Wednesday, 21 September 2016

My top 8 favourite patterns

I'm I wanted to write a post sharing my favourite pattern picks- my top 8 patterns I’ve made over & over, that are my ‘go-to’s I rely on.  Here we go…in no particular order!!
1. Sew over it Tulip skirt:   Lets start here as this is the on  I’m working on right now, my 3rd and surely not my last.  I love this skirt- its got a flattering shape, I can sew it in under a metre of fabric,  Its quick- like 2-3 hours quick, It has pockets, I can just sew up the size 12 and bang, perfect, no alterations in site.   In my mind, this is the perfect pattern for a stunner of a fabric- one with some body & structure – where the skirt will be the star of the show and all you need to do is grab a plain top and run.   I specifically like the fact its darts at the back (I find the 4 darts very flattering) but pleats at the front, meaning a nice shape and body at the front, but not overly heavy on the derriere.    I bought this one as a PDF- as a rule I hate PDFs but since its only a skirt, there were not too many pieces so it was ok to put together relative to some of the others I’ve tried.

2.      2. Tilly & the buttons Agnes top: My first jersey sew, my first I tried on my over locker and have reused time & time again since.  You can make endless alterations and achieve anything from just a plain top for everyday, to something with standout fabric & fancy sleeves with a bit more wow.  For jersey, love, love this one.  Instructions are perfect, especially if you are starting out with jersey. 

3.      3. Simplicity ultimate fit princess seam dress- 1586: I love this one because it suits my shape & I do like a fitted dress- this one, with all the princess pieces allows you to get a perfect fit.  I love the flexibility of it too.  I ve put 3 examples below- don’t they all look different?  It can flex from a summer staple, to something looking quite smart, to something comfortable and cosy for winter.  With these ultimate fit patterns you get pieces for different cup sizes and also for how curvy you are (on top of the usual dress size) so you can really tailor your make to your body shape with the most appropriate pieces.  I find it goes together perfectly – this isn’t one I just sew & go- it needs fitting each time and it does vary each time depending on the stretch of the fabric and look you want.  The cotton one for example is obviously a lot less fitted than the one made of stretch twill.   In terms of hacks, the only things I ve done is really switch the zip to the centre back to use a visible metal zipper and interchange different sleeves

4.      4. Aime come Maggellan: I loved this pattern when I first saw it, it had my name allover it.  I just find it with enough detail to be interesting, but plain enough to be practical and wear either over or tucked in.  Another one that can look different whether made lightweight & sleeveless for summer, or with sleeves for winter.  I also like the fact it uses little fabric and can be a great stash buster as you can use different fabrics for the different elements if you like.  Instructions are in French, with a brief English translation, but putting it together is common sense and there are little illustrations- so I didn’t have an issue.

5.      5. Simplicity shift dress Simplicity 6145:  This is my most used pattern.  I’m sure loads of these patterns exist, this is just one I found early on that worked and I’ve stuck with it.    Its just a good old shift dress with darts- with some nice sleeve and collar options.  I just find the basic shape perfect, I ve used it as is, added additional back or front darts, and I’ve used it like a block to adapt from/shorten to a top etc.  I would highly recommend if you are looking for that perfect basic shift- or like the idea of having a block but don’t know where to start- you could start with this and alter it a bit to meet your needs.

6.      6. Vogue cowl neck blouse v8816.  One of the patterns I went for early on and these tops I wear all the time.  Literally all the time.  They work with jeans casually, they work with a suit looking more formal.  Super simple to put together – no zips, it just goes straight over your head.  As you probably know if you’ve read my blog before, I m addicted to Liberty tana lawn and this pattern just suits it so perfectly.  Surprisingly, I’ve never made one with sleeves. I must rectify that.  I ve also never tried in jersey, something that is sure to work well.   Only watch out on this pattern is because of the cowl neck, I have several times intended to make it but under-estimated my fabric requirement (so ended up making something else).

7.     7.  Sew over it Ultimate trousers.  This is the one & only trouser pattern I ve ever tried – but I find it a super one, especially if you lack confidence in that department- the style is quite straightforward, allowing you to focus on the all-important fit.  Love the fact it has short option too with the cute turnups.  I wore them all summer long and they are still going strong.  I wrote a full review of this pattern & the class I took in an earlier post here…

8.      8. My own blocks!!!   Last but certainly not least, I can’t tell you how happy I am to have my own block.  I use it all the time and can sew up a simple top or skirt in no time, no need for fitting or measurement as I know it just works.  I used Chinelo Bally’s Freehand Fashion book to work out my blocks, I made them up, tweeking them as I go and then when happy, cut them out in card & hand them on my wall.    If I just want something pretty basic, or want to experiment with my own design, I usually start from here.

So there we have it.  I ‘m looking forward to adding to this list and there are some of the ‘classics’ that I m yet to try… the Grainline Archer & Linden and the byHandLondon Anna dress I m pretty sure will go straight on the list when I try them….

So what patterns have I missed that you would recommend??  I m always looking to add to this list
Messy Essy Makes x


  1. I found this post very useful, and intend to try some of your recommendations, especially the Tulip Skirt. 1. Sinbad & Sailor Dove Fitted Tee; 2. Tessuti Alice Top, 3. Pauline Alice Carme Blouse, 4. Vogue 1247 Mini Skirt w/Pockets by Rachel Comey, 5. Simplicity 2584 Tunic by Cynthia Rowley, 6. Simplicity 2192 Coulottes by Cynthia Rowley, 7. Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas. I have made the Dove Fitted Tee at least a dozen times. In addition to following the pattern for new yardage, I like to use it to make blouses out of recycled men's shirts. I use the button front for the back, the back for the front, etc.

    1. Thanks Ann, great you found it useful and thanks for sharing your tips!!! The idea on the old shirt is perfect- I ll definitely try that

  2. Super info, I've been toying with the tulip skirt. You have made some lovely things.

    1. Thanks Lynsey Jane- you should go for it with the tulip skirt!!

  3. What a lovely pieces you've made. And what a great way to use Chinelo Bally’s Freehand Fashion book. The skirt and top turned out very beautiful.

    1. Thankyou Sonja, I recommend the book if you don't have it!