Using Commercial Patterns

Commercial patterns are your friend

Since the spread in popularity of PDF sewing patterns, many have turned their backs on commercial patterns from the big 3 (Simplicity, Butterick and Vogue) saying they’re just too hard and confusing to follow. But really there’s so much to learn from these patterns and if you’re trying to teach yourself to sew without paying for lessons, using these patterns are your best bet in discovering the “right way” to sew.

Here are my top 3 reasons why I believe commercial patterns are the best way to learn –

Clear photos – All the steps are written and illustrated clearly and there are no poorly lit images or distracting fabric designs. To understand the sketched diagrams, you need to also read the key – ie which is the right side, wrong side, lining etc.

Clear steps – The number of steps shown will match the skill level of the pattern. For example a beginner pattern will show more steps to demonstrate techniques clearly. More complex patterns will assume you can do certain steps without guidance and will therefore only refer to them briefly.

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Proper techniques – Commercial patterns show proper sewing techniques. Yes there is always more than one way to do things, but learning the standard tried and true techniques will allow you to make your own informed choices later. Like a wise man once said – learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.

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Sewing well is a skill that can only be learnt by understanding the basics and by hours of practice. It can bring you a tremendous amount of joy and pride, just be prepared for a few frustrations along the way. Don’t give up at the first failure – toss it to the side and try again!

If you have any pattern troubles I’d be happy to help you out – either leave a comment below or email me at debra(at)stitchingrules(dot)com

This post is also shared with the And Sew We Craft Together Linky Party.

2 thoughts on “Commercial patterns are your friend

  1. Jessica

    I’m not sure what size to choose? My measurements are different sizes and not my off the rack size…especially my bust size. My pattern just got pushed to the back of the cupboard and this post made me think about it.

    1. Debra Verrall Post author

      Hi Jessica If you’re making a skirt or pants you’d want to use the hip size and if you wanted to make a top or dress I’d work with the bust size. The problem you may find though is that patterns are only made for B cup sizes and you may need to do a bust adjustment on the pattern. This is something I’ll be writing about in the future, but for now I’ll email you a photocopy from my text book by Metric Pattern Cutting for Women's Wear


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