A few months ago, Indoor Shannon created a Beginner’s Guide to Free Sewing Patterns. Unlike other lists of free sewing patterns I’ve come across, this one is mostly free clothing patterns (not just bibs and scrunchies), which is awesome. And she does have a substantial section for kids’ patterns (as well as men, maternity, baby, etc.), but the majority is geared toward womens patterns. The list is a total win; there’s something for everyone!
If you are a beginner sewer, using a free sewing pattern is a great way to give sewing a try without making a huge investment. The great thing about free patterns is that they are typically super basic, just involving a few seams and some easy finishes.
If I could offer just a bit of advice I’d suggest using inexpensive fabric on your first go with the pattern. You never know how a pattern will turn out and you wouldn’t want to waste your favorite fabric on a pattern that doesn’t really suit you/your body. For all the examples below, my fabric was pretty cheap ($6/yd or less) or free. My other suggestion, which I’ve mentioned before, is to buy a twin needle if you’re sewing with knits! It’s much cheaper than a serger (I think you’ll spend less than $5), and it will take your t-shirt making game up a notch by giving it a more professional looking hem. For the record, I do have a serger but I still use my twin needle for hemming my knits.
Anyhow, after discovering Indoor Shannon’s blog post, I kind of went free pattern crazy and tested out several of the freebies. While not all of them turned out, I did find some great patterns that I will be using in the future.
Of all the freebies I tried, this pattern is definitely among my favorites. The Stellan Tee is a boxy, slightly cropped shirt specifically designed to be paired with high waisted pants. I felt like the quality of the pattern was excellent; it even included pattern piece/instructions for the back neck reinforcement (which is something you might see on your store-bought tees.)
I personally don’t think this is an everyday tee-at least not my everyday. I don’t typically wear high-waisted pants and that really is the best way to make this shirt shine. It is very comfortable to wear, though, and very fashion forward. I really do love this one and want to make another one soon!
You may recall that I made this one and blogged about it on another occasion. It’s still so crazy to me how fabric makes such a huge impact on a final product. My other Mandy Boat Tee was made using a light to mid-weight knit, while this one was made using a very light and drapey knit-and it ended up being huge! Like way too big for me to feel comfortable wearing it (even though I’m definitely into the oversize look).
Knotting the bottom helps a bit. However, when I printed this pattern it was one size fits all but now they have re-released it but with four different sizes. So I’m going to cut this apart at the seams and re-cut and re-sew in one of their smaller size options. This particular pattern really is great-very comfortable and versatile. It’ll be worth it to re-do it.
I did alter this pattern slightly by bringing the neck in about 1 inch (on front and back pattern pieces). It’s a very quick sew too!
Unfortunately, this pattern was a flop for me. I had a really hard time getting the neck binding to look good-it’s about 3/4 inch wide where the V meets and maybe 1/2 inch wide everywhere else. It was also very big on me. I had to take in the sleeves and the sides quite a bit but I’m still not really happy with how it looks on me. It’s not flattering at all.
I really hate to blame the pattern-I think that others might use this pattern with total success. I think one of my biggest problems was the fabric I used. It’s similar to the fabric you see on those free tee shirts you get at sporting events, which has its place, for sure, but wasn’t really what I was going for here. In the product photo, the fabric seems a lot drapier and lighter-weight so I’m sure that had something to do with some of the issues I had with this pattern.
This is a very popular free pattern. If you can believe it, I put off making it for a very long time. The product photo kind of made me think that it was more of a swing tee-like very loose around the waist. I was worried it wouldn’t be flattering, but I was so wrong. It is a tiny bit looser around the waist, but just in a way that it’s not designed to be hugging your curves. So the looseness is intentional, but not overstated. It’s comfortable and looks great.
I brought the neckline up about 1 inch but I will note that I don’t think that that was totally necessary. The neckline is probably one of my favorite parts of this shirt-it’s very flattering.
I have plans to make another one of these in black because #basic.
Hey-o, here’s a bonus for you! This one is a skirt instead of a top! I really wanted a skirt pattern that was more casual-something I could lounge in or wear with sneakers. This skirt seemed to fit the bill. It was a very quick sew and I like how it turned out.
However, again, I think I made a poor fabric choice! This particular fabric-a rayon-is so wrinkly! And having to whip out the iron every time I want to wear it doesn’t really scream lounge-y comfort, if you know what I mean. I do like how it turned out. I love the extra details (the long hem and it has pockets!) but I hardly ever reach for it just because it’s so fussy in its ironing needs. I could see making it again in something purposefully wrinkly (like double gauze). Also, not to worry, I did clip that obnoxious rogue string before wearing this skirt out in public (ha!).
So those are some of the free patterns I’ve made these last few months. Some of them turned out great and all of them helped me improve my sewing skills. I also love that free patterns give me an opportunity to try out a designer without spending a bunch of money. I’ve been very surprised at the quality of most free patterns I’ve tried out and I’ve also been surprised at how many sizes are often available. I used to think all free patterns only came in one size, but I think that that’s more often the exception rather than the rule. I still refer to Indoor Shannon’s list often and will most likely continue to do so because, while not exhaustive, it’s a great reference point for free patterns and various designers.