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An analysis of patterns by Simplicity, Butterick, McCall's, Vogue, and more.


Vogue 8498 Misses and Misses Petite Pants, Claire Schaeffer

Grade: A+

The Good
     The thing I like most about this pattern is how personable the directions feel. The pattern designer wrote an introduction and gave many hints about what works for her when making trousers that were dispersed throughout. She explained not only how to do the step, but why--something I feel is sorely missed in most pattern directions.  The directions also include explanations of how to execute couture techniques--like hand-sewn buttonholes and making a French fly.  
     This is a perfect pattern for a more experienced home sewer who is interested in taking on a challenge and learning a few new techniques. And while the results are satisfying, they’re more of a secret, subtle satisfaction than an obvious shout-out. The details are inside--they’re in the carefully constructed lining, the French fly, and the near-invisible pockets. 


The Bad

     Don’t be fooled by Vogue’s difficulty guidelines. As most experienced sewers already know, Vogue’s Easy, Average, and Advanced levels are not the equivalent of the other pattern companies--they’re much more difficult! This project is rated Average, but it’s much more advanced than your average Simplicity, Butterick, or McCall’s. Take that into consideration when tackling this project.

My Project:  
     I have always been deterred from making trousers because of how difficult they are to make. I’ve been told many times to not even bother. For many women, finding pants with the perfect fit is nearly impossible, and that is true for me as well. I decided to attempt it “just to see,” not expecting the outcome to be a good one. In this case, I didn’t even make it in muslin first--which was highly encouraged in the directions (so that I could know ahead of time if I would need to adjust the rise, etc). Luckily for me, it worked out just fine. (But I would still recommend not being so lazy and making it in muslin first.) I would say that the trousers were very time-consuming and required thought, but they weren’t necessary difficult. 
     Even though I was reluctant to, I decided to follow the directions exactly, and do even the steps that seemed unnecessary, like thread-tracing (using a machine baste stitch) all the seamlines and other markings with white thread. This turned out to be incredibly helpful when aligning the fly, crotch, and figuring out the different pleats across the waistline. Chalk would just not have done the job. It was rather useless for the long side seams and inner legs seams (as I know where the 5/8” is), but in general, I’m glad I did it, and I would likely have not finished the pants if I had not. 
     I made my pants out of a brown-colored tweed. They have an old-school feel and remind me of an English scholar, as well as (for some reason) the Frog and Toad books that I loved as a child. This may sound like a bad thing, but it’s really, really not. I’m happy with them.


     If you’ve made this project and would like to share your work, send us pictures! We will be happy to post them here. Also, if you have anything else to add in regards to the critique of this pattern, we would love to hear. For both pictures and comments, email us

Thanks for reading. :-) Jessica





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