Ask: 3/21/11

How much of a pattern snob are you? Will you even consider buying patterns that seem hideous but might have potential? 


Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


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  1. I’ve collected a few of those from garage sales or thrift stores. Most make their way out of the house again without being made since there are so many really beautiful ones just waiting for their turn. However, I do a a few from the 1970s that I’m holding onto and fully intend to make at some point.

  2. I guess I try to look at the line drawing on the back, not just the styling on the front, to get a better sense of how the dress is formed. But sometimes the front picture is just too horrible – those ones stay in the shop. Of course some become horrible after spending time in your collection. Boy, have my tastes changed!

  3. Yes totally! I actually open up the pattern and look at the technical drawing before deciding whether or not its a real tosser. I’m a big 70’s and 80’s pattern junkie in this way. You can find some knock off’s from the 40’s even 30’s styles in those eras, even though the pattern envelope wasn’t drawn/photographed in the best way.

  4. Yes! If the pattern has something, some little detail like a cool collar, I’ll keep it just for that.

  5. One of my favorite tops is from a hillariously hideous 70s pattern that I bought for a laugh and ended up loving.

  6. That’s why I love the internet and sites like I have a lot of difficulties to look beyond the picture on the cover. It’s not so much snobbery, it’s just hard for me to picture myself wearing something I only see in a drawing. But once I see pictures of what other people did with a certain pattern, I’m sold.
    Recently I was considering buying Burda 8488 (easy pants). I had seen them at So Zo and had madly fallen in love with them. But then I saw the picture on the pattern. Boy oh boy. That’s quite something else. If I had seen the pattern without seeing what others had done with it, I wouldn’t have bought it for sure.

  7. I’m a big snob, but I still buy it! obsessed for sure

  8. I buy them just for laughs!

  9. To tell you the truth, the pattern envelope has to look spectacular before I even think of purchasing it. I always thought the finished garment will look very similar to what is on the envelope front, but after thinking more about this question of yours, I may want to change my whole perspective. Maybe next time I will pay more attention to the illustrations on the envelope back and the instructions before casting the pattern aside. And maybe I will even try to stop and imagine what I can do to spruce things up!
    Thanks for this question! You really got my wheels turning now!

  10. Yes I am a pattern snob. I haven’t really found the mindset or skills to see the alteration potential in patterns. That and patterns are hard (and expensive) to come by here so I don’t want to waste money on something that might have potential

  11. I think you can find beauty in everything if you look at it long enough!

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