Friday, June 21, 2019

Sew Thriftily with Free Patterns

If want to sew thriftily, one certain way is to try out some of the many, many free patterns offered by Indie pattern makers. It's a good way to get a taste of the style of the pattern company, and also to get used to using pdf patterns if you haven't done so before.

There are SO many free patterns available, it just depends on what your style is and what you'd like to tackle. Some free patterns are fully developed by the pattern maker as a sort of taster of their patterns -- some are simple one size ideas that a designer has put out to share something they've made or to test interest in developing it further -- some have detailed and thorough instructions -- some don't have any instructions at all while others have instructions in a magazine that you should buy to go along with the pattern itself. There is a lot of variety out there!

Today I'd like to share some of my personal favourite free patterns, many of which I've made myself or are very popular in the sewing community. These are patterns that I would likely download and make for myself -- but everyone's taste is different, and you'll likely find other patterns that you would like more so feel free to drop ideas in the comments if you have a favourite I've missed.

Top of mind is the pattern I've just finished, the Ruffle Sleeve Top by In the Folds for Peppermint Magazine.  This one has been a hit in the Instagram sewing world, and now that I've finished my own I can see why. So cute and so easy to wear, but it also teaches some great sewing techniques like french seams. Peppermint Magazine has a ton of other free patterns you can make; I've downloaded the latest, the Everyday Dress by In the Folds, and an earlier top, the Harvest Top. Now to find time to make them! These are proper patterns with sizes, instructions etc all fully loaded.

You can also find some free patterns at another magazine site, Sew News. This one, however, gives you a pattern with no instruction -- that part is in the current magazine when they put a pattern up; older patterns are still there but after the issue date they must be purchased from the website. The good thing is that most of them are fairly simple patterns so an experienced sewist could put them together without instruction. I've downloaded the Five Points Blouse from the Feb/Mar issue, and the Sunny Vibes Blouse from the current issue (still available) and have also just joined in on their latest sewalong, for the Pagosa Pants -- a free pattern and an online class convinced me to maybe try sewing some pants??? This sewalong is still open and you can win prizes just for joining.

Another magazine site to find some free patterns is Love Sewing Mag. It's also just a pattern; instructions will be found in the relevant issue. The patterns stay there but good luck finding back issues for instructions. You might be able to figure them out though, as they are mostly not too complex. There's a great selection of multiple kinds of patterns on offer, including many dresses (including the Ruska Knot Dress by Named) to choose from; I have two downloaded and waiting to be made. The Himari Dress is the first in my queue.

Simply Sewing Magazine also has a handful of free patterns; most are patternless, self drafted by measurement things, like a coverup or a maxi dress, but there are a few with downloadable pattern pieces as well like this cami set from the Great British Sewing Bee. 

You can also find a multitude of free patterns at shops like Mood Fabrics -- these are more trendy styles and often have instructions in a separate blog post or in short form on the download page. If you can work with concise instruction you might find many new options here. They have them sorted into categories very efficiently and even have a special collection for beginners. They also feature a diverse range of project models which is really nice to see.

Now aside from all these collections of many patterns in one place, Indie designers often have a free offer that you can access to try out their style. There is the Colette Sorbetto, a classic (I've made 4) or the Mandy Boat Tee from Tessuti -- both are widely made in the community. I have a Mandy underway, and have also downloaded two of Tessuti's other free tops, the Athina and the Fave Top. There are more free patterns at Tessuti as well.

The Fave Top by Tessuti
There are many patterns you can access by signing up to a designer's newsletter, like the Drop Sleeve Top by the Avid Seamstress, or the Kirsten Kimono Tee by Maria Denmark. There are popular designs like the Plantain Tee from Deer & Doe, or lesser known ones like the Justine Skirt from Ready to Sew. (that one is on my list)

This list could be endless! You can find other big lists of free Indie patterns already compiled by other bloggers, like this fairly recent and updated list by Sewstainability And you can always search the hashtags #freesewingpattern or #freesewingpatterns on Instagram to get a nice roundup of what people are making .

I hope this inspires you to sew more and save yourself some money while doing so. Sewing is a great hobby but if I wasn't a thrifty sewist I certainly couldn't do it as much as I do. Thrifting, upcycling, sewing from free patterns, or reusing my purchased patterns to get more mileage out of them are all ways I keep my sewing habit going without breaking the bank. If you have any hot tips in this area, please do share! 


  1. Hi Melanie, Love all your recommendations for free patterns! I am still trying learning pattern drafting (also free!) but so slow, I keep diverting. Maybe I am easily distracted. I have made the Tessuti Fave Top and very pleased with that.

    1. Pattern drafting -- yes, the most efficient and thrifty of all, once you've learned it. I am also just starting to learn and I hope to actually be able to make something of my own this year!

      The Fave Top is on my list since I really like the shape and think it will suit me more than the others by Tessuti. We will see!


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