My style – or style rut?

Every so often something happens that makes us question our choices. The prompt this time was a blog post I read by Sew Tessuti who was showing a selection of patterns bought over a number of years – and so many very similar patterns.

This weekend I bought a couple of Style Arc patterns using the discount. Great time to try out a new to me pattern company who seem to have a very good following. Then I looked at what I had bought in the light of what I had read.

The first was a pattern bundle which included the Stacie jean jacket, Sally jean skirt, and Diana top. I really only wanted the jacket but it was such a good buy… well, you know the feeling. The other option was the Ziggi biker jacket.Stacie Jean Jacket + Diana Top + Sally Jean Skirt








These were both styles I really thought I would use – but wait a minute – do these look familiar?

Start with Stacie. I love jeans jackets. I have made a few in the past, check out this post, this one, and finally this one. Also, in a recent Patrones post I showed a jacket that isn’t a million miles from this. See a theme developing? All OK, but none exactly what I wanted.

The first (McCalls 5860) was a great basic shape but I followed the instructions pretty much as is and hated the way the lining was installed from the word go. The second was self drafted and just OK. I still wear it on occasion but it has never really thrilled me. The third was from a Craftsy course. I learned a bunch of stuff from the course, have worn this jacket quite a lot, but it seems a bit of a compromise jeans jacket. A ‘home sew’ option. I have read a number of blog posts about ‘Stacie’ and most are positive – but the pockets are just decorative rather than functional, and the cuffs seem to come in for some criticism. It would seem that the pattern companies are on a hiding to nothing as we have very specific ideas of what we want, but we don’t all want the same thing. Clearly I am going to have to do a bit of adaption to make Stacie exactly what I had in mind.


Fabulous fully lined biker jacket with zip features


Now then Ziggi. I have seen some blisteringly good versions of Ziggi online. Check out Ruths version at Core Couture, or Shams at Communing with Fabric, or ….  any one of loads. Brilliant jacket. Perfectly biker – just what I want. But I have already got the Janet Pray MotorCity Express pattern as part of another Craftsy course (not yet started). I have put off starting the course because I had slight reservations about the pattern. I knew the lack of a collar was something I was going to have to change, and no matter how much I know I have gained from the other Janet Pray courses I have watched this one languished. Is Ziggi closer to what I want? I think so, but I really must watch the course because I’m sure it will help construction when I decide what I am to do.

Both of these jacket styles can be dressed up or down according to need but are arguably both fairly casual, every day jackets. That’s OK. Sadly my lifestyle doesn’t really have great need for spectacularly ‘dressed up’ clothing. However, my concern is have I just fallen into a style rut where I simply choose what is comfortable and familiar, or have I actually found that rare beast – My Style?



39 Comments on “My style – or style rut?”

  1. I made the Staci, and spent a LOT of time finishing all those inside seams, and trying to improve my shoddy topstitching technique. I must admit I bottled out with the buttonholes, and had no snaps, so it has no fastening but makes a really nice cardigan layer. The cuffs don’t quite fit as drafted if I remember correctly…or perhaps that was the bottom band?[This is very unusual for Style Arc] I usually roll the sleeves up anyway. Thinking about it, once all this steampunkery is out of the way, I may well need another for the summer! I haven’t succumbed to a Ziggi, but do have a similar Burda pattern in the Drawer of Aspiration.
    It IS very easy to keep buying much the same stuff, I’m trying really really hard to be good…but bought 3 StyleArc patterns from the sale you sabotaged me with…naughty!

    • I’m looking forward to trying Style Arc out. Stacie looks good, but Ziggi is a bit different. Can’t decide.
      Sorry I led you astray. However, use your Singer for topstitching – never a stutter with mine – and now you have the buttonhole attachment working you will bless the day you bought it.
      I love ‘ The Drawer of Aspiration’!

      • I’m quite looking forward to making the buttonholes on the jacket, which feels perverse after about 30 years of avoiding the damn things. Once you know the right sizes to order for StyleArc [not so important for the printed versions as you get 3 sizes] they’re a treat. Or maybe I’m just lucky [like Lara] that I’m the ‘right’ shape for them?

  2. sewbussted says:

    While the jackets can be casual, I’ve seen both styles paired with dressier items. On Easter Sunday, a lady who sat in front of me at church had paired a dark wash denim jacket with the cutest dress. The dress looked a little more casual, but the overall look was lovely.

  3. Mike Eaton says:

    Interesting thought – is this it or have you fallen into a rut? As a mere man may I suggest that it would appear that whilst you are happy with what you have done (within reason) you are looking for a “challenge” rather than a style! Yes you are making some nice jackets in that style but now you want to do something else? Men tend to stick with something all the time, especially when it’s something they’ve made! Women want and need changes, especially if they can actually make it themselves! The answer? Up to you of course but I’d go make something else not related then come back later on and think again! Maybe or maybe not?! Good luck whichever you choose, but be sure that what you do because you will be doing it will be unique and pure you, even with somebody else’s pattern!

  4. tialys says:

    It doesn’t seem like you’re in a rut to me – you’re just continuing your quest for the perfect biker jacket pattern. That sounds better doesn’t it?

  5. sew2pro says:

    I haven’t forgotten Ruth’s Ziggy though she made it years ago. It’s a great design (I wear a H&M jacket much like it all the time when it’s not too cold). And to be fair, your posts go back a few years so it’s only natural that you need a fresh version of old faves. Make a Ziggy to go with the lovely jersey dress you just make with the great splash of colour. I like Mark’s comment daring you to attempt something different as you can always come back to your comfort zone. I really liked Ruth’s dalliance with the Merchant & Mills book and thought it made a nice change to go for woven fabrics, as natural looking as possible, even if we all associate Ruth with bright colours. As for Staci, well, blue denim (in all shades of blue) is exploding everywhere and you have a chance to go for your own take. And we certainly have the weather for jackets from now till October (though I wouldn’t put the coat away till… oh, May 🙂 )

    • The good thing about the UK is you always need a nice jacket to hand! Both are gorgeous, utilities think I’m leaning Ziggi. I had forgotten about Ruth’s Merchant and Mills stuff – all lovely from recollection. I wish I needed a massive wardrobe (and had more time to make it!)
      Thanks Marianna

  6. prttynpnk says:

    I think that a rut is often a disparaging way to look at knowing yourself.
    One could say that Jackie O was in a rut or Katherine Hepburn- rut or iconic style that suits you?

  7. jay says:

    Subtle differences, isn’t this why we change patterns, always looking for something new but fitting in with our preferred style?

    • Absolutely. Perhaps that justifies buying similar patterns, and I do like trying them, but I really should dust off my own blocks and get pattern cutting myself.
      Thanks for the comment Jay

  8. Ah well, I say if you like it, wear it! Even if it is the 10th version of the same look. I have the Islander Express jacket. I liked it because it didn’t have a collar. Something about each pattern will catch someone’s eye, I suppose! Which reminds me, I haven’t tried a jean jacket or skirt yet… Perhaps we have a similar style?

    • It sounds like we may have similar taste. Jeans jackets are very easy to wear, and not hard to make. Jane’s Craftsy course (with pattern) was good, but I just wanted to ‘tickle’ the style a little.
      Thanks for the comment.

  9. CurlsnSkirls says:

    Everyone has made such great comments already! May I add one that came up on, where I look for inspiration?
    “I wear my sort of clothes to save me the trouble of deciding which clothes to wear.” Katherine Hepburn
    Whatever you decide, enjoy it! 😀

  10. Prue Maxwell says:

    You won’t be disappointed with the Stacie jacket – I have made about 20 versions now for myself and friends out of all different fabrics – some more ‘dressie’ and have left off the pockets to get a different look. I find Style Arc patterns fit very well in the shoulders and the shaping at the waist is very flattering – if you are in between sizes I suggest you make the smaller size as it is more flattering and you tend not to wear jeans jackets done up.

  11. Well, I for one, think that finding one’s style must be very rewarding. The Stacie is a really nice, versatile jacket (think I’m miles from being ready to tackle it) and it will be a little different from any you’ve made. If you love it, rock it!

  12. Fadanista says:

    I am finding that I get a sudden rush of blood to the head and buy patterns that other people have made only to find that I have something almost identical in my stash. Now I’m being much more circumspect, and seeing if I can modify an existing pattern to mimic a new one. Then it gets too hard and I buy the pattern anyway!! Don’t beat yourself up about any of this, buy what you want and make what you want, and know that it’s going to suit you down to the ground!

    • Thanks Sue. It’s easy to be caught up in the rush when you see a gorgeous pattern. I need to pause now and actually sew for me. (Buried in bridesmaid alterations at the moment. Doh)

  13. amcclure2014 says:

    I haven’t made either so can’t comment other than to say I agree with many of the other comments. However, Mike had a particular point – brush the dust off your blocks and make the one you really want.

  14. fabrickated says:

    Thank you for such an interesting post, and to all the commentators. I have noticed the same thing – that I have an identifiable style (classic, with a twist, 1960s, colourful, semi-formal) that I think suits me, so there is not much point trying something radically different. But a classic item like a jeans or biker jacket can be made in so many different versions you can keep making them all your life. On the other hand a bit of experimentation is a good thing. I tried a peg skirt, flared jeans and pleated trousers over the last year and feel they all worked quite well. And I am actually guilty of buying the same pattern twice. Twice.

    • We are different body shapes but I really like your clothing choices. I think you are absolutely right about jeans and biker jackets, and it seems that mine may be getting friends.
      I don’t think I have bought the absolute same pattern twice. That takes real skill!

  15. Sewniptuck says:

    You sound pretty sane and reasonable to me! I too have the Hanet Prey biker jacket class, it’s the FBA on an assymetric front that has ahem, postponed me!
    Perhaps it’s really worth a visit to the high street to try something different, I find that gets me out of a rut. Good luck w your jackets, will be watching w interest!

  16. Ann Webber says:

    I’m just in awe you can make a jeans jacket – shaping, cuffs, collar, top stitching, button holes, hitting the right style tone. I think I’ll lie down and then see what M&S have.

  17. I think it’s more style than rut, fwiw. I’m working hard to have a carefully curated selection of patterns that fit me really well that I can just then make up in different fabrics and maybe tweak pockets, sleeves, collars for a slightly different look. This seems not to far away from that idea….finding a garment that you love, then making slightly different versions of it to keep your look fresh.

    • Thanks Evie. The perfectly fitting blocks I’m supposed to have for pattern cutting should perform that function but I seem to be drawn in by the pretty pictures and PDF options 😕

  18. mrsmole says:

    When in doubt about a style rut, you have to take yourself shopping and try on things you have never worn before just to make your brain see you in a different light. For years I bought and made plain tops with no flared hems or drooping edges thinking it would look silly or too young. But once I got my old body into a couple of those fun tunics and different jackets, it changed my whole perspective…all of a sudden I look younger (that’s a real challenge!) and feel lighter and more open to other shapes and colors. Making the same jacket over and over is nice but maybe it is time for a more freeing style? The same goes with hair…streaks of color tell the world…”I’m not dead yet!” LOL

    • Mike Eaton says:

      And why ever not? you are as young or as old as you feel, so if you feel and act young you will be and everybody will think you are young and that in turn will make you feel younger! A terrific spiral of youth! Why not indeed

  19. sewruth says:

    Make both! Chose flowered linen or chintzy upholstery fabric for the ‘denim’ and then you can have a denim jacket without it being denim and predictable: make the biker jacket in lightweight wool boucle or tweed for a different look. If you like the jacket style and you wear it, then that’s not a rut, that’s good sense.
    I find with sewing my own clothes I try ‘new’ styles all the time as I don’t mind making things but wouldn’t buy them. I’m still looking for My Style and having a bit of fun getting there – if I ever do. I’m always a little envious of others who have a clear style but I just like too many different looks to settle on one.

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