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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Design Review: Style & Size

First: thank you so much for taking the time to fill out the last Design Review! You answers are very helpful, and also heartwarming in terms of encouraging comments. I've already learned a lot of useful things about Paper Goods. (Haven't filled it out yet? Go here to give your opinion and influence my future patterns!). I'll do a post about it after I've collected all of it.

In this second Design Review, I'd like to discuss pattern style with you. Every designer makes patterns that cohere with her own style and taste in clothing. But you also have to decide how many pattern variations there will be, and what sizing you'll choose. I've created a little survey again, and it would be awesome if you'd fill it out for me! This will help me design patterns that coincide with your wishes - the most important criterium if I want this to turn into a business.

A detail of Victory patterns' Simone

The seven designers we're discussing (Colette, Grainline, Sewaholic, Victory, Papercut, Megan Nielsen, Deer & Doe) all have a somewhat different style. Colette leans toward vintage, and has mostly classy and feminine dresses. Megan Nielsen designs fun day-to-day wear that is easy to move in. Grainline has a clean minimalistic style and focuses on basics. Deer & Doe to me is a bit of a mix between Colette and Megan Nielsen. (The Sureau looks quite similatr to the Darling Ranges, don't you think?). Papercut has the cute, modern patterns, aimed towards a slightly younger audience. Victory has a distinctive style of her own, with flowy dresses and interesting detailing. And Sewaholic, as we all know, designs basic patterns for pear shaped women. If you ask me, there is something available for everyone. What I'd personally like to add is patterns that are a bit more edgy, not so much vintage and cute, but interesting and comfortable. Say, a mix between Victory's distinctiveness and Grainline's minimalism. I am hoping ofcourse that this is exactly what you're looking for ;). But I should ask first: is there a design style you think is missing?

Sewaholic's Pendrell Blouse variations

Personally, I love a pattern that gives me different options. Sewaholic is very good at this, always giving you as many options as a pattern can handle, it seems. Most designers offer at least two. Why some would offer only one sleeve length, is probably because they don't think other lengths are part of the design they have in mind. For me that means I'm less likely to buy a pattern. I would be aiming for as many variations as I could think of, as long as they do justice to the main design and are easy to build in to the patterns. It also gives you more worth for your money, because you get to make different garments from one pattern. But I can also imagine that more variations can make you indecisive and less inclined to choose and actually make it. So I'm curious, do you like pattern variations? Or would you rather avoid having to choose?
Grainline's Size Chart
This is a difficult topic. There's been some discussions about sizing lately, and whether or not they are based on true measurements, or the ideal ones. I've collected 9 sizing charts, and compared their size ratio based on my bust measurement, 88 cm (34.5"). I'm not comparing waist or hip because mine are a bit out of whack, no size chart ever fits these measurements. It turns out that every designer has it's own look on what a woman with an 88 bust looks like. According to Victory, I'd have a 66 (26") waist and a 91.5 (36") hip. Broad upper body, slim hips. Compare this to Grainline, who thinks a woman with 88 bust has a 71 (28") waist and a 96.5 hip (38"). That's difference of 2 whole inches in waist and hip! This woman would be more of a rectangle. A bit of an exaggeration, but it's still a big difference. Also, women seem to be bigger down under. I'm an XS with Megan Nielsen and Papercut, everywhere else I'm usually a 38/M/6-8. Or would this have been done to make me feel better about my measurements?

Another difference is the variation in grading. The difference seems to be connected to geographical location. European standards dictate 4 cm (1.6") difference between sizes. American patterns seem to vary between 2.5 and 5 (1-2"), and Papercut has no less than 6 cm (2.4"). Some vary these within the same chart, some don't. To me, 6 cm would make it very likely that someone would fall between sizes. On the other hand, you'd have to grade less patterns to get a bigger size range. So my question for you is: Do you usually fall within one size column? Do you have thoughts about sizing charts? Do you feel they reflect actual women?

Below you can find the form. If you're reading this in Google Reader, click here!


  1. Just letting you know the form works fine in Reader. Just filled it and submitted it from there.

    1. Thanks for your input! It doesn't show when you read it on iPad or iPhone, but it does in chrome.


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