Monday, 18 January 2016

Bergère de France Magazine 181: A Review, Part 1

Bergère de France has released its Magazine 181. Actually, they've released Magazine 182 and Magazine 183 as well. Malheureusement, I've let myself get behind on Bergère de France reviews, but I will be catching up in the next few weeks. Since there are 46 patterns in this issue, this post constitutes the first half of the review of Magazine 181. Part two will be released on Wednesday.

Pattern #1, Round Neck Fair Isle Sweater. This is not a fair isle sweater. This is a bar code sweater. However, it's not an unattractive or an unappealing bar code sweater, provided that you don't mind grocery store cashiers absentmindedly scanning it when you're checking out your groceries.

Pattern #2, Roll-Neck Sweater. This is simple but smart and attractive enough.

Pattern #3, Sweater with an Embroidered Collar. Oh, Bergère de France, sometimes you just don't even try, do you? When I saw this sweater in thumbnail I thought I was going to like it, because I assumed the collar had an interesting embroidered design and that the ribbon detail on the back was intarsia. Then I clicked. Turns out that's an actual ribbon, and I don't know why anyone would embroider the name of her sweater's colour on her collar. Is the idea that we will sometimes forget the word "black" and consequently will need to be able to rush frantically to the nearest mirror to painstakingly read the reverse image of the letters? If I were to make anything like this sweater, I'd be making it according to my initial assumptions on its details.

Pattern #4, Roll-Neck Sweater. This is a perfectly nice basic sweater, but unless you're surrounded by very high maintenance colour blind people who demand that you keep them posted as to the colour of your clothing, I see no reason why you'd embroider the name of your sweater's colour on your sweater.

Pattern #5, Cardigan. Frumpy.

Pattern #6, Tasselled Cheich Scarf. I rather like this one, though I think there are much better colourways for it.

Pattern #7, Short Sleeve Sweater. I think the idea here is to distract people from asking how the wearer's new anti-depressant dosage is working out for her.

Pattern #8, Hooded Sweater. I feel like I'm watching this nice hoodie get assaulted, with the green patches representing duct tape and those letters reading as a partially smothered cry for help.

Pattern #9, Hooded Sweater. Adding weird embellishments to a basic item does not a interesting sweater design make.

Pattern #10, Striped Sweater. This looks like something made by a involuntarily committed psychiatric patient during her supervised crafting time. During her unsupervised crafting time, she is making a ladder out of bedsheets.

Pattern #11, Bobble Scarf. The bedsheet ladder took longer than expected, so our crafty psychiatric patient also made herself a scarf to go with her freedom sweater.

Pattern #12, Roll-Neck Striped Sweater. This is the sweater our young pyschiatric patient whipped up to convince the hospital staff that she should be allowed to take two craft therapy classes rather than one craft therapy class and one music therapy class. One of the nurses, who reads this blog, told her that it was rather a nice sweater but that she might consider nixing the music notes and continuing the navy stripes onto the contrast yoke.

Pattern #13, Hooded Sailor Sweater. Omit that tacky pocket and this is a decent piece.

Pattern #14, Hooded Jacket. Not a bad jacket, but the studded heart on the back is too twee.

Pattern #15, Short Sleeve Sweater. This time a designer tried to turn a poorly shaped sweater into a good design by tacking all sort of random crap all over it. And we're also back to the colour designation thing.

Pattern #16, Roll-Edge Heart Sweater. This description refers to French flag heart on this item as "fair isle". I think the writer for the Bergère de France has mistaken the term for "fair isle" for "intarsia". It's not a bad simple design, though I would go with a black or a pale blue or some other than colour than purple for the main colour.

Pattern #17, Roll-Neck Raglan Sweater. The concept of appliqued commercially made patches isn't a bad one at all and this looks rather sporty, though I still think this sweater could have done without the embroidered "REO" on the arm. ETA: I could also do without the embroidered "RED" on the arm. We're not a bunch of five-year-olds, Bergère de France. We know our colours.

Pattern #18, Round Neck Fair Isle Moon Sweater. This isn't bad, though I would neaten up the fit a bit, and be sure not to disgrace myself among other knitters by referring to the finished item as fair isle, regardless of how Bergère de France may have labelled it.

Pattern #19, Short Sleeve Sweater. Is the Bergère de France design team just getting drunk, putting glue on random notions and hurling them across their atelier at the garments they've produced to see wherever they'll stick? Because I can't think of any other reason to attach a non-functional zipper to a sweater in this fashion. The silver cabochons on the sweater at least make some sense and look reasonably attractive, and the knitted item itself is fine.

Pattern #20, Sleeveless Sweater. This is unflattering as is, but shortening the length and adding some waist shaping would turn it into a decent basic piece.

Pattern #21, Poncho. For those nippy days when you want a poncho that's large enough for both you and the horse you rode in on. I do quite like the stripes, and for a poncho, it isn't badly shaped, but good heavens is this piece huge.

Patterns #22, 23 & 24, Man's Zipped Balaclava. The description for this design claims that it is "perfect for beginners and anyone who loves beautiful materials" and that the "purely decorative fastening adds a little touch of extra chic". Oh, Bergère de France, now you're just fucking with us, aren't you? When this magazine issue was being put to bed, your design team toasted each other with champagne and cackled that it would be such fun to see how far the rest of the world trusted the French reputation for chicness and whether anyone actually made and wore this merde.


  1. I'm betting the sleeve of #17 actually says "RED" rather than "REO", since the designers seem to need help remembering what colors the sweaters are.

  2. Yes, you're probably right -- I should have realized that. I'll amend the post.

  3. Eeek....can't say I liked any of them...vintage looking sweaters with writing on them....not for me

  4. It's like they switched out the adult designs for this issue with kids' patterns instead....I can't imagine a single adult wearing any of these.

  5. You are your reviews.

  6. I'm so glad Bergere de France published these designs - only because your review provided such a great laugh!! You always have an eye for the details - unfortunately for the designers of these sad patterns.

  7. Great review - thank for the laughs. Looking forward to the rest of it. What horrid designs. Who would actually make the smiley face sweater?

  8. What an awkward looking collection. I hope we are not witnessing the return of ugly intarsia.

  9. I think I have finally realised that I don't like Bergere de France one little bit.

  10. I love your reviews. I think that you should have added "tres ugly" after each design. I have been following Bergere de France for awhile and loved their beautiful shapely designs. This is a huge disappointment.

  11. love your reviews! don't hold back--tell us what you REALLY think...