When you ask people if they sew their own clothes, the answer is often no. Who has time for that? But don't overlook this valuable life skill; with patience and know-how, you can create fashionable frocks that are a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay at a department store. Plus, stitching garments by hand fosters a more thoughtful attitude toward clothing while giving you the sweet satisfaction of knowing that you made an entire outfit yourself.
Thanks to the internet, there are many online crafting stores where you can buy cool sewing patterns from independent makers. And for more challenging designs, there are communities to offer guidance and support. You might be sewing alone at your machine, but you aren’t far from the kind words of other stitchers. Once you’re done, share your sewing victory with your craft companions for some virtual high-fives.
There are thousands upon thousands of sewing patterns available online, but we’ve narrowed your search with online sites selling curated selections of designs.
Suggested Materials for Sewing Patterns
Sewing Machine — If you’re serious about sewing your own clothes, you’ll want to invest in a sewing machine. Depending on your budget, you can get a home machine that can perform a number of different techniques. But at the very least, you’ll want a machine that can stitch forward, backward, and complete a zigzag stitch.
Fabric Shears — Get a nice pair of scissors that are for fabric and fabric only. This will ensure they stay sharp. Be sure to look for shears with a straight bottom blade so that you can cut your fabric in an even line.
Straight Pins — These are essential for cutting out the pattern and then piecing fabric together.
Sewing Thread — When stitching clothing, you’ll want to match the color of the thread with the fabric as closely as possible. It’s hard to do an exact-match with home-sewn clothing, but with this set, you can get close. As long as your thread and fabric isn’t a complete contrast, you’ll be fine.
Bobbins — Bobbins are what feeds your thread to the machine as you sew. Make sure you have several so you don’t have to switch out the thread.
Rotary Cutter — If you are cutting layers of fabric and want to keep them consistent, you’ll want to buy in a rotary cutter. Keep it sharp, and it will evenly and neatly trim your fabric.
Self-Healing Rotary Cutting Mat — Get a self-healing cutting mat for when you use your rotary cutter. Once sliced, it will magically heal itself so that the surface is smooth again.
Fusible Interfacing — Fusible interfacing isn’t for all patterns, but it’s used in many things (like shirts) to make them more rigid and give them structure.