My favorite INDEPENDENT pattern designers


Ok. There’s something to be said for the “Big Four” — talking about Vogue, Simplicity, McCall’s and Butterick, here. Their patterns are tested a ton of times before being published, they have the help of some major fashion designers to aid in the style of the clothes the produce, and they go on sale for less $1 to $5, but there’s something so very special about the indy designer’s, too. 

You’ll have to do some research online about the fit, fork over as much as $25 per pattern, and you’ll never find them at a big chain store like Joann or Hancock, so you can’t really make them on a whim. But, if you’re putzing around online (like I presume you are now which is why you’re even reading this post) check out some of my favorites!

Tilly and the Buttons – I first saw this British cutie on The Great British Sewing Bee (a must-watch “Project Runway for sewing” television series that can be found online). At the end of the show they announced that Tilly had started her own pattern-desisgning business and I was instantly hooked. Her style leans a little hipster and a ton awesome. Her Matilde Blouse is very high up on my gotta have it list!

Deer and Doe – It’s hard to say what’s more enticing about Eleonore Klein’s patterns — the fact that they are completely manufactured and printed in France (what’s more stylish than that), the cute designs themselves, or how the patterns are packaged. I’m a sucker for some great packaging and these do not dissappoint. The patterns and envelopes are printed on recycled paper and they feature a homemade feel with stamped return labels, handwritten addresses, and a little sticker to hold the pattern envelope closed. These patterns are just so special even without the clothes!

Colette – The tag line for Colette patters is “Sewing Patterns that Teach.” And, that couldn’t be more true. Their Isis shorts were my second pattern I ever made. I learned so much about waistbands and invisible zippers. In fact, I reference their online tutorial for invisible zippers in my mind each and every time I put one in. You’ll never get confused about how to place the tape again…promise! But, back to the patterns…their patterns are made for curvy girls meaning very few alterations if you’ve got hips. The style of the patterns are undoubtably 50’s giving my wardrobe a unique level of spunk you can’t quite find anywhere else!

Grainline Studios – Jennifer Beeman’s Grainline started as a blog from a woman who loved sewing. After tons of requests for her to publish her patterns, she finally did. So, think of Grainline as a pattern designer, but also as your favorite sewing friend. The Grainline blog is one of the best. It’ll not only walk you through tons of techniques for all your sewing, but you can also find little bits of goodness that will help you get through the Grainline pattern you’re working on. It’s like having a little Grainline teacher there with you to help you through all the tough parts of making one of their garments. How cool is that?

Salme – Of all of these independent pattern designers, I’d have to say that Salme is the closest one to my own personal style. Elisa designs simple, pretty clothes that are as easy to wear as they are to make. My first Salme pattern was the FREE Sonja dress from Burdastyle. I get so, so many compliments when I wear it. What’s more? ALL of her sewing patterns are less than $10! I particularly love the Hidden Button Shirt, the Color-block Skirt, the Peplum Skirt, and the Pussy Bow Dress. 

And, if you’re looking for even more, A Good Wardrobe has an updated and running list of about 20 different independent pattern designers. 

As with all patterns, don’t just an pattern by its envelope. You have to imagine it in your fabrics with your styling. Be sure to Google the pattern name to see some images of other sewists who’ve given that pattern a try to see what it could look like!


This post brought to you as part of the National Sewing Month Series!


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