Over the last few months I’ve been keeping a list of some beautiful free sewing patterns. Although you can find a pattern or a DIY tutorial for most any basic garment you’d like to make, I assembled a list of patterns that really stood out to me. And why keep the list to myself? I have several friends who received a sewing machine over the holidays. I prefer sewing patterns from indie companies, but it takes a while to learn what companies provide instructions and a fit that you like, so using their free patterns is a great way to get a feel for the different designers without spending big bucks. Please note: I haven’t made many of these patterns, merely collected the list. There are plenty of places online where you can find reviews for each! Some of these patterns may require you sign up for a mailing list…

Start small, build skills. I think this is very important. It’s hard to know where to start, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. You can see my previous blog post here for a guide to my first few garments. Make a muslin… or two… or three. A muslin, also called a toile, is made with cheap fabric (I usually use cotton muslin I buy for $.99/yard). Muslins are primarily used as a means to test the fit of the pattern and make alterations. Look at where your muslin is wrinkling, and think about what can be done to remove that. Wear the muslin around the house for a bit to make sure it’s comfortable. And for the beginning sewist, muslins are also a great way to familiarize yourself with a pattern and to practice the new techniques it requires. Don’t be afraid of alterations. I have to make a lot…

It’s been a busy couple months since I started sewing garments! Like I said in my previous post, I found garment sewing intimidating and scary, so I hope sharing my early projects may help other aspiring sewists figure out how to get started!

I’m continuing to steadily build my skills, being careful not to take on projects that are too ambitious. I’ve made so many things, and right now I’m overwhelmed with both fabric and ideas!

Some of my recent projects below. These are all suitable for beginners and advanced beginners.

I’m the first to admit that I cycle through hobbies and interest fairly quickly.  A couple years ago, four months of my life was completely devoted to embroidery. I thought of embroidery non-stop, and I organized my nights and weekends at home for optimal embroidery time. Then — suddenly — I didn’t want to do it anymore. I now I have two bags of half-finished embroidery projects I haven’t looked at in over a year.

Since then, I’ve been trying to ease into my hobbies a little slower. I still flitter between interests, but I try to find a balance between each, and I don’t let myself do all the work I usually want to do in a day. I’m hoping this will keep the momentum going and prevent burn out!

What’s my latest hobby? Making my own clothes. And I think this one is going to stick. Because not only does it include the the crafts I already love to do (embroidery, knitting, weaving), it let’s me use these skills in a more practical and efficient way.

A few weeks ago, I complained on Instagram about how hard it’s become to find clothes in my preferred style and fabrics. Am I totally out of style? It seems the stores I used to count on for interesting, well-made clothes can’t be depended on anymore. Basically all I want to wear are fit and flare dresses in opaque natural fibers. No sheer viscose that hangs off my body with no shape – that’s what I keep seeing in stores! A friend suggested I try my hand at sewing, and although I initially responded with a “No, I’m really not good at sewing!” I kept thinking about it. And then I started doing it!

My mom taught me to knit and purl when I was 14. Throughout high school I made many scarves (most were red and gold – the color of the Gryffindor house) and a few iPod cases (back when iPods were so big). All with cheap yarn, those two stitches, and my own imagination. My knitting skills grew tremendously when my family got high-speed internet. Suddenly I could watch videos demonstrating different stitches! I could download patterns! I could connect with other knitters and easily share photos of our projects!

Sidenote: The amount of information freely available on the online knitting worlds is phenomenal. I can’t think of any other artistic communities that so readily shares resources. Ravelry is my go-to for exploring patterns and yarns.

Although today I do a lot of other fiber crafts (crochet, weaving, and embroidery), knitting will also be my first love. It feels so comfortable to me. In my 15 years knitting, I never made the leap towards making something outside of an accessory. I was scared of trying out garments. Until two weeks ago. Two weeks ago I started knitting a vest!

It’s amazing to think that a ball of cheap wool could turn into an outfit!