Dressmaking for complete beginners - Best Sewing Sewing Patterns

Whether you are completely new to sewing or have been building up your skills and confidence with smaller sewing projects or home interiors, starting your dressmaking journey can be a bit daunting and super exciting at the same time!

In this post I want to share my top tips for getting stuck into dressmaking and making your own clothes, to create a handmade wardrobe that you’ll love and be proud of by helping you plan and choose your first dressmaking project. I will be focusing on which type of sewing pattern to choose from. Please use this blog post along side my other one on choosing the right fabric for a first time garment project.

To hear me chat about the patterns check out my latest Youtube video linked below.

Best Sewing Patterns for your first dressmaking project

Before sharing my top pattern picks for this all important step into dressmaking I want to outline the general characteristics of what makes a good choice of sewing pattern for your first one.

  • A garment that is designed to have a looser fit
  • A garment that is to be made from woven fabric, rather than stretchy, jersey fabric
  • A garment that is fairly simple in that it doesn’t have many special features like collars or buttons
  • A reputable pattern company that has detailed instructions and perhaps even online resources such as sew-a-longs, Youtube videos or an online course to help support you

Top tips to remember before you start your first dressmaking project

  • Mistakes are GOOD - Whether you have already done lots of sewing before and are just new to dressmaking or if you are totally new to sewing in general, the chances are your first garment won’t be perfect. You are on a learning curve and it takes time and practice to get good at learning any new skill. The only way to get better is by trying and learning for each sewing project you work on. Celebrate the mistakes and see them as a positive way to learn for the next time.
  • Garments/ items of clothing are 3D - the shape of the pieces of fabric that make up items of clothing can sometimes look like a funny shape and when you match sections up, for example the front and back pieces, they won’t lay flat and line up on the table. This is because your body is not flat of course, the flat fabric has to be constructed and sewn to other bits of fabric to make a 3D shape that will fit your body and the front of your body is not the same shape as the back!
  • Taking your measurements and choosing what size to make is super important - I’ve got specific guide on this linked here. You need to completely ignore what number or label a size is given and stick with choosing based on your body measurements!

PJ bottoms/ elasticated waist trousers

PJ bottoms or trousers with an elasticated waist can be a great first project as they are typically loose fitting and best suited to woven fabric that hold their shape and are not too floppy or slippery. They don’t have many pattern pieces, in fact there may only be 2 pattern pieces - a front and a back leg! Some patterns will have pockets, but you can easily leave them out for a much simpler and quicker make.

Here are some suggestions from sewing pattern companies that tend to have more indept instructions and will help you learn some of the key aspects of dressmaking while actually making a garment

Simple tops

A simple top pattern can make a great first project. If you prefer sleeves or even just a short sleeve look for styles that have a ‘grown on sleeve’. This is where the sleeve is part of the main body (bodice) section of the garment rather than being a separate bit of fabric the needs to be sewn on. A top that is loose enough to be pulled on/off over the head or has a simple open/close at the neckline such as a tie is best. Simple shaping and fitting with either no darts or only a bust dart will make getting the best fit easier.

  • Tilly and the Buttons Stevie Top
  • Sew Liberated Strata Top
  • Liesel and Co Verdun Woven top
  • Closet Core Cielo Top (has set in sleeves)
  • Sew House Seven Remy Raglan Top (has raglan sleeves, these are easier to sew than set in sleeves)
  • Helens Closet Ashton Top

Simple Skirts

Skirts are also great projects for beginners to dressmaking as it's easy to find patterns that are very simple and just have a front, back and waistband piece. Most skirts will involve a zip or a button, so depending on your own personal confidence level it might be that you start off with a simpler elasticated waist band skirt or a wrap skirt first.

Find out all about the best fabric for beginner dressmakers that suit these patterns in my blog post linked below!


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