My Favourite PDF only patterns

After writing about the reasons I like PDF sewing patterns last week, Melody asked in the comments what my favourite PDF only patterns are. So I put my thinking cap on, had a look at which of the patterns I’ve enjoyed are PDF only and here we are.

Helen’s Closet Blackwood cardigan

Size range: Bust 31″-48″ Waist 24″-40″ Hip 33″-50″
Price: $14 (USD)
No variations: 2

This is one of my most made patterns to date and I still have lots more planned. It’s one of my favourite patterns ever, let alone just PDF ones. I wear my long grey version all the time as it’s just so versatile. It’s the perfect cardigan pattern for me as I always wear my cardies open.

My versions:

Other people’s versions: Sarah | Laquana | Lara | Meg | Judith (Judith has also done a video sewalong)

Helen’s Closet Winslow culottes

Size range: Waist 24″-38″ Hip 34″-48″
Price: $14 (USD)
No variations: 4 different lengths

Another Helen’s Closet pattern because I’m a fangurrl. I love my Winslow culottes/palazzo pants, they’re just the perfect spring trouser. As I was getting the information for this post I saw that Helen is doing a Winslow hack series and the pattern has 15% off until the end of May with the code “hackwinslow”. So far she’s shared a hack for an elastic waist and I’m looking forward to seeing what else she does. I should probably branch out and sew a shorter version at some point but I love me a maxi.

My versions:

Other people’s versions: Shannon | Gillian | Jasika | Michelle | Abigail

True Bias Southport dress

Size range: Bust 32″-44.4″ Waist 26″-38.5″ Hip 34″-46.5″
Price: $12 (USD)
No variations: 2

I’m surprised that Kelli hasn’t released this one in a paper version yet as it’s a great pattern. But then maybe other people aren’t as obsessed with maxi things as I am. There are always some really nice touches in True Bias patterns and they all seem to be really well drafted. There’s a nice bit of construction on the neckline that gives a really clean finish to the bias binding. I love the shape of the neckline and the amount of blousiness in the bodice. I’ve used the Southport dress as a base for loads of hacks and mash-ups. A Scoutport is next on my list, with a Grainline Scout tee as the top half and my more flared, knee length version of the Southport for the skirt.

My versions:

Other people’s versions: Jenny | Erica | Meg | Sonja | Kirsten

Dixie DIY Ballet dress

Size range: Bust 34″-42″ Waist 24″-33″ Hip 36″-44″
Price: $8 (USD)
No variations: 1

While I’m a big fan of the Ballet dress it’s very similar to the Kitschy Coo Lady Skater dress, which gets a lot more love in the blog world so you may prefer that as it has more variations and fuller instructions. The Ballet dress fits me really well across the shoulders though so I prefer it to the Lady Skater (I’ve tried both). The Ballet dress also runs quite large – I wear the small and I definitely shouldn’t be the small. So if you’re slim it will swamp you. But then I like negative ease in my knits, not everyone likes things to fit the same.

My versions:

Other people’s versions: Amy | Zoe | Val G | Lisa | Katie

Sew Over It Penny dress

Size range: Bust 33″-45″ Waist 26″-38″ Hip 36″-48″ (though the hip is free and the bodice is oversized – the finished bust measurement of the largest size is 49.5″ – so if you’re a little bit outside the size range you may be okay)
Price: £7.50
No variations: 1

The Penny dress is such a nice dress for when you want to look good but also be comfortable. I wouldn’t recommend it for complete beginners as I don’t think the instructions are the best that Sew Over It have to offer. It’s a great pattern if you have a bit of experience though. And I’ve just seen on Sew Over It’s Instagram account that they’re working on a blog post to help clarify the facing/placket bit of the instructions, which is great news. (Edit: It’s here)

My versions:

Other people’s versions: Carmen | Carmen again | Holli | George | Beck

Sew Over It Alex shirt and shirtdress

Size range: Bust 33″-45″ Waist 26″-38″ Hip 36″-48″ (There is a LOT of ease in this pattern though – 8″ at the bust, 7″ at the waist and 10″ at the hip so if you’re outside the size range you’re probably still okay. I sized down 2 sizes for my version)
Price: This only comes as part of an eBook, which is £20 but you do get 4 other patterns so if you work out an average it’s only £4
No variations: 2 for Alex but 9 in total

This pattern is the main reason I bought the Sew Over It City Break eBook. I love all of the samples, it seems to work in any fabric. I’ve only made myself one version so far but I keep meaning to make another as my first one is so versatile. I made my mum one for Christmas too and I want to get some photos and video of her in it for a sort of “one pattern, two body shapes” post or series. We actually have quite similar body shapes but she has bigger boobs and I have slightly more of a waist so I thought people might find it interesting to hear about how different patterns fit each of us.

My version:

Other people’s versions: Jo | Hayley Jane | Heather | Laura | George

Alina Sewing + Design Co Chi-town chinos

Size range: Waist 24″-36.5″ Hip 34″-46.5″
Price: $15
No variations: 2 – shorts and a skirt – but there are expansion packs available with 2 additional versions

I think this is a great pattern to tackle as your first shorts(/trousers if you use the expansion pack) as the instructions are fantastic and the shorts aren’t supposed to be skin tight so the fitting isn’t as hard as with something like jeans. There are just loads of great features to the pattern and getting both a skirt and shorts is great value for money. I have a pair of the trousers cut out that I’m hoping to get made up soon too.

My version:

Other people’s versions: Heidi (shorts) | Cristy (pants) | Abbey (skirt) | Helen (shorts) | Teri (pants)

Megan Nielsen Veronika skirt

Size range: Waist 34″-42″
Price: Free when you subscribe to her newsletter
No variations: 3

There’s nothing particularly fancy to this one, it’s just a circle skirt pattern but I’ve found it way easier to use than a circle skirt calculator. I used it on my Sewaholic Cambie dress and I used it for a tulle skirt for my work Christmas do last year. It comes with two different waistbands, huge patch pockets and you can use it for knits or wovens. Plus it’s free! So if you’re on the fence about PDF patterns this is a nice one to try. When I relax my fabric buying ban I fancy a scuba version.

My version:

Other people’s versions: Annie | Ruth | Katy | Teresa | Lauren

So there you go, those are my favourite PDF only patterns. There are loads more PDF only patterns I like but these are the ones that I’ve used multiple times and I’m glad I have in my collection. To look at the other side, are there only printed only patterns that you think I should check out?

Favourites – Autumn/Winter 15/16

Back again so soon just to let you know that I have a new video on my YouTube Channel. It’s a favourites video covering the months since my last one way back when. It got a bit long, even with me cutting out my non-sewing ones that I’d tacked on the end. Sorry. If you don’t want to watch it I’ve written a bit about what’s in it underneath.

Pattern

I have a selfish favourite and and unselfish favourite. My favourite selfish pattern over the Autumn and Winter has to be the Dixie DIY Ballet dress. It’s a quick, easy sew that meets my style perfectly. I love it.

My unselfish pattern is one that I’ve only made once but I just really enjoyed the process of sewing it. It’s the Paxson sweater from Colette Seamwork magazine. I like that you can sew it all on the overlocker and I like the finishes of the cuff and hem bands.

Thing I’ve made

Definitely my dinosaur print Ballet dress because, well, dinosaurs. Not a lot else to say. Dinosaurs PJs you can wear to work!

IMG_7859

Tool

The best sewing investment I’ve made for a while is my stitch in the ditch foot. It’s been so great for neat edge stitching and top stitching. Mine looks like this:

janome-stitch-in-the-ditch-quilting-foot-9mm-cat-d-202087003

And you line the black blade up with the edge of the fabric and move the needle position over how ever far you want to stitch and away you go. It’s great for understitching too. Just put the blade in the seam and move the needle position over slightly. I don’t think I’ve actually used mine for stitching in the ditch yet but I’m sure it’s great for that too.

Technique

When I did my Christmas crafting marathon a lot of the patterns I used were PDFs so I had a lot of putting together to do. I’d seen a few people online say that it was so much easier using a glue stick than sellotape so I gave it a go and my god, I’m glad I did. It really is so much easier than using tape, you can wiggle things to reposition them and somehow it feels quicker even though it’s the same process just a different sticking method.

Fabric

Mermaaaaids!

alexander henry sea sirens fabric

I had new fabric to show so I added a fabric category. This is Alexander Henry Fabrics Sea Sirens in blue. I love it! It’s now a skirt that I also love and still need to get some decent photos of so I can blog about it.

Non-sewing

Invisibilia PodcastThese didn’t make it into the video because it was creeping up to being 15 minutes long but when I filmed it I talked about a podcast and an audiobook I liked. The Podcast is Invisibilia, which I found out about from Jo of Stuff Jo has Made. There is only one series so far, but series two is due next month and I’m very excited about it. It is about invisible forces that affect human behaviour. So there are episodes on fear, our thoughts, computers, expectations and more. It’s so good. I listened to a lot of the episodes while I was walking my mum’s dog and a couple of them made me cry and one made me dance in the woods.

Youre Never Weird on the Internet almostThe Audiobook is You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day. I mainly knew Felicia Day from playing Holly in A Town Called Eureka and not her internet stuff but I liked the title and the blurb so I used one of my Audible credits and I am so glad I did. It’s hands down one of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to. I’m a big fan of books read by the author (I’ve also enjoyed Mindy Kaling’s books and Modern Love by Aziz Ansari) because I think it just makes them more fun than reading them yourself. Felicia Day sort of acts the book rather than just reading it. If you’re a fan of the internet and nerdy things at all I think you’ll really enjoy her book.

I also waffled on about Parks and Rec but having bombarded you with Parks and Rec gifs the other day I won’t go on about that again. (I totally could though.)

And I think that’s it, minus the waffle and bizarre facial expressions. If you like the waffle and bizarre facial expressions you can subscribe to my channel here.

September Sewing Favourites

I’d been hoping to have a September Sewing Favourites video for you last week. I filmed it, edited it and uploaded it to YouTube on Thursday evening. Then got an email to tell me it had been removed for breaching The YouTube Community Guidelines and I have a strike against me, which was upsetting to say the least.

I have no idea what I did wrong. It’s just me, sat in my spare bedroom talking about my favourite sewing pattern of September and tools and techniques I’ve enjoyed using and a bonus non-sewing favourite at the end. They didn’t give me any information about what I’ve specifically done wrong – just called it inappropriate – or I’d change it.

I have appealed the decision and hopefully they’ll at least let me know what I’ve done wrong because at the moment I’m too nervous to make any more videos.

But as I can’t show you the video I thought I’d write a post about my favourite sewing things of September instead.

EDIT: They reinstated my video, hurray!

Pattern

My favourite pattern was New Look 6217. I loved how easily it went together and the simple, wearable style of it. I’ve already worn my first version lots and have a bunch more versions planned.

nl6217-close-up

Dixie DIY’s Ballet Dress deserves an honourable mention but it probably should have been my August favourite.

Tools

As I’ve started sewing with knits I’ve actually started using the walking foot I bought yonks ago and it is fab. I tried to alter an H&M vest before I had the walking foot and it went terribly so I really appreciate how smoothly it goes with one. Mine is just a non brand, compatible version I got on Amazon for next to nothing but it seems to work absolutely fine.

Another thing I lumped under the tools category is my, big arse roll of tracing paper as I called it in the video – and the mild swear made me wonder if that’s what earned me to strike but people swear far more than that. But anyway, my big arse roll of tracing paper is fab. I used to use baking/grease proof paper, which worked well but when you make alterations to the pattern the sellotape (cellotape?) doesn’t really want to stick. That’s not a problem with tracing paper. I do cut out using a rotary cutter and pattern weights and I don’t think I’d like using tracing paper with pins but I really like the extra thickness with weights, it gives a nicer edge to align the cutter against. This is the roll I bought, from Amazon as always.

Technique

I have been all about the bias binding this month. On my New Look 6217 as well as binding the neckline I bound the sleeve hems and the actual hem. It was sort of as a way to preserve length and sort of because I just really like the finish it gives. In the video I made a joke in this bit about how if you came too close I’d probably try to bias bind you, which is the only other thing I can think of that got me my strike.

Non-sewing

I am completely addicted to The Spicery and have ordered from them 3 times in September and signed up for a monthly subscription. They sell kits of premeasured freshly ground or whole spices, a shopping list for your fresh ingredients and the method to make fancy dishes and whole meals.

Selection of spice kits from the spicery
One of my many orders, look how nice the branding is

So far the manfriend and I have tried the Vietnamese beef stew, Indonesian Nasi goreng and had a date night in Thailand, which comprised of a coconutty brothy chicken soup to start, king prawn pad Thai for main and sticky mango rice for dessert and it has all been gorgeous. It’s the date night subscription box I’ve signed us up for and we’ve got date night in Bali next but I’ve amassed a bit of a stash with my many orders so there’s also a date night in Trinidad, rogan josh, jerk chicken and many more to come.

Vietnamese beef stew
Vietnamese beef stew

I would highly recommend it to anyone but I think it’d be especially great if you’re dating and want to pass yourself off as a great chef!

So that’s my September favourites, sorry it’s not a video complete with my daft faces, inability to speak correctly and a brief moment where I got distracted by my washing on the line. If YouTube respond to my appeal and they reinstate the video *fingers crossed* or let me know what to take out I’ll update this post with the video and let you know on Twitter.

How about you? Any favourite patterns, tools or techniques this month? I’d love to hear about them or watch a video of them. Though that may lead to me spending even more money than beauty favourites videos do!