Friday, 28 April 2017

Le Wooling no 1: A Review

I've fallen quite seriously behind on my Bergère de France reviews in the past year but, my chronic fatigue issues willing, I'm going to try to start catching up by doing one review a week until I'm up to date. I can't start with Magazine 185 (which is a collection of summer patterns for kids) the way I would like to as there isn't a complete set of the preview photos for it available online. I shall instead have to begin with the first issue of Bergère de France's new knitting magazine, le Wooling. Bergère de France is clearly trying to freshen up their publications with a new title, but as the patterns aren't a discernible improvement over those in their old magazine, I don't know how successful their rebranding efforts are going to be. But let's get to the review.

Pattern #01, Long Jacket. The pattern description calls this a "fashion staple for late summer". I'd call it a "default outfit for a depressed and possibly drunk housewife".

Pattern #2, Shoulder button sweater. One can hardly go wrong with a classic Breton stripe sweater.

Pattern #3, Shoulder button sweater. The classic Breton sweater looks just as good in other colours, so if the classic navy and white doesn't suit you or the intended wearer, go ahead and play with the colour combination.

Pattern #4, Round neck Fair Isle sweater. I'm not sure this Fair Isle pattern is really working. It's a bit too busy and confused.

Pattern #5, Zip-up jacket. Someone at le Wooling must have discovered the Archie comic books.

Pattern #6, Raglan round neck jumper. This is as basic as it gets, but I suppose for a plain shaker knit pullover, it's fine.

Pattern #7, Round Collar Sweater. Like the previous pattern, this is basic but wearable.

Pattern #8, Cardigan. If you're going to design a double-breasted cardigan, you should design one that sits properly, rather than making a single-breasted cardigan with slightly lengthened fronts, fastening it awkwardly, and calling it a day.

Pattern #9, Hooded Jacket. This isn't bad. It's reasonably well-shaped and attractive, and it will not get the child who wears it to school beaten up.

Pattern #10, V-neck jacket. This is another piece straight out of the drunken, depressed housewife lookbook.

Pattern #11, Round collar sweater. This is a very basic pattern, but using a fun yarn in a pretty, flattering colour turned it into a sweater this child model was probably happy to wear.

Pattern #12, Hooded sweater. Not a bad-looking marled hoodie.

Pattern #13, V-neck sweater. This is a pretty decent colour-blocked pullover. It has a Mary Tyler Moore Show look to me.

Pattern #14, Poncho. This thing is a veritable sandwich board with stripes.

Pattern #15, Cross-over jacket. This is so awkward-looking and sits so poorly.

Pattern #16, Hat; and pattern #17, Wide scarf. Nice classic hat and scarf set.

Pattern #18, Fingerless gloves. I wish whoever had come up with these mitts had taken the trouble to cable them to go with the hat and scarf set above rather than making it in that lazy ridged style.

Pattern #19, Zip-up bag with cables. This has such a crude look. I would have hidden those zippers under proper flies, and figured out a better way to integrate that attached bottom.

Pattern #20, Hooded jacket. The designer really should have put some more effort into shaping this one.

Pattern #21.A, Gilet. I'd put proper buttons -- and button bands -- on this sweater. The ribbons are too delicate a look for such a sturdy, everyday sort of item.

Pattern #21.B, Booties. These are fine, but again, I'd go with another kind of tie than that narrow pink ribbon. Crocheted navy ties would look fine or, if you wish to go with ribbons, something a little wider and in navy would work.

Pattern #22, Baby's sleeping bag. Basic, but attractive enough, and fairly useful.

Pattern #23.A, Crossover cardigan. Not bad. The sit of that front edge is not great, but the sweater's cute enough on the whole that it comes across as rather pretty. I like the combination of pale pink and oatmeal.

Pattern #23.B, Hat. Nice little hat.

Pattern #24.A, Cardigan. Basic little cardigan, but it's definitely a presentable, wearable pattern.

Pattern #24.B, Booties. Basic little booties to go with the cardigan above.

Pattern #25.A, Zippered onesie. Not a bad little onesie, though I'm not sure I like the double zipper look.

Pattern #25.B, Booties. Cute simple booties.

Pattern #26.A, Wrap around. Simple but serviceable and cute, and it has quite a French look to me, because it looks like it's straight out of a Madeline storybook illustration.

Pattern #26.B. Basic hat. I won't claim it looks French.

Pattern #27, Blanket. If you want to make this basic blanket, just make it -- don't waste your money on a pattern for it. Good grief.

Pattern #28, Crochet Briefcase. My guess is that this is some sort of schoolbag intended for a child's use, and I am left wondering what is supposed to "stop". Homework assignments? Traffic? Bullying? If the latter, this briefcase seems more likely to invite bullying than to prevent it.

Pattern #29, Crochet Snack Bag. Kids carry lunchboxes to school with all their food in it. I can't imagine too many kids would want to be bothered with an additional snack bag. It's my understanding that the French simply do not snack at all, so perhaps the editorial staff of le Wooling got the idea that snacking is some sort of special rite in English-speaking countries that requires special paraphernalia.

Pattern #30, Crochet Booties. These look rough.

Pattern #31, Crochet Pencil Case. This isn't so bad as some of the previous patterns. A plain pencil case with the child's name on it is a pretty useful item. However, I think I could find much more attractive ways to put a name on a pencil case.


  1. Bergere de France must have changed its design team. They used to have beautiful designs for babies and children. Other than the Madeleine dress which would look much better if it had been designed for a finer yarn, the designs look unprofessional and poorly executed.

  2. Yes, ugh. Even the patterns that are acceptable offer nothing innovative. There are better versions of everything -- including, I would argue, the Breton, which is the only item here that I would consider making or wearing -- available from other designers. This is such a shame. With so much great talent available in the textile world, why does this collection fall so far short? (I hear one answer to my own question already: you grt what you pay for. A second: perhaps the publishers think we won't notice?)

  3. Regarding "gouters": it may be an extension of the reusable shopping bag trend. I teach an after school class and some of the younger kids bring a snack packed by their parent especially for that hour. One child brings hers in reusable zippered pouches (which she then forgets and leaves behind and then they have to be collected and returned to her). I guess they'd be sanitary enough if you turn them inside out and run them through the wash.

  4. Don't worry about catching up the back issues of Bergere if they are as bad as this one.