Top 5 Patterns to Sew & Give

Top 5 Patterns to Sew and Give | Style Maker Fabrics

As makers we know there is nothing better than sharing something we created with others. It might be freshly baked, handcrafted, or better yet sewn! Whether it is for a birthday, special occasion or a holiday present, something you create yourself always makes the best gift and one the receiver is sure to treasure!

Top 5 Patterns to Sew and Give | Style Maker Fabrics

Headed into this year’s holiday season we picked our five favorite indie patterns to sew and give. We chose these patterns based on their style, simplicity and versatility. Not only are they quick to sew, they don’t require a lot of material and are easy to customize to suite the recipient!

Things to keep in mind when sewing for others.

  1. Size and Fit—You likely don’t have the exact measurements of the person you are sewing for, and that isn’t exactly something your can just get without spoiling the surprise! The best advice is to pick a pattern or project that is rather forgiving—not too fitted or has some stretch giving you some margin for error. Sticking to patterns you have sewn for yourself also helps and gives you some insight on any changes you potentially might make. If you are sewing for someone, you probably know them well enough to know whether you should lengthen the hem inch or two, include a FBA, etc.
  2. Style–Simple is always better! We have all received a store bought piece of clothing that we will never wear. You never want that to happen to something you took the time to make, right! Pick a garment that is simple, classic and that will fit easily into any wardrobe.
  3. Fabric—Have some fun with your fabric choice! Keep things super simple with a solid color. Choose the recipient’s favorite color or one you know they look amazing in. Or if prints are more their thing, pick something totally unique but versatile enough that it could be worn with a variety of different things. Versatility is key!
  4. Time—If you can batch sew! Sewing multiple versions of the same pattern saves lots of time in assembly. Complete the same step for all of your projects before moving on to the next one, just be sure to label the pieces somehow if you are also using the same fabric! Save even more time by finding a neutral thread that works for everything.

Now, let’s jump into the fun part—our Top 5 patterns to sew and give based on some of the parameters we mentioned. You will find an assortment of garments, styles and fabric types to hopefully accommodate a whole range of possible recipients. Also watch for other pattern and fabric recommendations along the way!

Pick 1 - Matcha Top | Style Maker Fabrics

Pick #1—Matcha Top from Sew Liberated. This loose fitting blouse is simple and chic with a touch of modern flare. It can easily be dressed up or down for any situation making it a great choice for both style and versatility. We particularly love the Japanese inspired neckline—something more unique the probably isn’t already in your loved one’s closet!

For fabric choices, we paired it with one of the Rifle Paper Co rayon florals—feminine but simple at the same time—but this pattern works well with rayons, linen, chambray and just about any other woven. We love the drape of rayon and put that at the top of our list!

Close, but not quite right? Check out True Bias’ Roscoe Blouse. A bit more feminine with the same versatility and ease!

Pick 2 - Land Raglan | Style Maker Fabrics

Pick #2—Lane Raglan from Hey June Patterns. A wardrobe staple that you can never have too many of and that never goes out of style. This pattern is the epitome of versatility and should be in every seamstress’ pattern arsenal! With so many options (hemline, neckline, sleeve, oh my) included right in the pattern, you can create a totally different top for everyone on your list. While it is simple, it is one that is sure to be well worn and loved!

Fabric choices for this top couldn’t be easier—KNITS! We paired it with a modal jersey knit but you could easily go with any jersey, French terry or even a cozy sweatshirt fleece. Try solids, stripes, prints or even mix-and-match. The raglan style makes this a great top to try different color/pattern combination for the body and sleeves. For sizing, the more stretch the better, creating more ease and forgiveness.

Close, but not quite right? For similar simplicity, try Tilly and the Button’s Coco Top. For another great top to color-block, try Papercut Patterns’ Ensis Tee.

Pick 3 - Kochi Kimono | Style Maker Fabrics

Pick #3—Kochi Kimono from Papercut Patterns. Probably our “trendiest” pick, there can’t seem to be enough kimonos in RTW fashion right now and we can see why! Simple and versatile, you can pair them with just about anything, especially your favorite jeans.

Our favorite part of about this pattern is the range of fabric options! Keep things simple with a drapey rayon or kick things up a notch with velvet. For the cooler months, try a cozy sweater knit like the boucle knit we included above. The possibilities are endless and totally work for this style top!Pick 1 - Talvikki Sweater | Style Maker Fabrics

Pick #4—Talvikki Sweater from Named Patterns. By far, this is one of our favorite pieces in our own handmade wardrobe. Such a simple pullover but the neck detail and split hem help elevate it into something so much more! A great choice for just about anyone, especially during the cooler months. Choose a cozy sweatshirt fleece, French terry or even a plush sweater knit to make this wardrobe staple a new favorite!

Close, but want more simplicity? Try Grainline Studio’s Linden Sweatshirt or Sew House Seven’s Toaster Sweater. Both great options with a simple, classic style!

Pick 5 - Hudson Pants | Style Maker Fabrics

Pick #5—Hudson Pants from True Bias Patterns. For our one pants pattern to make the Top 5, we picked a personal favorite to sew for gifts. Comfortable and casual, these classic knit joggers make for perfect loungewear or even pajamas!

Picking out the right fabric for this pattern will be difficult…there are just too many choices! For the actual fabric type, jersey knits, French terry or sweatshirt fleece are probably the best options. As for color, if you want to keep things simple stick to the classics—grey, black or navy. For a bit more fun and personality go bold with prints and colors, especially if you are sewing them up with pajamas in mind. Butterflies, florals, Eiffel Towers, you name it! You might even want to consider making it a set and sewing up a Lane Raglan (Pick #2) to match!

Thinking pajamas? One of our other favorite patterns in Closet Case’s Carolyn Pajamas. The pattern doesn’t call for knit but we highly recommend it. And even if you only have time to sew the bottom, they will make the perfect gift!


Hopefully you found this Top 5 helpful and that you are inspired to sew for some of your friends and family. The task might seem a bit daunting, but there is no better gift than one made with love! And they are sure to love whatever you make!

Happy Sewing,

Michelle

Fairfield Button-Up + Sewing for Guys

Let’s face it, most of the time we only sew for ourselves! Maybe there are a few projects others here and there, but sewing can be rather selfish. With all of the time, patience and fitting involved, it is almost better that we remain our own worst critics rather than worry about what someone else thinks about our handiwork. This time of year, when shopping for others becomes difficult I am tempted more and more to sew something special for the ones that I love.

Fairfield Button-Up Side View | Style Maker Fabrics

Last Christmas I dove all in and sewed up my dad his first me-made garment, a flannel button-up shirt! In the winter he lives in flannel shirts and I knew this would be something he would get some use out of. Right out of the gate the biggest obstacle I found was knowing what size to sew…I couldn’t just walk up to him with a tape measure! In efforts to keep the whole project a secret, I “stole” one of the well-loved shirts from his closet and used it as a reference for finished garment measurements. After playing with the numbers and researching patterns, I settled on Thread Theory’s Fairfield Button-Up. Offering the widest size range XS to 4XL, this pattern features everything I was looking for and the finished measurements roughly lined up.

Flannel Fairfield Button-Up | Style Maker Fabrics

To make a long story short, he LOVES the shirt! When he opened the box on Christmas morning he was expecting another store bought shirt like any of his others. He almost didn’t believe me when I told him that it was handmade just for him. Lucky for me, IT FIT! There are a few changes to make should I venture at making another, narrowing the shoulders, but at least it is wearable and now in heavy rotation in his closet. He also can’t help but show it off every time he wears it—”My daughter MADE my shirt.” Love you Dad!


While the actually sewing for men is pretty straight forward, the style, fabric choices and patterns are a different ball game. I thought I would share a few of my favorite patterns and fabrics to pair with them. Hopefully this will inspire a few of your own handmade holiday gifts for the men in your life.

First, let’s talk a bit more about the Fairfield Button-Up. Designed by one of the few dedicated menswear indie pattern designers, Thread Theory brought a bit of modern styling to a classic button-up. You will love the professional details this pattern offers and the thoughtful construction makes pattern matching quick and painless. Thread Theory also offers free downloads for additional sleeve, collar and cuff options for even more customization. All-in-all, a great pattern choice and one that is sure to be well loved. In terms of fabric choices there are loads of options—traditional shirtings, flannel, chambray and more. Depending on his style and the season you are sure to find more than enough choices!

Thread Theory Fairfield | Style Maker Fabrics

Chambray Shirting | Plaid Flannel | Corduroy Shirting

Looking for something a bit warmer and more forgiving on fit? One of our other favorite Thread Theory patterns is the Finlayson Sweater. Cozy and warm, this sweater takes the comfort and style of a basic hoodie and transforms it into something you couldn’t just find anywhere (the point of me-made, right!). Choose between the more modern shawl collar or a wrap around fully lined hood to find the look that suits him best. Add the optional pouch pocket to the front or leave if off to keep the lines clean and simple. We might even be tempted to try sewing this more for ourselves! Fabric choices for this sweater are also more fun…and warm! Try sweatshirt fleece, French terry and other cozy knits.

Thread Theory Finlayson | Style Maker Fabrics

Wool Fleece | Sweatshirt Fleece | Thermal Sweater Knit

One more great option, easily incorporated into any wardrobe, is the Denali Vest from Seamwork. Loaded with customizable options, this versatile vest will keep him warm throughout the cooler months. Experiment with quilting your own fabric to create the perfect pairing. We especially love the idea of the faux leather yoke detail!

Seamwork Denali | Style Maker Fabrics

Check Plaid Flannel | Melton Wool | Faux Suede

Hopefully this helps inspire some menswear sewing this holiday season. You may not get the fit perfect right out of the gate but there is one guarantee—they will love whatever you make them! It is the thought and love that counts and they will be too excited to have something handmade to worry about anything else.

Happy Sewing!

Michelle

Cocoon Chic: Papercut Patterns Sapporo Coat

Sapporo Coat Side | Style Maker Fabrics

I have been admiring Papercut’s Sapporo Coat since it’s release earlier this year. Something about the simple lines and carefree style draws you in and just makes you want to cuddle up inside. While you can sew this coat up in just about any woven fabric, in my mind it is always sewn up in a cozy wool! I mean look at the pattern cover…don’t you want that coat in your closet, like right now!

Papercut Sapporo Coat | Style Maker Fabrics

With the weather quickly getting colder here in the PNW, I decided to dive in and make the winter coat I have been dreaming about. Watching other Sapporo Coats pop up on Instagram, one thing consistently comes up, the sizing—almost everyone goes down a size or wish they did. A cocoon coat can easily go from stylishly oversized to drowning the wearer in fabric, so this is definitely something to be aware of. Taking the lead from the sewing community and Lori (Girls in the Garden, below), I decided to sew up the smallest size (XXS/XS). Normally I wear a Medium, but in Papercut’s patterns I am typically a Small, so it isn’t surprising that they continue their trend of running on the large size.

Denim Girls in the Garden Sapporo Coat

Since this isn’t a style of coat that I would typically choose, I decided to make a muslin using some inexpensive polar fleece. I almost NEVER sew a muslin but when I am using a special fabric, like wool, I want to make sure I know what I am doing before I cut into the good stuff! I cut a straight XXS/XS and quickly sewed it up not worrying about any of the under stitching or other finishing details. With the exterior sew up, I pinned all the facings in place and tried it on. First thought—I loved how it looked! The polar fleece was a bit clingy but it fit well through the shoulders and body. The center front hung nicely but did separate a bit more than I wanted to a the hips and hem. Playing with the side seams, I decided I needed to gradually grade out a size from the hips to the hem on the lower front and back pieces. This adds about 2″ of ease total around the hips and will help with the slight gaping at the front.

Time for fabric! I was tempted to keep things neutral, drawing inspiration from the pattern cover, and go with this gorgeous vanilla textured wool or sepia boiled wool. But since most of the coats in my closet are either black or grey, my love of color overruled and I went with this rich wine color in the same boiled wool as the sepia. Now for the lining…with a splashy color for the exterior why not go all in and put something fun on the inside too, right? I have been eyeing this gorgeous rayon floral and decided that had to be the one!

Sapporo Coat Fabrics Choices | Style Maker Fabrics

Construction of my Sapporo went very smoothly. I actually got it all sewn together in a few hours one evening. The best part is the limited number of seams and the straight forward piecing, even with a full lining this coat is quick sew. One interesting thing to note on the pattern—when sewing together the lining it calls to leave an opening in one side seam for turning the coat. I followed directions but ended up turning the coat thru one of the giant sleeve openings (you tack these down in the last step). Realizing what I did, I turned the coat back inside out and stitched up the opening in the side seam with my machine since. Why do even more hand work!

Sapporo Coat Outlines | Style Maker Fabrics

One other experiment I wanted to tell you about… The sleeves on this pattern are sort of a bracelet/cropped length. After trying on my muslin I thought why not lengthen them to be a full sleeve? On my final jacket I did lengthen the sleeves about 4 inches but immediately regretted it. Remember how I mentioned cocoon coats ride a fine line between being stylish and just too much. Well full length sleeves just make this coat look like it is 4 sizes too big—like you are a child that stole your dad’s coat to keep warm! That being said, my sleeves immediately got removed, trimmed down and sewn again. Sorry I didn’t grab a photo, it was late at night but trust me what difference!

Sapporo Coat Side | Style Maker Fabrics

After a good press I tried on my finished coat and noticed some slight pulling/dropping around the facing. Due to the weight of the boiled wool, these areas needed a bit of reinforcement to help them keep their shape. A few tacks here and there at seam lines and intersections and that problem was just about fixed. I think I might still tack a bit more down the shoulder seams but overall it looks great. What do you think?

Sapporo Coat Side Wide | Style Maker Fabrics

Sapporo Coat Lining Peek | Style Maker Fabrics

Sapporo Coat Front Collar | Style Maker Fabrics

Sapporo Coat Back | Style Maker Fabrics

For a lot of people the task of sewing a winter coat seems unsurmountable. I got over this fear a while back when I took on Closet Case’s Clare Coat, which remains one of my favorite handmade pieces! My advice is, “Just do it”! With the detailed instructions the amazing indie designers provide, they will walk you thru each step and help you make your project successful. “Bagging” a coat really isn’t that scary and you learn so much about construction when taking on projects like this. For those just venturing into winter layers, I would highly recommend Papercut’s Sapporo—there aren’t a million pieces, fussy zippers or complex tailoring. Coupled with its easy, modern styling and relatively quick sewing time, it is a win-win for seamstresses of all levels. Did I mention how cozy it is?

Keep warm this winter and happy sewing!

Michelle