29 July 2010

The &$*#%@ Hot Patterns 1099 Collar

Hot Patterns, I am not a fan.

Any sewer who knows me knows that I have been on a seemingly endless journey in trying to make woven blouses fit my 'cups that runneth over' (thanks Lareine in NZ). I have used countless yards of muslin and tried nine different patterns only to be disappointed each time.

Having read Michellep74 and Debbie Cook's reviews of HP 1099, I decided to give it a try. I had already tried nine patterns, why not round out the list to ten?

Using my full bust measurement, I traced and cut a straight size 16. To my delight, the shirt almost fit.

I was shocked. You just don't understand how looooooong of a process this has been. Muslin after muslin after muslin. Fit this. Pinch that. Take this in. Let this out. Nope. Fail.

I finally had a pattern that fits with minimal adjustments. To help relax the pulling at the apex level, I added just a tiny bit to the side front pattern piece and pinned in the princess seams on the back.

Thinking this pattern would be a TNT blouse pattern, I wanted to test the fit in a stretch woven. I would like to have blouses in stretch and non-stretch wovens so it seemed natural for this to be the next step.

I cut out the pieces using a nice stretch woven pinstripe I picked up from Vogue Fabrics last year. I used my good no-longer-available-for-purchase interfacing and proceeded with construction.

Ummmm...no. This is not right. I figured that the collar and lapel were to be attached, but I didn't know how. You see, there were absolutely positively NO markings on either the collar, facing, or center front of the pattern. None. Zero. Additionally, the instructions were as useful as sunscreen on the planet Mercury.

Hot Patterns makes the disclaimer that their patterns are designed for those who have some sewing knowledge. Okay. I get that. But damn, can I get a dot, notch, triangle, or something? I consulted books, magazines, the internet, and other patterns to see what was missing and where. My research showed that there are supposed to be collar dots, neck dots, and notches to help match the pieces as well as instruct you on where to stop/start sewing, pivot, and clip. Was any of this included in the pattern? Nope. Is it too much for me to ask of these things? I don't think so.

I started a discussion on Pattern Review to see what other information I could find. Many thanks to Michellep74 for interrupting her sewing queue to include another version of the HP top. She posted detailed pictures along with commentary for each step. Additionally, other PR members chimed in with their tips. If you ever decide to try this shirt or any other HP pattern with a notched collar, do check out the discussion. I found it extremely useful and, after six tries, I finally got the collar attached.

The sleeves on this pattern are another nightmare. According to the instructions blurbs that appear on the pattern sheet, the sleeves are supposed to be sewn in flat. That is not going to happen as there is an enormous amount of ease in the sleeve cap. I took out 0.75 inches of width and pinched in four (!!!) pleats using 0.5-inch folds to get the sleeve cap length to match the armhole.

Meh. It's okay, but not the look I wanted. Unreal.

I have non-stretch woven out of which I will cut the next version of this pattern. This won't happen until I figure out the sleeve issue. I have enough of this blue pinstripe to cut out more sleeves if necessary. No more wasting the good stuff!

This experience has soured me on anything Hot Patterns. Really. I've heard other uninspiring tales about their instructions for other patterns. I like their styles and I am all about supporting independent pattern companies. Yet, I tread with caution because I do not have the patience to spend many hours on something that is not drafted properly or is missing match points.

Whew. What a rant! I don't mean to sound so negative; I just want a shirt that fits. To have come this far only to have my efforts thwarted by a freakin' collar and a poorly drafted sleeve just doesn't seem right!

Until next time,



  1. I'm not a big HP fan either. The one pattern I did make was poorly drafted as well.

  2. Oh that's such a pity the blouse didn't work for you. I have made that pattern and it turned out great. That said, I think they do need to address their instructions as they are very basic and if you haven't done a lot of sewing before you would be struggling. Like you said, they also don't put enough markings and notches on their pattern pieces. But I think I'm still going to use their patterns as I love the styles they do and I also think constructive criticism could help a new and independent pattern company become much better.

  3. To add to my comment above: Yes, I did find in that pattern that there was a lot of ease in the sleeve cap. I had to take some out too.

  4. Just finished this blouse. not very pleased with it. It did not come out like the picture. I expected a sleeker collar line and got an "out of date 70's lapel" Pattern was not true to picture and the sizing measurements were off, not just slightly. I will not be purchasing Hot Patterns again.

    1. I was okay with the fit, but the boxy-ness of the shirt made it wear more like a jacket than blouse. I'm willing to give HP another try, but I'll not likely try this one again.


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