Manequim magazine November 2014

Manequim magazine have had the unique tradition of offering two November issues each year – some sort of weird reasoning like “there’s too much summer to be contained in one issue!”, but this year for some reason there’s only one November issue (yes, I double checked the numbering with October and December’s issues to make sure it just wasn’t lost in the post!).

It may appear at first glance that I’ve not pulled out many garments here, but the ones I’ve chosen are amazing and therefore this cranks my overall rating of this issue up a notch!

The Plus sized garments this issue are all cocktail dresses, and they are fantastic! Look at the lace seaming on the right-hand blue dress in particular (sorry the tech drawing is blurry)! That hem! Those curved seams! Luscious.

The designer inspiration feature this month is in the style of Costume National, a brand I’ve heard of but am not particularly familiar with, if I’m being honest. The woven tee on the right is also offered as a pattern, but I was just blown away by the monochrome seamed dress! That’s not a printed fabric – the white and black crepes are cut separately. I’m a bit disappointed that the back is so plain – they should’ve really carried the seaming around to the back IMHO. However, the glory of patterns without seam allowances is that it’s easy to just draw your own new seaming on and split it up yourself.

Manequim magazine October 2014

Manequim magazines appear to be like that old London bus saying: “You wait for ages and then three come along at once!”. All of us international subscribers were accidentally sent some random teenybopper magazine with Taylor Swift on the cover instead of the October issue a month or so ago, and even though I emailed a complaint, I didn’t really expect to see this issue. This sort of mixup happens about once a year with the publisher, and we usually just get our subscription extended by an issue. But no – October’s issue did turn up in the end, bundled with November, and then December arrived a day later!

First up is a pattern for a very trendy little bike satchel pattern. The overall construction isn’t really new, and in fact I’ve got a bright orange leather satchel I use every day that looks very similar. But the unique part here is that there are an extra two straps on the back which allow it to attach to the handlebars! Very cool, and something you could add onto just about any bag pattern.

The Plus patterns this month aren’t particularly inspiring, I must admit. Really, overalls? They aren’t flattering on the tiniest, youngest ladies, let alone those of us with a bit of hips…

Manequim patterns are mostly offered in one size only, but there are a few each issue which come in multiple size (which you can then often use to sort of “scale up” fancier patterns that aren’t in your size). This teeshirt is a basic design, but it’s offered for a ton of sizes, and would be a really good base for other styles. I also rather like the simple, pleated midi skirt it’s paired with here.

Manequim magazine September 2014

It may be turning blustery and cool here in London, but in Brazil it’s just starting to heat up – what better reason to look into the latest issue of Manequim magazine while I mentally warm myself in the Rio sunshine…

The first to catch my eye in this issue was in the “designer style” feature, which this month looks at Paco Rabanne. It’s mostly separates (with the exception of the pleated party dress on the right), but I love the asymmetric shell top seen here on the left! It’s got pleating on one shoulder, and on the other, a leather panel which wraps over to the back with no shoulder seam. I can’t think of a better way to utilise a small piece of silk and a scrap of leather (let’s face it, neither are getting thrown in the washing machine anyway!).

I’m having a bit of deja vu on this sleeveless, crossover top, and I realised it’s because there was an almost identical pattern in the May Burda magazine (seen here on the right for comparison’s sake). I’m guess they’re both inspired by the same runway look…

There’s nothing groundbreaking about this shirtdress, but it really looks like something I’d just live in should I find myself in a hotter climate. Great cut, great print, and easy to wear.

A silky Manequim pleated shell top

Despite my nonstop Work Sewing during the week, I still often get an itch at the weekend to sew something quick and Not Work for myself, often using up some fabric or pattern which I’ve been meaning to make for ages.

A few weekends ago this took the form of a shell top with a pleated neckline from the Manequim August 2011 issue (though I totally failed to spot its potential when I reviewed it!) and one metre of printed polyester satin which I’d picked up at a London sewists swap last summer.

I really liked the colours in the fabric and the abstract quality of the print, and the fabric is nice enough that I had to do a quick burn test to determine that it wasn’t actually a silk! As for the pattern, it was one that I traced some years ago, but then never quite got around to making, so it got folded up in a drawer before I finally pulled it out a few weekends ago.

Worn here with my orange Sinbad & Sailor O’Keefe skirt from earlier this summer!

It’s a very basic shell top with four pleats at the neckline, and in hindsight I probably should’ve just drafted it up myself! The pattern includes a half lining – the back just uses the same pattern piece as the exterior, ending at the waist, but the front lining is a separate pattern piece with bust darts from the armholes so the exterior neckline pleats are held in place.

Manequim magazine August 2014

You may be thinking “August? What about July’s issue?” and to this I say Wow, you’re way more observant than I am, because I only noticed that July never arrived until I went to scan this issue in. Sad face.

But not for long, because this issue is all about party dresses, because it’s their 55th anniversary issue! Judging by the number of articles talking about the history of Manequim magazine and photos of old issues, I thought for sure we’d get some great vintage reprints, a’la Burda magazine, but alas, no – not a single vintage pattern here.

First up is a sweatshirt pattern, offered in a wide range of sizes, that is a pretty standard design except for the inclusion of two zippers at the hem. They don’t appear to have pockets behind them, but are instead just purely decorative.

I didn’t really like any of the styles in the cover star’s feature, but the “designer style” this month is Tom Ford, and this faux-wrap dress looks to be a classic design (and not just because it reminds me of that New Look pattern everyone was sewing in 2006!).

Manequim magazine June 2014

After the dizzying heights of May’s issue (and April’s Oscar gown special!), June was going to always be a let down in comparison. Sure, there are some nice patterns, and if you’re Plus-sized, this is totally the one to get, but I’m just not overwhelmed with inspiration this time around….

The first pattern to catch my eye in this issue was the maxi-dress in the top left – have a look at that back! It’s got the basic upper back like the T- view of my XYT Workout Top pattern, but with a bunch of short strips overlapping to make an almost Art Deco look! Who’s up for an XYT hack??

Manequim produce a lot of jumpsuit patterns, and having worn precisely zero in my life (let alone sewn any), I’m usually not too fussed over them unless they’ve got separates potential. But this jumpsuit has a really elegant asymmetric drape over a belt, which looks really chic!

A green cropped blazer

I’ve got a wedding rapidly approaching, and for once in my life, I actually bought a dress instead of sewing it (ok, technically James bought it for me when we were in France!). But I couldn’t let this occasion go by without sewing something so I decided I wanted a little cropped jacket to go along with it. Luckily there are a lot of colours in the dress to pick out, and a good friend gifted me this green, ex-Karen Millen piqué specifically for this purpose!

I sifted through my pattern magazine archive (made easier since I’ve got each issue overview online) and decided on a sharp little cropped blazer pattern from the September 2013 Manequim magazine (curiously I’d overlooked it when I reviewed the issue!).

I love that this jacket is short in the body so it won’t interrupt the full skirt on my dress, has got 3/4 length sleeves which are so nice for summer evenings, and best of all – a shawl collar with little tuxedo styling at the bottom. There’s no front closure, either, so it’s a nice one to just slip on over the dress and not have it look like it should be buttoned or something.

Many of you ask how I deal with Manequim patterns that aren’t in my size – the short answer is, I don’t. I’ve got so freaking many issues and patterns to choose from that most of the ones I want to sew either either in a 44 or 42 (this one’s a 44), or if they are significantly smaller, I just graft the interesting features onto an existing base pattern that fits me.

Manequim magazine May 2014

It is an excellent time to be a pattern magazine subscriber, and I think this week’s posts on the June Burda, April Manequim, and now this May issue are a great illustration on the variety and fashion forward elements that just aren’t being seen in the Big Four right now.

The other two issues this week have been fantastic, but this May issue may just top them all… I don’t think I’ve ever scanned so many pages from one magazine before!

First up are the Plus offerings for this issue – three different dresses all with illusion-type colourblocking made popular by Stella McCartney recently.

As you may have guessed from the cover, there are maternity patterns included this month for the first time that I’ve ever seen! The cover blouse is the nicest IMHO, but there’s also patterns for a skirt, trousers, and a caftan-like dress, too.

The designer style patterns this month use Jason Wu as their inspiration and we get a really intricate jacket with wide lapels but loads of the sleeve details are just swallowed by the floral print. There’s also a cutaway shoulder blouse with a wide hem in multiple sizes, and also a dress with some stunning lace appliques. It might be difficult to source a similar lace, but the dress pattern is offered in a whopping 6 sizes, so it’s a great pattern to have as a jersey base for comparing against & modifying to become other styles not in your size.

I stopped buying Patrones magazine a while back as I only ever really liked the winter issues anyway, and I was getting a bit bored of their styles. But to me, Patrones really made the best coat patterns ever. Let me tell you, this coat feature here is enough to make me burn all my back issues of Patrones and sew all of these instead.

Take this pink coat for starters – immaculate clean lines – the princess seam goes straight into that angle to form the pocket. The raglan seams draw the eye to the face, and there’s no collar in the way to distract from the simplicity. YES.

This pattern appears to have everything I’d ever want from a motorcycle jacket, and sewn in coating rather than leather. Again, the attention to detail here is great – I only wish I could see more clearly what’s going on with that right side (as worn) pocket…

Again with the crazy amount of details and fabric mixing – is it a trench coat? Is it a biker jacket? It’s apparently made with faux leather, coating, and a polyester (presumably the fabric with the holes) and you know how much I love to mix different textures in the same colour!

And lastly in the coat feature, I adore this colourblock coat with the stripe running through just above the waist. Very striking but very classic at the same time.

Now some of my long-time readers may recall that in the very first issue of Manequim I ever had there was a feature on chic uses for sweatshirt and I squealed with delight. OMG IT’S ANOTHER CHIC SWEATSHIRTING FEATURE. And this time it’s even better. I had to restrain myself to even leave one pattern out of my picks.

This dress! You could totally leave the lower sleeves off and it’d work well with cap sleeves, too!

Manequim magazine April 2014

I hadn’t realised that this issue arrived so late until May came nearly a week after it, but it means I’ve got two issues to show you in rapid succession. It’s always about this time of year that Manequim do their famous “Oscar dress special”, too, and squeeeeeee! this is it!

See? Brazilians do wear sweaters in winter! pfff. But seriously, despite it’s cropped proportions, it’s got some nice colourblocking, and the skirt lines are great, too.

Bomber jackets are huge this year, but I do believe this is the first sequined one I’ve seen – and here I thought I’d seen every variation possible in my pattern magazines so far! The skirt is also interesting, though I don’t think I’d be confident enough to put all my trust into a zipper like that…

Normally I’d be awfully excited to have a bodysuit pattern in my size, but frankly, it’s nowhere near as exciting as Closet Case Files’ Nettie pattern, which is already in my sewing queue. The trousers look like good basics, though, and they’re offered in a few sizes, too.

I must’ve flipped past this at least three times before I noticed that this boring shirt has actually got an asymmetric twist – the collar is rotated and the opening shifted off-centre. So what was boring is now highly interesting!

Manequim magazine March 2014

I’m often inspired by styles in Manequim magazine, even if I don’t actually sew that many, and I particularly love the Fall and Spring issues which tend to overlap a bit more with the seasons we have in the UK. Brazil is entering Fall now but the same styles are super wearable for English Spring, too.

The celebrity style section (which is usually occupied by Brazilian soap stars I’ve never heard of) is this month all featuring stylish women in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. I really like the flowy faux-wrap dress Meryl Streep is wearing on the left, and it just happens to be in my size, too.

The Plus patterns this month are all blouses, and I think the pale yellow one is a particularly interesting design since it uses a twist in an outer layer, almost creating a twinset effect with the inner layer.

The designer style section is based on Alberta Ferretti’s designs, and these slim trousers and silk blouse are both provided in several sizes and would both make really great wardrobe basics. They also look especially good for testing out the fit if you’re new to Manequim, too.