Thursday, March 21, 2013

My Five Top Favorite Sewing Patterns

In April of this year, I will have been sewing in earnest for one whole year!  Whoo hoo!  I am really proud of the progress I have made as a direct result of having no life and having enough free time to really learn my craft.  Yay for being unpopular and boring!

But seriously folks (seriously, I am pretty boring), sewing is like anything else; you start out really bad at it, but the more you read about it, practice it, live and breathe it, the better you get. 

I am considering 2012 the year of Colette, and 2013 the year of Gertie because I feel like I am finally ready to tackle some harder patterns.  And while I am super excited to start trying some of Gertie’s patterns, both from her book as well as her Buttrick patterns (more on those later), my heart belongs to Colette patterns.  These are the patterns I will always go back to and use again and again, possibly for my whole life, and I’ll tell you why.

1)      They are easy without looking like sacks. 
2)      Every dress style that you could ever need, they already have.
3)      The directions are easy to understand, even for a beginner.
4)      Although the Intermediate patterns are a dream to wear, the beginner patterns are totally wearable and beautiful too. 
5)      All of their patterns come in lovely booklets that are little gifts in and of themselves. 

I’m sure I will learn a lot from Gertie this year, but she does not cater to a range of sewing styles and abilities.  Her patterns take a lot of time to complete and understand, and though they are lovely, they aren’t quite as versatile as Colette's (my opinion only!). 

This is not to disparage the use of Gertie’s blog, book or patterns at all as they are all to die for, they are just not for the faint of heart.  I am really really excited to try them this year, but I’m a bit afraid too!  I am quite sure I will be able to build on my skills and learn so much from them. 

But before I move on, I wanted to list my five favorite sewing patterns from my first year sewing-and what a surprise!  They are all from Colette! 

1) The Iris.  This is a new love of mine, expressed recently in brocade.  Iris is a lovely beginner pattern that takes little time with great results.  If you attempt it however, do make a muslin or be prepared to have shorts that are too big/ or too small. 

2) The Hazel.  This pattern is just wonderful as is, but I have also adjusted it to make zipper-less sun dresses and swim covers as well. The Hazel would look great with a full gathered skirt, and I have also made a top out of it. And while this pattern is amazing it is also (like the Iris) a project that you can complete quickly.  Yay!

3)  The Lilly.  This pattern is one of the patterns from the Collette Sewing Handbook.  It is seriously a wonderful, versatile pattern.  I have made it with and without the flounce, with lace and without.  It is a great, simple project that will never let you down. 

4)  The Parfait.  I have made this Intermediate pattern twice, both times with great results.  If I wear my green Parfait out and about, I am guaranteed to get at least one person asking where I got my dress.  Score! 

5)  The Peony.  This is my number one favorite pattern.  It is so delightfully simple, and yet, it is so versatile, you can make it 100 times and never get bored.  If you only buy one pattern, make it this one.  Sleeveless, short sleeves, long sleeves, full skirt, there are so many options!  This dress is also a great blank canvas for beautiful fabrics of all different weights and styles.  I have to force myself not to just keep making this dress over and over again.  It is exactly what I was looking for when I started sewing, and it hasn't let me down since. 
Honorable mention: the Chantilly.  I think this is my most special looking pattern that I have ever tried.  I love the results, and you can make it reversible!  BUT it is not a quick or easy dress to make. In my opinion, the only thing easy about this dress is how easy it is too make mistakes during the construction.  This pattern taught me how to really work for what you want in sewing, and I am forever grateful.  However, it didn't quite make the list because, for me, it just wasn't as fun to sew as the other patterns and I made so many frustrating mistakes.  It was also quite expensive to make because it requires so much material.  Actually, I really do want to make this dress again because the finished product is so nice, I just have to work my way up to the endeavor. If you are an experienced sewest however, please do try this pattern!  It has a very rewarding outcome.   

As much as I love these patterns, I have a whole army of new patterns that I am itching to try this year.  I love how my sewing knowledge keeps growing thanks to experience, and a whole lot of reading on the topic.  To think that a year ago I was almost too intimidated to even go into a fabric store! 
Here is just a little preview of my newest pattern-surprisingly not a Colette or from Gertie!  I am actually making three dresses from the same pattern all at once because it is so versatile and such a quick sew.  
The first is white cotton number that I will probably finish tonight.  Great pattern, right?  Stay tuned for all three finished products and full review of the pattern!   

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