To be honest with you, I wouldn’t recommend that your very first sewing project be an actual piece of clothing – you need to learn the absolute basics before tackling dressmaking (i.e. getting comfortable with your machine, sewing straight lines and simple projects like scrunchies, pouches or maybe even a simple quilt). Tilly and the Buttons has a fantastic resource section on her website for anyone wanting to learn to sew.
However, once you’re comfortable with basic projects and you’re confident with your machine, there’s nothing stopping you from trying out a beginner sewing pattern. Most companies offer beginner patterns (usually straight lines, without any complicated features such as darts, zips or button holes – although some do. Challenge yourself!), and if you go for an indie pattern company, they’ll be bang up to date trend/fashion-wise. Lots of indie companies even have dedicated sew-alongs and helpful video instructions.
When you’re looking on a pattern company’s website, you’ll notice that most companies will tell you the skill level of a pattern (e.g. Beginner, Advanced/Confident Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced…). This is, obviously, the easiest way of determining if a project is suitable for you or not, however trawling through website after website can take a long time, especially if you’re not yet familiar with brands, or if you have something specific in mind.
To help you out, I’ve curated a beginner-friendly board on Pinterest with over 100 patterns suitable for beginners and confident/advanced beginners. In the sections below you’ll find some of my favourites in each garment category, as well as a quick review of the ones I’ve tried myself (I’m still a beginner, too!).
P.S. please don’t be put off if you click a link and it doesn’t support your size – many indie pattern companies have extended size ranges, it may just be on a different web page. Also, if you do have more of a plus size figure, you might want to check out my Plus Size Sewing Patterns board on Pinterest for more options.
Beginner Sewing Patterns:
Tilly and the Buttons Stevie Tunic/Top
[This was my second attempt at garment making and mostly went very well (except for a terrible fabric choice and a very silly mistake…). This is a quite simple beginner pattern, but has a lot of steps and pattern pieces that may seem intimidating. Stick with it, take it slow and you’ll have a great top/tunic that you’ll love!]
Peppermint X In the Folds Peplum Top
[Although I’m classing this as a beginner pattern, I’d say it’s for confident beginners – those that have a few projects under their belts and want to try new techniques. This top requires a lot of gathering and a lot of bias binding that takes a long time to do, but results in a lovely summery top.]
Fibre Mood Sara Top
[This is super, super simple! It is a few rectangle pattern pieces and a length of elastic. Like the TATB Dominique Skirt, I’d 100% recommend this as a first project!]
Grainline Studio Lark Tee
True Bias Ogden Cami (now comes in an extended size range with D cup bust)
Sew Over It Hebden Top (Unisex)
I AM Patterns Gaia Top
Tilly and the Buttons Coco Dress/Top
Closet Core Cielo Dress/Top
Named Clothing Kielo Wrap Dress
By Hand London Hannah Wrap Dress
Nina Lee London Carnaby Dress
Helen’s Closet Donovan Skirt
[The Ava Skirt was one of the first garments I made when I began my sewing journey, and actually turned out very well (although, it was a tad small – take your measurements properly; there is very little ease in this pattern). Bear in mind that Ava requires an invisible zip, but Sew Over It’s YouTube channel has a fantastic video talking you through it!]
Tilly & The Buttons Dominique Skirt
[This was actually the very first garment I made, and although I have since ripped it apart for fabric, I’m still quite proud of how it turned out. Dominique has a few options; straight or flared skirt with two lengths and an elasticated waist (no zips or buttons!). It’s a fairly quick project and incredibly simply for beginner sewists. I 100% recommend this for someone’s first project.]
Seamwork Jenna Skirt
[This is another of my first sewing projects (I had a thing for skirts?). Similar to the Dominique in skill level, but looks more sophisticated with the elastic only in the back waistband. Maybe not great for your first project, but I’d highly recommend this for beginner sewists.]
Closet Core Patterns Fiore Skirt
Common Sitch Bellbird Wrap Skirt
Megan Neilsen Opal Trousers & Shorts
Closet Core Patterns Pietra Pants & Shorts
Nina Lee London Portobello Trousers
Helen’s Closet Winslow Culotte
Paper Theory Patterns Zadie Jumpsuit
Peppermint X The Fabrics Store Playsuit
Peppermint X In the Folds Jumpsuit
These are just a few of my beginner pattern picks. Don’t forget to head over to my Pinterest board for over 100 beginner sewing patterns.