It took me years to figure out that I needed to skip the pictures on the front of the pattern envelopes and pay strict to attention to the technical drawings on the back. One, it keeps me from judging a design based on the fugly fabric they sewed the sample up in, and Two, the back gives me FACTS and figures while the front just gives me an idea of what it might look like.
Jalie is a Canadian company that designs patterns for really functional and beautiful clothes in a fantastic size range. You can buy one t-shirt pattern and have sizes enough for everyone in your family. Bolt carries a good range of easy to sew patterns for flattering knitwear, undergarments, bathing suits (!), and button-up shirts for men, women and children. These clothes fit *real* bodies.
Have you seen the other giant envelopes on the pattern table? Folkwear patterns are fantastic-- there are quite a few costume type designs, but I'm really drawn to the retro category like this 30s day dress. It would look great so sweet sewn up in one of Anna Maria Horner's printed voiles. All the patterns are ranked from very easy to advanced (most falling in the easy to intermediate range) but almost every pattern has an easy-to-sew version.
Both these companies offer a very good content to price ratio-- even better when you consider they'll be 20% off on Saturday. Next Up! With all this sale talk, it's probably time for a Giveaway...