I'l learning to sew. I want to find COOL patterns for beginners.
February 27, 2015 12:44 PM   Subscribe

Hi guys, Where can I find cool sewing patterns? Beginner, and I don't want to look like your grandma.

I'm learning to sew. I'm a beginner and so far, I've only done quilting. I'd love to make myself a simple midi skirt, or a blouse, or a shirt, but all I find online are TERRIBLE patterns for grandmas (no offence to grandmas), when my style is more slightly goth-chic, clean lines, round collars, symmetric stuff.

I did find this http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/5175-Sun-Patterns-Long-Shirt-One-Piece-Pattern-5058 but it's in Japanese :(

Where can I find cool sewing patterns?
posted by Sijeka to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 77 users marked this as a favorite
Vogue Patterns? They have a "Very Easy Vogue" category, here.
posted by Melismata at 12:53 PM on February 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

I promise you can find fun and cool sewing patterns in any Joann's or other fabric store. It's all about fabric and doing a little modification. Vogue and Butterick are great places to start, especially Very Easy Very Vogue.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:54 PM on February 27, 2015

Jinx melismata!
posted by Sophie1 at 12:54 PM on February 27, 2015

Where are you looking online? Off the top of my head, three indie pattern companies you might like: Colette, Sewaholic, Deer and Doe.

This blogger works with Japanese pattern books that will have stuff like that dress, and you might take a look at her posts. A lot of Japanese craft books have extensive diagrams and pictures so that you don't need to read Japanese to use them.
posted by clavicle at 12:58 PM on February 27, 2015 [5 favorites]

BurdaStyle.com You can filter your search for pattern by skill level and download it from their site. Looks like most of their patterns have photos of models wearing the finished garments (instead of just sketches like some patterns) so you can see what it will look like in real life.
posted by Shadow Boxer at 12:58 PM on February 27, 2015 [4 favorites]

I know someone who is super into the indie sewing pattern renaissance that seems to be going on right now, and she likes the patterns in the Colette Sewing Handbook a lot (though she also occasionally complains that the bust sizing is slightly weird, fwiw).

On preview: Clavicle beat me to it. Another pair of indie pattern designers that might fit your look (though I think they only have two patterns out right now) is Katy & Laney.
posted by voltairemodern at 1:01 PM on February 27, 2015

You definitely want Colette Patterns.
posted by chaiminda at 1:02 PM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Merchant & Mills
posted by mymbleth at 1:04 PM on February 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

If you do find some patterns that look promising, you also check for ratings/reviews of them at sewing.patternreview.com (The site is a little clunky and I you have to register for a free account to read reviews, but it's worth it.) - it can be super helpful to get a sense of "Yeah this pattern was easy and great" or "This pattern is absolutely terrible, don't waste your time" before getting into the thick of it yourself.
posted by usonian at 1:06 PM on February 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

HotPatterns has a nice selection of fashionable designs, and many of them are beginner-friendly. I'd also second the suggestion to sign up for Pattern Review--it's a pretty fantastic resource.
posted by Vervain at 2:26 PM on February 27, 2015

Fancy Tiger Crafts sells a lot of the brands in this thread, plus some other cool ones.
posted by rachelpapers at 3:20 PM on February 27, 2015

If you are anywhere near Seattle, you should go down to Puyallup for Sew Expo! You will find lots of different pattern companies selling their wares, plus lots of fabric.

I'm a grandma and I agree with you...it's hard to find young fresh patterns, but definitely check out vogue...btw, I'm a quilter as well and while I learned to sew clothing first, I much prefer qui,ting. :) Have fun!!!
posted by OkTwigs at 5:32 PM on February 27, 2015

Best answer: I agree with Sophie1--it's not the pattern that makes it "grandma," it's the fabric, notions, finishing, and the length. The pattern you linked to has a very grandma look to me because of its flowered fabric, gathers, and somewhat frumpy length. Kind of Laura Ashley.

When you are deciding on a pattern, look at the line drawings on the pattern envelop or in the pics on a web site. This is where you can clearly see the real elements of a garment and what the finished product will look like--how many pieces it has, the shapes of the pieces, the seam lines, waistline, etc. that you can't see clearly in the sewn sample pictures. What the sewn samples show is how the shape will drape, suggestions for fabrics, & other "fashion" elements--you can look past all that to find a pattern you like if you focus on the drawings. I like those Merchant & Mills patterns, but honestly, the only way you can actually see what the garment will look like is in the line drawings. The garments on the models don't really show the details & the home page looks like a spilled laundry basket.

I would recommend you avoid those Japanese patterns as a beginner in garment construction. My public library has quite a few Japanese pattern books that have been translated (like this Basic Black: 26 Edgy Essentials for the Modern Wardrobe). I love how those clothes look, but the instructions are minimal, you need to copy the pattern in your size onto pattern paper and, depending on your size, you may need to make pattern adjustments. A lot of extra work and definitely for experienced sewers. They also seem to all require miles of fabric--usually linen or linen/cotton. I am an experienced sewer, but I have yet to manage this. Some of that is time, but a lot of it is the amount of work and the possibility of an expensive failure.

Downloadable patterns from Burda or wherever require quite a bit of fussing to get the scale right and then taping the pieces together, and trimming. Fine if you like that kind of fiddling; I don't.

Start with a printed pattern. There are many patterns from the big makers--McCalls, Butterick, Vogue, Simplicity, Burda, New Look--that would work for you. If there is a chain fabric store near you, watch their sales. As a beginner, you will be able to find multiple patterns that work for you for way less than $20-25 each. Fabric can be a huge investment, as you know, so that matters. Boring as it may seem, if you are a beginner in sewing clothes, you are better off with a mainstream pattern with good instructions.

I would buy or borrow a basic sewing book with good illustrations, too. Patterns assume you know the lingo and the basics. Having a handy reference guide can save a lot of frustration, whether it is making button holes, putting in a zipper, or some other common task that the pattern instructions won't explain in detail. Something like this.

Hey, I just realized you are in London. I love this blog and her patterns might be a place to start. Plus she offers classes.

Good luck and have fun!
posted by Nosey Mrs. Rat at 9:48 PM on February 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

The Wikstein tank is really easy, modern and you can see tons of examples of it online. A good comparison of it to another tank is here.
posted by barnone at 10:04 AM on February 28, 2015

Try the patterns from Made by Rae - the Washi Dress, for instance, is a really popular beginning sewing pattern and in the right fabric it can look very modern and cool.
posted by mskyle at 11:41 AM on February 28, 2015

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