Thursday, 14 June 2012

Figgy's latest patterns


Have you seen the new patterns from Figgy's? They're not actually so very new anymore, but I've been meaning to write about them for a while as they're patterns that have stayed in my head, because they're full of details that look like enormous fun to sew: plaited straps; minimal, crisp layers of ruffles; twists; and many opportunities for piping, all combine to give patterns for garments that look entirely professional in finish.




The styles, as with Figgy's previous collection, look very modern and exactly the type of thing that an older child would wish to wear. There isn't a single pattern in this latest collection that I don't love.


But my overwhelming feeling when looking at much of the collection? That I wish they were adult pieces rather than children's.


The beautiful twisted back piece on the Scirocco dress is ingenious, but my slightly prudish side feels that, even at ten years old, this style looks a little too 'grown-up' for my daughter (and my horribly sensible side starts feeling edgy about sunburn on skin that's not normally on display too). I've kept returning to the photos trying to decide whether it's simply the styling of the photo that makes it appear this way, or whether I really would feel not quite right about my daughter wearing the dress unless covered by a cardigan. I am harbouring wishes that Figgy's may branch out and design a womenswear line alpngside their children's patterns as I think it would be stunning. I know many people felt like this about Oliver + S before Lisel produced the Lisette patterns...

You can find these beautiful patterns at Backstitch.

Florence x

32 comments:

  1. The patterns are so cute and they compliment the fabrics very well. Must get the sewing machine out again.

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    1. Yes, I adore the fabric that Figgy's use for their patterns - I wonder where they shop for them.

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  2. Thank you for sharing - I have a nine year old that would love that playsuit.

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    1. Ditto - playsuits seem to have made a comeback this year and last.

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  3. I thought the styling was oddly adult for these patterns, too-- the kids look like tiny adults! And I would definitely wear all of these designs! I do think it's a bit strange to see exposed back or other skin like that on a child... maybe you could add a contrasting panel?

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    1. Kids are the only ones who can get away with exposing their backs. Adults usually have too much underwear going on to do it well.

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    2. Yes, I've been trying to think of a way to retain the twist at the top, but cover the back more, but I've never made a garment with sculpted fabric before and I fear I could get into all kinds of trouble if I started trying to re-draft it.

      You're right Francoise - although i think if it had been designed for adults maybe there would have been a feature across the area where a bra strap would be to cover it?

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  4. The patterns are sweet. But I too hesitate on the bare back. If it was halfway up I don't think it would phase me. But with it cut open to the waist I think sexualizes little girls too much. It puts a focus on a part of the body not normally exposed in such a way. Unless maybe in a bathing suit at the beach. I think also the tall red boots again emphasize a childs body ina way that is too mature. Whatever happened ot garanimals and keds?

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    1. It's odd, isn't it, that while I wouldn't bat an eyelid if it was a swimming costume, it feels different when it's on an item of clothing.

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  5. I think it is the styling of that Scirocco dress that is making it look too grown-up. Not just the red boots but the topknot and the pose (which I know is partly done to make the back detail visible, but still). My daughter had a dress with a similar cutout back (though a fuller skirt) that she wore last year, when she had just turned four, and it looked nothing other than sweet with sandals and two ponytails.

    I am apparently a complete prude, as I find the "fashiony" styling of a lot of kids' clothing advertisements these days a real turnoff. (I am grumpy this morning, but I can even see it in other of those Figgy's shots, much as I love the patterns themselves: the hands-on-hips, the bent-over-laughing.) It's like: they're only 8 years old, must they already start worrying about rakishly draped scarves and whether they have the right hipster glasses?

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    1. I know exactly what you mean about being in a grumpy mood and virtually everything you see making you feel like ranting - I get that sometimes too! I'm so pleased to hear that out of the context of a photoshoot the style looks fitting.

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  6. I felt the same about the previous collection - the styling of the photos seems completely inappropriate for such young girls. I also can't tell if it's that or the dress itself, but if you don't feel right about it, go with your maternal instinct.

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    1. Yes, I remember you'd mentioned that. I double-checked and realised my maternal instinct has been over-ruled anyway as the dress only goes up to an age 9 and so it would be need to be graded up to work.

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  7. I agree with you, I wouldn't put my 11 year old daughter in the dress with the exposed back - I actually think it would make her self conscious. I would definately buy similar patterns for adults if they produced them tho.

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    1. I'm so pleased that others would like this for themselves too...more selfish sewing! :)

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  8. I think they do look like clothes for adults and I don't like to see children looking like mini me's. There is plenty of time for them to be adults and time as children is so limited. It's a shame that too many clothes are little more than adult styling skimmed down to size. Personally, I don't like these clothes, some of them are nice for someone in their twenties though.

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  9. The grey and white spot is my favourite and - yes, I would much prefer to see it in an adult size

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  10. Sorry to say I don't like those patterns at all.
    They are far too grown up for little girls.

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  11. These clothes look like a lot of fun for children to wear. Children play, run, yell, climb and dance about with energy. These designs are so appropriate for an active lifestyle. There is nothing wrong with the sight of a bit of exposed skin whether it is on the face, neck, arms, legs, or back. If you think the opposite you have a personal problem, not the child. Children should be able to run about completely naked and be safe from predators. A few hours sun exposure is unlikely to cause permanent damage unless the light is very strong. The arguments against exposed skin here sound like something before women got the vote!!! These young models look like healthy active children who are doing a good job of displaying the properties of the designs.

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    1. You're right, Louise - the girls do look wonderful, healthy, happy and very lovely indeed - I wasn't trying to imply anything other. I think Figgy's are a wonderful company and I'd be upset to think that you'd read my post and thought that I was judging the models in any way (they may be models, but equally they may be the children of the Figgy's owners so, either way, it feels important to say that I do think they look adorable).

      However, with regard to the discussion about the back of one of the dresses, I don't think people's attitudes are as archaic as you imply. I think that our society is more cautious about how things are perceieved now because it's a totally different climate to that which existed fifty years ago and my first instinct with my own children, rightly or wrongly, is to protect them, rather than to ignore the climate and view it as the problem of others as you suggest. So for me it feels like two issues: how you feel about it on a societal level (in which case I agree with you - children should be able to dress however they please) and how you feel about it on a personal level (in which case my instinct is rather different).

      I don't think anyone was saying that children should be covered up, but more that there are certain styles that feel provocative, rather than simply exposing of skin.

      I'm sorry - I'm not sure if I'm conveying my point as well as I'd like, but it's something along those lines.

      Thank you so much for your comment - it's always good to see things from another view point.

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  12. When I look closely I think the clothes are cute, and could be made up in some lovely less adult colours and fabrics and be beautiful, practical and comfortable on children, but I'm with the others, I am totally put off by the overly sensual/sexualised styling and mini-adult poses in the promotional pictures so I have never actually gone as far as to buy a pattern.

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  13. I love the dress from the front...definitely something for a child and a woman alike. as for the back I would say it very much depends on the child/person. I still remember when as a teenager I had to argue with my mom for not letting me wear mini-skirts. I remember there was nothing about being sexy or anything...I just like it.

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  14. I agree with you about the Scirocco dress - lovely form the front, too grown up for a ten year old at the back. And yes, i wish they did them n grown up sizes too.

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  15. Stresshead Red15 June 2012 22:25

    I blame the British weather! If we were used to living in Mediterranean sunshine I think one would think less about the appropriateness of the Scirocco dress, which incidentally I love. Picture it with worn leather t-bar sandals, brown sandy knees and dripping ice cream cones and maybe a helium balloon for good measure and it is a totally different proposition than seeing it styled with knee high boots and Lolita styled hair.

    I would have loved that dress when I was younger (and now). Also, I think the Sunki dress is possibly the ideal casual work dress - do you think we could start a campaign to encourage the sale of adult sized patterns?

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    1. I think that campaign should definitely be launched!

      I love idea you've had by the way...it made me feel like going on holiday immediately

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  16. I have made the playsuit for my almost 10yr old girl. She requested that I omit the front opening...I think she was afraid of too much flesh showing, so I made the straps into ties, so she could pull it on easily, and tie them up once it was on her...as high up as she felt comfortable with. It is not always about how parents or society feels...sometimes kids of a certain age just become self conscious. http://bred2make.blogspot.ie/2012/05/figgys-zephyr.html
    I don't think she would feel comfortable with the Scirocco dress...Maybe when she's 16, she'll want one!
    I have two 4 year old girls too...they won't willingly wear dresses! My best hope is the playsuit in neutral colours!

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    1. I asked my daughter about the dress too - she loved it from the front, but said she wouldn't feel quite right with the open back. I think if it had come with an alternative pattern piece for the back it would have been a staple in her wardrobe this summer though.

      I love your version of the playsuit - it's gorgeous!

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  17. I think it may just be a matter of personal taste. I am not a huge fan of nursery or novelty prints. A lot of kiddie clothing looks undignified to me, and it feels like people are dressing dolls rather than human beings, who deserve good tailoring and fine fabrics. It just feels disrespectful to me treat kids like toys. They're small and adorable, but they're still human beings.

    I must agree with Louise who said that sexualization is in the eye of the beholder -- I just don't see the back as so inherently sexualized that I'm scandalized by seeing it exposed on a little kid. I don't allow mine to wear jeggings or shoes with "high" heels, though, so maybe none of this is a well-thought-out philosophy so much as an item-by-item gut reaction.

    I must disagree about sun, exposure, however. Unless I'm dressing my kid in long pants and long sleeves all the time, I do think a lightweight coverup of some kind is good to have if the sun is out.

    And of course, as Millie says above, the ultimate arbiter is the kid. I myself was an extremely gender-conscious and modest child and shrieked with horror when, at age 4, my mother tried to send me swimming in a boy's bathing suit. I remember be utterly offended that she'd even suggest it. Go figure!

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    1. Yes, it's such a subjective thing, isn't it. I remember with my daughter, until she was old enough to have her own opinion, I returned any clothing that was given to use with animal ears (a surprising amount was) as I didn't want to dress her up like a toy...I think in retrospect I think I may have been a little oversensitive as she'd have probably love to have seen photos of herself bundled up in a coat with rabbits ears on it now.

      Thank you so much for leaving your comment - it's really interesting reading about the in's and out's of what does and doesn't feel right to different people.

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  18. I live in a hot climate, and see nothing wrong with the back. We often stay out late in the summer, when it's cooler to give the kids a chance to play during the hot sun hours. My little girl would love this- a nice breeze on her back, while she explores. We're very cautious about sun exposure, but it wouldn't be hard to put sunscreen on her if she was out during the prime sun hours. Quite frankly, it looks like the perfect dress to wear for dinner on a patio. I haven't bought it yet, as I'm mostly sewing clothes that my daughter can wear to school in the fall, and without a tee short underneath, the dress wouldn't be allowed.

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  19. Oh lucky you, being able to sew for schoolwear too - I think that's far nicer than a uniform in some ways.

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  20. They are gorgeous!
    I blogged a 'dress up' post with my daughter wearing Figgy's clothes.
    By number 5,one is generally over cutesy clothes,I just adore the clean styling.

    Its a fun debate and lovely to read other opinions and everyone is entitled to theirs.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x