Sewing Patterns & My Happy Place

To appropriate a line from "30 Rock", there are two things I love in this world: Starbucks and Sewing Patterns.

Starbucks is and always will be my "Happy Place". My days are measured in how many shots of espresso I need to make it through. Sewing Patterns are my hobby. Yes, I sew. I love it. But I love Sewing Patterns more. And by "Sewing Patterns", I mean the collecting of and mooning over the actual pattern envelope and pieces therein.

When I need a pick-me-up or some "me" time or just to decompress, I head over to the local Fabric Mega Mart and plop down with my Starbucks Beverage Du Jour and contemplate. Sometimes I contemplate the styling of the photos. Like I did here. Sometimes I snap pictures of patterns I want to buy when they go on sale. Because there is NO WAY I'm paying full retail price for a Vogue pattern. No WAY. Other times I look for inspiration. Hello, Road to the Runway! And sometimes I just sit there and flip pages mindlessly.

Today, I wanted to see what was cooking for Winter. I'd already seen Simplicity, McCall's & Butterick's offerings. Burda I ignored because, well, they don't change much from year to year and it sort of frustrates me. Vogue's newest books weren't out yet. I'll let Iago say what I'm thinking about THAT.

Since I couldn't peruse Vogue's winter offerings, I had to placate myself with KwikSew's. I wasn't sure I'd really reviewed KwikSew's pattern books/styling before, so I thought to myself as I was flipping through the pages "You know... These are actually pretty good". So here's the low-down on KwikSew's pattern book.

Pattern Books are the first way we get to know a pattern company. So when we look inside the cover, we need to see well styled looks, well executed samples and believable models. Why? Because we are the ones who will be making this stuff. If we can't envision what it's going to look like on US, the "real" people, then what's the point??? I'll pause for a moment to insert a Tim Gunn Takeaway...

Tim is spot on, by the way. Sewing for one's self is like having a mini-makeover every time you finish a garment.

I was heartily impressed with KwikSew.

The styling of each photo was impeccable. Not fussy, no contorted model poses, no stupid accessories that didn't make sense, no pretense or hauteur. Which is sort of an oxymoron in the fashion industry. In fact, the backgrounds *and* models were well chosen to show off the garments.

The samples presented in the photos were well executed. When patterned fabrics were used, they were manipulated in such a way that it didn't frustrate the perfectionist in me. I will go postal on a pattern company that can't manage to match plaids in the sample. That's totally unacceptable.

The designs themselves were not pretentious or making failed attempts at haute couture. Which is nice because most women* who sew for their families aren't into avant garde runway chic for their day-to-day wear, ya know?

Many of the patterns looked to be very easy to sew. Which is great for those who want to spend time actually WEARING the clothes rather than figuring out how to make them.

KwikSew doesn't have a 2" thick book like everyone else on the pattern desk. Their book is a scanty 1/2" thick or so, but what it DOES have is worth looking at and worth sewing. Their patterns are pricier than everyone else's on sale, but I suspect that the adage "You get what you pay for" is going to be true for KwikSew patterns.

In the interest of full disclosure, I haven't sewn one yet. In fact, the only KwikSew patterns I have are ANCIENT ones that have to be traced and as such have never yet been made up. But I'd LOVE the opportunity to try one some day.

*I know, I know, it's not just women (in binders) who sew. Dudes sew too, but let's be real, the majority of home sew-ers are women. So please don't shoot the messenger.

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