Finding your style 3 : exploring your own style

Posted August 22, 2019 by sewingplums
Categories: personal style

Do you feel ‘right’ in your clothes ? Do they help you to feel you ? to feel confident ?

How do you go about exploring which style is best for you ?
This may not be a quick and simple process.

Always attend to your inner voice. There are clothes you react to with love, clothes you react to with horror. But for many of us there’s a large range of possibilities where the effect is less clear-cut, so you have to ‘listen’ more carefully to whether you smile or cringe. Many advisors suggest you only buy clothes which score at least 8/10.

Sometimes when you ‘have nothing to wear’, are in a hurry, and don’t have easy access to good stores, this is not possible. But surely you don’t need to go lower than 5/10 !
Many of us wear casuals most of the time, so get caught out by the need for ‘special occasion’ clothes – have you got what you would need for a wedding, christening, funeral, ‘black tie’ event ?
Some of us have mainly workwear – so what would you wear to a football or hockey match ? a beach vacation ?
This is a situation where it’s good to have done some wardrobe planning. So you’re unlikely to be caught out by rare unexpected events, and have something wearable waiting in your closet for when they do occur.

– – –

Exploring style options and finding your own likes

In my experience, finding the clothes that are best for you is not a quick process. It needs some effort, but there are many things you can try.
At each step – notice how you feel about the clothes – do you want to wear them ? do they make you feel good ? or do they make you feel lesser ?

Imogen Lamport at Inside-Out blog :

You want to love your clothes, and have them love you back.

April Grow at Stunning Style :

If you’re trying to talk yourself into anything you don’t genuinely love to wear, just put it away.

There are many possible ‘exercises’ for noticing your own style.
Start with the activities you think you will enjoy.

Perhaps pick one of the free or cheap systems for choosing your style category and work through the exercises (see previous post for some links).

If that doesn’t work for you, the next methods don’t need you to have any idea what your ‘style category’ is, or which style words describe you. It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel ‘this is me’ with any of those stylists’ ideas. If you do fit a category, good, that saves much work as they suggest clothes you probably like. But if you don’t fit in with any particular stylist, that doesn’t mean you haven’t got a style 😀 It just means you have to do the searching for yourself, and be very aware of your feelings as you look at clothes or try them on (and have a good cry or rage if need be).

Explore Ready-To-Wear

– go through fashion magazines and catalogues and pick out pictures of clothes and accessories you feel good about. Try to avoid choosing ones you feel you ‘ought’ to want to wear !

– look at the designer collections during Fashion Weeks (vogue.com) (hmm, there are 100s of designers, that could be rather a big commitment). Different designers attract different types of customer, and most don’t design ‘everyday’ clothes, so don’t expect to like them all. Are there any that really appeal ? What are the elements of their designs that you respond to ?

– type a garment type in the search box at ShopStyle.com to see multiple current possibilities. This site is the ‘big secret’ of many on-line style advisors, they go here to find sources of an item they want to mention.

– look at the site of a big department store which carries fashion lines from many companies, and pick out the ones you feel at home with.

– enter a style word at pinterest and make boards of items and outfits you like the look of.

– pick an inspiring image at pinterest, and explore the pinterest ‘More Ideas’ and the other sources they link to.

– if you live somewhere where this is possible, go on ‘playshops’ : leave money/cards behind and go to a mall or big department store where there are many different styles and just try on clothes and notice how you feel about them.

Explore pattern lines

Butterick, Kwik Sew, McCall’s, Simplicity and Vogue pattern lines all belong to the same company and aim to appeal to different customers. Do you like one of them more than the others ? Or do you prefer Burda which has more ‘European’ style ?

– find an on-line store which has a good selection of indie patterns, such as :
US : Pattern Review, Vogue Fabrics.
UK : Dragonfly Fabrics, Minerva Crafts (scroll down left menu), Sewbox.
– and find companies which have good options for you.

There are also non-selling lists of indie pattern companies : With my Hands Dream (the names are links), The Sewing Directory.
Don’t expect these lists to be complete. (I gave up trying to keep a list long ago.) There are 100s of indie pattern companies, they come and go daily, but it can be good to find ones you like.

If your style is far from ‘average’ it’s worth following up pattern company links mentioned elsewhere, rather than depending on general pattern selling companies and lists. There may be some small low-sales-volume pattern companies which are just what you’re looking for. I found most of the patterns I’ve bought recently through a private FB board for my style.

– if you like the idea of wearing vintage style :
There are several companies which sell new versions of vintage patterns (Butterick Retro, Simplicity Vintage, and small specialist companies).
Or you could buy the original patterns.
Try searching something like ‘vintage sewing pattern company’ for many sources.

It would make life easier to be able to use only patterns from one company. I have tried that approach but it doesn’t work for me. I now have a pinterest board of my favourite patterns, and nearly every one is from a different company !

Personal evidence

– mark your preferences on this list of personal style questions to get an idea of what style elements you like to wear.

– do a wardrobe sort and remove all clothes you don’t feel good about. They do rather attract your attention when you look in your closet, which is not a happy effect ! If the clothes were expensive, or you like them but they’re the wrong size, at least put them somewhere where you don’t have to keep looking at them and feeling guilty.

Though Nancy Nix-Rice says don’t throw items out because you don’t love them – perhaps they look good as part of outfits, or can be altered.

It is a heavy-duty task to clear out all non-ideal clothes. Perhaps start by moving the best to the front, so they’re the ones you choose from. Keep the others for a few months in case you find you want to go back to them. If you haven’t worn something for a year (unless it’s one of your ‘unlikely occasion’ outfits) and you try to persuade yourself to wear it but without any enthusiasm, perhaps it’s time to help it move on to a new life through a re-seller or charity shop !

– remember outfits you have worn which made you feel good, right back to childhood.
The first outfit I was awed by was when my 12-year-old self was wearing a velvet dress with lace on the collar. As I was wearing blue jeans and fleece when I did this memories exercise, that was a good and surprising ‘message’ for me.

– – –

I love clothes, so I can pick out many pictures of clothes which are not actually right for me to wear myself. And I’m a pattern nerd – with a similar effect ! So checking in with ‘would I be happy if I was wearing this ?’ feelings is important.

In our searches it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Go through your collection of ideas frequently and keep only your ‘top’ choices. Use the pinterest ‘delete’ button !

Start from the clothes you have found which really help you feel good, which make you want to reach for them in the morning. Pick out the style elements which are important for you, and combine them in your own way.

Make your explorations into fun sessions. Allow yourself to notice when your heart leaps, to celebrate or laugh about the styles you find. After all, none of this is real yet 😀

I have a good visual imagination, so I can imagine myself in a garment, both at home and out and about. The results have often surprised me.

But imagination is not essential. The next step is – moving all this into the real world by actually trying on some clothes.
Ideas on doing that in the next post.

Good Luck and Courage for going through this 😀

– – – – –

There are 4 in this group of posts about personal style. The others are :
1. using style categories.
2. on-line style advisors.
4. trying on clothes.

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Links available August 2019

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Finding your style 4 : trying out clothes

Posted August 22, 2019 by sewingplums
Categories: personal style

Do you feel good about your clothes ? Do they help you to feel you ? to feel special ? to feel confident ?

Have you done some initial sorts of what clothes appeal to you ?
Some of us can imagine ourselves in clothes, but all of us need to try them for real.

Real clothes – if you start from a difficult point

If you are just starting this process, you may find it upsetting – all you’re aware of is how far you are from a ‘good’ solution. But very few people can make the jump from awful to ideal in one step.

If you do a closet clear-out following the rule to keep only items that fill you with joy, and find you have nothing left (I’ve been there. . . ), then keep items that are ‘good enough’ – just remove the items that are clearly ‘never again’.

Deciding if something is ‘best’ for you among all the options may be overwhelming. If so, just try on 2 items and decide which is ‘better’ : which is ‘more flattering’ or ‘more me’. Most people eventually work down to a smaller group of ‘good’ items. Though some people do like to wear a different style every day 😀

During this phase, try to avoid buying anything that you feel doubtful or negative about.

If you feel doubtful or negative about everything, maybe it’s time to take a pause and focus for a while on other aspects of your clothes choices – perhaps with help from some of the on-line style advisors suggested in this post :
– Size numbers, like style and colour categories, are just a tool for getting items you probably look and feel good in. Often people look better and feel more physically comfortable in a looser garment. Different RTW and pattern companies use different size numbers, so it’s essential to choose pattern size by body measurements. Simplicity patterns go up to 50″ bust, Butterick, Kwik Sew, McCall’s up to 54″ bust. Some indie pattern designers are extending their size range, so it’s possible to look good and current at many sizes. Making your own patterns is more of a challenge, the Sure-Fit Designs master patterns go up to 62″/155cm at bust and hips. Muna and Broad patterns go up to 71″ hip, and they offer to grade up for larger sizes.
– Do you know what flatters your body shape ? Some of the courses linked in the post about on-line advisors include it.
– And how about exploring your best clothes colours (for over half the population, black is not flattering) – see post about on-line advisors for some places to start.
– Or explore your most flattering hair shape and colour.
– Several of the courses linked in the post about on-line advisors have sections on body positivity. Anoushka Rees of ‘The Curated Closet’ has a body image makeover online class.

For all these aspects of your clothing, give yourself the gift of making small changes towards ‘more me’ or ‘more flattering’. A pity to feel you have to achieve ‘perfect’ in one step ! Make small changes towards having some ‘better for me’ items in your closet, and it will work out in the end.

What to do

Try all this with the clothes in your existing wardrobe. Then go to a store which has full length mirrors on the shop floor and repeat.

In a full length mirror, hold up clothes in front of you and assess the effect.
Try on ones which you feel positive about.

Some people find it helpful to take photos. Gives a more objective view of whether the fit, proportions, colours, shapes, style show you at your best.

Have a good look at yourself, from back and sides as well as front.
Can you can move and bend easily – walk, run, sit down, bend over, bend your arms and knees, reach forward and overhead. . . and does this matter to you ?

Asses the clothes both quickly and slowly : how do you feel ? what do you like/ dislike ?
One feature may be right for you but not all : colour, style of print, size of pattern, texture, amount and type of trim, amount and type of detail, fabric drape/ body/ cling, style drape, line, shape, length, proportions, placement of style elements, closeness of fit. . .
Make notes or take photos of what you feel good about (and what you hate), so you can go back over your experience later and pull together an overview of your positive reactions and what to avoid in future.

Aren’t we sewists lucky that we can pick out the best of these features and combine them for ourselves when they’re not available in RTW 😀

More comments on this process

Trying on RTW is rather depressing for me as my body details are so far from ‘average’ that nothing fits well. Add on to that problems with finding flattering colours and quality makes. . . If you’re like me, just look out for favourite style elements when you look round the stores. We need to do some work on fitting our own basic patterns, then we can think about how to add favourite style elements onto them.

Remember to try outfits as well as individual items. Perhaps some of your garments look ‘right’ in combination with some others but not all.

You may not have only one style. You may find you enjoy several styles, perhaps different styles for different occasions – you may enjoy sweatsuits at home, but wear dresses so tight you can’t sit down when at posh parties. Or you like one style for clothes and another for accessories. Some people like to wear similar outfits all the time – a ‘uniform’, some like to dress for the mood of the day or always wear something different.

Some of us do not enjoy shopping – if so you will have to grit your teeth and keep trying at an early stage of this process ! Most people who are working can’t shop then, but stores are quieter in the mornings for the first few days of the week. You do have to make a commitment and put in the time if you want to improve your style. Always buying black because it’s easy to find is not the best idea for the billions of us who don’t look good in black.

If possible start by walking through a mall, along a shopping street, or around a big department store. Preferably a better quality one. Looking around a cheap store can be depressing – as items have to be very easy to manufacture, they have simple shapes and few style elements, along with cheap fabrics and a small range of colours. Don’t worry at this point if you can’t buy high quality items – you’re just finding out what you like, so you need to be looking at a good range of options.

You will probably find that you often take a quick look and walk straight past. Would you feel at your best when wearing these items ? Try not to feel you ‘ought’ to want to wear any of the styles – at this point you’re just exploring your preferences. Your likes may not be ideal for working in a bank, impressing a fashion stylist, being a fairy princess, attracting attention at a festival, going mountaineering – but you’re now just learning about what is ideal for you.

Or perhaps you linger in places you were not expecting. Can you think out why ? what message does this give you about what you like ? about what you feel at your best when wearing ? You’re just exploring, so ignore any ‘I can’t wear that’ messages that spring to mind. You can go into the reasons for that, and how true it is, at some other time.

I remember when I first ‘knew my colours’ and found I could just walk in the door of a store, glance quickly around at the colours on the clothes racks, and walk straight out again. Most amazing !

– – –

Make your own choices

Many of us find that limiting ourselves to following a particular stylist’s categories is not the best option for us. We can start by learning from them, as a guide to exploring what we like to wear, but we may end up wearing our own combination of style elements which doesn’t fit closely to any particular category names.

My list of personal style questions is about style elements, not general categories. Perhaps use this as a starting point for finding your own personal combination.

I remember with glee the time when a well known stylist said that no-one should wear what I’ve found is my signature style element ! I’m happiest if I’m wearing a small frill or some ‘heirloom’ stitching, which may be categorised as soft/ romantic/ prairie/ ingenue. Here is my ‘uniform’ of frilled blouse, slim pants, lace-up shoes, worn with an over-sized casual layer. The blouse, pants and shoes are always there, the variety comes in the layer.

”soft-flamboyant”

Most stylists are very against over-sized clothes, but I love them. In Kibbe categories, oversized clothes are called ‘Flamboyant Natural’ in style. But my combination of over-sized with softness in neutral colours is not, I suspect, what the person who devised ‘Flamboyant Natural’ style was thinking of 😀

If you don’t fit into any simple group of 1, 2, 3 style categories ? It can be good idea to make your own short list of descriptive words, or a phrase, as a quick reminder when making decisions. Don’t be surprised if they are words which are not used by stylists. Mine might be “quiet classy practical quirky”.

– – –

A few people are in for a big surprise about their style.
I know someone who went from being a tweed and brogue wearing hockey player to reclining on a chaise longue in velvet maxi dresses.
And someone who went from insisting on wearing a wig if her hair was not perfect to being a sportswoman in a wet suit.
Of course for most of us the changes are not so dramatic, but do allow the process to take you where your heart indicates.

And keep an eye open, and an open mind 😀 , for garment types and style words which stylists rarely mention.

Improving your style is like improving the fit of your clothes – for most people finding your personal style is not a quick process, but every little step can improve the way you feel.

Categories can help us at first by simplifying things enough to make sense of all the styling issues. But in truth we are all different, and ultimately we have to make our own decisions. Perhaps Nancy Nix-Rice’s book Looking Good is the best short introduction to all wardrobing issues, and so a helpful place to start (though some people find the examples very dated). But you may quickly find such brief discussions don’t cover all your needs. At the other end of the scale, Imogen Lamport’s blog posts and 7 Steps to Style course are good for introducing all the complexities of individual differences – but there is so much to consider that it can be overwhelming for a beginner. Start with generalities and small steps, and gradually work up to understanding all the special features of your life, your personality and your body.

You may find there’s a switch point in this search for your style. At first you hope someone else can tell you what to wear. But you find that you need to change someone else’s ideas a little to suit yourself. Then you begin to recognise special clothes which help you feel confident when you’re wearing them, and this eventually leads to – magic – you can make your own decisions.

– – –

Comment from a style board :
“if you don’t feel confident and comfortable in your clothes then half the battle has been lost”.
As April Grow at Stunning Style says :
“If you’re trying to talk yourself into anything you don’t genuinely love to wear, just put it away.”
It’s so heart warming and expanding to be surrounded by what you love and what makes you feel good.
♥️ ♥️ ♥️ ♥️ ♥️

And also knowing
your favourite styles and the colours, shapes, fabrics and trims that flatter your body and warm your spirit
can greatly reduce the number of times you start sewing a garment and don’t want to finish it, or finish making a garment and then find you don’t want to wear it !

Really you can ignore all this lengthy discussion. These 8000 words can be summarised in one phrase :
Only wear what makes you feel and look good 😀
Start by picking out a small group of items you love, then think about your climate, lifestyle, possible unexpected events, for guidance about the important gaps to fill 😀  

Best Wishes for going through this 😀

– – –

There are 4 in this group of posts about personal style. The others are :
1. using style categories.
2. on-line style advisors.
3. exploring styles.

– – – – –

August 2019

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Learning to use my Bernina B480

Posted August 5, 2019 by sewingplums
Categories: sewing technique

”bernina480”

The new 4 series are Bernina’s top sewing-only machines. I am pleased with the facilities on this 480 machine.
But I think Bernina is very wrong to say the 4 series are suitable for beginners.
There are so many options, it is a very ’sensitive’ machine. It needs to be threaded exactly correctly. All the settings need to be just right for it to do what you expect, and often you have to find out what those are for yourself. I’m an experienced sewist and I have not found the 480 quick and easy to learn.

I have used a Bernina 330 for years so I know Bernina basics (I love my 330 but wanted more decorative stitches and more buttonholes). I have a Bernina 500E (embroidery-only machine, also difficult to learn) so know something about this screen and bobbin.
And I know the sources of support.
There are Bernina video tutorials for the new 4 series (click tutorials tab). But some of them skip through a quick demo with little explanation – I suspect only an experienced sewist can follow what is going on.

The very good and much more detailed Sewing Mastery videos for the Bernina 710 show the previous version of this screen and software. Many useful tips which apply here too.

Note November 2019 : the wonderful Sara at Sewing Mastery has started filming videos about the Bernina 480. Perhaps I should have waited 6 months and then I would have been able to learn how to use this machine with much less pain !
This single video from Cottage Quilting is about the new 5 series, but the 480 has many of the same features.

I really needed all my experience when I first had this machine, to sort out what was going wrong and why. The first few days I was reduced to tears and thinking I had a lemon several times by all the problems. Okay it all turned out to be user error, but it was not a happy time. Not the best introduction to what was supposed to be a special treat. . .

Whoever writes Bernina manuals does not think the way I do. I read manuals, but this one doesn’t mention much of what happens. The threading guidance is clear.
The new Bernina workbook is sometimes more helpful.
Typical problem – the workbook frequently tells you to use the transition arrow/window, but the word ’transition’ does not appear in the manual – the same function gets several names there.
I’m glad I’ve got pdfs of both manual and workbook for quick ‘finds’ as the index is not much use.
The ? button on the machine is also good, so long as you’re not too flustered to remember to use it ! It’s the only source for meanings of the Sewing Consultant icons.

My guess is the manual was written by engineers, the workbook by teachers (who know user needs), the engineers have higher status in the company and are in head office so their opinions have precedence, and the two groups don’t communicate very much.

I also guess Bernina assume the old support model of customer working closely with dealer to learn how to use a machine, and working with a personal teacher to learn how to sew. But here in UK most Berninas are bought online, and most sewing teachers wouldn’t know how to use this machine.

I do now know :
– I need to make many exploratory samples, to find how to get the machine to do something before doing any process ‘for real’.
– it saves me much hassle if I go through the workbook exercise the first time I do something. I can still end up puzzled, but not as much as if I try to work out for myself what to do. . . Often the results seem random, but that usually turns out to be because some function I hadn’t realised is important is not switched on or off as it should be.

The manual/ workbook/on-screen tutorial instructions are not complete, and you need to try things out to fill the gaps. I make notes, and sometimes have had to try several times before I found what works.
I like detailed written instructions when I’m learning, and what’s provided was not enough for me. I don’t know how a ‘jump in and have a go’ learner would get on with this machine, I got thoroughly confused when I tried things that way !

Yes it’s good to have so many options on this machine. But many options make for a complex machine, and choosing between the options is also complex. It would have been good to have better help with learning to do that.

After 6 weeks of using this machine I am gaining confidence.
And the sewing is not a problem ! I have sewn 8 layers of cotton batting, also one layer of rayon challis, both without difficulty.

I haven’t yet explored or mastered all the options, but I think the 480 has excellent modern-style facilities for an experienced sewist :
– 5 presser feet supplied – general 1C, overlock 2A, buttonhole slider 3A, zipper 4, blind stitch 5 : mine also included a walking foot 50.
– presser foot pressure control, ‘free hand’ knee lift for presser foot, foot pedal control of needle, big front-loading bobbin.
– securing stitches, thread cutter (some choice about how those are used, I found the defaults confusing, and now just press the buttons when I need them),
– classic Bernina rotary knobs for changing stitch length and width while stitching,
– 9 buttonholes, 2 eyelets, proper bartacks – on-screen measure of button size, adjustable buttonhole width, density, slit width.
– 9mm width decorative stitches (5.5mm on the 435, 475), about 250 of them, and 3 western alphabets with lower case – which can all be combined (a challenge to learn),
– pictorial colour touch screen for stitch editing and combining (edits include mirroring, number of repeats, lengthening with stitch density maintained), screen shows each sub-stitch in a stitch pattern, in real size – during stitching the screen shows the current needle position in the stitch pattern,
– automatic adjustment of top tension with stitch type.
– personal memories, plus usb socket for external storage.
– on-board support : brief written operating instructions, sewing consultant suggests stitch choices and settings to use for main fabric groups, ‘eco’ standby mode, choice of display styles, servicing information.
– optional extras :
. . . many other presser feet as both 5.5mm and 9mm feet can be used (if the foot hasn’t got the top ’sensor’ the machine automatically defaults to narrower stitches, and if you try to sew a wider stitch the screen shows an animation of the needle hitting the foot !),
. . . BSR for free-motion sewing,
. . . gold (high tension) and red (thick thread) bobbin cases for special techniques.
And the stitch quality is a treat.

Now I know how to learn to use this machine, I am enjoying what it can do. You need to be determined to keep trying, if you want to find how to use this machine to its full potential. But it repays putting the work in.

But beginners won’t know enough to know what a machine ‘should’ do, or how to recover when things go wrong. I think this will be a ‘machine too far’ for most, and they would be very much better off with one of the Bernina 3 series machines. Those may not have all the fancy facilities but they do everything needed for general sewing of garments, home dec and crafts. With one of those, a new sewist can get confident with sewing basics. Learning to sew is difficult enough without having to try to understand a complex machine at the same time.

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Links available August 2019

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Sew a garment in less than 3 hours ? – 2019 patterns

Posted March 2, 2019 by sewingplums
Categories: speedy sewing

These are patterns which the pattern companies claim you can sew in 3 hours or less.

These times assume you’re an experienced sewer ! And they usually only mean time at the machine, and don’t include preparation and cutting out time. Also they use quick techniques which may not give the best quality result – from looking at some of these instructions, they may not include seam finishing and pressing time. . .
But still these times are reasonable, they’re not stressed-sewing. They’re much easier than the patterns that Great British Sewing Bee contestants are expected to make in 3-1/2 hours.

These are the timed patterns I’ve found in print in March 2019.
Speedy patterns are mostly basics which stay in the catalogues, but there are a few new ones since I last wrote on this (2016), and a few have disappeared.

There are 100s of patterns in general for men, see this post. But there are very few speedy patterns for men.

In 2016 I also wrote a post on patterns that are quick makes but the companies don’t claim specific times for : Very quick and easy patterns which are not timed (I have not checked that for still-valid links.)

Obviously these patterns have to avoid any technique that takes time. So they have few design features and little shaping. But there are designers who provide interesting shapes and design elements that don’t need much work.

Very few of these patterns include pockets.
Add a patch pocket taken from another pattern. Or see this pinterest board for patch pocket design ideas.
Or here are instructions and pattern piece for in-seam pockets, from Sew Over It patterns (easy), or Christine Jonson patterns (more complex).

And allow for the sewing techniques you’re relaxed about. Most quick patterns avoid zips, buttonholes, collars, set-in sleeves, any hand sewing. But if you’re a sewist who can do those in a whizz, then why not.

Fabric choice can be crucial.
Quality fabrics can give a luxury look to even the simplest of styles.
For easy making : choose wovens with a bit of body, so they don’t need much support from interfacing and don’t change shape while you’re cutting and sewing them. Not slippery, don’t fray easily. Similarly with knits – choose stable ones, that aren’t too floppy. Knits have the advantage they don’t fray, so no need for seam finishing.

– – –

BIG 4 PATTERNS

These are the Big 4 time-limited patterns available in March 2019.

Outfit patterns

4 hours for a 2-piece outfit, 6 hours for 3 pieces ? Well, perhaps double that to include preparation and cutting out time.

Simplicity 1563, knit tee and tank, woven elastic-waist pants/shorts and kimono/robe – unisex casual wear, nightwear.

For a quick capsule, make all those items at several lengths in casual and dressy fabrics (tee and tank dresses, capris. . .). Perhaps add a dressier top and a skirt from the patterns below.

New Look 6816, knit top, skirt, pants.

Tops, Dresses

Surprise – the patterns above are the only timed knit fabric tops. Of course many people find knit tops a quick make, but the pattern companies don’t label the patterns with times.

All the patterns here are for woven fabrics. All have bust darts and no waist seam, unless mentioned.
The dress patterns can be shortened to tops and tunics, or vice versa.

New Look 6483, sleeveless and short sleeved tops.

New Look 6892, peasant style tops with gathers.

New Look 6347, sleeveless dresses.

McCall’s 6102, short sleeved dresses with 3 cup sizes.

McCall’s 5893, sleeveless and short sleeved empire waist dresses.

New Look 6352, sleeveless and short sleeved dresses, no bust darts.

McCall’s 6465, sleeveless and short sleeved dresses.

New Look 6889, sleeveless and short sleeved dresses.

McCall’s 6558, peasant style tops and dresses, gathers at shoulder and waist.

McCall’s 6098, girl’s dresses, no darts.

printed for you, USA only, very expensive :
Simplicity EA591701, jumper dresses, no bust darts.

Shirts, also for men :

Simplicity 8180 1-piece collar shirt, tie.

In previous editions of their unisex shirt patterns, Palmer-Pletsch claimed their camp shirt and banded collar shirt patterns took 2 or 3 hours. They’re now not so optimistic !
McCall’s 6932, 1-piece collar camp shirt (Palmer-Pletsch say 3 hours on their web-site, McCall’s don’t).
McCall’s 6613, band collar shirt (no time now given).
Lengthen for a shirt-dress.

Skirts and Pants
for women

There’s no longer a timed commercial pattern for the basic ‘sew 2 rectangles together with an elastic waist casing’ skirt, but there are several in the other post about quick patterns. The Hassle free make your own clothes book says you can make one in 10 minutes 😀

These patterns have elastic or knit band waist unless mentioned.

McCall’s 5430, wrap skirts with waist tie.

Simplicity 6338, girl’s skirts, knits and woven.

New Look 6053 2-hour skirts with darts and zip.

New Look 6843, 1-hour skirts with darts and zip.

printed for you, USA only, very expensive :
Simplicity EA701501, skirts.

New Look 6399, skirts and pants.

Butterick 5153, shorts and pants.

Pants for men :

All have elastic waist, no pockets.

Butterick 5153, casual shorts and pants, no fly opening.

Simplicity 1563, casual shorts and pants, no fly opening.

Simplicity 8180 shorts, fly opening with snap closure.

printed for you, USA only, very expensive :
Simplicity EA995801, boxer shorts, fly opening with snap closure.

Layers
for women

Except for the blazers, none of these have any shaping darts.

Pullover layers :
Try New Look 6892 View A,B
1 size larger for 2″/5 cm more ease, 2 sizes larger for 4″/10cm more ease.

Layers with front opening :

A camp shirt is classic casual layering : try McCall’s 6932. Check the finished garment sizes and make larger if you prefer.

McCall’s 2260, unlined vests.

Simplicity 8219, lined vests.

McCall’s 6209, ponchos.

McCall’s 6084, shawl collar cardigans, woven.

Simplicity 1563, kimono, perhaps shorten for a jacket.

Butterick used to have a quick pattern for waterfall front jackets, Butterick 4989, now out of print.
And Butterick 4138 was an unlined blazer pattern they claimed you could sew in 2 hours ! That is also oop, but it’s interesting to know someone thought it’s possible 😀

McCall’s 6172, the latest version of the famous Palmer-Pletsch 8-hour lined blazer pattern which sold over a million copies, is out of print but still available from Palmer-Pletsch.
This has been replaced at McCall’s by a unisex blazer pattern, McCall’s 7818.
Palmer-Pletsch claim this is an 8 hour pattern, McCall’s don’t !
Palmer-Pletsch say this has ‘boyfriend’ styling for women. Roomy and straight with shoulders wider than hips, so best for wide-shoulder inverted triangle, rectangle body shapes.
McCall’s 6172 blazer is for women only and has more shaping and closer fit, line diagrams here. Probably better for full busted inverted triangle, hourglass, triangle body shapes.

There are many other quick jacket patterns. Some of them are on this pinterest board. But very few jacket patterns are given specific sewing times, which is the focus of this post.

Layers for men :
All mentioned before.
camp shirts : Simplicity 8180, McCall’s 6932.
kimono robe : Simplicity 1563.
blazer : McCall’s 7818.

Costumes for men and women

McCall’s 7229, nativity, adult.

McCall’s 7228, nativity, children.

McCall’s 6142, clown.

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INDEPENDENT PATTERNS

These are just a few patterns I’ve found which claim specific making times. I’ve looked at very few of them, so give no guarantees !
There are many more independent pattern companies mentioned in my other post on quick patterns : Very quick and easy patterns which are not timed.

Pattern lines and wardrobe books :

For modern casuals, try Seamwork download patterns from Colette Patterns – supposed to take less than 3 hours in total (a few for men).

Seamingly Smitten claims most of their download patterns can be made in an afternoon.

The wardrobe planning and pattern book Dressed from Deer & Doe patterns has 9 downloadable pdf patterns claimed to be makable in an afternoon.

Tilly and the Buttons has a pattern book “Make It Simple” of clothes said to be makable in an afternoon. Traceable full size patterns included, or download pdfs if you prefer.

‘Made in a day’ :

With a little more time – Decades of Style ‘Everyday’ patterns are supposed to be sewable in a day. Most are also rated ‘easy’.

If you love making your own patterns there are several simple tops and bottoms, many of them knits, among the Sure Fit Designs Made in a Day styles. Most of these can be made starting from any basic top and pants fitting slopers, not just the SFD ones.

Individual patterns (only the first is for men) :

For a very quick unisex fleece jacket/coat, watch Shirley Adams show how to make a jacket without a pattern and only 2 seams – in her Bog coat video. She claims 10 minutes. Take a little more time and add strips to the front opening if you want it to close.

These free download patterns from Camelot Fabrics are said to take an afternoon :
boxy dress – for variations : shorten to top / tunic, change neckline shape or finish.
cropped jacket – for variations : lengthen, change front shape.
pyjama pants – with elastic waist and side seams. Make a size smaller for a daywear version ?

Christine Jonson Studio Collection draped vest and jacket download patterns for knits. She says the vest can be sewn in 5 minutes !

CNT patterns : ‘A little somethin’ 3 hour shawl collar jacket.

Fancy Tiger Crafts free pattern for a One Hour Top is a simple dolman shape knit top. They have a video class for it at Creative Bug, with download pattern and showing how to make it on a serger/overlocker and a sewing machine.

If you enjoy self-drafted patterns from a book there’s the 1920s One Hour dress by Mary Brooks Picken.

Sew Over It claims an Intermediate sewer can sew their Ultimate Shift dress paper / download pattern in 3 hours.

Silhouette patterns :
600 classic blouse, with 1-hour sew-along webcasts.
85 sweater wrap, basically a knit circle with added sleeves.

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Of course you may well have your own patterns which you can whip up in a short time. This post is about patterns the pattern companies are willing to make a time commitment on. They show that everyone can make a garment quickly, not just people who have a serger/overlocker and are making a tee 😀

Surprisingly, there are few knit patterns in this post, though there are many in the related post : Very quick and easy patterns which are not timed. Perhaps there are so many techniques / tools / notions for making knit garments, the pattern companies don’t want to guess the time you might need.

Whether you enjoy using these fast patterns may depend on your sewing style.
I prefer slow sewing and quality, and I don’t do well under pressure. I need to develop the fit of a pattern and get secure about the techniques used before I’m relaxed about making it more quickly.
But there are many people who love to jump straight in for a quick reward to their sewing.

So Good Luck with developing a range of speedy Tried ’N True patterns, if that’s what you enjoy.

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Patterns and links available March 2019

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