Elle’s Four Winter Styles


UK Elle (January 2010 issue) has 4 themes to keep us going for the winter. There are two casual styles which have all the pattern and colour, and two work styles, all black, grey and white.

They’re all different combinations of fairly classic shapes. The big difference is the jacket/ layering top chosen. All styles wear slim pants or leggings.

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Note : Butterick-McCall’s-Vogue has changed their websites. My BMV links now only get you to a page where you can search for a pattern number.
I apologise that I haven’t changed to the new individual URLs, but it would be a lot of work.

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Canadian Winter

Canadians may be entertained to know that UK Elle thinks we should be dressing like backwoods Canadians this winter – plaids, denim, sheepskins. Classic shapes except they have fitted not dropped shoulders.

Plaid big shirts, with yokes and pockets cut on the bias. These are North American homespun plaids, not Scottish tartan plaids. In bright reds and blues. Sadly most of the homespuns available from UK quilt shops are autumn ‘country’ colours.

Of course use Canadian patterns ! Here are the Jalie 2111 shirt (left) and the McPhee Workshop 305 He/She shirt. (Linda MacPhee’s patterns are good for people who like quick techniques.)


Big warm knits, in fair-isle or scandinavian knitted-in patterns.

Sheepskin lined jackets, hats and boots, with outer wool, denim or suede. Elle doesn’t go as far as suggesting the big red and black fleece lumberjack style !

Jackets are classics. Convertible collars, fairly straight shape, may have yokes. A jeans jacket would be a good starting point. Can be worn shorter than the shirt. For a vest gilet in the same style, simply make one of these but sleeveless. Here’s the Jalie 2320 denim jacket. The line diagrams for the MacPhee 295 Jean jacket are very similar.


Remember to allow for the fur lining. I wrapped a strip of fake fur round myslf and was surpised to find it only increased my measurements by about an inch. It’s worth checking body, shoulder and sleeve ease. Or Kwik Sew 5259 is designed to be made with fur inside.


An alternative is a padded blouson, see the Jalie 2108 insulated jacket, worn with a leather trimmed backpack.


If you look round those sites, you’ll see Canadian designers know something substantial is needed for protection from a real Canadian winter ! Here in the southern UK we’ve had just a touch of snow so far. But some areas in North America are already well below zero. For that you’ll want lined salopettes, such as Jalie 2109 lined overalls (left), or Green Pepper (Oregon, US) 103 waisted and 113 unwaisted.


Accessories : Fur-lined flat ankle boots. And aviator style sheepskin lined helmets, such as Kwik Sew 2613, or Onion 6006 accessories.


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Casual Lounging

Long easy tunics or knits in soft luxury fabrics and yarns – silks and cashmeres, worn with leggings.

Taupe, light grey, pinky beige, nude colours, little pattern and some surface texture.

The long tops are usually somewhat loose fitting. The waist is not shaped, but sometimes marked by a seam/ casing or self-fabric belt. This is difficult to find a pattern for, as the line is at waist not under bust level. Easy enough to add a casing at that level.

This must be my style, as I want to quote patterns I’ve often mentioned before. Here are some possibilities (left to right) : McCall’s 5926 (oop), Kwik Sew 3718 (move the casing up a bit), Butterick 5185, McCall’s 5932.


Accessories : Sheepskin lined flat calf length boots and big shawl scarves.

If you’re wearing this elegant couch potato/ winter recluse style, it looks as if you’re not expected to go outdoors, as there are no suggestions for warm jackets and coats or hats. My favourites are Vogue 8605 or Mizono Vogue 1145, which I’ve mentioned before.


How about a cashmere-alpaca fleece coat with a cashmere beanie, scarf and gloves 😀

But stylish people round here are wearing padded blousons or thigh length pea coats (see below).

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This is one of the more formal styles. The key to the theme is the jacket, worn with a white top and black or grey slim pants. Lots of buttons, studs if you like them. There are two related shapes.

One jacket style is short with princess seams and band collar. Basically the traditional hussar jacket, which is fitted and high hip length, with either an edge-to-edge front closure with lots of braid or frogs, or double breasted with shiny metal buttons.

Many pattern lines have one of these shapes, even already with added braid. Here are Kwik Sew 3466 (top left), Burda Patterns > Coats, Jackets > 7934, Onion 1031 uniform jacket (bottom left). Or for authenticity there’s Folkwear 133 Belgian Military Chef’s jacket.


The second jacket style is a double breasted pea coat with big lapels and collar, and shiny buttons again, low hip or thigh length. Most patterns are coats which can be shortened. Try Burda Patterns > Coats, Jackets > 8022, Vogue 1266, or oop Vogue 7978


There is a touch of big shoulders in this military style. But otherwise the big shoulder idea seems to have disappeared. There are very few in the images Elle picked to preview next season. So perhaps big shoulders were a fad rather than a hint of a longer term style change.

Military accessories : this time the boots are unlined calf-length and heeled. Other accessories are all black leather, with studs and buckles. Military style square sided caps : Kwik Sew 3481, or Vogue 8528 View E for a softer look.


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More white shirts and black or dark grey slim pants, this time in very classic styles.

‘Boyfriend’ jackets and knits. These are long and straight, perhaps a bit over large. The jackets are an extreme version of the classic notched lapel style. The lapels are not only typically slim, but also very low. The ‘break’ of the lapel, where it starts to fold out from the front, is often below waist level. The ‘gorge’, the point which divides the collar and lapel, is also very low, perhaps below bust level.

Here’s an extreme version from Andy & Deb in Pantone Fashion and Home > Trends > Splashes of Sunshine for 2010.


The true boyfriend style is of course tailored, with notched lapel and collar combination. I’ve had difficulty finding patterns for this very long lapel, can’t even find one for men !

(P.S. the new McCall’s 6043 suit has a lapel down to waist level, though not a low notch between collar and lapel. And it has very slim pants !
P.P.S. the new Vogue 8638 jacket pattern has long lapels and low notches.)

Drafting your own lapel collar combination isn’t a beginner project. You could try in Pattern Master Boutique. Set the neckline depth (on Settings tab) to it’s lowest for the ”break’. Set the Notch depth (on Collar tab) to its lowest for the ‘gorge’. Also make the lapel narrow.

Or for a simpler solution to get a touch of this look, make a straight jacket with a turn back from a deep V-neck front edge and add a cut-out notch, as indicated in the fashion sketch.

If you’re buying a long classic knit cardigan, choose one styled for women, so it has a neat fitted armhole and slim sleeves.

Accessories : more black, mainly crisp in line, or Chanel quilting and chains, or go frivolous and girly to tone down the masculine look.

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All four styles include slim pants and leggings. ‘Canadian’ ones can even be in plaid 😀 Burda WOF magazine has patterns for slim pants and leggings in most current issues. Otherwise try Donna Karan Vogue 1039 (left) for pants.and Issey Miyake Vogue 1114 (right) for leggings, or Onion 0005 (in the speciality patterns).


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All styles have large square hand held bags, in their own typical materials : plaid, black, silver, fake fur, quilted. These don’t look like an attaché case but would be big enough for a laptop. Should be easy to make a fabric version. Basically a big square stiff sided tote, with leather or square cornered hardware rather than fabric handles. Much easier to make than what I thought was ‘the’ bag for this season, which is leather and covered in silvery metal : D-rings, buckles, eyelets, exposed zips. . .

Add of course a phone by Dior, Prada, or Dolce & Gabbana. 😀

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Patterns available December 09

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One Comment on “Elle’s Four Winter Styles”

  1. Shannon Says:

    Thanks for that look at the four fashion themes – very informative. However, as a Canadian, if I ever think about wearing plaid leggings, I hope someone beats me until I come to my senses. 🙂

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