Friday, 21 February 2014

Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2014 Issue: A Review

Vogue Knitting's Spring/Summer 2014 issue is available. Let's have a look at it, shall we?

A mesh cowl. I'd say this more or less works because the yarn used here is so interesting, but that the yarn itself deserved a better pattern.

Pattern #1, the Scoop-Neck Pullover. This isn't bad. It sits well and has very decent lines except for that shoulder seam halfway down the arm. I can see why this sweater was made that way — because the lace strip across the body would otherwise have been seamed together with stockinette sleeve, which would look awkward — but I'd have solved the problem by extending the drop shoulder into a seamless sleeve with a lace strip running its entire length. Or by leaving off the sleeve entirely and letting the drop shoulder become a cap sleeve.

Pattern #2, Cap Sleeve and Cowl. This top is rather nice if you don't mind figuring out how to wear one without showing visible bra strap in the back. I don't think the cowl (which is fine by itself) adds anything to the design, though.

Pattern #3, Short Sleeve Raglan Tee. This one's okay too, if a touch on the cropped and boxy side. And again the wearer might have issues with bra visibility. One way to solve the problem is by wearing a layer underneath, but who wants to wear layers in hot weather?

Pattern #4, Fitted Cropped Cardi. Not a bad little spencer.

Pattern #5, Fine Mesh Pullover. Basic, wearable mesh pullover with a ballet neckline. My only quibble is that I'd make the sleeves more fitted, because it looks out of place to have them belling out over the cuffs when the rest of the design is so clean-lined.

Pattern #6, Mid-Length Tank-Style Sundress. This is actually a rather nice piece of work. I'd suggest something other than black for a sundress, though, as black doesn't look all that good in the sun.

Pattern #7, Lace Duster. This one is shapeless and unflattering even on the model. It looks like something one of the The Golden Girls would have worn, and while it's possible to reference lines from The Golden Girls to happy effect, trying to dress like them will go over less well.

Pattern #8, Mesh Bomber Jacket. This isn't bad, though I'm not sure I'm sold on the cut-out effect at the bottom.

Pattern #9, Crew-Neck Pullover. This is rather eighties, isn't it? I'm not terribly taken with this, but I must admit it's eye-catching, and I keep thinking that if done in a slightly more summery colourway such as turquoise, green and white, it might look rather sporty and cute.

Pattern #10, Lace Scarf. This is a lovely lace stole, though it might be more wearable if it were made shorter.

Pattern #11, Wing Lace Tunic. This is quite pretty. I'd be inclined to make this a few inches longer and wear it as a dress.

Pattern #12, V-Neck Tee. The lace stitch used here is lovely, but between the horizontal stripes and the slightly boxy, cropped shape, this isn't going to be a flattering item on anyone. I'd be inclined to make this slightly longer and more fitted and to use the yarn employed in the mesh cowl pattern that appears at the beginning of this review.

Patterns #13, #14, and #15. A trio of lace stoles. They are all quite pretty, though the first one with its delicate fan and mesh stitch is definitely the loveliest of the three.

Pattern #16, Macrame Vest. The macrame open work back on this top makes it one of those high-concept knitwear designs that aren't for every woman, or even for more than a low single digit percentage of women, but still could be dramatic and interesting on the right person. But I don't know why the designer saw fit to shape the front in such a roughly obvious way, which really detracts, and leave all those dangling ends at the back, which just looks ridiculous. It's like releasing some showy new luxury car design minus its hubcaps and with matching fuzzy dice dangling from the rearview mirror.

Pattern #17, Sheath Dress. This isn't really working, but I'm having trouble figuring out how to tweak it so it will. I do like the top part, but the skirt portion isn't working out so well. I especially don't like that rough-looking ridge at the waistline. I think what I'd do here is continue the navy and aqua colourblocking throughout the whole length of the dress and just add a border of the electric blue ribbed stitch at the bottom.

Pattern #18, Crew-Neck Pullover. The colour blocking and double line of eyelets add a little interest to a pretty basic piece. Done in your favourite colours, this could be a useful item to throw on over a t-shirt and jeans or to dress up with a coordinating skirt for work.

Pattern #19, High-Low Hem Tee. The colour blocking here isn't bad but the shaping isn't good. I remember reviewing a lot of these "long in back and short in front" mismatched hemline pieces last summer, but haven't seen one for awhile. I was hoping the trend had died a deserved death but here it is again, and with dropped shoulders to boot. Did the mullet hairstyles and oversized sweaters of the eighties teach us nothing? If you want to make this sweater, I would clean up the shaping by raising the dropped shoulders, making a fitted cap sleeve, adding waist shaping, and making back and front hems the same length.

Pattern #20, Mosaic Lace Shell. Here we are with more Golden Girls attire, slightly modernized by omitting the sleeves. Or maybe this is supposed to be a homage to samplers and lace curtains. Either way, it's not exactly working as a piece of apparel for real world purposes. It looks like a home ec project even on a model who's hired for her exceptional abilities to make clothes look good.

Pattern #21, Sculptural Shell. This one isn't bad conceptually, but the execution is a little crude and the result looks rather rough and amateurish. A finer gauge yarn and better finishing details would have helped.

Pattern #22, Patchwork Pullover. Hmm, shaker stitches and a bright colourway that's pure eighties, with nineties-style colour blocking (although of course I realize colour blocking is back). I'd say this needs a more subtle or sophisticated colourway than the one used here to make it look truly current and attractive and less like something off the cover of a remaindered 1990 knitting booklet.

Pattern #23, Hooded Pullover. I actually rather like this one, which has good lines, an interesting texture, and is pretty wearable. The colourway is a little on the dreary side, but that's easy to remedy.

Pattern #24, Hooded Raglan Pullover. This one's rather nice. The lace gives it a suitably pretty, summery look.

Pattern #25, Zip-Front Hooded Vest. Can't say I care much for this one, which is just rather coarse and uninteresting looking.

Pattern #26, Hooded Button-Front Vest. This is much better than the above hooded vest. It's got some visual interest and polish, and you won't get sunburnt through this as you would through all the little mesh holes of the design above.


  1. Thank you for the review! I hadn't seen this issue around yet, and to be honest I'm not very impressed with the patterns. The color blocking is rather disappointing. Vogue tries to do this high fashion thing, but virtually all of its patterns look very pedestrian to me.

  2. I agree. This definitely seemed like the most lacklustre issue from VK I've seen since I began reviewing it for this blog over a year ago. There's nothing in it I would care to make.

  3. On #17 - it's sort of a drop waist number. I would recommend adding a good amount of ease instead body-hugging through the bust, waist and hips. Perhaps?

  4. This issue is a great reminder of why I don't subscribe to VK anymore!