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Vogue Patterns

Stillsewing | Posted in Patterns on

I’m once again struggling with a Vogue pattern 22925 (Easy!!!) as the sleeves are so difficult to set in properly. As we all know badly set in sleeves make a garment so home made looking.

I’ve only returned to sewing for myself recently after a long break. Before that I always used Vogue patterns and found them very reliable. I have but on some weight so since returning to sewing I have great difficulty in finding the correct pattern size to use. One project would turn out too small the next I would over compensate and it would be too big. I contacted Vogue and they said that they had not changed their sizing criteria and that I should use size 20. That I considered nonsense as I generally purchase size 16 (English, 14 American) in readymades. Anyway I persevered and now I find that Vogue size 16 fits me fine.

However with this last fiasco with the sleeves I definitely will never again buy a Vogue pattern. I don’t accept that having spent about $20+ on a pattern that I should have these difficulties and also have to check the design details. If I wanted to do this I could try and draft the pattern myself in the first instance.

My problem now is:– is a size 16 Vogue = to a size 16 McCalls, Simplicity, or Butterick? Any help for a despairing wouldbe sewer who is fed up trying to just to complete some simple projects without tearing out the little bit of hair that I still have.


  1. jane4878 | | #1

    I'm a new sewer and I was warned by a very experienced one, that the Vogues are sized smaller then the measurements would indicate.  She goes up 2 sizes from what it says she should be.  She's a 10 RTW and uses a size 14 in Vogue.  From the McCall's and Simplicity patterns I've made, the opposite is true--I need to go down at least 2 sizes.  i.e. My daughter is a 14 or 16 RTW and an 16 in Burda, but a 22 in Simplicity and what I made ended up enormous on her!  I stick mostly with Burda now, because the measurements match the sizing.  They're harder to do because I'm not that experienced and the instructions assume you know what you're doing, but the results are worth it.  For what we pay for patterns the big 3 should get the sizing and measurements to match!

    1. Stillsewing | | #2

      Thanks for that. I think that I will take your advice about Burda. I never did use them in the past but now that they include seam allowances I will chance them. I suppose the bottom line is to check the measurements on the tissue for the bust, waist and hips and go by that, but the thing that infuriates me is the over large sleeve patterns that all Vogue patterns seem to have. I had great difficulty with a linen suit earlier this year. I thought that this one would be easier as it is a two piece sleeve and more tailored. You would think that it would not end up gathered on the top. --- so no more Vogue!!!

      1. User avater
        Thimblefingers | | #3

        That's too bad about the pattern.  I use almost exclusively Vogue - love them! - and have rarely had problems; however, I have occasionally encountered a pattern that has had drafting errors.  You might want to check Vogue patterns on this one.  Vogue Patterns definitely fit smaller than the others - actually closer to what the measurements on the envelope say than the others.  Because I am small, they're pretty much the only ones that fit me.  You can't compare RTW sizes with patterns - they are completely different.  Incidently, Vogue Patterns also drafts for a slightly more erect posture than the others.  If you're having problems with the sleeve, it could have something to do with that.  Burda Patterns generally fit the more "mature" figure better (ie not a teenager!).  Some things to consider - the bust point is a little lower than other patterns; it is drafted for a slightly rounded posture (more normal); back waist length tends to be a little longer; they're a little more roomy in the hips; pattern sizing is more accurate to the chart; other patterns draft Misses patterns for a B-cup - Burda increases cup size with size in reasonable increments; armholes fit a little higher but they tend to be a little roomier in the upper arm (look nicer, fit better, move better); general overall grading as the sizes get larger tends to be more realistic for the average woman, especially in the shoulder and neck area.  Just a few things that make Burda better for many women. 

        Also, if you're unsure of the correct size to use when you dig into a pattern to start it, most patterns now have "finished measurements" at crucial points written directly on the pattern tissue at bust, waist, hip, and/or bicep.  This is the actual measurement that the garment will be when you have finished sewing it.  To determine the correct size, you will have to add wearing ease and design ease to your actual body measurements.  This really helps if you're not sure what size to choose and eliminates really big errors in choosing the correct size (one of the smartest things they ever did to patterns).  If you're not sure about ease, Vogue patterns has a chart that gives ease for various fits and sizes - works for all pattern companies.  Their patterns also use this in their description on the pattern envelope, ie close-fitting, very close-fitting, loose fitting, etc.  Butterick also used to use it and I haven't checked lately if McCalls does now that they're owned by the same company.   

        Anyway, that's a few tips on pattern companies and pattern sizing! 

        1. Stillsewing | | #4

          Thanks for all the tips. Its good to talk and to wind down. I was trying to get this suit finished before Christmas not so much to wear it but more to have a dining table free for the Christmas lunch!!! Now that its nearly finished I can ease back but the main difficulty I've had was with setting in the sleeve, and this seems to happen everytime nowadays with Vogue. The sleeve was in two pieces and so I wrongly assumed that it would be tailored and nicely fitted. I had to cheat and use tiny seam allowances on the shoulders to take up some of the fullness, and this threw the setting in of the collar. Anyway it will have to do, but is it not a good finish to what was quite expensive velvet. A bit if a waste I think. Sandra Betzina even addresses the fact of overlarge sleeve heads in her book on fitting problems. This is why I put forward the question - is there any reliable pattern maker that you can depend upon to have matching armholes and sleeve heads?? What annoys me is that I have got to rely on Vogue patterns over the years and never used to have a problem with fit. I like Vogue patterns, I felt they were a friend and there was always there. I have subscribed to their magasine since 1980 without a break. Then I take about a 10 year break from sewing, put on about 10 pounds and can't seem to be really happy with anything I make. Before I used to make designer patterns that looked and felt well made and that I was proud to wear. Now I seem to fall short every time.This sounds like a complete moan but I do some sewing for around the house which gives me pleasure. Really what I'm now thinking --- there are no shortcuts!!Thanks again

          1. GailAnn | | #5

            Dear Still:

            As we age, our bodies change shape, whether or not we add a few "extra pounds of contentment."

            I rage over the fact that after 50, my skirts began to dip in the front.  If I shorten the front from the hem, it completely distorts the line of the garment.  If I shorten from the waist, then it is big enough arround to accomodate 6 months of pregnancy!  Fuss ---  dart-- fold -- fume -- adjust --etc. etc. etc.  Oh, Dear, I should have made a muslin!

            You know what?  Off the peg (even expensive off the peg) fits me the same way!

            I really think clothes and patterns are manufactured for sweet young things and we old dolls just have to adjust!

            I still question why, as consumers, we will accept (and pay fine prices) inferior materials and workmanship "off the peg" that we will find to be unacceptable if we make them ourselves?


          2. Stillsewing | | #6

            I agree I suppose we should just get on with it and do the muslin in the first instance. However by the time you have assembled 17 pattern pieces in a first try out the enthusiasm for making the same thing again sort of palls for me. The only time I made a complete and totally finished muslin was for my wedding outfit. I finished up with a lovely suit that I wore many many times and a wedding outfit that only saw the light of day once. That was a worth while muslin!!!I know our figures change as we age but the other difficulty is that I think we get more fussy about our projects and raise our expectations accordingly. This seems to be the case with me at any rate. What satisfied me in my twenties certainly does meet my standards now. While I don't have as much spare cash now that I am retired neither do I need as much clothes so I can afford to buy them. The bottom line is that I have always enjoyed the challenge of making my own clothes and planning the colour scheme etc. and will continue to sew and as you say "fume, adjust, fume"' Ah well Happy Christmas and New year.

          3. solosmocker | | #7

            I highly recommend the book "Fitting Finesse" by Nancy Zieman. She tells you how to get the right size pattern and it is very different from anything I have read anywhere else. She addresses differences in pattern companies as well. I use this simple method and it works. That being said, patterns need to be purchased by real life measurements. They have no relationship at all to RTW. Sometimes that means a much bigger size than RTW and for some its a hard pill to swallow. I can understand that. That is why the garment industry calls it vanity sizing. We need to just get over it and do what needs to be done to get the right fit. It's only a number. I hope this helps you some. I think that book can help you a lot. I know it helped me. Good luck, solo

          4. Stillsewing | | #8

            Dear SolosmockerThanks for this. I shall add this to my list of must have books to own and read. I haven't seen it on sale over here but I shall look on Amazon for it once the fuss etc over Christmas/New year dies down again.Thanks again and a Happy Christmas and New Year to you and yours.

          5. zuwena | | #9

            Please don't dispair over the sleeve problem with Vogue.  It could happen with any pattern.  Have a Happy Holiday.  For the future and maybe even for this suit, depending on where you are at with it. 

            Measure the armscye from front to back on the bodice and then do the same thing on the two part or single sleeve.  The distance between each notch and the side seam should be exact and matching.  If the distance between the notches over the shoulder is more than 1 1/2 inches longer on the sleeve than on the bodice the extra should be removed on either side of the shoulder point.  The shoulder point is critical because it should define the straight of grain and therefore the proper hang of the sleeve. 

            There are various ways of eliminating the excess depending on the amount to be removed and whether it is a twopart or single sleeve.  With the two part sleeve you may just be able to do a bit of overlapping or you may have to slash and create darts in various places.  All of this should be done before the sleeve it cut but if you need to do it after the fact, it can become a design element by being careful in where the darting is placed.

            Again, Happy Holidays and enjoy your Christmas Luncheon.  Z


          6. Stillsewing | | #10

            Thanks very much for your suggestions. I take it that having worked out that I have too much fullness in the sleeve,that possibly as a last resort that one could use maybe a few small darts to take in the extra fullness? This sounds like a good idea to me. I do remember years ago making a lightweight suit with six darts at the top of each sleeve s part of the design. It was lovely!Any way if I ever use another Vogue pattern I will take your advice and measure up the sleeves versus the armhole in advance and reduce it at that stage but keeping the top point intact.Happy Christmas.

          7. scrubble4 | | #20

            Zuwena:  For me fitting sleeves is as tricky as fitting the crotch in pants.  And yes, from a previous thread in our Gatherings I finally realized I am fitting a similar type of seam.  Yikes it took a long time to see that connection and only because of some wise person here.  However, your reminder that sleeve cap excess is only above the darts is so helpful to remember as well.  I know that, but don't always measure it.  I mostly use patterns from my Garment Designer software, but still I help others with their sewing.  These two seams cause challenges for so many of us for so many different reasons. 

            All these little points to check before cutting out the fashion fabric are good to know and do.  Thanks Scrubble4.

        2. scrubble4 | | #19

          Thimblefingers:  I don't know how I missed this very informative post of yours.  Even though I rarely use commercial patterns anymore, I found it interesting to read your tips and to understand why I kept going back to Vogue when I used commercial patterns, even though others said they didn't work that well for them. 

          Since mose sewers do use commercial patterns, it would be great if Threads could do an article with a chart showing the type of information you opened up to all of us.  In our postings here, we keep circling back to measurements, measurements, measurements between our own bodies and the patterns.  However, the understanding of the what and why of the comparison of these measurements is so helpful to me.  Thanks for sharing your depth of knowledge. 

          It just occurred to me that perhaps this informaiton may be part of Threads new Fitting DVD.  That would also be nice.  Scrubble4

          1. User avater
            Thimblefingers | | #21

            I sewed professionally for many years, both designing and drafting patterns and using commercial ones. Most of what I have learned, I picked up through experience. I eventually developed and taught my own courses on altering commercial patterns using my experiences and basing them on a European method of flat pattern design which incorporates postures into the measurements. It's not too difficult, very interesting and works amazingly well, making the whole process of fit a lot more logical, without actually having to learn drafting. There is a lot of information out there, but it seems that you have to do so much digging for it. I would love to see the pattern companies come out and be totally forthright about how and for what type of person they draft for. Printing the finished pattern measurements on the pattern is a step in the right direction, but bust, waist, hip, and biceps girths are only a drop in the bucket! For example, does that hip measurement represent a flat tummy and rounded derriere with slim thighs, or wide hips and flatter seat, or a rounded tummy and smaller rear - a number is merely the start of what a hip measurement represents. I seems that each company drafts for a slightly different figure type and it would certainly help to know what they have in mind.I don't believe there is one perfect fitting pattern company. Each person will find that one pattern fits them better than the others, depending on their body type. It will be interesting to see how the new DVD approaches the fitting dilemna.

          2. jjgg | | #22

            I was just in a class on fitting, several of us made up Vogue 8333, its a Claire Shaeffer jacket. Talk about fitting problems, this is a very poorly drafted pattern. There is a severe size discrepancy between the upper half and the lower half of this pattern. We each (no matter what size we started with) had to add 4 (yes FOUR) inches around the waist, the jacket fit fine in the shoulder area. None of us were severely disproportionate, so it is definitely the pattern at fault. Others made the Vogue 8087 jacket also a Claire Shaeffer pattern, the sleeves are way way to big int he pattern.Interestingly, I had thought that Claire Shaeffer drafted those patterns, She does not, all she does is write up her couture instructions. The class I took was with Claire, so I got that form the horses mouth so to speak.We then made a Vogue princess line dress, again each and every one of us had to have it shortened about 1 inch in the front and back waist length.We had people in the class that ranged from petite (5'0") size 10 (pattern size) to 6'0" size 14 pattern and larger,

  2. rodezzy | | #11


    Try this site to get answers to your question.  As long as I've been sewing and reading about sewing and any other concerning wearables, you have to get your pattern sizing from measuring your complete body.  Patterns are multi-sized in all of the major patterns and it helps you get a truer sizing for your body measurements.  You may have to do some further adjustments to the tissue pattern, but your body measurements dictate what size pattern to buy.  Ready to wear is not sized the same.

    I hope this helps.  There are other sites from all the major pattern makers concerning this issue:  Just time in "how to determine your pattern size for sewing" and you get lots of sites to visit.  Good luck.

    1. Stillsewing | | #12

      Dear Rodezzy Thanks very much for your reply. I am quite overcome with all the help being offered to me. I have saved the the web site info that you gave me and have had a quick browse of it already.As I have no doubt said here before, I took an enforced break from sewing for myself for a number of years, put on some weight, and then became unsure about the size pattern I should use. I have now decided that that a size 16 Vogue fits me fine but of course I check that this is be big enough to fit me each time I start a project. The problem I have with this is that I have only gone up one dress size in RTW but two in pattern size. I sought advice from Vogue patterns some time ago - pre Threads and these boards - and they told me, that given my measurements, I was at least a size 20. I made a coat at this size and I could take passengers along with me inside it! It is a shame as it is otherwise a lovely warm coat and pretty well finished - even for me. In other words I am very happy to wear it even though it is too big.No, my main issue now with Vogue patterns nowadays is the difficulty in setting in sleeves. I just can't accept that they are so badly designed that one has to check out the fit of the sleeve into the shoulder before cutting out . Years ago I could set in the sleeves in Vogue pattern's without any bother but this year - well 2007 - I made three lightweight suits and I am not happy with any of the shoulder lines. It's possible that other people may not notice these shortcomings but I am aware of them and that's enough for me. The last one in particular was so gathered I had to use a minimum seam allowance on the shoulder and this resulted in a dropped waist line and this is lower than I would have liked and so it goes on. I started using Vogue patterns in 1979 and I am really sorry to be changing allegiance at this stage. Their designs are great but I suppose I can start manipulating older patterns. So thanks again.

      1. fashionnut | | #13

        interesting that I run across this thread and receive my new Threads magazine today, anyway there is an article in there on sleeves, called "sleeves on the bias" cutting against the grain adds comfort and interest to all types of sleeves by Mary Ray. Maybe the article might be of help. I have found problems with Vogue patterns for years so nothing new with them but I am addicted to them and I am lucky enough to find them at JoAns 50% off. Good luck. Cyndy

        1. Stillsewing | | #16

          HelloThanks for the suggestion. I also got my copy yesterday and have not had time to read it all yet.I was in the States last Autumn and visited Joans and could not get over how cheap the patterns were. I ended up buying about 6 patterns - only one Vogue - but it turned out to be the dreaded 2925.By the way I looked this pattern up on the "Pattern Review" site but from what I could see no one had made the jacket just the skirt top or pants.

          1. fashionnut | | #17

            Isn't it something even the yarn is priced nicely (Lion Brand, and others) I love a bargain I just got some fabric today from a favorite Ebay vendor they have beautiful silks, wools and linens, they are origionally in Brooklyn, NY. the pattern I want to sew with this wool is Vogue 2925, and yup I want to sew the jacket stay tuned on this one :-))), Cyndy

          2. Stillsewing | | #18

            I'll be interested to see how it turns out. Good luck with it.I made my jacket in velvet and so far I have not worn the suit. Maybe soon I'll pluck up the courage to do so.

  3. DONNAKAYE | | #14

    I cannot locate Vogue 22925.  Seems like too many numbers.  Can you check the number and reply?

    1. Stillsewing | | #15

      You are right - too many numbers, it should have read 2925. However I had the same problem with V8206. I made the jacket on this one twice in 2007 and the second time I really reduced the fullness in the top of the sleeve by over an inch. I was afraid to reduce it any further for fear it would be too small. That sleeve head was also too full.That's why when this further pattern let me down that I appealed to my virtual friends out there for advice on what pattern brands out there can be relied upon vis -a - vis sleeves/shoulders.

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