Style Over Substance?

Have you heard of Suzy Magazine?  I saw a post about it on Instagram just after Christmas and was intrigued; I love sewing and I love magazines, but what really got me interested was it's claim that it was for the "Fashion Forward Sewist".  Despite the £10.00 cover price (and £2.00 delivery) I ordered myself a copy.


The magazine took a while to be delivered and I'd almost forgotten about it when a padded envelope popped through my letterbox last week.  Once I realised what it was I was excited, couldn't wait to see what this new sewing magazine had in store for us fashion forward sewists!

Sadly my excitement was short lived.  Once I'd flicked through the - admittedly very pretty - pages, I felt very let down, particularly for the £10.00 price. 

The good parts are that it is very pretty and it's printed on lovely quality paper.

The bad parts are that the content is very lacking - in my opinion.  There seemed to be lots of pages filled with not very much at all, and what there was didn't seem to be anything new to me. 

When something is billed as "fashion forward" I wouldn't expect to see the same patterns and ideas that have been seen time and time again in other sewing magazines, I'd expect something a little bit new and different.  Maybe something reflecting what is going on in the world of designer fashion - catwalk trends, something like that.  Not 6 pages on Tilly and The Buttons Cleo dress 5 ways.  Which actually wasn't 5 ways - it was just the pattern made up in 5 different fabrics. 



There are 6 pages on bomber jackets, which probably are slightly more fashion forward, but those 6 pages contained next to no information at all. 


There were a few random pages dotted throughout, a sewing playlist, some strange doodles and a double page at the back of outline drawings to colour in. 


The final section was 17 pages containing photographs of 7 outfits.  I get what they'd tried to do - to recreate a fashion story from a high fashion magazine - but to my mind it didn't work at all.  And again, there was nothing different or new, or fashion forward. 


Elsewhere there are a few pages of "Sewing Stories" - interviews with different sewing bloggers - and an interview with the By Hand London ladies. 

I really think that the Suzy Magazine team have missed a trick with this.  They could have produced something really new and exciting, showcasing independent pattern companies producing something a little bit different from the standard cute dress but they didn't.  If you like ditzy prints and Tilly and The Buttons you might love it.  Sadly I don't, I didn't and I wouldn't buy another issue. 

I've now passed my copy on to Frankie of Knit Wits Owls, who I think is going to do a review of her own.  I'll be interested to read her thoughts. 

And I'd love to hear what "fashion forward" means to you.





16 comments

  1. Yes! Thank you! It's exactly what I was thinking when I heard about it (not having bought a copy). For £10 I would have at least expected a couple of patterns to be included. I really don't see the appeal. I'm glad you bought a copy so that I didn't waste my own money ;-)

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    1. Ha ha! Glad to be of service. I knew the magazine didn't include patterns, but I was expecting (or maybe hoping for) some amazing inspiration!

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  2. Thanks for this review, Sam. I too was put off by the cover price and a lack of inspiration. I wan't to see garments with 'wow', daring details and touches of couture. Don't get me wrong, I love a Tilly pattern but you are right in that we see them in lots of other sewing mags and online. There is still a sewing mag gap for what we want. Hopefully it will happen soon!

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    1. Daring details and touches of couture are exactly what I wanted to see.

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  3. Thank you for sharing! I wish there were better sewing magazines out there! I love magazines, too.

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    1. Hopefully there will be one day.

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  4. I'm afraid I felt much the same. What I would really like is a focus on how to use catwalk trends to create gorgeous inidivual pieces. Cleo has already been everywhere. The quality of the photos was nice but overall a disappointment.

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    1. I'd definitely liked to have seen a focus on recreating catwalk trends, or interpreting them using currently available patterns.

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  5. Interesting! I recently bought a Sew magazine from the UK (I'm in Australia). It cost me $16 and same, it has nothing in it of interest to me as an intermediate sewer. It is mostly ads and newbie sewing stuff. I am so disappointed and I suspect if it wasn't for the "free" patterns they get sold with, they would not have many buyers. If I buy a magazine I want something I can go to again and again with some techniques or something to reference. I'll stick to the library!

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    1. I generally only buy sewing magazines if I know there's something I want in them, such as the free patterns or a particular article/interview as I find that a lot of the things they include are either for newbies or more "crafty" type items that I can probably find patterns for free online if I really want them.

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  6. I find that most sewing magazines are for beginners which is fine, so I know I find blogs such a god-send for seeing new ideas and getting pattern reviews, and seeing somethings made up on and worn on figures similar to mine.... but its is also nice to get a 'glossy magazine fix' and I agree a fashion spread of sewn items would have made it for me. I tend to buy hello fashion magazine now as sometimes I just want to look at trend lines and because its the cheapest magazine on the rack!, but really I find blogs such a gift, as I no longer know as many sew-ers as I did in my teens (I was an 80s diy gal) so its great to hear from other makers!

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    1. Blogs are definitely the way to go for pattern reviews and new ideas! Hello fashion magazine is pretty good, and I love a flick through Vogue when I'm at the hairdressers.

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  7. Thanks for the review, I thought it was a high price tag and that was what put me off. Would so love an exciting magazine not based on beginners with lovely details - maybe one day. The maker's atelier is about to have a book published, have high hopes as I love her style aesthetic.

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    1. I'm interested to see what the Makers Atelier book is like. I haven't bought any of their individual patterns as they are quite pricy, but I like her style.

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  8. I have only heard similar moans about Suzy magazine and I agree they had a chance to do something very different to whats already on offer. Seems they were not really brave enough!

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  9. I am so glad I am not alone in being disappointed with Suzy magazine, I was so looking forward to it. I rely on lots of really good blogs and I love looking through Instagram! I do feel that they have missed a great opportunity. x

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