A Case for Sewing Designer Patterns

A case for sewing designer patterns. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.

I was reading some sewing blogs yesterday and I had the chance to read Amanda’s blog post about sewing the top from V1440, a Donna Karan for Vogue pattern. I’ve long admired Amanda’s ability to pair pattern and fabric, and she is a meticulous sewer. In her latest post, she enthused about V1440, saying “you get three designer pieces that are very wearable for the price of one.” True that!

A case for sewing designer patterns. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.
Amanda looks fabulous in this V1440 top pattern, as does Saturday Night Stitch in her versions.

But what really resonated with me was when I read this from Amanda in that same post:
“Something else I love about this pattern are the beautifully finished insides included in the directions.” She goes on to gush about how the directions have you use a bias facing at the hem of the skirt, rather than double-turn the edge and stitch: “Wow, that made making the hem SO MUCH EASIER than the usual double-folded hem that puckers and never will lay completely flat. I am using a bias hem facing for all shaped hems from now on.”

Here’s something you may not realize about our designer patterns. You are actually re-creating the garment as designed by the designer. That’s because we have the original designer sample garment at our studios and when we write the instructions, we’re having you replicate the designer garment. No short cuts for home sewers, in other words. Occasionally we may make a minor modification if the designer garment has a detail that most home sewers can’t accomplish on non-industrial machines, but nine times out of ten we don’t change things up. So you’re making garments just as Donna Karan, Ralph Rucci or Rebecca Taylor designed them. Which is pretty cool and a strong case for sewing designer patterns.

Speaking of designers, we’ll be introducing some new ones in the next Vogue Patterns collection (winter holiday), and we think you’re gonna like them. Stay tuned!

announcing the V1467 pea coat sewalong on the McCall Pattern Company blog

If you’re participating in the V1467 Pea Coat Sew Along, get your pattern now while it’s on sale through 8/31. A schedule for the sew along will be posted next week.

Enjoy your weekend! Hope you get a lot of sewing in (I plan to).

We’ve been sewing since 1863.

18 comments
  1. How to I sign up for the sew along?

    1. Hi Allene! There is no signing up. Just read the blog posts to come and follow along at your own pace. Pretty easy!

  2. Meg, I understand that Vogue is thinking of the majority of home sewers that might not be able to accomplish some sewing tasks, but those of us that can would love to try or learn new designer techniques. Why not I include them stating “more advanced techniques.” That way we could try them?
    Question for the Peacoat. I have some beautiful Melton wool I would like to use for the Peacoat, would it work, or are there too many details for the Melton?

    1. Hi Anne! For the first question about Vogue Patterns, I think you may have misunderstood me. We are NOT changing details that we think might be too advanced for most home sewers. All those tough or tricky details are in there. Just take a look at the Chado Ralph Rucci patterns, for example. There are advanced, meticulous details in those patterns that would send most home sewers for the hills. We leave them in there to stay 100 percent true to Mr. Rucci’s vision. And this is how we treat all our Vogue Patterns designer patterns. On very rare occasions, however, there may be a small detail conceived by the designer that even the finest home sewers will have trouble replicating on a home sewing machine. In those VERY FEW cases we may make a slight modification to the pattern. But this is rare.

      Second question: Melton for the pea coat. It should work, but I would test a small princess seam on a scrap. If you like the way the melton handles a slight curve then you should be ok.

  3. I just got my first Designer Vogue pattern today in the mail! I’m “sew” excited!! 😀

  4. Vogue’s designer patterns are showing the intermediate to advanced sewists the special details that we crave – bravo!

  5. I love Vogue designer patterns and have made so many of them I especially like how they generally include exact pattern pieces for facings and linings which make the garments sew together so well. Miss the Michael Kors patterns but it is nice to continually have fresh new designers.

  6. I’m a free-lance apparel designer, and yes I can draft patterns from scratch, but one of my most valuable go to Vogue designer patterns is my “Vintage” Vogue 1369, a Calvin Klein production that includes a tailored jacket, skirt, pants, and blouse. When I need a tailored suit pattern to start from, I dig into my pattern files, find a close size (I actually bought all sizes back when this pattern originally came out in the1970-80’s!) and usually have few alterations to do, straight from the original pattern. And who could not love those disco era wide lapels! Vogue designer patterns might cost a bit more than conventional patterns, but you get much better fit and stylistic details.

  7. Lately I have really come to appreciate Vogue designer patterns. As my sewing improves I’ve been keeping an eye out for patterns that showcase interesting design details and sophisticated finishes, because I enjoy the challenge and feel proud when I produce a garment that really does feel designer. There is a place for simple patterns for every day wear but garments with unique details are so much more exciting. I love poring over the Vogue designer section and look forward to all of your new releases!

  8. Amanda’s take on this blouse had me me at hello. Fwiw, those designer details in the Vogue Patterns are what make them so collectible. I need to get my hands on as many possible while they’re still available so I can sew them when I’m ready.

  9. Thanks for the shout out Meg!

  10. Amanda did excellent work 🙂 I would say for me I do like many of the designer patterns, however often times they are not suited for my plus size body type. For example backless dress, the over sized look, or deep neck lines. I often find a more simple lines flatter me, which more times then not are the wasy option Vougue patterns 🙂

  11. Sheseams is right about Vogue designs for plus size. I have just bought several Tilton patterns, though, and am looking forward to making those as they seem to be geared for a range of body types and more forgiving for us older ladies who no longer have a waist nor arms we’d like to show off. I adore Amanda’s top but unfortunately can’t wear that style any longer. I’ve been shopping for Vogue patterns and had to pass up a number of styles I would have liked because there was no sleeve and I don’t have the skills to draft and add one that would look right. Hope your designers will put more consideration into designing for Boomers.

  12. I understand Donna Karan has ended her collections , does that mean no more Donna Karan Collection Vogue patterns after this Fall/Winter 2015/16 collection? I have collected every single one since her very first patterns with Vogue and have made many of these for myself and feeling quite sad about this development.

    1. Hi Kaye! We still have more Donna Karan patterns coming so don’t lose hope! We know you’ll love them.

  13. Thanks for sharing that info. I never realised that those patterns were so true to the original designs. I’ve always been a bit nervous about using Vogue designer patterns as I alway felt I didn’t have advanced enough skills. I’m keen enough to give them a go now.

  14. I agree with Sheseams and Annie. When I was young, I LOVED making Vogue designer patterns (being 6’2″ I learned to sew from necessity!). But now that I’d need about a 24W in ready to wear, the designer patterns no longer work for me. It’s enough effort that I have to lengthen every pattern piece when I sew…I know I do not possess the skill to take a Donna Karan pattern and size it up to fit. In addition to the misses sizes, please consider adding plus sizes to the designer lines.

  15. I also have some classic designer patterns. I was fascinated with Issey Miyake as a teen (sadly, the patterns are too wee for my grownup body) , and I have held on to several patterns long after their style has eluded my tastes. I remember that my home ec grades were spectacular when I made a designer pattern instead of an Easy to sew coordinate set.

    I read a great discourse on a blog this week that reminded me that in the independent pattern world we pay much more for patterns than we do from the big pattern companies, and too often end up with a bunch of rectangles to sew together. (I have a few indie patterns I love, but have also paid good money for lemons, too). It’s nice the feel secure in my purchase when I buy a quality pattern from the designer collection.

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