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knowME by mimiG ...and the 'Big 4'

After Friday's trip to London to The Stitch Festival I really wanted to sew today, but, I feel remiss that I'm not writing as much as I ought to.

Recently I bought a pattern by a new brand called KnowMe by mimiG. I'll write more about how this brand fits into the pattern choice agenda and my opinions a bit later

Probably because I've sewn for so long I do still use traditional paper patterns. My Indie pattern collection is growing, but I have to take more time working out the best size to make. Also, when I see new patterns that appeal to me I realise I've already got something very similar that can be adapted.

No pattern is going to fit out of the packet....well not for most of us. I'm very short, especially my body length both above and below the waist, Oh...and my arms. Because I've mainly used traditional paper patterns I know how they fit, due to the consistency of their sizing, and what alterations I need to make. Reducing the time it takes to actually start cutting and sewing.

In the UK the 'Big 4', as they're frequently referred to, is actually 6 brands all sold and distributed by plus Burda which is also distributed by the website. I've subscribed to them since the days of Vogue Patterns magazine and always made good use of the discounts. I've also written quite a few articles for them and my Bound Buttonholes article is available to VIP members. VIP membership is £14 for six months and gives you 40% off all their patterns and products PLUS one free pattern each time you renew your subscription. I buy enough patterns in one go to get free P&P, I think it's over £20. The advantage is you choose the patterns you actually want unlike other magazine subscriptions that choose for you.............other advantages include:

"PATTERN PREVIEW showcases the newest designs from our pattern brands, offering the chance to buy before they’re on general sale.

Online access to EXPERT GUIDES plus the Sew Today and Vogue Patterns Magazine Tips and Techniques archive.

Annual European subscription option available for those without a UK Bank Account. Unfortunately we cannot accept subscriptions from those outside of the UK and Europe."

I've noticed a change in the 'big 4'(6) over the last few years with each pattern brand having it's own identity, click here for more info about this

Since Mimi G ... Mimi Goodwin was appointed as Vice President - Patterns I can see more diversity on the pattern envelopes. She's introduced things like putting finished sizes on the envelopes...although that might be just on new designs. All Simplicity, McCalls and Butterick patterns feature some patterns up to size 62" hip.

There's been a long connection with Indie designers and the most noticeable change is the new KNowMe by mimiG range. In the UK this is a range of 24 patterns from a more diverse range of designers, including Mimi G's husband Norris Danta Ford (her back story is worth reading)

I decided to buy ME2003 to make the top....the skirt might have been my thing many years ago! Both the top and skirt come in two lengths and is designed for stretch fabrics. It's sized to hip size 50" Here's the finished sizes printed on the envelope.

I'd rate this as an advance beginner pattern, it's designed for stretch fabrics, has gathers as well as button and buttonholes.

My initial observations are the instructions are very similar to other traditional printed patterns. Page 1 has the usual generic information along with the technical drawings, layouts etc. Page 2 has all the stuff you need to sew the top and skirt. As an experienced maker I found it quite easy, but if you're a newer maker the instructions are sadly lacking. One of the things I like about the traditional patterns is their really clear diagrams. However, they presume so much prior knowledge and don't seem to expect makers to have zig zag stitch or an overlocker. No wonder makers used to the detailed instructions provided by some indie designers find the leap into these patterns so tricky.

I was really pleased with my top made in a very cheap ponte roma from Economy Fabrics just off J29 of the M1. Worth a visit, they always have a good selection of fleece, however most of their fabrics fly out of the shop due to their really low prices.

I made the longer top and decided not to hem the edge of the frill ...I really don't like the bulky finish on the pattern picture and I knew my fabric wouldn't unravel. The instructions show a mitred corner, but the one in the picture definitely isn't mitred! I think I'd overlock the edge and turn a narrow hem on a finer fabric or one that will unravel. I also overlocked the inside edge of the front band rather than turning it in before top stitching, also reducing bulk and it's much easier.

There's no mention of interfacing....I always use it to stabilise and strengthen buttons and buttonholes on any fabric....I used plastic snaps rather than buttons.............I added small strips of interfacing fused to the front band for each fastening.

The finished top is great and I really expect to make it again. It fits well and easy to make....keeping in mind the reservations I've already mentioned......and your experience, that can count just as much as the instructions!

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