Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pattern review

I've taken a while to write this pattern review, as I didn't want to come across as too angry and I wanted to process it all. This happened back in Feb 2012.

I found these patterns online and I have another blogger friend who makes lots of these patterns, and find them great. I wasn't sure, but I finally decided to give them a try, especially as you get a free 'pattern of the month' when you purchase. 2 for 1, right?

And we've all had those sewing disasters, right? where for whatever reason- the fabric, the style, the time of the night (or the month) when it just doesn't work? I have put this disaster all down to those things, but the hardest bit was I asked for their help; I contacted the company, based here in Melbourne, for further help. 

Firstly, here are the instructions:

That's it. Also, they are one size only- very hard if you want to make a multi-size pattern ie  size18 waistband with a 14-16 skirt.

They stated that they are "a very new boutique pattern company - we are industry based and are learning from our wonderful sewists all the time."

In my first email to them, I couldn't find the seam allowances in the instructions; I didn't realise when transferring markings to the pattern I had to mark the seam allowances on each piece of (stretch) fabric, as some were 1/4 inch and some were 3/8inch seams. Either transfer or have the paper pattern open at all times to go back to. (I tend to transfer everything then fold the paper pattern up out of the way).

The 2nd time I emailed back I'd pretty much given up- I wasn't referred to the help section online, I requested a refund and I'd return the products, as I'd had enough of trying to guess from the fabric what to do- this is an area I definitely fail at. As my friends will attest- I like a pattern, instructions and both written and illustrated instructions. I follow a recipe for cooking, I hate winging it and making something yuck. I guess I'm a bit of a control freak like this.

The response from the company to my request was to re-email the instructions, and send photos of the completed garment. And to let them know how I got on.

The finished garment.

Garment and pattern in the bin. Looked so good on a drawing!

Oh, the 2nd pattern I got was this, but I'd already been burnt once, I went with this pattern instead, after a review from a similar sewist to me. 

So this, StyleArc, is how I got on. I've gone back to getting well written, easy to follow commercial patterns, and online patterns that I can easily follow. I've put it down to sticking to what you know! And getting if off your chest, finally!


thornberry said...

I wondered when you'd eventually post this Bec! It's always good to be honest about your experiences. As you know, I use and like their patterns, and have always had positive experiences with them regarding customer service. But that wasn't how you found things. You know what you like - patterns and instructions in that "big four" style, and I reckon that when you know what you like, it's often good to stick to it. A bit like the way that I hate tracing patterns and don't think I've touched my Burda magazines once (although I do sometimes use my Ottobres....)

Vireya said...

I purchased a StyleArc trousers pattern and was disappointed. People online had raved about how their patterns fit like ready-to-wear, but that wasn't my experience. I am definitely a very different shape to whatever shape StyleArc are using for their trouser draft. On top of that the drawing of the style was misleading as to the rise. The pattern was a lot lower-rise than the drawing made it look. Even apart from that my practice garment was a disaster, and I didn't have a clue where to start to make it anything like my shape.

I'm used to Burda's limited instructions, but I could not work out at all how to assemble the fly. I could see that the pieces matched the RTW trousers I own, but I couldn't work out how to do it and there were no instructions at all about that part. And because it is different to how other home dressmaking patterns do it, I found nothing on-line or in any book that helped.

I didn't contact the company, because the pattern was never going to fit me so I didn't really need to work out how to do the fly. But I don't like that it beat me!

Vireya said...

Have to add to my comment - I just checked out the "help section online" that you mentioned. I don't think that was there when I was trying to make my trousers. I see now that they do have some fly info here. Maybe I'll try out their method on some other pants pattern.

Unknown said...

I was turned off by the single sized patterns. When they advertise their patterns as fitting like off-the-rack, that really turned me off. Off-the-rack does not fit me. It is actually a major reason why I started sewing my own clothes in the first place.

I need fitting instructions, I need multi-size.

The one thing that Style Arc has, is that they are very quick to copy celebrity styles.

rachelmp said...

I've got a pants pattern that I am going to work on this weekend. I've got big hopes for it and I hope it works out - if not, Lara is getting an email to help me. I'm glad you posted your honest opinion here and its definitely worth a read

Michelle said...

Good for you for your honest review. I have never used my Style Arc patterns - I was put off by their minimal instructions and their expectation of a certain level of sewer. I have been sewing clothes for over 20 years and I've never seen so few instructions on a pattern.

Also the advice I got on sizing was a complete crock. I sent my measurements (which mean I vary between 3 sizes, with bust being smallest) and was told the skirts in size 24 would fit me, even though their hip allowance and my hip measurements are nowhere close to each other. And guess what? Skirt doesn't fit.

Maybe I'll sell the patterns on Etsy as unused and recoup some of my money.

Karen said...

Oh I hope my experience is going to be better as I have ordered a number of patterns which are due to arrive early next week.
I like lots of instructions too but am used to following minimal ones with Ottobre if they are fairly familiar/basic garments.
Size wise I fit exactly into one of their categories so hopefully all will go OK...
Thanks for an honest appraisal though Bec.

Yana said...

really sorry to hear about your experience! at least now you know which pattern company works for you and which doesnt. xx

Sally said...

Thanks for this. Money is tight so I won't be taking the chance. I really appreciate the heads up.