I’ve never been much of a goal setter. That’s not to say I lack ambition, I just find it depressing to write down a list of goals, promptly forget about said list, and then stumble upon it months later to find that I’ve accomplished maaaybe one of them. Cynical, I know. But that’s where the blog comes in: If I state a goal in an online forum, I’m forced to hold myself accountable for its success or failure. Plus, you can’t lose the Internet like you might a list of goals written illegibly on a coffee-stained post-it.
So this summer, with this little blog as my witness, I made a tangible goal: sew at least one PDF pattern from an independent designer each month. Easy enough, right? I’m happy and slightly shocked to say that I exceeded that goal. I strayed from PDF patterns on a couple of occasions, but the majority of my summer sewing has come straight from the printer. Here’s the rundown:
Number of patterns used: 5
Items sewn: 9
Total money spent on patterns: $40.81
(Overall ratings are out of 5 bobbins)
Scout Tee by Grainline Studio
Price: $12 (up from $7.50 when I bought it)
Skill level: beginner
Number of pages: 24
Sewn garments: woven Scout; split-front knit Scout
Relevant tutorials used: Madewell variation
Cons: might be a little loose/shapeless if you like tighter fitting garments
Pros: highly customizable—Grainline’s blog offers a handful of step-by-step variations; very comfortable
Sew it again?: yes!
Overall rating: 5 bobbins
Sorbetto by Colette Patterns
Skill level: beginner
Number of pages: 25
Sewn garments: chambray Sorbetto; crop top Sorbetto
Relevant tutorials used: continuous bias tape
Cons: short in the body; tight armholes
Pros: exposed bias binding allows for cool contrast fabric; cute front pleat; good pattern directions
Sew it again?: possibly, if I find a great print for a tank next summer
Overall rating: 3.5 bobbins
Portside Travel Set by Grainline Studio
Skill level: advanced beginner
Number of pages: 58
Sewn items: dopp kit; small pouch
Cons: so many pages=tons of time taping and cutting
Pros: three patterns for one price; the dopp kit is a great size for a toiletry bag
Sew it again?: yes, to make the duffel bag or another dopp kit for a gift
Overall rating: 4 bobbins
Buttonless Shirt Dress by Salme Patterns
Skill level: beginner/intermediate
Number of pages: 21
Sewn items: floral linen shirt dress
Cons: no seam allowance included on the pattern; shapeless until you belt it
Pros: you can showcase a cool print
Sew it again?: no
Overall rating: 2.5 bobbins
Hudson Pant by True Bias
Number of pages: 35
Skill level: advanced beginner
Sewn items: blue pants; abstract print pants
Relevant tutorials used: Hudson Pant sewalong
Cons: crotch doesn’t fit perfectly
Pros: option for contrasting cuffs and waistband; pockets; great pattern directions; easy-to-follow online sewalong
Sew it again?: yes
Overall rating: 4.5 bobbins
And the winner is… Grainline’s Scout Tee! True Bias’s Hudson Pant comes in at a close second. Both of these patterns feature great directions and, most importantly, a modern cut. Scout is great for a sewist of any skill level, whereas the Hudson Pants are good if you’ve already got several projects under your belt and some adeptness with knits.
I’m always looking for great patterns from independent labels, so let me know if you have any favorites! They don’t have to be strictly PDF patterns either. After printing, taping, and cutting so many pages, I might start mixing up my PDF downloads with printed patterns shipped to me in a neat little package.
And since I’m a glutton for stress, here’s my goal for fall: sew at least one garment/item for another person each month.
(Do you end a goal like you do a black-and-white movie? I’m new to this. Please halp.)
5 thoughts on “PDF Sewing Pattern Roundup”
I really like first two tops! 🙂 If you have time check on my blog too 🙂 thanks P.
What a great project! I love the Coco pattern by Tilly Walnes – v easy to make and to adapt for different looks. I think the Scout is my other fave PDF. Ha, I hear you on the Salme dress: I bought three Salme patterns during a sale ages ago and haven’t made any of them. The thought of having to trace them and add seam allowance after printing, pasting and cutting them just killed them for me! Good luck with your new sewing goal 🙂
Thank you! And I’ll have to check out Coco. The long-sleeve tee variation would be great for fall 🙂
What a great goal! I love your scout tees and especially the madewell variation! I also made the Portside travel set and found your sweet blog by way of looking up “Portside Grainline” on pinterest. 🙂 Regarding the Hudson pants, I had THE same issue, which I’m super bummed about because I like the pattern otherwise. I was hoping for a pant I could dress up a bit and wear out and about. I tried fixing the crotch to no avail. Any tips? Yours look much nicer than mine.
Favorite pattern that requires little cutting and taping and is free would be the Hemlock tee, also by Grainline. Have you made it? As is, it’s too big for me, so I folded in the “fold” line of the pattern piece by 1 inch and it’s perfect. I’ve made two long sleeve tees (with another cut and ready to sew) and one short sleeve tee using the pattern. It’s such a quick project. Second favorite PDF would easily be Megan Nielsen’s leggings. They are perfect. I didn’t have to do any altering. What I really love is that they come with two different rises, including a low rise/maternity rise. Can’t beat that. 🙂
Thanks for the tips—I will definitely add the Hemlock Tee and Megan Nielsen’s leggings to my list. I love your Hemlock Tee styled three ways post—nice photos and I would definitely wear all three of those outfits! As for the Hudson Pants, I think this Threads tutorial on shortening/lengthening the crotch is helpful: http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/4244/everyone-can-have-jeans-that-fit. My torso is long, so I lengthened the crotch. They’re still not perfect, but the fit is more flattering than the first. Good luck if you try ’em again!