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Simply the Best
Simplicity Sewing Patterns in General
Member Name: shroud
Simplicity Sewing Patterns in General
Date: 28/03/08, updated on 28/03/08 (1365 review reads)
Advantages: always accurate, inexpensive, large variety of sizes and styles, multi-sized, easy instructions
Okay, you learned to sew a straight seam, do curves, and figured out your machine pretty much, so you have decided you want to sew a project. For this, you most likely need a pattern. But what to choose? Looks of the garment or item is important, but what brand pattern? Assuming they are of a muchness would be a mistake, sadly, as not all patterns are equal.
Once upon a time, patterns came with the pieces to cut out, but absolutely NO instructions. The patterns assumed you would already know how to lay out the pattern according to grain lines and folds from experience, and if you did not, that older, experienced women in the family would be on hand to help out with it. Later patterns came with some instructions, but this was generally just for layout. More modern patterns from the 50's onwards came with the pattern pieces, layout instruction, and instructions on the best way to construct the item step by step. Even so, not all pattern companies create their patterns equally.
Take for example Kwik Sew. Kwik Sew is a current popular brand that has been around awhile. But a quick Google on their pattern numbers will show sewing blogs that detail the hit and miss success of experienced seamstresses in using these patterns. Mac Call's is another venerable brand, and I have to admit they are quality patterns. The instructions are easy to follow, and their easy patterns are indeed easy. On occasion though, they too are not entirely accurate. Take for example a simple pair of capri pants and tank top style top I recently completed. The hemline on the trousers and top feature a ruffle in a contrasting fabric. All went well until I went to attach the ruffle at the hemline of the top. Pinning the ungathered fabric at the sides so I could make sure it would be even, I was dismayed to discover the width was too small and simply did not go all the way around. I double checked the pattern and its measurements....yes, it all matched. I checked it again.. It still matched. yet it was definitely a full 3 1/2 inches too small. Luckily I had enough of the contrasting fabric to make up the correct size, but it was terribly disappointing. This is not an isolated case either, as over the years, I have had other such "snafus" on the occasional pattern. Nothing not easily remedied, but still...
Simplicity on the other hand I have found I can always rely on. This is a pattern company who don't just crank out the patterns to make a few quid; they intend for you to have every success as a seamstress and enjoy it. To begin with, Simplicity designed a unit method of sewing. You can buy books detailing the method, which I highly recommend. While I have my other sewing books that I tell you are musts, this one is useful to no end. Quite simply, it dos not concentrate on the minutiae of sewing that the other reference books do with detailed instructions on every type of seam going. Rather it covers basic construction techniques for shirts, skirts, trousers, and dresses. It covers the reading of pattern markings and how to adjust the patterns for fit. It covers making the seams, and pressing things flat. Literally, a step by step how to guide.
It is this that their each and every one of their patterns reflect. Buy a Simplicity pattern and you will get information on the best fabrics to use, and the best layout according to fabric width. You get the pattern pieces to cut out or trace, and the pieces themselves tell you which way on the fabric to lay them, as well as fold lines to shorten if needed, and so on. The instructions are clear, and follow the unit method of sewing. They have simpler patterns for rank beginners that use only very basic construction techniques, their average type pattern which is slightly more advanced but still easy to do, and they have now also have Project Runway patterns, that include a new Simplicity method of designing your own pattern from the pieces provided in addition to the garments they show the pattern is for. The Project Runway patterns are designed to be especially easy to sew, and to appeal to the younger aspiring seamstress aged 10-25. Indeed, the children's versions are simple enough and suitable enough and in the correct sizes that a responsible 8-10 year old with adult supervision could make the garment shown on the envelope.
In line with their dedication to bringing successful sewing to the masses, each pattern is checked several times over. Simplicity actually employ people to make test garments from the patterns to ensure each is correct. In the past when department stores had large fabric and pattern sections, it was not uncommon to see that a local seamstress, employed by Simplicity, had made a garment to be hung as a display to advertise the pattern in question, and by extension, the rest of their products.It is this dedication to accuracy hat leads me to say that these are quite simply the best patterns on the market, and the first company I turn to when looking to make an item .I have been sewing off and on now for over 17 years, and never ever had a bad project come from a Simplicity pattern. Likewise, while reading sewing blogs, no one has ever said they came a cropper with one. The quality of the pattern designs and sizing is excellent, as are the instructions. So is the tissue paper they use.This might seem trivial, but its not. Too thin and it tears, Too thick and you can't get a successful trace using carbon tracing paper.
Simplicity have been most thorough in this regard as well. Selling the individual patterns in multi sizes , they are quite aware that today you might wish to make a size 6 for a child, and re-sue it to make an 8, and so on. So they made sure that the paper would withstand multiple uses and be able to be traced so there is no need to cut it, meaning you can make use of each size. Also, Simplicity recommends you iron the creases out of the pattern before laying out and cutting. This way it is perfectly flat and measurements are exact. The paper is made to withstand a moderate iron, with no need for a cloth between. Of course, steaming is NOT recommended.
So, accuracy in measurements, instructions designed for easy understanding and accuracy, quality paper for ease of reuse, and a large variety of styles, sizes, and types. With such quality and variety its not difficult to find something you want to make. In fact, it's so easy, it's Simplicity.
Summary: Elegantly simple to use, with stunning results for beginners and pros.