Why would I pay for a pattern, even an adorable one, if there are so many free patterns and tutorials available online?
This is what I used to think, before I started sewing clothes. What I know now that I didn’t know then is, those pattern-makers have done so much of the hard work to make it easier on me! They’ve translated a concept into a reality, and can lead me to that beautiful reality with lots of hand holding: colored photos with little arrows, glossaries of terms, and pattern pieces that will go from being a random jigsaw to a beautiful final piece. Thanks pattern designers! You guys rock.
BUT…how do you choose between them?
One incredible thing about being involved in the online sewing community is seeing fresh new patterns popping up regularly from designers that I already know and trust because so many of them are fellow bloggers! But choosing between the many different designs and deciding where to invest my money and time can be overwhelming. There are just so many options, how do you choose between them?
Over the past year I have come to recognize the 6 biggest factors that will make me put a pattern right into my cart AND checkout, now. :)Do you have any patterns that fall into these categories?
1.) The “Seemingly Endless Possibilities” Pattern
The first pattern that I ever bought was the Geranium Dress. I had seen a few of my favorite bloggers making their versions of this dress and I could not deny that it was adorable, but I was trying to resist. But what tipped me over the edge was when I saw Delia’s 5 Geraniums post. There was just such a fun range that I couldn’t believe it was all from the same pattern. I wanted my daughter to have a wardrobe of cute dresses and tunics like that!
I bought the pattern and made 4 Geraniums for my daughter: 2 dresses, 2 tunics, 2 gathered skirts, 2 pleated skirts, a sleeveless, a ruffled sleeve, a cap sleeve and a puff sleeve with Peter Pan collar detail. I made 2 dresses for baby gifts. I also have a different option plotted for this year’s spring KCW Geranium. I can’t get enough.
Popsicle Geranium, Flutter Geranium, Floral Geranium, Peter Pan Geranium
Friends, I was hooked. The part of me that wanted maximum bang for my buck was just so happy:) A few other “Seemingly Endless Possibilities” Patterns. (I dare you to click through and see all that you can do with these patterns!)
Tinny, Natty Janes, Roller Skate Dress
2.) The “Give You Some Control Over Your Kid’s Unusual Shape” Pattern
If you stand for 10 minutes in a children’s department, you will hear this conversation. Maybe you are the one saying it.
It’s just so hard to find jeans/shorts/pants that fit. He has such a little waist and these long legs! She’s thick around the middle but then the legs of the pants are too wide!
For me it was one day when I was out shopping for my petite 2 year old daughter and couldn’t find a pair of shorts to fit her tiny little booty. The 2 year fell off, the 18-24 months still slipped down, the 12-18 months were baggy and the 9-12 months were too. The mom guilt was too much for me to handle (it must be my fault that she’s so tiny!) so I left the store with nothing but a lump in my throat. I came home, purchased and printed the Bubble Pocket Shorts, and sewed them completely while she napped.
When she got up she was no longer my little peanut swimming in too-big shorts, but just my sweet little girl in some sweet shorts. As she should be.
Bubble Pocket Shorts
Bottoms can be tough to fit. Buying a pattern that helps you take control of the waistband, leg width, and inseam can make such a difference!
A few other “Give You Some Control” patterns.
Clean Slate Pants, Skinny Jeans, Kid Shorts
3.) The “This is a Staple” Pattern
The Roly Poly Pinafore sold me immediately. I saw only a few stops on the tour before I was convinced that this was an essential summer staple, yet could easily be layered in the fall and winter, and the 2-dresses-in-1 tapped right into the part of me that is looking for a deal. Sold.
Summer/Cloud Roly Poly, Retro Reversible Roly Poly
Our kids need easy to wear, easy to mix items in their wardrobes. If you find a good pattern in a size range that will carry you through a few years with your child, then you’re golden.
Other “This is a Staple” patterns.
Greenpoint Cardigan, Berkshire Blazer, Fancy Pants Leggings
4.) The “You’ll Learn a Lot” Pattern
One thing that I kept hearing (reading?) about Oliver + S patterns was the phrase “you’ll learn a lot.” I bought my first Oliver + S dress during their summer sale and sewed it up during fall KCW. Guess what? I learned a lot. No, seriously. The instructions are very clear and great lengths are taken to make sure that things are just right. I love all of the dresses that I’ve made for my daughter, but I think that her Family Reunion Dress looks like it should be on a display. It’s just SO professional looking. It was not a quick sew, but a fulfilling sew, worth the effort, and I added several tricks to my sewing arsenol.
Other “You’ll Learn a Lot” Patterns.
Book Report Dress, Sunday Brunch Jacket, Jump Rope Dress
5.) The “Unisex Love” Pattern
Pattern tours are just such a good idea because seeing so many different takes on a single pattern can give you 150 ideas for pieces that can go directly into your kid’s closet.
But when they give you 150 ideas for both genders?! That’s a whole new story. My first experience was with the Recess Raglan. I’m still experiencing this one. Such a great pattern, can’t stop sewing it up for both of my children.
Red Poppy, Floral, and Boy Blue Raglans, Minty Mod
I did the same with the Bimaa.
Floral & Stripe, Hooded Lightening Bolt, Upcycled Cowl
One pattern for two kids? Again, you cannot beat the “maximum bang for your buck” factor.
Other “unisex love” patterns.
Bimaa Sweater, Harem Pants, Banyan Tee,
6.) The “Just Get It Already” Pattern
When I first saw the Knight Hoodie pattern I gasped because it was just so amazing. Then I tried to talk myself out of it. “Erin, your son has tons of hoodies already, there are no inexpensive places nearby to get sweatshirt fleece, you will not make him multiple varieties of this pattern…” But even I knew that logic wasn’t going to work. (How is it that this was going in one ear and out the other when it was all in my head? Hmmm…)
I have a 5 year old boy. He will think this is awesome. We live in London for crying out loud. Every church nearby looks like a castle, and there are actual castles, so the photo possibilities are endless. And I really want to make this.
Sometimes there is no reasoning with yourself as to why you shouldn’t get a pattern. You need to just get it already. Am I right?
Other “Just Get It Already” patterns.
Ballet Sweater, Marina Romper, Swing Coat
Tell me, are any of these your main criteria for purchasing a pattern? What are the things that you just cannot say no to, and must buy and sew immediately? I’d love to hear!!