It is natural when beginning dressmaking to have some reservations about spending money (usually around £13-£16) on sewing patterns when you don’t know if they will fit you, flatter your shape or will fit into your wardrobe. This is also an issue if, like me, you are on a limited budget and even just buying the fabric makes you concerned about the impact on your finances.
A lot of pattern companies and designers understand this and have introduced free patterns, so that you can try out their patterns before buying more complex ones. This is important as some designers work with slightly different sizes (for example, Tilly doesn’t use typical US, UK or EU sizing, and instead has her own size chart for you to measure against.) Also it is worth experimenting because sometimes you may love a designer’s pattern but may not get on with their diagrams or the way the instructions are worded. I personally like patterns which have a more casual style of wording (Indie designers are great for this) but I also particularly like patterns with photographed instructions, such as Tilly and the Buttons and Sew Over It. Also I count Grainline Studio in this as although the patterns have diagrams, Jen provides photographed sew-alongs to follow for the more tricky bits.
Also for those on a tight budget, free patterns are *usually* fairly basic shapes, easy to adapt to more advanced garments and great staples for your wardrobe. With a little creativity you can often hack these patterns to create something more ‘you’ and use them in a whole range of ways to create different garments.
I have created a list of companies who offer free sewing patterns, however if you find any more please feel free to leave a comment!
*All these are PDF patterns or instructions on how to draft the garments yourself.
- Grainline Studio Hemlock Tee (and Instructions)
- By Hand London Polly Top
- Deer and Doe Plantain Top
- Tilly and the Buttons Picnic Blanket Skirt (Not a pattern but a set of instructions to make it yourself)
- Colette Patterns Sorbetto Top
- Sew Over It Silk Cami (Free with issue 44 of Mollie Makes magazine, code valid until 15th October 2014)
- Simplicity Pyjama Trousers
- The Selfish Seamstress Coffee Date Dress (and many others on her blog)
- Sew In Love has a range of free patterns
- Spit Up and Stilletos Diana Cami (until 10th October, all of their patterns are free as part of their re-branding!)
- Cake Patterns The Tee PDF
- Measure Twice Cut Once Unisex Boxer Short Pattern
- Love Sewing Magazine comes with at least one free pattern every issue
- Sew Caroline Kimono Jacket
- By Hand London Kimono
- Tessuti Patterns do a fantastic range of free patterns
- Menswear – Thread Theory Arrowsmith Undershirt
If you choose to use any of these patterns, please let me know what you thought and how you get on. Happy Sewing!