Sunday, August 2, 2020

Patrones magazine review and a shirtdress from the July 2020 issue

There is a good possibility that I am becoming a bit of a pattern magazine addict. Since subscribing to Burda in the fall of 2017 my sewing has been about 70% Burda patterns. I just find them so appealing, full of styles that I want to sew. They definitely have some amazing coat and jacket patterns but also a great variety of tops, blouses, dresses - just about any idea I have I can find a similar pattern in the magazine. Once you have your correct size and ease figured out then the consistency is also a benefit.
When I wrote a couple of posts starting in early May on how I use Burda magazines (part 1 and part 2) a reader asked about Patrones Magazine, which is a Spanish pattern magazine. It was Sarah who mentioned that they had an App, which also had a free issue to download so you could check it out. Of course I immediately downloaded it on my iPad and found that it is very clever and easy to use - despite my Spanish skills being non-existent. Here's my impression of Patrones and the app, plus their patterns and instructions.

This is the first thing I sewed from a Patrones, it's from the July Issue # 411, pattern # 30. I wanted to sew up something that I really didn't need the instructions for, so a shirtdress was perfect for that. The pattern pieces were quite obvious - nothing tricky and it went together perfectly. Also I wanted to check out their sizing and get an idea of which size to choose, and the fit. More on that below.

Patrones blue dress 1

Patrones app page

There is the main screen of the app. Actually that might not be, as I purchased that issue so it is showing that July issue. On the main home screen it shows the various issues, and there is a video you can watch, at the top of this photo is the place to click for that video on how to use the app. Even though it is in Spanish it was really clear and helpful. Then if you click on each issue they have a preview, some of the previews just show the table of contents page (which does include all the garment photos but is not always ideal for judging a pattern) and then some previews also show the tech drawing page. So that is a bit hit or miss, however I did look at their Facebook page and it appears they do a preview of each issue there so that's a place to look if you want to see more detail.

Patrones image for shirt dress pattern

This is the dress I made, each issue appears to have 4 patterns that are inspired by or are knockoffs of designer items. They used a viscose crepe which is probably a better fabric, softer and more drapey. My blue dress is a lightweight cotton, which is ok and what I had around that seemed suitable but just a tiny bit too stiff.

Patrones blue shirtdress front and back

I wasn't sure about the sizing, I did some comparison to Burda and also read over their size page, and came up with size 40 in Patrones.  More on size below.  As far as I could tell this dress is not supposed to be fitted at the waist, as it pulls over the head with the buttons down the front. I can get it over my head and shoulders but not over the solid shoulders of my dress form, thus these pictures of it hanging here.

Let's get technical - here's what I figured out about using the app and the patterns. Before I go any further - I think this is a brilliant way to reduce paper, printing, storage etc. The instructions are available on the device, you download the pattern and then send to your printer, and they have a feature that I think is brilliant in terms of PDF's. I realize most PDF patterns don't make you print the instructions if you don't want them, but their PDF of the actual pattern pieces seems to be about 9-12 pages.  I think that's a big improvement over a standard 20 - 40 - 60 page PDF.

Here's the dress I made, # 30 Vestido Pepe Jeans (which I guess is inspired by this European brand, similar to Zara maybe?)

Patrones Instruction page

The instructions and layout are very similar to Burda or other pattern magazines so no trouble there.
I didn't use their cutting layout but I always glance at it so as to make sure I haven't omitted some pattern piece by mistake.

Here's how you get the actual pattern. Once you have opened the issue then you click on the symbol next to the pattern you want, and it asks if you want to open in an external application. On my iPad it opens it as a PDF document which I then email to myself so I can open on my laptop, and then print on my printer.  (as my printer is a pain in the you know what and only prints when it feels like it, and not wirelessly).

Patrones download links

One other thing I forgot to mention, on that photo above of the red paisley dress, if you are on that page of the magazine in the app, and you click on that small rounded arrow next to the small tech drawing, it jumps you right to this page with the download. Like I said, clever!

Ok, time to talk about sizing. Note above that this dress I've chosen is available in 3 sizes, 40-44-48.
So they don't include the pattern lines for the sizes in between and if you are size 42, for example, you just have to trace in between the lines of the size 40 and 44. This may sound confusing but it seemed pretty doable once I saw the PDF.

Patrones blue dress 4

In Burda I start with a size 38, and in American patterns such as Vogue or McCalls I start with a size 12.  All those patterns are around a bust measurement of 34" which means the neck, shoulders, chest will be a good fit for me.  I made a little chart to compare the sizes, and wanted to look at Burda 38 and 42, which are like US pattern size 12 and 16.
To find the comparable size in Patrones, I looked at the measurements not the size number. The size designation which is just a title, it could be A, B, C whatever and thinking that Burda size 40 and Patrones size 40 are the same will get you into trouble.
Patrones and Burda size comparison

So going by bust and hip measurement a Patrones size 40 has the same measurements as a Burda size 38. Similar situation for the Patrones 44 corresponding to a Burda 42. However, note the difference in the waist measurements with Patrones using a much smaller waist measure across all sizes. Noted! and I will adjust accordingly.  I didn't look at their patterns for the size 50 - 58 but I imagine it is comparable and you would need to compare measurements to find the appropriate size for you.
They also have some specific issues for plus/tall, for easy, and for party dresses. 

I forgot to mention, each issue is........drumroll please.....    $ 3.99 
That is a bargain for all those patterns, especially that they live in the app, you don't have to store or print unless you want then, they are available to look at whenever. They don't even take up much storage on your device, I think it just accesses it each time you click read as opposed to actually downloading the whole issue. 

And now to what I think is the best part of these downloadable patterns, the PDF for this dress was 9 pages. NINE!  Because the pattern pieces are overlaid, or nested or whatever you want to call it. So similar to a Burda tracing sheet but on the other hand so much easier to use. You do have to trace out the pattern, it's obviously not possible to cut it out since they are overlaid, also you do need to add seam allowances but I felt it was worth it to just tape together 9 pieces of printer paper. In fact the back skirt is not include as it was a rectangle, so they give the measurements for that piece (similar to how Burda would for the same idea).  As mentioned above, it is only 3 sizes and if you were interested in one of the sizes that fell between the ones printed you just draw/trace in between. It looks pretty easy to me. To make the dress I traced the smaller size (40) and graded to a larger size at the waist.

Patrones PDF pattern

Another thing to note is that it shows up in the PDF as colored pages, I chose to print in black/white lowest quality, again because why use my colored inks for a PDF that I will toss in the recycle bin  after tracing.

Here's how it looked on my computer screen. They have the page numbers, and that little measurement guide so you can verify it's printing at the right size. These patterns don't have a huge number of notches and markings, but the ones that are there are reasonable obvious. The collar and collar stand fit perfectly on the dress so I figured that was a good guide to how they worked.

Patrones PDF printout sample page

Here's the waist ease in this style. As mentioned, I can get it on fine although perhaps the waist was supposed to be a bit more loose, like the style of the Myosotis dress?

Patrones blue dress waist fit

Patrones blue dress 2

I thought this dress was a bit on the short side, and I lengthened it a couple of inches. It's still a bit short maybe? or I'm just no longer used to the full skirt look on me. But as the for the fit around the neck and shoulders, I'm pretty satisfied with starting at size 40 and will perhaps experiment with another pattern to check.

And now for a look at a few other pages in the magazine to give you a better idea of their offerings.
In this July issue I saw several things that I thought were really pretty - they do seem to choose nice fabrics and pair them well with the styles.

I have no need for a beachy maxi dress but these are both so pretty in different ways.

Patrones patterns examples

This pleated dress on the left intrigues me, the pattern pieces are very plain so I think the result is achieved by sewing lots of small tucks which release over the bust and then are belted. I will keep that in mind in case I see the perfect fabric. It would also make a nice top - maybe that's an idea. The yellow dress on the right is in size 50-54-58 and I think while simple it has a lot of style, very office chic if we ever go back to work dressing!

Patrones examples 2

Patrones is supposed to be noteworthy for their outerwear, coats and jackets although I didn't see anything particularly interesting yet. But these are spring and summer issues so I will wait to see what the fall issues bring. That white coat is quite nice, I don't care for the length with that floral dress but the tech drawing is appealing. I actually started out with the dress on the right, even using a plaid seersucker fabric and I think I chose the wrong size so it was a failed attempt, with a not so great fabric. Also that kind of asymmetrical front is not the best idea for trying to check fit so at that point I found the other shirtdress pattern.

Patrones magazine image1

And my all time favorite of the issues I've bought (which are 2 so far plus the free issue) is this jumpsuit. So cool! I plan to make this in denim just like the example. Or maybe lightweight corduroy? We'll see what fall fabric shopping brings.

Patrones jumpsuit pattern image

Patrones tech drawing page

There's the technical drawing page, they include several child's or baby patterns, and I think one issue had 2 knitting patterns for cute sweaters.

For $ 3.99 I think the whole thing is quite a bargain. My biggest problem with Patrones is not the language barrier  - I can sew pretty much anything without the instructions and the diagrams of the cutting layout help a lot to show you what is what. It's the fact that everything is in centimeters! I wish I could use centimeters automatically but my brain is stuck in inches and so I am constantly converting. Such a pain! Oh well, maybe with practice I will get more used to it.

Patrones blue dress 3

Time to dash. I can't believe it's August already - while some days seem endless (endlessly boring in this quasi lockdown limbo) the summer is also flying by. I just finished a jumpsuit from the recent Burda, it's so cute and easy I might make it again. What is happening to me - jumpsuit mania?

If you have any other questions about Patrones feel free to ask and I will try to answer. And if you are trying to brush up on your Spanish it might be a great way to do that.

As for my language study - I'm a longtime speaker and study-er of Italian, so lockdown time has led to watch all kinds of Italian language programming on Amazon prime, (and MHz service). I think my Italian swearing, which was adequate, has improved immensely watching all the different shows :) Not saying that will help me in polite conversation. The only drawback is that I actually watch the foreign language shows so I can see how things are translated in the subtitles, to improve my vocabulary. With any other English language movie or show I'm sewing while "watching" which means mostly listening and glancing up periodically to see the action.
How about you? what new stuff are you watching while sewing these days?

Arrivederci a tutti e buon cucito, Beth

Today's garden photo, the morning glories appear mid-summer climbing over the back fence and I'm always dazzled by the color.



  1. Lovely make and such a bargain! Regarding the inches/cm debate - always worth remembering that we are now in the international world of sewing and it really doesn't take that much time to convert. That's what a lot of Europeans have to do, which I know you're sympathetic to.

    1. HI Karen - it might make me sympathetic but it doesn't help my capacity to do it :) I think for us in the US, unless you work in the sciences which is very metric, then the old system is so ingrained in society, in cooking, sewing, home products, DIY supplies, it's all gallons and pounds! Also I do prefer the 5/8" seam allowance so that might contribute to my use of inches instead of cm.

  2. Your Italian is not bad ( I live in Italy) and we get Patrones as "Cartamodello" here. Pesonally very happy with the fit

  3. I also love Patrones and I am so happy with their App. I think I am going to stop my paper subscription, which costs me double. They have now an offer for the app, 12 months for 30 euro, which is really cheap and I think totally worth it, for me at least. :) I think your dress looks really lovely , I love the fitted bodice! One think that I find a bit annoying wth Patrones are those style presented flat and not on the model, there is no way to ge an idea of the fit on those, I had a few things I made that got me surprised :). I see that they put now also the Extra issues in the App, those are not in the subscription but they have best of patterns from older issues.

  4. Your dress came out really cute. I have this pattern all taped up and ready to work on but had been wondering about the length since the skirt pattern pieces look awfully short. I am short, but I think I'll still lengthen it after seeing your dress!

  5. I love your dress and have been introduced to a new source of patterns. I use Ottobre because I like the mix of casual and work styles. I also love the kids versions but my girls are getting older now. Jo xx

  6. Your shirtdress is so pretty and looks perfect for wearing in warm weather. Thanks for the great info on how to get Patrones patterns. I used to have a subscription and have kept all the back issues, but would love to see some current styles. I recently started checking out the Knip Mode website, which has a lot of PDF patterns. It also appears that there is now a BurdaStyle Extra issue, advertised on the Russian Burda site, that contains Knip Mode patterns. I love to watch foreign movies and series. The culture, clothing and scenery fascinate me. Did you watch the Italian series My Brilliant Friend on HBO? It was interesting. I am currently watching a Turkish series on Netflix. I really should have checked the number of episodes before I started it. It has almost 160. Only 140 more to go.

  7. Lovely dress :)
    I used to buy Patrones but I found that I don't sew from it. I can't sew without instructions and the language barrier is huge at my side.
    Now I am curious about their app, I might try it :)
    As you said that you find hard to use centimeters, I would advise something: as an Eastern European, I am used to the metric system. But when I started sewing from the big4 and American indie pattern companies, it was very hard because of the inches. I bought a measuring type with one side in inches and the other side in centimeters. When I sew pattern in inches, I don't convert. I use inches directly. Same could be done with centimeters as well. This way I find much easier and I hope it helps :)

  8. I thoroughly enjoyed this article , and I promptly bought and downloaded a magazine and then some patterns . I have struggled on how to use any translation options, with it being viewable only in the app, any suggestions.?

    1. Yes that is a bit tricky, as you are probably using your phone or iPad to see the app, so not also able to use the Google translate at the same time. I only can suggest you take screen shots and then translate sentences as needed later. Someone mentioned that the US patterns such as McCalls have Spanish language translation so I bet you can look at those and be able to recognize a lot of the necessary words.

  9. I couldn't find the free pattern/issue in the app :/

    1. The free issue is the one with the banner that says "Exemplar Gratuito"

    2. Thanks Beth, I found it! :)

  10. This was such a useful review Beth, thank you! I think I may have to have a look at the app!

  11. I love the dress and you did an splendid job explaining the app, how it works, about the Patrones sizing, etc! I've been collecting these magazines for years; in the last years they've become harder to find here in Portugal so Paco used to mail them out to me from Spain,... Since he passed away I haven't been able to get the magazines anymore so I was thrilled when I found out about their digital edition. I wish Burdastyle would provide something similar; it would save me a lot on storage space!

  12. I like metric because it's easier to divide etc, but I don't think in it either. I do have some tape measures that have metric below the Imperial measure which makes it faster. I have physical copies of the magazine from years ago that I couldn't throw out. Their coats are really fabulous. Since you speak Italian, have you seen La Mia Boutique? Also some very nice patterns which I have made. I used to be able to get individual issues at a magazine store in NYC but they are out of business. It's definitely a bargain and it's a lovely summer dress. Patrones is stylish and always interesting.

    1. I got a couple of La Mia Boutique issues some time ago just to check it out and as compared to Burda I thought most of the designs were a bit too simple, not particularly innovative. So I will stick with Burda. The Patrones seems to have plenty of variety. I will give one of the coats or jackets a try soon. Also saw their designer looks are intriguing.