Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Pattern Illustrations versus Reality

Butterick's new Summer Collection means more designs to spark my sewing creativity and/or distract me from the stack of patterns waiting for me in the sewing room.

Butterick 6212

There are two new vintage reproductions.  The real life versions are not doing these designs or the model any favors.  To be fair to the patterns, the fit looks wonky and oversized, and the fabric choices look like they are less than ideal.  I think a petticoat would help, as would a bit of consistency in the styling . . . the hair is 1940s, the shoes look late 1990s, the clutch is just silly for a 1950s cotton day dress, and the jewelry is way too much.  

It also seems odd that both reproductions are wrap dresses from the early 1950s.  Why does The McCall Company continue to produce sister designs in the same catalog . . . why not go for two completely different looks that would appeal to a wider customer base?

Butterick 6212

But the illustrations are adorable!  Butterick 6212 reminds me of the famous Walk-Away Dress.  I am wondering if it will have similar issues, and how that back overlap will work on a moving body.  Will a front-to-back wrap have more success than back-to-front?  It appears that both of these designs are from 1952, so someone at Butterick was clearly a fan of the wrap style.  I am not completely convinced, myself.

Butterick 6212

Even in a photo shoot situation, there is some serious gaping under the arm.  The dress is too big on this lady, so that may be part of the problem.  Even with its problems, this is an improvement on the famous version, in my opinion.  The shaped waist yoke allows for a better fit through the torso (in theory).  It will be interesting to see what people do with this one.

Butterick 6211

Next up is Butterick 6211 - I adore the illustration.  The mock up, however, is not reinforcing this opinion.  I am going to hope that poor fabric choice and an over-sized bodice is at fault.  Those opening edges seem to need a bit more structure, or perhaps they were stretched out of shape during construction.  Maybe three buttons are just not enough to keep this in place.

Butterick 6211

I think the side gaping issue is a bit more resolved on this dress because the bodice wraps further around the body than 6212.  But anything more than the most basic of alterations is probably a bit of a nightmare.  I really do love the concept, though.

So that makes three vintage repro wrap dresses in the current catalog, or four if you include Vogue 8788.  Going by the mock-ups, I would say that the Vogue is the most flattering of the bunch even though I am really rooting for 6211!

Butterick 6211

The Gertie pattern has the opposite problem . . .bad illustrations, cute pictures.  The Patterns by Gertie line is clearly vintage inspired, so why not follow through with the sketches?  Am I the only one who loves the vintage drawings so much?

Butterick 6217

This particular illustration looks like something from 1996, and is probably where those pink slingbacks came from.  But the tulip sleeves and front ties have me sold, so I am just going to have to erase this particular image from my mind.

Butterick 6217

There are also quite a few cute summer options ranging from extremely basic to a bit more challenging.  It looks like Butterick (and McCall and Vogue) are continuing to listen to their customers, which is rather refreshing.  Here is hoping it will be a lasting trend.

Do you have any new favorites?

13 comments:

  1. I think models with 1950s proportions would also help flatter the patterns considerably.
    I attempted the Vogue pattern you reference and while it has made a delightful sun dress it did need considerable alterations. (http://withcuriouseyes.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/sunshine-sundress.html)

    I'm beginning to think that the pattern companies either think all their customers are beginner seamstresses or they just don't employ anyone capable of creating more interesting patterns for us. I feel even I could draft up these patterns without too much difficulty.

    Reading your pattern posts make me smile that some of my pattern pessimism is shared. Thank you

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    1. I agree...I am bored with most of the vintage patterns available right now. I am not a beginner seamstress, having worked professionally for over 20 years. I look to Vogue to challenge my skills and have been left wanting.

      All of the above repros could stand some good supportive undergarments, an alterationist to make them fit better, and some serious interfacing...I am bored.

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    2. If the problem is that Vogue doesn't think it commercially viable to reproduce some of the more interesting vintage patterns why don't they contemplate converting them into pdfs and selling digital versions. Then at least there are some challenging patterns available in contemporary sizes and Vogue makes some profit.

      I'm still only a beginner seamstress but I'm already bored with the available patterns. I've bought a few basic styles but as I'm not that interested in paying $40+ for a vintage pattern that's completely the wrong size I'm more interested in constructing my own nets from the illustrations and the little pattern shape diagrams that come on the backs of old patterns.

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  2. You are my voice of reason every time new patterns are released. Thank you!!

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  3. Unfortunately, nothing jumped out at me when I looked through, other than basic dresses that I already have similar patterns for. I did think 6211 looked fantastic in the blue illustration, but I doubt I'll actually make that. Oh well. Can't win all the pattern updates. I'm glad you found lots to like!

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  4. Oh, sad oversized dress on model! As if they made the samples and switched models, which does no one any good. 6211 does call my cosplay name in the photo - a real Judy Jetson moment presents itself there.I have a sad affection for the button-on chest pieces (I've seen the term 'plastron' used, not entirely correctly), and they never look like the illustration (they can't curve with the bust when they lack underdarts) when made up. The photo is closer to real results.

    Generally speaking, any wrap dress is hard to balance to prevent accidental openings, and 6212 doesn't look any better in that light. The back skirt edge is ongrain (thanks plaid model!), but I'd be blindstitching the facing to the underskirt halfway up because....there's a lot of room for fail there. And I'm no Marilyn Monroe on the subway grating.

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  5. I like the 6211; it does have interesting lines! You're right though; I wish they would FIT the clothes to the model, or vice versa! I've found that the modern versions of the patterns run larger than vintage ones, even when meant to go with the same body measurements. This reinforces this concern for me, that it looks big on the model!

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  6. I remember a McCalls blog post that stated they receive a sample of the dress sometimes in a size or two larger then their average model (size 8 on a 4-6 model) and this is the reason for the fit issues. That withstanding I love B6211

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  7. That's something that always bothers me with retro patterns. The big companies always use skinny models with no curves or era-appropriate shapewear and still expect the clothing to look good! If they would at least tailor the garments to fit the models correctly, the patterns would be so much more appealing. I do love Gertie's new blouse pattern though, the petaled sleeves on view A are so cute!

    Naomi
    teenyboppinalong.blogspot.com

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  8. Oh dear, oh dear, that Butterick 6217 illustration is terrible! It seems the buttons on the back of 6216 might help it stay closed in a gust of wind...if they are functional that is.

    JJ
    www.dressupnotdown.blogspot.com

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  9. I agree with you about these poorly fitting dresses. I am tired of all of the skinny models in general. No average woman has thigh gap. Plus, most patterns seem designed like RTW, so that all of the clothing is baggy and has no lining, as if it came from Walmart. I thought that the whole point of sewing was to fit your clothes to yourself, so that you have something that fits great.

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  10. Thank you for drawing attention to the gaping armhole of Butterick 6212,
    I loved it a first glance but realized it would be a flop dress if I made it. I quite fancy B 6211.
    I absolutely adore you`re blog and am inspired by the beautiful creations you make.
    Thank you, Lorrain

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  11. oy. Vintage clothing without appropriate undergarments can go terrifically wrong.

    I am tickled to see Gertie's focus on vintage-style casual wear. I have a casual lifestyle, as do many women these days, and there is just not much available designed for casual practicality. I continue to hope that the big four will offer more along those lines, so am very glad to see Gertie's continued focus on this area.

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