I have to start this post with a question. How much would you pay for a pattern? Hell, how much would you pay for fabric? Because I’m actually curious about this. Everyone seems to have different standards on what is cheap and what is expensive in the world of sewing. Gertie, of Gertie’s Blog For Better Sewing, admits her “champagne tastes” and pays more for fabric then I’ve ever dreamed. However, Gertie is a master sewer, she’s even writing a book (which I am TOTALLY BUYING) and regularly works with silk and lace and drapes her own gorgeous patterns (like this and this, my lord!). The point is, she’s in a whole other league, her experience is vast and her skills innumerable, so if she wants to throw down for silk charmeuse , well, the woman knows what she’s about, as they say. I feel like there is an argument for waiting until you know you aren’t going to waste time and money on luxury fabric before buying it. That’s a major reason why I’m not delving into the box of fabric my Grandmother brought from Iran, because I don’t want anything to happen to these lovely pieces of cloth before I have complete confidence in my abilities to make something amazing with them. Karen of Did You Make That recently discussed buying cheap fabric in a post and I have to say, there is a woman after my own heart. There is such a freedom with lower priced fabrics, I feel like I’m more daring and more comfortable taking chances, drafting my own free form patterns, trying patterns I think might be too tough for me, just in general not feeling any pressure because hey, you fail, you fail, but you didn’t waste your savings doing so.
Moreover, Gertie lives in New York. I recently had a discussion with a lovely young woman who works at my precious Spool Sewing and I asked her where she gets fabric, and she was like, online, and I go to New York. And I was frankly flabbergasted, because while I know the garment district in New York is frankly amazing, you can find amazing things here in Philadelphia too, and for a fraction of the price. For example, at Jack B. Fabric’s you can find silk charmeuse in a huge variety of colors for 14 dollars a yard. Which I think is a lot, but it’s nothing compared to the prices charged at Mood or other New York stores, or even online, which you will see if you click that link above. The amazing deep purple 100% wool I used for my “who are you calling easy” dress? was 10 dollars a yard. And I almost didn’t buy it, because it seemed too pricey. And sure, sometimes you have to dig, but you have to dig in the huge shops in New York as well, and at least this way you can support local businesses. So if you are sewing in Philadelphia, seriously, wander over to fabric row and grab yourself some low priced fabric, because there really is a lot out there, if you look for it.
Anyway, my point is, obviously, that I clearly don’t enjoy spending very much on fabric. Or, for that matter, to get back to the original question, on patterns. I suppose BurdaStyle has spoiled me. After all, my first real clothing project was the Coffee Date Dress, a FREE PATTERN! and amazing one, which I made with the help of Grosgrain’s frock by friday series. Come me-made-June I might pull this first struggle of a dress out to wear so you can see it. Since then, most of the patterns I’ve bought have been from BurdaStyle, whose patterns top out at the exorbitant 5.40 a pop. I have bought some Vogue, Simplicity, Butterick and New Look, but all of them have been strategically purchased A. On Sale and B. In bulk to group the shipping charges. Now, if the nearest Joann’s Fabric wasn’t a full 40 minutes and two toll stops away, I might consider their addictive 1.99 pattern sales as my mecca, but sadly the tolls can sometimes cancel out the discount, so I have to plan said trips with care. And that brings us to Colette Patterns. First of all, I adore Colette Patterns. I love the design, I love the shapes and the website, I LOVE the photo shoots and I just adore the blog, I check it almost every day. I love what other people have done with the patterns too. I’ve already raved about Tilly’s Beignets (ironic, because in real life I hate beignets, they are just glorified funnel cake and I resent their French flavored pretension) but check out her Sencha blouse or her Ceylon Dress! Or Sunni’s (once the Cupcake Goddess, now A Fashionable Stitch, go with it) Ginger! Or Mina’s Crepe! Or Gertie’s Crepe! Or Sarah’s Macaroon! It’s all so delicious, don’t you think? Yes, I love Colette Patterns. But I’ve never bought or used a single one.
I know that’s going to give some people heart palpitations. But the truth is, the patterns are on the pricier side, and while I’ve seen discount codes come and go I just can seem to bite the bullet and do it. And I know that’s silly because I’m sure I would make some of these patterns over and over again, but I just can’t seem to justify spending the money. However, I was on the verge of breaking down and buying this precious pattern, the Sencha, to fulfill all of my 1940’s/50’s fantasies:
When I found this, haunting the site of one of my favorite etsy sellers, Frangolina (seriously, check her out, she has amazing patterns and fabric, excellent finds!:
And while I know the cover art doesn’t look exactly like the model in the Colette version, check out the drawing. Doesn’t that look extremely similar, especially to the first view of the Colette pattern? Because I feel like what the Colette pattern is doing is trying to mimic vintage patterns, right? We all love Colette’s retro feel, everyone comments upon it. So I had a dilemma here, did I go for the imitation (Colette) or the real deal (the vintage). Of course, you could also switch those two in title, since I saw the Colette first and then went hunting for a cheaper choice. So which came first, the Colette or the Vintage Butterick? And which to buy?
I bought the vintage. Don’t boo. I know Colette patterns are amazing, and Violet, I’m coming for you, as soon as I work up the nerve. But I loved the vintage pattern, loved the zipper, as opposed to buttons (and I could totally alter this to make buttons happen, if I’m so inclined) loved the v-neck option and the long sleeves option and the side darts and the fact that even with shipping, this puppy was only 10 dollars. What can I say? At this point in my life, I’m all about the Benjamins.