A Pattern for Success: How to Choose a Pattern for Your Skill Level
When it comes to “sewing” successes or flops, choosing a pattern suited for your skill level can make all the difference in the world.
If you’re a new sewer, your focus should be on learning great techniques and sewing habits, and understanding fabrics and patterns. Beginners should choose patterns labeled easy, which are less complicated and have fewer the pattern pieces. The fewer the pieces, the easier it will be to put together. And, easy patterns are more likely to include detailed instructions and tips, and less likely to include collars, cuffs, and other details that may prove tricky at first.
A great first project is a pillow. You’ll learn how to cut and sew with seam allowances, and you can use almost any fabric. Next you can move on to things like PJ pants and tote bags.
Advanced Beginner & Intermediate:
Once you’re feeling comfortable and confident with basic patterns and have made a few garments, try introducing buttonholes and zippers, and more maneuvers like seam finishes and bias bindings, and plackets or collars.
The Blog Colette recommends experimenting with a Sorbetto top, a free pattern that has only two pattern pieces and will help you learn to use bias tape, or the Laurel, which will use your bias tape skills again, and introduce a zipper. The Ginger will teach you to install a waistband, and the Macaron will help you learn to install pockets, facings, and a bit of topstitching.
Once you’re an expert, the pattern world is your oyster, so to speak. While you’ll always be learning new tips and tricks, you can begin focusing on special techniques and tricky fabrics. You may even start making your own patterns, or heavily altering or combining patterns.