Choosing Your First Sewing Pattern

Hey, you!

I know you are aching to get started already and sew a garment you can flaunt. But, first, you need to be very cautious when choosing your first sewing pattern and your choice of fabric!

How to Choose Your First Pattern

For your first pattern, choose something that you are looking forward to sewing and flaunting.

And if you want to read a true story with a lesson of what not to do with your first pattern, click HERE.

The moral of that story was this…

So if you want to keep your sanity, choose a pattern with…

  • five or fewer pattern pieces;
  • a relaxed or loose fit that does not require excessive custom fitting, such as a dress with no waist seam;
  • no sleeves;
  • no zipper; and
  • no lining!

Here are three patterns that embody the above characteristics…

Butterick 6350

This is a really simple pattern with four popular variations.

Now, if you look at the line drawings for pattern pieces 1 and 2, it does look like a confusing hot mess around the hemline. I suspect they are skimping on tissue pattern paper by including all hemlines in one pattern piece.

Butterick 6350 pattern

You will definitely have to trace off a copy of the version you want to make. Just follow my instructions HERE and you should be good.

Personally, I don’t understand handkerchief hems (view A). I don’t care for the high-lo hemline (view B). And I absolutely, without a doubt, despise and loathe the “can it get any uglier?” cold shoulder look (view C)!

Once I got this pattern home, I wasted no time, eliminating pattern piece 6 (cold shoulder sleeve) and removing all but the hemline for view D.

But with that said, it is still a very good pattern for beginners, because it is very loose-fitting, has fewer than five to six pieces, has no sleeves for the most part, and does not require a zipper.

However, the yardage commitment is more than that of the Vogue 9237 pattern described below.

And if view D is the one that speaks to you, you don’t have to add that fun, flirty ruffle right now if it all seems too much. You can skip it, as well as the inseam pocket, and just get started with the two main pattern pieces. The choice is yours.

McCalls 6465

Of the three patterns listed in this article, this is the simplest. It is a pullover shift dress with just a hint of A-line flare.

It does have fugly, tiresome shaped neck facings (pattern pieces 5 and 6) — throw them out, please. Click HERE to find out why I hate them and what I prefer instead!

But it requires no gathering and no zippers!

Mccalls 6465 patterns

This pattern has simple bust darts to add shape to our curves and a variety of sleeve options.

Plus, a delightful hem band.

I love, love a hem band!

In other words, this is a very simple pattern with lots of possibilities!

Vogue 9237

Even those who have no interest in sewing and/or consider themselves fashion-challenged, have probably heard of Vogue.

The name Vogue is synonymous with sophisticated, high fashion. And one trip through a Vogue sewing pattern look book (catalog) reveals why!

While Vogue patterns tend to be the most complex of the Big Four pattern companies, they do have a Very Easy Vogue line.

Vogue 9237 pattern

And this pattern is one that I find adorable.

I have a confession to make: I am a total court jester for a ruffle or a flounce!

Please, ignore those fugly illustrations! I made a sample garment in even uglier muslin fabric and it was cute!

I actually did a twirl with a sideway head dip and a juicy grin. So I can’t even begin to imagine how I will act when I actually make this dress in some dreamy fabric!

Here are some practical reasons this is a great beginner pattern…

  • It is easy to fit, because it is loose-fitting. And, no, it will not be frumpy if you choose the right fabric, something lightweight with drape.
  • It has just five pieces: dress front, dress back, ruffle, sleeve, pocket. That’s it!
  • No shaped facings! It uses premade bias tape.
  • It requires no zipper. I do so love a slit opening!
  • It requires a reasonable amounts of yardage commitment.
  • The instructions are ONE page.
  • It is very customizable. In fact, if the ruffle seems like too much right now, you can leave it off and just extend the hemline of the back dress pattern piece.

Best Fabrics for Beginners

The short story is this:

Avoid anything that is too slippery, too sheer, too maddening!

You want fabrics that are stable so that they stay put on your cutting surface, are easy to cut accurately, and a joy to guide through your sewing machine. Click HERE to learn how to choose the best fabric any project!

The End

Well, you now know what to look for in a sewing pattern for your first dress project. And you know how to avoid any pitfalls when making that choice.

I would hate for you to lose your confidence before you’ve had enough successes to ensure that you fall in love with the art of sewing!

So wisely choose your first sewing pattern and a lovely length of easy to sew fabric and let’s get ready to sew a dress or two!

And remember…

Life is the ultimate red carpet event. Dress for it!

RELATED: Click HERE to learn everything you need to know to sew your first dresses!

RELATED: Click HERE to be inspired by my makes! (Coming So Soon!)

RELATED: Click HERE to learn all you need to know about sewing patterns!

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