These are my opinions and they have been shaped by a few things. Firstly I am opinionated and it can be hard to change an opinion after it has been formed. Secondly I grew up with a mother who sewed my whole life, I spent many afternoons as a child bent over sewing pattern books and some of my feeling about the big 4 I carry from childhood.
Vogue, Mccalls and Butterick
As a child I loved Vogue. I had no idea about the difference between Vogue the magazine, Vogue the knitting magazine or the pattern company. The word ment the fashionist of all the fashion. When I left home and started sewing for myself when I was 20 I used almost exclusively vogue patterns. As a beginner they were disappointing. Drafted for a B cup and with way to much ease they just made me sad. I quit them pretty soon. Mccalls have always seemed a brand for mumsy clothes. The most exciting thing that came out of Butterick are their Retro patterns, now it is Gertie's line.
Simplicity, New Look and Burda also need a mention. At least in Australian stores there were the cheaper options that seemed less interesting. Burda has always had a lot of promise but to my child eyes Burda the pattern company and magazine looked really, really German. Maybe European is the better word. When I watch project runway I feel like I understand Heidi's sensibilities better then most because of this.
|Every Aussie 20 something needs a leopard coat and leather utility belt|
I don't understand sewing people who sew exclusively from these companies, I just don't. To expensive, to much work to make them fit, and while a lot of them are beautiful if you have a different style these companies don't have a lot of options for you.
|I stole this pic from www.iwanttobeaturtle.com|
I discovered Burdastyle patterns after I gave up on Vogue. Many moons ago those patterns were free. And they fitted a lot better than Vogue. Through that website I discovered the world of sewing blogs that opened up for me. Even if no one reads my blog, I feels so much gratitude to those bloggers I found in my early sewing days, they really taught me everything and gave me a fire for this hobby. Even if my real life friends never understand it I know lot's of other people out there do. I fell really hard for Gertie, Peter and Erin. I bought Gertie's and Erin's books. I even bought Gertie's husband's book. If we could convince Peter to publish anything I would probably buy that too. Big fan of those three.
|I tried to find older images that I found inspiring in the moment|
I found Colette patterns just as she released her first line of patterns. I bought most of them off the etsy shop she was using at the time before she developed her website into the professional behemoth it is today.
Now I won't hesitate trying out a new designer if their products are cheap enough and I can find a picture of someone else's make with that pattern. And it is PDF patterns that allow me to do that. I could easily spend $40 just for one pattern including postage from the US, and it will take up to a month to get here. I can get a pattern today for less than $20. That's amazing. If I need it in a smaller/bigger size down the road I can just print it out again.
They don't have to serve the masses like the big companies, they can go niche so you are never restrained by what the "normals" are wearing. But the great thing about the indie's is how much space they take up in the blogging community. When something truly initiative and beautiful hits, like Colette's first line, or ByHandLondon, or the Bombshell swimsuit pattern it feel's like everyone if making it or talking about it, even if if the original vision of the brand was niche.
If PDF patterns had not become an accepted product these small independents would not have thrived as they have.