Sources for modern clothing patterns/fabrics?
September 6, 2013 8:03 PM   Subscribe

For anyone with sewing experience, can you recommend sources for modern clothing patterns and fabrics? For style, think Anthropologie, but the less frippy pieces - simple, easy, drapey. For fabric, I'd like soft, high-quality cottons in a good range of colors. (I never see that kind of thing at fabric stores, so I'm guessing I'll have to order online.)

I have a sewing machine and some experience (I made a quilt last year and have made dresses from vintage patterns in the past), and I'd like to try making some everyday pieces for myself. Simple to start - basic tops, maybe dresses. I'm a standard size and pretty easy to fit.

Books, websites, and patterns are welcome. I'm combing through Google, but there's a huge array of options (and like 90% of them are for kids clothes), so I'm hoping someone with experience can help me narrow them down.
posted by ella wren to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 108 users marked this as a favorite
Colette patterns is the default answer in these situations. Burda is also a good choice.

Vogue patterns has some gems hidden in their catalog. Simplicity's Cynthia Rowley collection has some nice basics.
posted by cessair at 8:12 PM on September 6, 2013 [3 favorites]

I'm currently working my way through the collection by Sewaholic. The designer's blog has tons of tips, tutorials and sew-alongs, which are super helpful. I've also emailed her on a couple of occasions with silly newbie sewing questions and she's given me a lot of great advice. The patterns are on the pricey side, but aside from that I can't recommend them enough.
posted by makonan at 8:25 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'll add Cake Patterns, Deer and Doe and By Hand London to the list of indie pattern companies.

Finding soft cottons, especially online, can be tricky. But I have had consistent good luck with designer voiles, for example these from Valori Wells, Joel Dewberry and Amy Butler.
posted by Lost Cities at 8:53 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

I wish your profile said where you live. A lot of cities have at least one fabric store that caters to a more fashiony, rather than crafty, clientele, but it's impossible to point you there without knowing where you live.

If you aren't willing to say where you live, perhaps there's a local college that has a textile or apparel design program near you? Call and find out who they'd recommend for high quality apparel fabrics.

I like to sew from vintage fabrics (re-makes from vintage clothing or using vintage linens/deadstock fabric) so I can appreciate not wanting to work from the lower-quality fabric that your average Joann or Hancock stocks. But sometimes a straight quilting store will have access to better fabrics than just cheap quilting cotton and can point you in the right direction if they don't actually stock what you are looking for.
posted by padraigin at 9:01 PM on September 6, 2013

BurdaStyle! Their magazine and website are great.
posted by third word on a random page at 9:23 PM on September 6, 2013

Look at Hot Patterns. Sew Liberated has some really nice stuff. (I keep meaning to get a couple of patterns, but keep getting distracted.) Sew Serendipity has some nice things too -- disregard the piecing/multiple fabrics, and look at the lines. For something in a more classic line, look at Loes Hinse or Textile Studio Patterns (link is to their patterns at Vogue Fabrics, as the Textile Studio website is awful, at least on Firefox).

For fabrics, Vogue Fabrics, Fabric Mart, Gorgeous Fabrics, and Emma One Sock are among my favorites. There's always, too.
posted by jlkr at 9:40 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

I just found Victory Patterns, she has some really cute patterns either print yourself or traditional paper patterns. And I feel like all the modern sewists are making the Wiksten tank or tova shirt. You might also take a look at Craftsy -- it costs more since you're paying for the full tutorial as well as the pattern, but I've found a couple things there.
posted by wsquared at 10:34 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

In cotton fabric selections, seconding voile and suggesting cotton lawn and cotton lane as search terms for your internet hunt.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 4:03 AM on September 7, 2013

In addition to the pattern companies mentioned above, I highly recommend StyleArc. Yes they're in AU, yes shipping adds to the cost, but for fully clean, modern styles with a terrific fit, they are hands down my favorite and well worth the cost. They are single-size patterns, but the designer is wonderfully responsive and will answer any questions you might have about which size to order.

For fabrics, I second Fabric Mart, and I also like the selections that Marcy Tilton offers.
posted by vers at 5:38 AM on September 7, 2013

In addition to some of the patterns listed above, I really like Grainline patterns. There are also Pattern Runway, Salme Patterns, and named — though I don't have as much/any experience with these.

For fabric I usually look at the places jlkr mentioned. I'd add Mood, Britex, and Organic Cotton Plus. Girl Charlee has some fun knit fabrics. Super Buzzy has a nice selection of Japanese fabric.
posted by another zebra at 6:55 AM on September 7, 2013

Spoonflower would allow you to design your own fabric and also buy fabric in a bunch of types of cotton, Kona cotton, cotton/silk, cotton twill and cotton voile. The fabric starts at around $24 a yard so it isn't a cheap option but if you're sewing your own clothes, it might not be so bad if you're doing something special or basics you will wear a lot. I haven't shopped them but I think it's an intriguing concept. You can order fat quarters as samples, too.
posted by Issithe at 2:03 PM on September 7, 2013

If you like linen the Fabrics-Store is the place to go.
posted by redindiaink at 7:10 AM on September 8, 2013

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