be seen this way. They should really alter that as it makes evaluating a pattern more difficult.

Then: these are the pattern pieces.

The front, after taping the 3 different parts together. A bit of a puzzle, but nothing wrong here.

(exuse the wrinkled patterns, it has been laying around quite some time)
The back, in 2 pieces on the pattern sheet, the more or less dotted line a little off center marks the tape line. It has to be cut along the black lines to obtain the 4 pattern pieces that are needed.
& The frustrating cutting layout. And now that I finally know how it's meant, it seems so easy. But it took me a very long time to get it (could just be me though).
In the first layout (the fashion fabric) there are 4 pieces marked with the number 3 on it.
First one left on top is no problem, the top of the skirt with darts.
Then the two parts that I marked with a red oval. They have line in them that I finally understood to be the straight of grain line. This line is NOTon the pattern (checked and doublechecked). Now I know it must be the straight of grain line, but I was so puzzled how to interprete this.
The last part is the center back back. There too is a line (center back/straight of grain) that is not on the pattern. 
I will need that center back line when cutting the lining, see the red arrow in the lining cutting layout (the second layout drawing).
Apparently I have to draw the back lining pattern now, while I have not yet cut the pieces apart. They're not telling that!

It would have been more easy if the back parts would have been separate pattern pieces where there would have been no need to tape together, with clear indications where to match. For the front lining a separate pattern piece is provided, this should have been done for the back too.

OK, frustration written off me, now I have to work a bit, perhaps I will sew tonight? Some easy tnt t-shirt perhaps?


  1. I love this skirt!I can even envision it in a shorter version (not too short,I am petite so often looking at the versatility of a pattern). It has a unique look which is so enticing if you are looking for skirt that varies from the "norm".I hope you decide to give it another chance. I was inspired by your skirt with the top stitching and flared pieces to make a simpler version,I hope to learn from this one! Keep going!

  2. I hope it isn't too frustrating to finish because I am dying to see the result! Such a unique skirt! Good luck.

  3. This is an awesome skirt. I hope it works out for you.

  4. The skirt is great, but I remember that in my one foray into Knip sewing I had a similar issue. The layout didn't show one piece that taped to another and it took me the longest time to even find it! I even asked my dh, who is an engineer and sees things differently if I was missing something. As I said in my blog, we may complain about directions in BWOF, but the match points are very clear on pattern diagram with the numbered corners. This makes it much easier to put them together. Good luck on the skirt. It really is unusual, but wearable.

  5. Knip Mode has the BEST skirts. But, I too am often confused by the straight lines they use. And, I can't read the Dutch to try and work through it all.

  6. Pressure is on Sigrid to finish the race! Then we will be asking you to copy the pattern and send to us! You will be our authentic interpreter. Ready, set, go!

  7. It looks like a lovely skirt. Very interesting. But it really is pretty silly obscuring the back line drawings. What are they thinking? It looks more arty that way?

  8. I made a white pair of flared pants during the weekend, only to find out that there was too much see-through in the end; I had ti line them, of course, and since the pants were already finished, I cut another pants in lightweight stretch cotton and attached it by hand (to the waistband, hems and around the fly-front zipper). If the pants weren't completed already, the only think I'd do differently would be attaching the lining before the waistband is stitched on. Other possibility for the lining is using the lightweight knit lining we often see inside RTW dresses. I think Laura Popa made a pair of lined pants using that type of lining and another lining method that produced very good results

  9. Can you help me? I am looking for a page from that exact KnipMode. (September 2008)I traced a pattern out way back when, but I forgot I needed the diagrams from page 30! I cut out all the pattern pieces now and am starting to put it together.. now I am stuck because I don't have the diagrams! I hope you were able to finish up that skirt I think it will be very pretty

  10. Hello Dawn, I'd love to help and checked whether I still have the issue, but unfortunately not. I gave some issues away last year and apparently this one as well. Perhaps you can try through the message boards on Pattern Review?
    Good luck, Sigrid


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