You wear it well…

Can I have a show of hands of how many of us used to make garments?  Something we actually wore.  

This is Crystal Manning, she’s wearing a dress she made with her new, showing-to-shops-now Growing Beautiful collection.

When Crystal shared this picture on Instagram yesterday, she wrote the following:  My sewing began by wanting to sew my own simple shift dresses a few years ago. There is a feeling of pride and achievement when you put on a garment that you have made. I instantly smile and think…I made this!! This is what I would like other sewists to experience. Sewing your own clothes allows you to create a sense of style that is unique to you. This Shift Dress by Indygo Junction is a perfect example of an easy project that feels wonderful to wear. 

I used to sew garments, it’s how I learned to sew.  Singer Sewing Classes – my Mom insisted that I learn my own bad habits instead of hers.  While I haven’t made a garment for myself in years, there are several new fabrics-substrates and more than a dozen garment patterns from “indie” companies that are persuading me that I might need to change that.

Unlike the garment patterns from the big-box stores, these next-generation, indie patterns come loaded with tips for sewing on different types of fabric, fitting the pattern to your body and making changes to sleeves, the length and neckline.  A few provide links to video tutorials.   

Let’s start with Cashmerette

Jenny Rushmore – the founder and creative mind behind the company – wrote this: Cashmerette Patterns celebrate curves, confidence, and limitless style. Created by a plus size seamstress, our sewing patterns are made exclusively for sizes 12-28 and bust sizes C-H. We believe in changing clothes and mindsets, rather than being told we should change our bodies. We believe the notion that beauty can be measured in numbers is way past its expiration date—and that we are undeniable proof. We design modern, elegant sewing patterns that make you look amazing, just as you are. You deserve a wardrobe that exudes personality and style, and you are just the person to make it.

All Cashmerette patterns is that they are rated for difficulty – lower right corner.  (Please forgive the glare – that shiny whiny cover.)

The Springfield Top and Montrose Top are both Beginner patterns – the piecing is simple and the garments are loose, not fitted.  

The Upton Dress and Webster Top & Dress are Advanced Beginner – there is some fitting but the garments are mostly un-fitted and do not have buttonholes.  

The Lenox Shirtdress and Harrison Shirt are both Intermediate – buttonholes, fitted elements, curved seams.  

These four patterns are by Sew To Grow – cute pajamas, a simple blazer and two simple dresses that do not need zippers, buttons or to be fitted.

Yes, these are the backs of the patterns.  I thought this side gave a better idea of what each style looked like.  These are the Night Garden Pajama Set – a cute tank-like camisole top and pants / The Bespoke Blazer / Bowerbird Shift or Top / Charli Anne Wrap Dress.

Sew To Grow patterns are from Australia, though they are created by Lindsey Rae Marsh, a Texas girl who moved to Australia in 2011 to live with her sweet Aussie husband.  A lifetime of sewing and teaching led her to create clothing patterns to – as she wrote:  I absolutely LOVE giving the gift of sewing by teaching others new skills and building confidence. Sewing is not what it use to be, and it can be so rewarding to create something unique and individual to your style. My Sew to Grow patterns are designed to teach and grow your skills through easy-to-follow and understand instructions.

Next up is Fancy Tiger Crafts.  What began as a tiny do-it-yourself boutique in Denver, Colorado in 2006 has become a large shop with two sewing studios, weekly Open Craft nights and a large offering of classes.

That’s Jaime Jennings and Amber Corcoran on the covers.  Their vision is “to inspire people to reach their crafting potential through modern and sustainable supplies and quality instruction. We believe that making things by hand makes people feel better and that if more people made things, the world would be a better place.

The patterns shown are Fen – a Beginner level boxy-frock that can be made with a v-neck or scoop neck, two different hemline shapes, and as a dress or top / Brome – an Intermediate level top with buttonholes / Wanderlust Tee – Beginner level / Adventure Tank – a Beginner level, simple tank.  

I need to mention that all of these patterns come with a wide range of sizes in each pattern – each envelope or package has all the sizes included.  The sizes for each are:  Cashmerette – Sizes 12 to 28 in each pattern /  Sew to Grow – Sizes XS to 4XL /  Fancy Tiger Crafts – Sizes 0 to 20 / Sew Liberated – Sizes 0 to 24 on most patterns.

Meet Meg McElwee of Sew Liberated!  Sew Liberated began in a drafty adobe house on a street without a name in rural northern Mexico. The year was 2007, and Meg was working as a Montessori teacher in a one-room schoolhouse. With no internet, television, or phone line, Meg spent much of her time honing her sewing and knitting skills. Eventually, she started a blog and began selling patterns based on her designs. Sew Liberated was one of the first indie pattern companies to emerge from the crafting renaissance, and it hopes to remain a small, friendly, and fashion-forward presence in the indie designer community.

All four Sew Liberated patterns are Confident Beginner level, and they are:  Arenite Pants / Metamorphic Dress – the perfect layering dress or top / Matcha Top / Stasia Dress and Top – a simple knit dress that can be made in multiple lengths, with or without sleeves.

I don’t know which one I’m going to make first… a choice that is almost certainly going to be affected by what’s left in the stack of patterns I grabbed from the warehouse.  It seems a few are disappearing into other offices because… new fabric is arriving, Market is looming and some girls need new frocks.

Happy Tuesday!  Go sew something to wear!

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23 thoughts on “You wear it well…

  1. I am so into making myself tops right now. I am using Love Notions patterns and learning so much about knits – falling in love with materials I have never played with before. No longer just a cotton girl, now I like it with rayon, poly and lycra. And what a savings I am experiencing. I am making beautiful tops for $8

  2. What kind of fabric do you recommend for these dresses? I don’t think I want to use the fabric I Quilt with—no “give” and I don’t want to have to iron…

    1. Hi Gwendolyn – Most of these patterns do call for woven fabrics – e.g., rayons, chambrays, light linens – but they are loose enough that they will have some “give” built in. A few will work with knits, and at least one or two specify them. As for ironing, I’ve found that unless I forget that it’s in the dryer (which never ever happens… lol), I don’t have to iron rayon. 🙂

  3. My mom taught me to sew when I was pretty young. I was obsessed with sewing but hardly ever wanted to wear what I’d made. I did like and wear a few things, but mostly I made things then donated them. Then I discovered quilting! Now, though, I’m seeing and liking a few garment patterns and finding some wonderful knits and rayons, too. I’m thisclose to making tops, jackets and pjs. Thanks for sharing these new pattern companies. They just might move me that much closer to taking the plunge.

  4. Great post, as always. Carrie, can I add one more? The West Water Tunic.
    I believe a class was offered at Squam, a fabulous creativity workshop on Squam Lake in New Hampshire.which is based upon the idea that creativity is a way of life. Here’s the link to the pattern https://www.squamartworkshops.com/product/west-water-tunic-pdf-pattern/ And the folks at Squam also offer a video tutorial.
    https://www.squamartworkshops.com/workshops/west-water-video-tutorial-sarah-waldo-jagger/ Please know that I am in no way connected to Swam – just a person who attended one of their workshops.

  5. I used to sew a lot of my clothes and a lot of clothes for my children. When I started quilting, the 1/4″ seam allowance freaked me out! Now, when I occasionally sew garments the 5/8″ seam allowance freaks me out! One of my daughters has taken up sewing garments and does not use the traditional pattern companies. Her wedding dress was from one of the new designers and we — my 2 daughters, my sister and I — had such a wonderful time working together to sew it! The dress was wonderful, she was a beautiful bride, and it was a memorable time together.

    1. Do you have the name of that pattern company? I have been looking for a pattern for my niece’s wedding and not really finding anything she likes. Thanks.

      1. It was from the book Gerties ultimate dress book. It was a vintage 60’s style tea length dress. Also, you posted a comment farther down about a boned strapless top. The underdress has a boned strapless bodice

  6. Me! Me! Me! I used to sew clothes that I wore. I actually learned to sew in High School, back when we had Home Economics & Sewing for classes. Schools need to teach practical classes again.

  7. I sewed clothes for the whole family at one time. I love those memories. Now I quilt but I’ve made dresses for my granddaughters too.

  8. I learned to sew in grade school. In high school I made all my own clothes. In my 20’s and 30’s I made a lot of tops. I am now 65 and I still have a few of them that I still wear. I recently bought an old pattern in ebay that I plan to make some easy tops from. When my boys were young I made jams for them.

  9. I have been looking for a pattern for a boned strapless top. I can’t find any from bookstores. I have also tried on-line but almost all that come up are ready to wear gowns. Do you know of any patterns that might have what I’m looking for?

    1. Hi Stephanie – I’m glad Peggy has an option because I was at a loss for one. 🙂

      I’m guessing you’d already checked the pattern books at the big-box stores and didn’t find what you needed. Those just aren’t what they used to be, are they?

      1. Yes, I found the book on Amazon and ordered it. I saw a pic in the book for the boned corset so I’m hoping that will work. Thanks for your help.

  10. I am disappointed that my earlier comment was not published. I have mentally explored the reasons why my comment didn’t pass muster. I simply added another idea. I am surmising that the reason is that the companies listed in this blog compensated Moda for this blog content. I indicated that I was in no way affiliated with the pattern or the company that I had suggested. I guess it was way too much competition for a reader to come up with an independent idea. I thought Moda was better than this. Your actions were small, petty and graceless.

    1. Hi Denise –

      I’m sorry that you think Moda – or me – is censoring you. That is not the case. We share and promote products that we distribute. The reason your comment did not appear is that it required approval – comments that include several links raise red flags with the blog security settings. I hadn’t seen that until I was checking e-mails after-hours and saw this comment. Your first comment was happily approved.

      Please know that we always welcome additional sources of information, and patterns of which we are not aware. Moda’s goal has always been to promote education in every form, be it tutorials, videos and classes from other sites and sources. Anything the promotes and grows the community of sewists and quilters benefits us all.

  11. I love to make my own clothes and I’m still doing it 50 yrs. later! Some of my favorites are the Sailor Top by Tiger Crafts, the Washi Dress by Made by Rae and the Asymmetrical Top/Tunic by Indygo Junction and Schoolhouse Tunic by Sew Liberated. As a matter of fact, I’m wearing a Sailor Top today!

  12. Loved making my own clothes until my kids were born. Then I made everything they wore instead. Then they grew up and my designer jeans weren’t cool enough so began designing period costumes and hats. For the grandkids I was the go to for Halloween costumes. I have loads of gorgeous velvets, satins, fancy fabrics but I couldn’t find fabric I wanted to make and wear any more. I’m so glad the Moda and other companies have gotten into wearable fabrics. I still have my old patterns and I think twice about buying an outfit cause now I can make it and it’ll look so much better.

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