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There was a time when buying a sewing pattern meant picking up an envelope from one of the ‘Big Four’ (Butterick/Simplicity/Vogue/McCalls), unpacking the delicate tissue pattern and trying to make sense of the large instruction sheets written in three languages.
I’m please to report that times have moved on and the options are far better! Indie sewing patterns are produced by independent designers and these are the reasons we think they’re great.
1. High Quality Instructions
The instruction booklets are usually excellent, full of clear advice, photographs and/or well drawn images showing the steps clearly.
2. Additional Visual Instructions Online
The designer often has additional help on their website, sometimes a full step by step sew-along featuring photos and sometimes video to help you step by step
3. Crowdsource Ideas
Many people who use indie patterns document their makes on Instagram, by searching the pattern hashtag eg #KieloWrapDress, will show you people’s take on the Named Patterns Kielo Wrap Dress. Take inspiration from the fabrics people use or how they style the garment!
4. Pattern Hacks
Pattern designers and sewists in the community are creative people and often share the ways they’ve hacked the pattern to make changes. You might also find hack inspiration on the designer’s website, for example Helen’s Closet has a collection of hacks for her Ashton Top
5. Pattern Reviews
Indie patterns are well reviewed, and a quick search can usually find you a few opinions on the pattern you have in mind. This’ll include how difficult a pattern it is, how good the instructions are and you might get some fabric inspiration too!
6. PDF Vs Paper Pattern
How patient are you..? Most indie patterns come as either a PDF you can download directly or as a paper pattern you can receive in the post. With a PDF you have some printing, cutting and sticking ahead of you as you compile the pattern from A4/Letter size sheets (or there are companies who can print it for you). A printed paper pattern will arrive on a large sheet ready for you to trace off your size or, if you’re feeling confident, cut it out in your size.
We stock a brilliant collection of paper patterns and promise to ship them too you quickly! Whilst you’re waiting for your pattern you can start you fabric shopping! If you go the pdf route, or you like to trace your patterns you may find our pattern storage envelopes handy.
7. Fabric Inspiration
Indie patterns often have excellent advice on the types of fabric to (and not to) use. This might be expanded upon on the designer’s website
8. Size Inclusivity
Indie patterns typically cater for a far wider range of sizes. Although is is important to note that sizes don’t typically correlate to ready to wear sizes so make sure you measure yourself each time and have a look at the sizing table that comes with the pattern.
9. Free Patterns!
Lots of pattern designers have a free pattern as part of their collection, we can recommend the Grainline Studio Hemlock Tee if you want to give indie patterns a whirl before committing to purchasing a pattern.