Big 4 vs indie patterns 

When I first started to sew I would never have touched a “big 4” (McCalls/New Look/ Butterick/Simplicity) pattern because they have a bad reputation. A reputation for being complicated, for the sizing being far too big and the instructions being sparse. 


Burda #6849

However lately I’m becoming frustrated by indie patterns. Everything is easy, or fast to sew, or has very little in the way of interesting details. If you look at rtw there’s all sorts of little extras that enhance the garment (pin tucks, buttons, pleats). I also find they’re exorbitantly expensive in comparison to the big 4. You might get one or two views if you’re lucky compared to 3/4/5 on a big 4 pattern. And they’re a lot cheaper too. Roughly around £7/8 compared to £13/14 for an indie. 


McCalls M7387

I also find that the independent companies are regurgitating old designs and a lot of the easier patterns you will definitely find in a Burda/McCalls version at half the price. One designer that I feel doesn’t do this as much is Closet Case and Grainline. However I do feel that Sewoverit are very expensive and relatively classic designs. 

On advantage the indies do have is that the instructions are far superior. They use little tricks to enhance the finish, a big 4 pattern seems to have a lot more needless handstitching, especially in shirtmaking. 

Having said that I find myself edging over to the dark side more and more. Especially as Minerva Crafts have a massive sale on with patterns for £3.50 at the moment!

Are you entirely indie or big 4 or a mixture?

Another Anna

Hello! I’ve broken up for summer now and thoroughly enjoying spending some quality time with Emily (who’s now toddling around and developing a hilarious personality). This past weekend we went to one of my oldest friends wedding and so I decided to make a dress. 


It was originally meant to be a wrap dress which I drafted a pattern for. It ended up really low cut (like REALLY low cut) and as I don’t have much sewing time at the minute as I’ve been marking papers for the exam board I needed a dress fast. I decided to make another By Hand London Anna dress. It’s fast as it’s unlined and comes together really quickly. 


I wanted to use some of my stash fabric up instead of buying more so I used this Merchant and Mills pale pink cloud linen. Which was a MASSIVE pain to sew. It has a really loose weave and I don’t think it’s going to last long. Already the fabric is pulling at the darts which is frustrating as it wasn’t cheap. 

It was red hot at the wedding so I’m glad I was wearing a light and airy fabric. It turned out perfect for the day. 


Looking back I wish I’d gone for something a little more complex and special but at least this way I have a dress I can wear more than once! 


I loved getting dressed up for the day and really enjoyed the wedding, although I may have drank a little too much prosecco and ended up really drunk by 7pm! I had a hangover before we even got home. 


Evidence of said prosecco. I love a good wedding!