Back to Basics: Designers for Beginners

Hello sewing friends!

I recently had the privilege of speaking at a meeting of the (brand new) Kitchener-Waterloo Garment Sewists Guild. It's a welcoming, inclusive group of sewists who are looking for their people, and want to share their love of garment sewing. If you are local, I highly recommend you check out their Patreon!

This meeting was all about beginnings. Nicole from SewingTilSunset is a sewist and teacher of sewing classes, and she went through some basics. She talked about what tools you need (and what ones are optional), how to get started on your first project, and some great tips for your first make. 

I talked about beginning your next project, whether it's your first or your hundredth. I shared some resources for finding new patterns, including my new site Then I went through some back-of-the-envelope reading, and talked about some of my favourite designers for basic or beginner patterns. Now that I've gathered the information, I figured I should share it with you!

There are hundreds of independent designers out there, doing very creative things. Many of them have professional garment design backgrounds. And many of them are thinking about accessibility and inclusiveness in their designs, which is awesome to see. Here are some of my favourites.

Screenshot of the Designers page on My Next Make, with a list of pattern designers.

100 Acts of Sewing is my go-to for a first garment project. Their simple patterns have as few pieces and seams as possible, so you can get started quickly. But they are also very easy to modify later, to make one pattern into many beautiful garments.

Peppermint Mag is an online magazine with amazing articles, patterns, and resources for garment sewing. Their patterns are pay-what-you-can (or free), and have great instructions. They especially focus on gender-neutral garment styles, to welcome everyone into the sewing world.

Muna & Broad design specifically for plus-size bodies, including some of those complex modifications that an advanced sewist might make to get the best fit from a pattern. That means you don't have to do the math or design work for a sway back or full bust adjustment, to get that great fit that we strive for in hand-made garments. And if their size range isn't big enough, you can send them your measurements and they will adjust their patterns to fit you, free of charge!

Helen's Closet is all about community, bringing people together over their love of sewing with a wonderful podcast. Their patterns are thoughtfully designed and graded in a wide range of sizes. They also include a wide range of difficulties, making it easy to level up your skills slowly.

Ellie & Mac is an especially good resource for sewing with knits. They include really detailed instructions and great tips to get the best finished product you can. They also have a large size range with a combination of kids and adult-sized patterns.

I hope that helps give you some inspiration for your next sewing project. Happy sewing, everyone!