Today I made a list of 5 sewing patterns that I think are very good to begin with if you are new to sewing. Choosing the right pattern is very important in order to enjoy the sewing and learning experience and to lessen the frustration. Wish I knew that a few years ago :). So, what am I looking for in a pattern for a beginner?
- Not too complicated: just a limited number of pattern pieces to cut and sew and a few basic technics
- Easy to understand: the pattern should have clear instructions that are easy to follow.
- Good fabric choice: pattern should be suitable for fabrics that are simple to work with (not the kind of trouble-making slippery fabrics)
- Despite the simplicity I want my finished garment to be nice, interesting and wearable.
At first I tried some Burda patterns. That might be OK but I had my share of frustrating moments. Although you can find a big variety of patterns for many tastes and a large amount of patterns for novice sewers I didn’t finish any project I started. So after a lot of searching and experiments (and many hours exploring the web) I finally found what I was looking for.
I prefer independent sewing pattern designers. I found that the personal approach and clear and friendly instructions work better for me. The patterns are easier to use, and usually the seam allowance is already a part of the draft. Many times you can find a sewalong on the websites blog and it is very encouraging and helpful. Also, I feel better to spend my money and support a smaller independent business.
All this patterns are available as a digital PDF form ready to print at home or a paper pattern. All the illustrations are from the original websites and if you click on the picture or the patterns name it will link you to the site, where you can see the actual garments.
AKITA from seamwork online magazine by Colette
This beautiful top is made up of only two pattern pieces with a bust dart and rounded hem, and that’s it. Because the design is so simple it’s perfect for showing off a nice fabric. You can choose to sew with some nice light woven cotton fabric that is easy to work with, and when you gain confidence and practice you can choose some fabric with more drape.
Do you know Seamwork? It’s an online magazine with articles and sewing patterns published once a month. The akita pattern cost 7$ but subscribers pay 6$/month and can choose 2 patterns every months. Interesting. I’ll be back this mag later.
Another simple top pattern us the sorbetto, a free pattern. I wrote about it here.
WHY THIS PATTERNS? Only 2 pattern pieces, suitable for woven cotton fabric, a basic and wearable garment that can be a staple in any wardrobe.
WHAT DO WE LEARN? Basic seaming, hem punishing, bust darts
BASEBALL SKIRT by Sew DIY
A comfortable everyday skirt with elastic waist and pockets, everybody needs one. Suitable for chambray, woven cotton or light weight denim fabrics. This skirt was designed with novice sewers in mind. In general I feel that sewing an easy skirt as a first project might be a good practice. You can also read about my experience sewing my first miete skirt here.
WHY THIS PATTERN? Basic sewing technics, elastic waist that is easier to fit
WHAT MORE DO WE LEARN? To insert an elastic band, pockets
COCO TOP AND DRESS by Tilly and the buttons
An everyday dress in a classic 60s style, made with medium weight knit fabric that is not very stretchy (and that is one of this pattern advantages). It has many design options: top or dress version, boat or funnel neck, long or ¾ sleeve, with or without pockets etc. Just need to decide what is your preferred style. And it’s even more fun because you don’t need to insert any zipper. I made myself a few of this, mostly tops and dresses with short sleeves that I wear all the time. I prefer them in solid colors or stripes. So comfortable and easy to wear. Tilly and the buttons pinterest page has an entire bord for the COCO (here) where you can see what other sewers (in all body shapes and sizes) did with the pattern. It’s so interesting and inspiring.
WHY THIS PATTERN? A perfect pattern if you want to try sewing with knit fabrics with your regular sewing machine, simple finishing technics, very useful detailed sewalong posts on Tilly’s blog
WHAT MORE DO WE LEARN? To work with knits with a regular machine (zig zag stitch), to insert a sleeve
OSAKA from seamwork online magazine by Colette
Here is another pattern from seamwork magazine. And a very cool one indeed because it’s actually two skirts in one. This is a form fitting reversible wrap skirt with many design options, just choose: solid color, solid with two different textures, color block? Hop along to the link to see the photos.
WHY THIS PATTERN? The shape and finishing are simple. The sophistication is in the fabric choices
WHAT MORE DO WE LEARN? To play with design
SELJA KNOT TEE by Named patterns
This is a relaxed tee shirt with a knot on the waist made from an elastic fabric. It’s worthwhile to wonder around and check some other patterns on the Named shop. This two sisters from Finland design simple yet modern and beautiful sewing patterns.
WHY THIS PATTERN? Because if you’ve already sewn with woven and non-stretchy knits it’s time to try some more stretchy fabrics.
So, what do you think?
Do you have any patterns you can call a success/ frustration free/ nice to begin with? please share.