Monday, 14 April 2014

Simplicity spring summer 2014 pattern collection review

So the time is at last upon us to welcome the spring summer patterns. Why this is always so delayed I am unsure, as the summer clothes seem to hit shops practically as soon as the dregs of the January sales are swept away.

But of course, this is all worth the wait and I have decided to write a little review of the new, ss14 Simplicity patterns as I have not done a post if this kind before and I am interested to see what the American sewing giants have to offer this time around. 

I chose Simplicity patterns as they are readily available across different countries and they provide an enormous range of different shapes and patterns for ladies, men and children, including some patterns for the home. However in this review I will just be looking at the ladies patterns as I rarely sew for the bf and never for children ( I spend enough time with them at work!) 

I will also be rating each pattern out of 5 stars because, well, it's fun!
On with the reviews!

1353 
This really grabbed my attention at first, particularly view A which I fell in love with due to the pretty trim on the bodice. However after closer inspection I was less excited about this pattern as a quick look at the front and back sketches reveals that the shapes of the dresses are not particularly exciting, and the bodice which interested me so much looks to just be appliquéd onto the front of the sweetheart neckline. However, Leanne Marshall patterns tend to have a lovely modern look and the fit tends to be really good so if I did not already own patterns with a similar shape I would defiantly consider purchasing this pattern. But, as it goes, I will be attempting to replicate the lovely neckline instead!
1354
This, to me, does not look like it will have an amazing fit. Something about the neckline and gathered waist makes me think this looks like it would make a woman look, well, round, and not in a lovely way.
That said, I really like the open back and I think that looks really like the only real selling point to the pattern, and the bodice is identical in all views, bar the closed back on view C. I don't know if it is just me, but I am now bored of princess seams. Yawn.
1355
This is simple and does indeed look easy-to-sew however I love jumpsuits and have two myself, neither of which have a sexy open back like this one does in view A. I really dislike the gathered top on views C and D, it would not suit me and my style at all. I wish they have made the example in a plain navy or khaki as I like jumpsuits to be less hippie 70s and more slick and modern, almost utalitarian in their look. So often pattern companies try to confuse us with crazy prints on their examples and sketches, stop it please!
1356
I can't even begin to explain how terrible an idea this is. If ever I saw a pattern less figure flattering I would be surprised. I really wish there were fewer patterns in this collection that were so unbelievably simple, surely no one really needs so many beginner patterns to choose from!? I love that simplicity are bringing back vintage styles but of all their incredible back catalogue they have to choose from I am bewildered at their choice of this Jiffy pattern. In addition, how uncomfortable and annoying would this be to wear!? And the models shoes are just wrong (sorry I'm not sorry). If you ever fancy sewing yourself a glorified apron, this is probably the best pattern to go for.

 
1357
Speaking of unbelievably dull patterns, 1357 takes the biscuit. Although it does not horrify me nearly as much as the idea of  a reversible dress for anyone over the age of 5, 1357 should hopefully be slightly more flattering, although I cannot be sure of that. This really is just inoffensive but boring, and apparently, not even easy-to-sew! I like that the poofy transparent sleeves remind me of one of Megan from Mad Men's funky late 60s costumes, but only when made up in something psychedelic, baby.
1358
More easy patterns!? Really you spoil us! This to me is slightly more interesting due to the nice style details, such as the racer back and dipped hem. I am considering some stunning, exotic, colourful patterned jersey for the summer and don't own any patterns for a jersey dress so this could be an option, although it looks so ridiculously smile I am not convinced the fit would be of any quality. Perhaps the stretch in the jersey takes care of that. Not bad :)
1361
Lolz. Could the fabric on the model look any more computer generated?
Steer well clear unless you are trying to blind someone.
Generous
1362
This I hated on first look, then warmed to, now dislike again. I think it's the general sloppiness on first look that put me off then I saw how lovely the statuesque blonde model looked at the bottom of the pattern and was swayed by images of floaty peplum tops rustling in the breeze as I run through fields of gold. I then remembered that I am neither statuesque nor blonde, and will just look frumpy and sloppy in a top of this shape with a dropped, saggy waist. Which is a shame because it's bloody easy-to-sew once more! 
1363
Perhaps 1356 has been usurped of its position as least flattering new pattern, because this really might just take the crown. I almost like that view C has contrasting side panels but can't help but worry this would just look better as a sketch than in real life textiles. But so easy-to-sew once more...
1364
Another vintage pattern which I am not sure why they have chosen. 
It's a lovely little top, but surely so simple that most pattern companies already produce a top pattern incredibly similar in their modern collections. If companies are to make the effort to reprint and resize all their old patterns, surely they should choose something slightly more exciting. That said, as I mentioned previously, this is a lovely little simple, inoffensive top but I would never consider buy it as I already have several similar patterns in my stash, usually which come along with a trouser or skirt pattern in sports wear collective patterns. 
1365
Well, I suppose I only have myself to blame for this almost. I complained at the simple vintage top pattern, so this came along to shock and appall me. It sort of reminds me of Daisy Duke crossed with some sort of night walker. I love the 70s groovy ness of the sketches who look frankly awesome, but imagine top B, on a real life person, who was not in a film set in 1975. Just not a chic look. I have an issue with belly tops due to how prolific they have become in my town among women of all ages and shapes. Even the youngest and slimmest of women fail to look chic with an exposed midriff. And yes, I am aware I sound like a grandmother.
That said, view D would make an adorable swimsuit top for a tankini.
1366
Hooray for Cynthia Rowley! This is simple stunning and good old Cynthia never fails to disappoint every time a new pattern book arrives in my local shop. Her styling is impecable and I love the way she combines colours in the examples to create outfits which are so chic they stand out like saw thumbs against many of simplicity's more questionable photographs of nice patterns made up in heinous and garish prints. This skirt is simple divine, I have no idea how it would go together but simplicity's clear and detailed instructions are bound to make light work of it. Even the simple top patterns are chic and simple, with a gorgeous boat neck on the blouse. Must buy, fo sho. 
1367
This I had to double take on because I thought it wasn't infact new. It apparently is! It just bares  a striking resemblance to many other simplicity patterns. I am not a fan of the big wrinkly waistband in these unless you are pregnant, when they seem infinitely sensible. This is inoffensive but entirely dull. And easy.
1368
I think the learn to sew range is a fantastic idea. I have not tried one of their patterns but I gather they contain instructions in even greater detail than simplicity usually provide (which are already very good) sad use simple beginner shapes. However, what I really like is that these patterns are clearly targeting to young women and teens who are style conscious and will see dressmaking as a way of creating looks which are both fashionable and personal to them. A really wonderful idea and route to engage young women in sewing in an accessible and entirely appealing way.
1369
This may come as a surprise but I really like this skirt. In the midst of a Mad Men obsession I have been hankering for a gathered skirt for summer in a soft cotton lawn, but all the patterns I have seen have taken gathers to a new level of fussiness and I feel would add far too much bulk around the waist. But not this one, I really like the use of panels and the softly gathered waist onto a curved waistband which sits right on the waist, just lovely.
1370
Ahhh, I love! Last summer I was rather into the Zara skort (much like the rest of London) but resisted the urge to purchase one as I consider myself to be a predominantly handmade dresser, ands try to only buy what I cannot make. But now I can make! Not only that but I love the other variations in the pattern and have been looking for a simple little fitted high waisted shorts pattern for a while. I will be snapping this bad boy up ASAP for some fun in the sun this season. With pockets! Eeek!
Ah! Also, wrap skirts are so on trend this season, FYI! Although you already knew that, this pattern is definitely the most on trend of the entire new collection at simplicity, I can't wait to have a go! 
1371
Now, this is not as chic as Cynthia's 1366, due to the weird belly top halter thing, but the trousers and shorts in this patterns do seem interesting. I love how high they rise in the waist and the peg leg, but the shorts are even cuter with a lovely vintage feel and slightly longer line which I prefer these days, having discovered that all my old pairs of shorts flashed a fair amount of my ass or pants, so not chic.
There does seem to be a trend at the moment for butt riding shorts which offends my eyes greatly on nights out. If your shorts fit like knickers, it's time to size up ladies.
1372
What a pretty striped top. I love the bow at the neckline of this tunic although being shorter would always go for length C as the tunic length of B would drown me. I can see it is meant to be worn with leggings as an outfit but me and my mum have decided we are totally over leggings in a pretty big way, to the point that we both gave all of ours to the fabric recycling bin (bar one pair, for the rare occasion I drag my ass to the gym). I have loved leggings for many a year I just think for me it's got to be tights or bare legs, perhaps because I can't wear cute little ballet pumps and complete the dancer look at any acceptance standard due to my disproportionately skinny ankles.

1373
On first sight I should this looked a little hoochie, but the more I think about this top the more it appeals to me, but in a simple print, perhaps channeling a chic, vintage feel, not anywhere near as garish as the ones chosen for the photo and illustrations. I particularly like back B with the sort of bow in the centre, as i feel this could really work in your favour as far as fit is concerned. The trousers are just a filler in my opinion but the shorts could be cute and simple it they fit well enough.
1374
I am glad to see swimwear is on the agenda but ew. No woman, no matter how hot, could make the knickers in D look good, surely? They sit in exactly the awkward spot women do not want to draw attention to. I also think the long line of the bra worn in combination with enormous pants will not flatter most women's figures, I mean it's not even flattering on the sketch of the ideal blonde bombshell seen on the pattern cover. I think there's some work to do in the swimwear department over at simplicity, but glad to see it's there.  
1375
More easy to sew, unflattering boringness, really not impressed with this tent-like pattern, although I do like the shoulder cut out, that's pretty much all I can say.
1376
I think this dress would make your boobs look droopy, no? This is another filler pattern which I think they refer to as a wardrobe builder. To that I would argue most women have a wardrobe full enough already of basics. If we are going to sew, we want to create beautiful, one of a kind treasures to love and enjoy for years, not necessarily a multitude of super plain and simple elasticated trousers and flowy tees. Even to create the most simple garment takes time, and although I have myself made simple trousers over the years, I really wish that every season yet more patterns for the same pair of elasticated trousers were released along with unflattering dresses and scarves ( I mean really, do you need a pattern for that scarf?!)
1377
Another wardrobe builder but this time with a slightly more contemporary feel. I really like the embellished neckline on top E which I think is achieved by applying gathered up strips of matching jersey in loopy patterns to the neckline. I also like the very chic top D with a really love neckline once again, I can imagine in a crisp white linen on hot summer days. The masses of elastic used on the skirt, shorts and trousers however I think looks incredibly time consuming, and, dare I say it, not to easy-to-sew! However the tops are a saving grace and save this pattern from dire straights or elasticated boringness.
So that's the end of my review, I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed looking through all the pretty new patterns from simplicity. I think my favourite overall were: (from left to right)
1353, 1366, 1369, 1370, 1372


Which were your favourite patterns from the ss14 collection? Let me know!

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!
X o x o