The Evolution Of A Skill: Learning To Sew With Patterns

The first article of clothing I made for my daughter using a sewing machine was a circle skirt. We’ll call it the gateway project.

I put a few pics up on Facebook because it was so cute, she loved it, and I was so proud. I mentioned in the caption of my post how I really wanted to sew her a dress but was a bit intimated by commercial patterns. Anyone else out there feel that way? Patterns just looked to me like I would need some kind of engineering degree to make my way through them. A few friends suggested some dress styles that were easy and didn’t require a pattern, like a pillowcase dress.

Okay, pillowcase dress. Check. (Excuse all the headless pics. It’s a decision our family has made not to post pictures of the kids’ faces on a public blog). The time was drawing near. If I was going to get serious about sewing, I was going to need to learn to use a pattern. Easter was a little more than a month away so the perfect opportunity to conquer this fear. I scoured the Internet for “easy” patterns but it seemed that every pattern I found under that category also “looked” easy and I didn’t like that. I wanted this dress to be special. Finally, I stumbled upon 5berries on Etsy. Folks, if you are afraid of patterns but really want to learn to sew for kids, this is the place for you! The clothes are adorable and many of the patterns come with picture tutorials. The one I chose was called the “Olivia” dress pattern. I knew as soon as I saw it that this was the one because I would have purchased that style dress for my daughter in the store.

I let my daughter pick out her own choice of fabrics. I started to suspect that may have been a mistake when she chose the combination of insanely pink with sparkles and insanely purple with polka dots seen here:

My husband confirmed my suspicions when he saw the fabric she chose and asked if we were dressing her as a clown for Easter but the deed had been done. Fabric and pattern had been purchased and I had to move forward. After prewashing, ironing, and one Skype session with my sister-in-law on proper cutting of the fabric, I was rolling. I couldn’t stop! Watching the fabric take shape and become this beautiful dress was propelling me forward. We had an Easter dress well before Easter. And my fears have been conquered.



As you can see, in the top picture there is an extra hem band. I felt like the dress was a bit too short for her and added the extra band at the bottom before she wore it out of the house. I wish I had taken pictures of the process but I didn’t have a blog at the time. Next one will show steps in the process for sure.

I need to mention that I am not in any way affiliated with 5berries other than as a very satisfied customer. I cannot wait to use more of their patterns and feel confident taking on other patterns as well after the solid foundation I got using theirs. If you, too, are a bit intimated by patterns like I was, I highly suggest you head over to their Etsy page and check them out. Oh, and look, the fabrics look great together! Turns out my daughter has pretty good fashion sense!

Do you prefer to use patterns or sew projects without them?  What are some of your favorite patterns to use?

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10 thoughts on “The Evolution Of A Skill: Learning To Sew With Patterns

  1. I love sewing from patterns as well as crafting from instructions. I love that I can adjust length for my leggy children without clothes falling off of them (which is really why I started sewing in earnest). I love watching flat pieces of fabric become beautiful shapes. I LOVE to sew! My favorite? Oh, too many. But I am hunting a copy of Simplicity C2019 for you. I will trace this one a thousand times and she will wear two more versions of it. Such a cute and simple peasant dress. I searched for two years for a pattern in this design. Now to find it again 🙂


  2. I use patterns sometimes and no patterns other times. Depends what I’m sewing! For things that require accuracy and might go wrong I use a pattern (most recently for a tunic dress top), but for circle skirts and cloaks I don’t normally use a pattern!
    Very lovely dress though. I like the extra band at the bottom where you extended the hem!


    • Thanks, Stephanelli! When I first saw how short the dress turned out to be on her I worried that having to alter it in some way would cause problems for me but it turned out to be a simple and cute solution and I liked it better with the extra band!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m new to sewing myself. I have purchased some patterns which is a reflection of my ambition. I’m busy mastering pillow covers right now but have a pillowcase dress on my near to-do list. Yours are lovely. Stopping by from Snickerdoodle Sunday. Would love for you to share with us at Merry Monday.


    • Be careful, if you have a slightly addictive personality like me, you will get in too deep and never want to stop sewing! I have been enjoying it so much. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I will head on over to Merry Monday to link up!


  4. I love the fabric that you picked for your daughter’s Easter dress – so cute! Oh and I am SO with you on being terrified on commercial patterns. I “made” my daughter’s Halloween costume from a commercial pattern – which consisted of taking it over to my mother-in-laws and letting her “translate” the pattern for me and just flat out telling me what to do. I was hoping to learn a bit about reading patterns but I ended up being even more confused. Maybe I should start with some SUPER basic ones too and work my way up!


    • Yeah, I needed a bit of help in the beginning that had more to do with making sure I was cutting the fabric the right way and then I was able to just use a picture tutorial, which is a total testament to how good the pattern and tutorial are! If you ever feel like tackling a pattern I would definitely suggest this one. It was very basic! And you can always come back here and comment if you have questions about it or email me. Sometimes it helps to have another person in the learning process explain it rather than a really experienced person simply because that person just went through what you are going through not log ago! Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting! I love visitors!


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