How to find modern, indie sewing patterns?
May 1, 2019 9:22 AM   Subscribe

I've been sewing more and more garments for myself lately, but I'm having trouble finding patterns that I like. I know about the more well-known, big pattern companies out there, but a lot of them don't really suit my style. I've had more luck with independent designers recently and I want to find more!

I can spend hours looking online and not find anything I like or can use, and I'd rather spend that time actually sewing.

I'm also a knitter and for that, I always start browsing Ravelry for patterns and inspiration. I've seen this question, but I'm not necessarily looking for a place to document and share my projects. Rather, I'm looking for patterns and/ or pattern reviews.

Is there such a thing as Ravelry for sewing? Does the thing I'm looking for even exist? Where do other Mefites find their patterns? Does this mean I have to sign up for Pinterest?

Of course, recommendations for specific independent designers are also welcome. The only real requirement I have is that the pattern needs to be downloadable to PDF. I would call my style modern and simple, I like a lot of Scandinavian and Japanese style clothing, for example.
posted by leopard-skin pill-box hat to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
The Foldline has loads of indie patterns for sale and a review community where you can see how other people have made things up.

The sewing equivalent of Ravelry is probably Pattern Review, but it's a mix of mainstream and indie patterns.

A plus for you is that almost all indie pattern designers are moving to PDF patterns! Some of my faves that might meet your aesthetic: Papercut Patterns, Closet Case, Deer & Doe.
posted by assenav at 9:32 AM on May 1, 2019 [7 favorites]

This is a what Instagram is really good for. There are a ton of pattern makers there and you can really get lost in the rabbit hole as you follow hashtags and look through who sewists follow.
posted by Tchad at 9:35 AM on May 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Pattern review is a good site for this.
I have had great success with Love Notions patterns There are some free patterns to download. The download and print process is very easy, and the pieces are well marked. Love Notions also has some great instructional videos. Patterns are for knits and woven. Each pattern is sized from xs to xxxl and can be downloaded as often as you want. Patterns range from free to about $10.00.
I did try to link these sites, but I don't see them on the preview.
posted by Enid Lareg at 9:41 AM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Agree with all the above! My biggest strategy suggestion for starting to explore indie pattern designers would be to follow a few sewist who's work you like on instagram (bonus points if they have a similar body type to you). Lladybird would be a good example. They generally post a lot of finished projects from different designers so you can start to get an idea of what styles you might be interested in making. The Workroom (based out of Toronto) is another great resource for finding new pattern brands, and you can order paper patterns from there if you want to!)

My two specific lesser-known suggestions would be Lekala and Mood Fabrics free patterns. Lekala is a russian company, and they look pretty iffy when you first go to the website to be honest, but their pattern drafting is SO GOOD and they resize the patterns to your measurements (and the patterns are about 3 bucks each, so an incredible deal). The instructions are minimal, but if you have the basics down, this can be a fun challenge. Mood posts so many free patterns in a really good size range.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 10:11 AM on May 1, 2019 [4 favorites]

A friend of mine who loves indie patterns makes stuff based off patterns by paper_theory and wikstein and Sew Liberated.
posted by joyceanmachine at 10:18 AM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'd recommend 100 Acts of Sewing for your Scandi vibe. The patterns are very simple, but that means you can highlight the fabric. Be sure to take a look at her gallery for pattern + fabric pairings.
posted by sarajane at 10:19 AM on May 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

You might also consider a subscription to Seamwork, which publishes a magazine along with downloadable patterns. I believe their idea is to create a source for an easily-sewn handmade wardrobe. Depending on your subscription level, you get to download X# of patterns per month as part of your membership.
posted by sarajane at 10:23 AM on May 1, 2019

If you are feeling adventurous you could try drafting your own patterns. I have Design it Yourself Clothes out from the library and have just finished the first iteration of a pants pattern. After I compare it to some actual pants that fit I will try to sew it in waste fabric. The book also has some very basic dress, top and skirt patterns in knits and wovens with some instructions on changing the styles. Eventually I hope to have hiking pants that tuck comfortably into boots for tick exclusion and have ample pockets. Also button closures as velcro and zippers are too noisy. My ambitions may exceed my skill.
posted by Botanizer at 10:33 AM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

I get my sewing patterns from Etsy.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:29 AM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

In addition to PatternReview and The Foldline (mentioned above), you might check out the Curvy Sewing Collective list of pattern companies. Even if you are not plus sized, it is a great list of (primarily) indie pattern companies.

It's great if you can follow the blog/instagram of a fellow sewist who shares your aesthetic and body type -- often this has been how I've found great patterns for me. One way to find these folks is to follow a sewing community, like Curvy Sewing Collective or Sewcialists. Given what you've said about your taste, you might also take a look at these specific bloggers:
- Noble & Daughter
- Lily Sage & Co
- Secondo Piano

Some indie pattern companies you might like:
- Named Patterns - Finnish brand with very Scandi style
- Grainline Studio - great tutorials, sewing community favorite. Clean, modern style with some Scandi and Japanese touches.
- StyleArc - large collection of on-trend patterns, with many options that might fit your brief. Downsides: can only buy 3 sizes per purchase, very light on instructions -- better for intermediate/advanced.
- Schnittchen Patterns - mix of clean lines and more on-trend patterns.
- Tessuti Patterns - clean-lined basics
- True Bias - clean-lined basics
- Papercut Patterns - "Contemporary, high-fashion sewing patterns for modern sewists"
- Peppermint Magazine has some free patterns that might be up your alley.

These patterns are made in a variety of countries, so keep an eye out for A4 vs. letter-sized printouts -- you want to make sure you keep scale the pdf correctly when printing.
posted by ourobouros at 11:50 AM on May 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Textillia is probably the closest thing to Ravelry in terms of being able to search patterns by garment characteristics. The Fold Line’s search isn’t as robust, but I think they have the advantage of having more patterns in their database.
posted by liet at 11:56 AM on May 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Search Amazon for “Japanese pattern books.” I just did and the top hits are all books I have and have sewn from with lots of fun and good results. Many of the patterns have been extensively covered by sewing bloggers, too, which is always helpful.
posted by HotToddy at 12:11 PM on May 1, 2019 [3 favorites] is an "open source platform for made-to-measure sewing patterns". All their code is up on github, but yeah, you put in your dimensions and it'll generate sewing patterns that'll fit you. Joost De Cock, who's behind it, is part of the Sewcialist collective that ourobouros linked above.
posted by Joeruckus at 6:21 AM on May 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

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