Happy Wednesday everyone! Before moving forward with today’s post, I’d like to offer my condolences and prayers to the family and friends of our beloved Nancy Zieman, who passed away yesterday. Nancy was an incredible blessing to the sewing community. She founded the popular television show, Sewing with Nancy; Nancy’s Notions, a sewing supplies company, and authored multiple sewing books. I loved watching and learning from Nancy and will forever treasure her teachings. She will be greatly missed. Thank you Nancy for your amazing contributions to the sewing community.
Today, I’m sharing a little something for my new beginners. For those of you who were subscribers to Sew Sew Def Magazine, you may be familiar with this content. Since Mimi has decided to discontinue publication of the online magazine and move forward with other projects, I’d like to share a few of the articles I wrote for the Beginner’s Corner. Thanks again for your patience as I work my way back into blogging.
Learn to Sew Patterns – Featuring McCall’s 7531
When learning to sew, choosing the right pattern for your skill level is very important to early success in garment construction. There’s nothing more frustrating than becoming stuck on a project because your pattern choice is too difficult for your level of sewing. With a plethora of pattern choices available, it can be both overwhelming and confusing when trying to choose one that’s just right. Has this ever happened to you? Don’t be discouraged. You can create successful garments by learning to choose patterns that match your skill level. But where do you start? Allow me to share a few tips and resources to guide you through the process. By the end of this article, you should be equipped with enough information to make an informed decision about your next pattern purchase.
TIP #1: Start Simple
As a new sewist, your first projects should be simple, with minimal design elements. Zippers, Collars, Button Holes, Plackets and such are best reserved for later, after you have mastered the bare basics, such as stitching, pressing, hemming, interfacing, etc. Simple designs usually consist of fewer pattern pieces. Sometimes the number of pieces is printed on the outside of the envelope. However, if you don’t see it there, you will find the information on the instruction sheet. As a beginner, I suggest opting for designs with no more than 5 or 6 pieces.
TIP #2: Read Instructions Thoroughly
Before starting your project, read the pattern instruction sheet from beginning to end. This will give insight into the skills needed to construct the garment. If you know beforehand that there are techniques involved which you aren’t familiar with, you can learn those techniques first, or opt for a different pattern until you have acquired the needed skills.
TIP #3: Read Pattern Reviews
Before starting a project, check out pattern reviews to see what other sewists are saying about the pattern. There are two ways I search for pattern reviews.
- Do a Google search on the pattern. The results will give you a list of blogs that have written reviews on the pattern.
- Search for a review on PatternReview.com. This resource has proven to be very helpful because, in one place, you may see several reviews for your pattern choice. It’s an awesome resource because some reviewers give lots of information and tips to help others with the construction, along with photos of the finished garments. They also warn you about issues they’ve had with the patterns and sometimes share solutions to problems.
TIP #4: Watch YouTube Tutorials
YouTube is a great resource for sew-along videos, especially if you are a visual learner. Once you find a pattern you like, check to see if there is a tutorial for that particular pattern on YouTube and follow along. If you like the dress featured today, you may check out the step-by-step tutorial on my YouTube channel, Anita by Design.
Sometimes pattern companies include ratings on their envelopes. While this is a great way to find patterns that fit your skill level, the ratings really are subjective. What may be easy for one sewist could very well be more complicated for another. However, ratings could be a good place to start if followed by further inquiry about the pattern, using the tips above.
Here are some ratings you may come across on pattern envelopes:
TIP #6: “Learn to Sew” Pattern Collections
One great way to find patterns that are designed with the beginner in mind is to choose a pattern from the “Learn to Sew” collection. Both McCall’s and Simplicity Pattern Companies have “Learn to Sew” Collections. I’ve found these patterns to be quite simple, as they have minimal design elements, very few pattern pieces, and very basic sewing information included in the instruction guide to equip you before leading into sewing the garment. Also, on the outside of the envelope are hints about what you will learn while sewing the pattern.
I find these patterns extremely useful, not only for learning to sew, but they’re also great for mastering techniques and practicing new skills. I recently used McCall’s 7531 to practice matching stripes. Because it doesn’t include darts or other design elements that would interrupt the pattern, it makes a great choice for matching prints. I also used it to make a cocktail dress, using a stretch sequin knit that I wanted to experiment with, to get a feel for how the fabric would perform. My third creation with this pattern is the featured luscious, red, ribbed sweater knit dress.
Now that you’ve been equipped with information about choosing the right pattern for your next project, let’s get to sewing. Choose a simple pattern, read the instructions thoroughly, check out pattern reviews and YouTube videos, notice pattern ratings, and don’t forget to try patterns from the “Learn to Sew” collections. You’re ready! Fabulousness awaits you!
Create the Look!
Thanks for stopping by!
Remember: When you live in your DESIGN, it is from there that God SHINES!