PDF Sewing Pattern Roundup

PDF sewing patterns

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

The Patterns

(Overall ratings are out of 5 bobbins)

Grainline Studio Scout woven tee sewing grainline studio knit madewell scout tee

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

Colette Sorbetto top colette sorbetto crop top

Sorbetto by Colette Patterns

Price: Free
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

sewing portside dopp kit by grainline studio

Portside Travel Set by Grainline Studio

Price: $14
Skill level: advanced beginner
Number of pages: 58
Sewn itemsdopp 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

sewing linen floral shirtdress

Buttonless Shirt Dress by Salme Patterns

Price: $8
Skill level: beginner/intermediate
Number of pages: 21
Sewn itemsfloral 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

blue hudson pant floral pant back

Hudson Pant by True Bias

Price: $10
Number of pages: 35
Skill level: advanced beginner
Sewn itemsblue 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.)

Floral Linen Shirtdress

handmade shirtdress

Living in Chicago, I’m all for changing with the seasons. In the spring and summer, that means walking everywhere, eating on patios, and drinking a lot less bourbon and lot more gin. It also means ditching boots and sweaters for—finally—all the skirts and dresses.

handmade floral linen shirtdress

But when I flipped through my closet recently, I realized that there’s a particularly large hole in my wardrobe in the form of shirtdresses. And I love me a good shirtdress, since all you need is a belt and a pair of sandals and you can go anywhere from work to a family party to a metal-blasting burger bar. (I speak from experience).

Salme Patterns 149 shirtdress pattern

Enter my first foray into sewing up a PDF pattern (also part of my summer sewing goal).  This one is Salme Pattern’s Buttonless Shirt Dress (#149), which calls for cotton, a cotton/poly blend, etc. Linen wasn’t a suggested fabric, but I couldn’t resist this abstract floral print. Plus, if there’s any fabric that begs to be worn on a hot, sticky summer day, it’s linen. Or mesh, but that ain’t happening. (Not for a shirtdress at least.)

handmade floral linen shirtdress

I took the better part of a weeknight to cut out the pattern, tape it together, cut out my size, and finally cut the fabric pieces. My next step was fusing interfacing to the collar pieces and the inner front, from the bottom of the slit to the neckline. After that I got to work sewing the whole thing up. Other than a few hitches here and there with fit, it was pretty straightforward. I’d definitely recommend this to a beginner/intermediate seamster.

back of the shirtdress

A few things I’ll keep in mind for next time:

  • The sizing runs large. Even if your measurements match a particular size, I’d suggest going down one. I’m usually a US 6/8 in dresses, and my measurements matched up to a US 10/UK 12. It was definitely too big, and I had to compensate by taking it in after I’d sewn the side seams.
  • The collar directions are a little confusing. My collar turned out slightly unfinished at the very edges, and I’m still not sure why. Next time I’ll do some more research about attaching standup collars, and hopefully I’ll have a more polished end product.
  • I have a long torso, so  I added about 1 inch to the pattern at the waist before cutting out the fabric. It didn’t seem entirely necessary, but I think it helps if you’re going to pair this with a belt (which I always do).
  • Since I added length at the waist, I figured that meant I should place the belt loops an inch lower. WRONG. For whatever reason, the PDF directions that place the belt loops at 7 7/8″ below the armhole are pretty spot on.
  • I opted for a brown leather/elastic belt, worn over the belt loops. The matching fabric belt works, too, but I like the edge of this darker color to balance the pretty floral.

handmade shirtdress on the rooftop

Luckily, Monday’s storm held off long enough to snap some photos from the top of my building. There’s nothing like an 80º day on the roof to drink in that ridiculous Chicago skyline. (Even with a few trees in the way).

Anywho, have any of you sewn a Salme Pattern before? I’d love some suggestions for great PDF patterns—leave a comment if you’ve found any gems!

salme pattern 149 buttonless shirt dress

The Summer of PDF Sewing Patterns

Lately, I’ve been in a bit of a creative sewing rut. I could say it’s because I’ve been busy with other life stuff,  but really, sometimes I’m just overwhelmed by the sheer number of options at my fingertips. I think too much of a good thing can be stifling sometimes. Step away from the Bloglovin’ feed, Dani. But instead of abandoning the sewing machine until inspiration strikes, this time I’m taking a more proactive approach. I know it’s risky to say (type?) a goal out loud, in a public forum with the Internet as my witness, but here goes:

My goal for the spring/summer is to sew at least one PDF pattern from an independent designer each month.

Whew, that wasn’t so hard. Yesterday I bought, pieced together, and cut out my first pattern. Here are the deets:

Spring/Summer of pdf patterns – May

Brand: Salme Patterns

Pattern: 149, buttonless shirt dress

Price: $8 on Etsy

Fabric: Floral-printed linen blend

floral linen fabric

I’m excited to get started! Have any of you sewn up this pattern before? Any tips?