In the latest feeds, there is this article from Abby Glassenberg, that a crafts company from the UK has purchased the big-4 pattern companies. The Big-4 has always referred to Vogue, Butterick, McCalls, and Simplicity. This really shouldn’t be surprising as the pattern industry has runoff and left these 4 behind while they were resting on their laurels…I guess.
And they were grand laurels to rest on…..
This is a beautiful winter white coat that is better than any fur I could have owned. It was the most formal look for the formal balls I used to attend. It was great for the Christmas Eve service, not quite so formal. It was fabulous for a winter outing that was a little dressier than my green coats (I have 5 green coats now, as I never met a green I didn’t love), and still wear this coat on special occasions.
This was a fabulous jacket but I didn’t like the way the back neck was high and then suddenly there was no neck, so I redesigned that part so that the up collar would come around in front and button in the asymmetrical way of Beene’s original design. I loved this jacket.
Here I am in that jacket with my cousin Marshall and his lovely bride Milena. It was great with that stand-up collar that almost looked like a tux collar. That’s what I loved about this jacket.
Then there were these Geoffrey Beene – he really became my idol and most fav designer of all time. So favorite that I still have all these patterns and might make one of them up again. What’s different and really hard to see in the middle one is that there is an inset border-type piece around the front and collar and the seam hit right over the bust seam and I could fit my bust perfectly. There were so many fabulous things like that about these Beene patterns that I couldn’t wait when they came out. It was really like buying a Beene, taking it apart and then making your own pattern from it. No wonder Vogue had such a stellar rep.
Back then, I dressed up for the day. I didn’t go to the store or run errands that I didn’t look scrumptious going out the door. The suit on the left was one of my favorites. I had a more hourglass figure back then and loved wearing that jacket that emphasized my small waist. I took the Montana pattern and that shirt had a shirt hem so I made it out of Ultrasuede and always wore it out with longer thinner pants and heels (I’m short). And it was a killer look for so long. I wore it for almost 20 years – up into the Grunge cause I didn’t care. I loved the look of the top.
With fashions like these, it was easy to love my patterns from Vogue and even though I might have gulped at the price $20 back then), it was worth it cause you were actually getting a pattern that worked. But that stopped about 15 years ago, and even in some of my classes when my students bring Vogue patterns to class, they are drafted wrong, they have basic mistakes and the design is off. This really infuriates me because nothing will cause a newbie or someone returning to sewing after a long absence to quit sewing almost immediately. Fortunately, I’ve caught them and made it clear that it is NOT them and as a result, they need to realize that the pattern is wrong and show them how to correct it. But without professional guidance, most people feel it’s their fault — after all, it’s a “Vogue Pattern”!
Enter the new century and there are European and foreign patterns that are drafted way better, for more generous figures, and go together very well with either simple techniques or can go up to the most tailored techniques possible, with huge success. My first find was BurdaStyle. I couldn’t and still can’t get enough of them. Another well-drafted pattern company is StyleArc. Both of the pattern companies have come to the forefront as have Jalie as some of the major pattern companies.
But further, than that is the plethora of independent designers out there. Simply look up <favorite dress pattern> on the net and you will get a full assortment of independent pattern designers who are good, well-drafted and a lot of fun to use. How can out-dated, mistake-ridden drafting, and no downloading of patterns whatsoever even hope to compete? They can’t. The day of going to the store and purchasing a paper pattern is gone. Most of these independent and larger newer companies have pdf print-at-home or copy-shop ready to download, which is far gentler on the planet as a whole lot more convenient.
This sale of the Big 4 looks more like a fire sale, which they will probably spin-off to someone else to see if they can eek some $$$ out of the companies, which will further depress their value. And although I lament of the loss of the Big-4 as US companies that are being sold as if at a garage sale, the good news is that there are many, many US independent pattern companies and designers stepping in to take over.
Let the creativity begin!!!
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