Monday, June 15, 2009

Simplicity and Khaliah Ali Patterns

When I was first learning to sew, Simplicity Patterns were the ish to me! They were stylish, inexpensive and what my first sewing teacher taught me to work with. They fulfilled the needs of a young sewist who had no pattern alterations to make besides length changes.

Several years into sewing, about my 20s, Simplicity and I fell out of harmony. The patterns seemed dowdy, the styling on the pattern envelopes was corny and I now could afford Vogue Patterns so a new love affair was born. It was almost two decades before I looked at a Simplicity pattern again.

And even then it was waayyyy after others had jumped on the "NEW" Simplicity bandwagon because by then I was using a plus size pattern....and those offerings were still dowdy. Then miraculously Simplicity hired Khaliah Ali, drafted some current and stylish patterns in plus sizes and styled the hell out of the pattern covers. I bought a lot of those patterns for myself and for my daughter.

I have to admit that I loved the new direction that Simplicity went in and was a little upset when Khaliah Ali had weight reduction surgery. Now before you start throwing tomatoes, I know that she did it for health reasons but I was worried about the plus size pattern line at Simplicity...and in the last couple of years that concern has been borne out. The attention paid to plus size patterns has decreased. I have purchased fewer and fewer patterns from Simplicity because I don't need a Project Runway pattern to tell me how to change designs on a matter that some of them are graded up to a size 24!

Also, since I don't frequent the craft store masquerading as a fabric store (the yellow embroidered linen came from them), I rarely purchase patterns at brick and mortar in this regard Butterick/Vogues/McCalls is kicking Simplicity's butt because I can buy any pattern from them online at very reduced prices. Simplicity really needs to get on the bandwagon and offer some online sales at their pattern site. Seriously, how many patterns can they be selling online with only a 40% discount...but I digress!

Back to Khaliah Ali...I've been very disappointed in the offerings. Yes, Simplicity is now grading more of their regular size patterns up to a size 24, but they are still missing the size 24W - 38W woman that the Khaliah Ali patterns served. Or how about the fact that not every woman who sews is confident enough to grade up or fit a smaller once again "The Fat Girls" market is being underserved.

*sigh* As the self-appointed "Ambassador of Fat Girls Who Sew", I've been trying not to put Simplicity on blast because even though Simplicity hasn't been updating the Khaliah Ali line, you could still find the patterns online at various vintage spots and eBay.

However, lately I have noticed that the Khaliah Ali patterns are making a resurgence...and for this I am happy and hopeful! Seriously, Simplicity if you knew how many plus size women who sew write me about what I make and how it inspires them, you would invest a little more time and effort into your plus size line - with or without Khaliah Ali as your spokesperson.

Now I've said all of that...are you all still with me?! *LOL*...I need to tell you that I absolutely adore this new Khaliah Ali pattern.

I would pay the $10.15 for the pattern from the website, if I didn't want 5 other patterns! *LOL* Seriously, this pattern works for plus size women in a lot of different lifestyles...and it has a vest in it! A plus size vest! Ohmygoodness, be still my little fashionista heart!

I'm also really loving the blouse/top/jacket in this Simplicity is NOT going on blast...but they are definitely on probation with me. Please invest a little more time on the plus size line. Go back to where you were...we fat girls who sew would truly appreciate it! And by the way, if you added some sewing instructions online for altering and fitting your plus size patterns, we would love you forever....okay maybe not forever...but darn near close! *LOL*

I will have updates on the yellow wardrobe soon and as always, more later!


  1. Yes, plus sizes have been pretty much left out of pattern lines, just as in RTW. Sigh. I really like that red jumper in the first pattern.

  2. hmmm, you know I'm thinking that the red jumper would make a pretty nifty long vest with pants if it were worn open...or is that too 70s?

  3. I haven't really given much thought to adult size patterns, but I am going to start paying attention, as I am thinking about sewing for myself again.

  4. Toby - I don't think it's too '70s.

    Carolyn - I think you'd make a fine ambassador for any group you might represent. You seem to be a loyal person.

    Go for the vest!

  5. Well Omar the tent maker is certainly absent here. Much better lines with the princess seams. Good basics that can be built on. I am surprised that you don't sew the Burda plus sizes; they are usually chic and have great lines for larger bodies.
    Maybe someone from Simplicity will read your blog and respond, or even think about the market.

  6. Even though I don't need plus size patterns I love her collection, I met her years ago before leaving LA at a party at Jim Brown's house, she's very nice and down to earth, Jim Brown's just scary lol.

  7. Well this may sound crazy, but there have been many times when I've wished the better designed plus-size patterns (especially those in BWOF) were in my non-plus size. The examples you show Carolyn are exactly what I mean; well designed, good proportions, not jokey or too trendy and not encumbered with stupid details and/or too juvenile for my age. I'd wear all of them.

    And I have always loved maxi skirts!

  8. You should get that first pattern. You need a vest.

  9. Thanks Carolyn. I've been looking for a tie shirt pattern!

    CarlaF-in Atlanta

  10. Carolyn... I hear you. Every so often I'll pick up a K. Ali Pattern because they come in a complete range of sizes..misses to plus. And depending on what medications I'm on, my weight can fluctuate by 30 pounds!

    I love both of the patterns you've shown...but..."ouch" to the price...OTOH...the first one has so many different pieces....

    ~ Pam
    Vintage far so good...

  11. I love her patterns. And agree they have gotten better lately. Being in the larger sizes her patterns are some of the few that are stylish.

  12. O.K. we need to work something out for you girl... (brick and mortar store pattern purchase wise).... every month Hancock and then again usually that "other" place have Simp./Butt./McCall's/Vogue all on sale! Mind you at prices like... well Simp. were $1.99 And Vogue were $3.99... MaCall's were just 99cents.... Butterick were 99 cents too. Granted usually they are around $1.99 or so on sale... this sale was better then most! But even if you were to have a friend (or just a blog stalker like me, since you don't really know me) get them at the br/mortar store and mail them to you.... it would be still cheaper w/mail then trying to find some of these at such good prices, on line!
    Let me know... I truely would be happy to help.
    Also, I know what you mean about the Simplicity patterns, I have been sewing for a couple of my plus size daughters for years an although I'm not plus size I realize how hard it is to find good looking patterns that you don't "have to" alter b/4 you use.
    Hang in there.... maybe you should send a copy of this post to Simplicity's comment section!
    Excited to see your newest creation! Loving the yellows/greens!

  13. Even though I am not a plus size I wanted to let you know that your blogs and creations inspire me as well. What you do really shows how properly fitted clothes make all the difference. You always look great in the clothes you make, and you explain how you do it. An aspiring seamstress couldn't ask for more from a sewing blog.

  14. I just want stylish patterns that don't look like I borrowed my 20 year old daughter's clothes. I've never gained or lost much weight (thank you God for great genes), but fitting an ample bust and a "regular" sized rump can be a challenge itself, and at 48 I still want to look good but am obviously much too old for "in and hip". The pattern makers have to avoid dowdy for those of us who are over 40, and I think it's a problem in any size. Loved your ramble on this subject.

  15. I really think Simplicity needs to read your blog post (hint, hint). It's your post so I doubt anyone else would send it and you said it all so well. I'm another one who orders patterns online because a trip to the "Craft Stores" is a bit of a hike and sometimes they don't have the patterns that I want. As a confirmed pattern addict, I would buy more Simplicity patterns if they were priced less...even if I had to pay a small club fee to get the discounted price.

  16. After I discovered Simplicity's B, C, D cup patterns (and loved them) I emailed them to keep making them. Perhaps is EVERYONE sent them an email about keeping stylish, chic and classic styles in the plus size range they may pay attention.

    Hey, it can't hurt our cause!

  17. Regarding getting Simplicity patterns on sale, Jean C. said what I was going to say. =)

  18. Carolyn,
    I saw these today and thought they looked better than I had seen in a while. This week Simplicity is on sale for $1.99 at that store you mention!

  19. You know, I have to agree with Phyllis - I see a lot of BWOF plus size I wish were in my size! I find this odd since US companies have not invested the time to develop enough current, interesting patterns for the larger size range. Good for you for sewing for yourself and inspiring others. Now if you could just inspire Simplicity . . .

  20. I agree with you, I was going to show these to my mom. I want them for myself!

  21. "...I've been trying not to put Simplicity on blast..."

    I don't think anyone would ever accuse you of that. What you have expressed is good, honest, specific feedback that every company needs. This kind of feedback is essential for them to know what was liked/disliked and why. If it's presented to them as you have here, it really is a gift to them as strange as that might sound. I do hope that Simplicity sees what you have written.

  22. Carolyn- You can get an extra 20% off at the Simplicity website with the code SIMPGUEST.
    They also have free shipping.
    HTH :) Corinne

  23. I just read this article in the NY Times: "Fashion first, whatever the size".
    It tells me things should get better as far as the pattern companies' designing for fuller figures goes, even if the change is slower than on the boutiques. I notice the article refers to fashionable clothes for YOUNG women. The real, unexplored frontier is fashionable clothes for WOMEN, grown up, middle aged, all sizes encompassed, styles that don't lean so heavily on the inherent beauty in a 20 year old. Perhaps I'm asking too much.
    Coincidentally, in that style article (I read the Times online) I clicked on an ad for something called The Gabriel Method, one of whose adherents is Kaliah Ali, who credits this non-dieting program with her weight loss. As described, it's pretty far from bariatric surgery.

  24. Hello Carolyn. I just found your site today. Are you still blogging about sewing and patterns? I have a question for you. One of the Khliah Ali patterns is a halter-type dress. I wonder if I could sew a 'bra' inside the dress or do you know if the pattern is designed for this? I couldn't find any other web site that might answer this question.

  25. I really like Khaliah Ali Patterns myself. So far, they rarely need any alterations and they are very comfortable.


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