The Best Beginner Sewing Patterns for Dressmakers
If you’ve been watching The Great British Sewing Bee and it’s tempted you to try out dressmaking for the first time you are in the right place. When you first start to sew your own clothes choosing the right pattern is essential. We narrowed down the best sewing patterns with beginners in mind. There are loads of great things for you to make, everything from dresses, tops, skirts, jackets and pyjamas. We have only included sewing patterns that use cotton, as this is the easiest fabric to learn to sew with. We’ve also made sure to exclude any tricky techniques such as invisible zips.
Tilly and the Buttons – Stevie Tunic
The Stevie Tunic from Tilly and the Buttons was an instant hit with the sewing community when it was released. It has none of the tricky darts, zips or sleeves to insert, making this a speedy make. The overall style is boxy with a round neckline and wide grown on sleeves. The easiest way to finish the dress is with the fabric ties at the back neckline but you can also use a button and loop. Alternatively Stevie can be made into a top, which finishes at the hip.
What we think: Tilly writes the best instructions so you are in safe hands as a beginner with this pattern. If you are feeling ambitious there are also extras you can add on including turn-up cuffs and a patch pocket. Read maker reviews of the sewing pattern here.
Format: paper pattern, digital PDF or PDF + printed copy shop / Sizes: UK 6 – 24
Closet Core Patterns – Cielo Top and Dress
Part of the Rome Collection, the Cielo Top and Dress is an easy, breezy take on a boxy tee and shift dress. Loaded with interesting details and interchangeable features, it will fast become a wardrobe building favourite. Choose between a semi-cropped top with a cuffed short sleeve or dramatic gathered long sleeve. Or, make an easy fitting dress with sleek inseam pockets, or without pockets . All views have a slightly dropped shoulder, angled shoulder yoke and roomy fit, with a choice between an elegant bias binding or faced neckline finish.
What we think: One for the holidays, this dress feels great in linen and is the way to start your handmade wardrobe. It’s also an easy dress and top to fit with plenty of ease. Make it simple with no pockets and cuffed short sleeves or challenge yourself with some inseam pockets. Read maker reviews of the sewing pattern here.
Format: paper pattern / Sizes: UK 6 – 20
Megan Nielsen – Eucalypt Tank Top and Dress
This dartless woven tank and dress is a wardrobe staple. The pattern features a relaxed fit, scoop neckline, curved hemline and French seams. Options include a woven tank, a tank with centre front seam, a tank dress and a tank dress with centre front seam.
What we think: This quick to make tank top can be paired with shorts and sandals for hot summer days. Make the process easier by purchasing ready made bias tape for this project. Before you know it, you’ll have lots of these in every colour! Read maker reviews of the sewing pattern here.
Format: paper pattern / Sizes: UK 6 – 20
Helen’s Closet – York Pinafore
The York Pinafore is a playful addition to your handmade wardrobe. It is easy to layer over tank tops for summer or turtlenecks and leggings for colder weather. The York Pinafore is a modern take on a classic pinafore dress with a cocoon shape and two views. View A features large scoop pockets, a dipped neckline, and comes to the knee. View B is a shorter length with a high neckline and a kangaroo pocket.
What we think: This is a classic with a twist. The cocoon shape is perfect for pear shaped bodies, and the relaxed nature of the dress will make it easy to fit. It works well in summer over a T-shirt and would look great in corduroy over a polo neck in the winter.
Format: PDF or PDF + printed copy shop / Sizes: Approx. UK 6 – 34
Megan Nielsen – River Dress and Top
The River Dress and Top is a reversible raglan dress or top that can be made in woven or knit fabrics. The pattern features a loose fit and optional pockets and waist tie. It can be worn with the v-neck or the round neck side at the front.
What we think: You can give this easy to fit dress more shape with a tie at the waist. Plus the sloping raglan sleeves are much easier to sew than more traditional inset sleeves. Read maker reviews of the sewing pattern here.
Format: paper pattern / Sizes: UK 8 – 16
True Bias – Ogden Cami
The Ogden Cami is a simple blouse that can be worn on its own or as a layering piece under blazers and cardigans. It has a soft v-neck at both the centre front and centre back, and delicate spaghetti straps (sizes 0 – 18) or 3/4″ wide straps (sizes 14 – 30). The neckline and armholes are finished with a partial lining for a beautiful, high end finish. It is probably the most popular pattern in the sewing community!
What we think: This is a must for any budding dressmaker and you won’t be disappointed! It’s a great fit straight out of the pattern envelope, and since the pattern has been updated it fits different cup sizes too. Read a plethora of sewing pattern reviews here!
Format: paper, PDF or Pdf + printed copy shop / Sizes: approx. UK 8 – 20 or 16 – 32
The Friday Pattern Company – Square Neck Top
The Square Neck Top is a boxy dolman sleeved top with a square neckline. It is also slightly cropped. A great beginner sewing pattern, it includes pattern pieces to make the top from a knit or woven fabric, as well as front pieces drafted for an A/B cup or a C/D cup.
What we think: One for the fashion-focused maker, this top has an on trend square neck. It’s easy to sew with a wide facing and grown on sleeves. Read sewing pattern reviews here.
Format: paper pattern, PDF or PDF + printed copy shop / Sizes: Approx. UK 6 – 34 with different cup sizes
Chalk and Notch – Victory Tank
The Victory Tank has a swing shape with two views. View A has a simple scoop front neckline and finishes mid-hip. View B has v-shaped straps on the front neckline and a v-shaped cut out in the back with a cropped length. Both views are fully lined and interchangeable.
What we think: This is a looser fitting tank top, which will be nice and breezy for summer. It’s also well suited to layering too for cooler days. The wider straps are great for covering your bra and if your choose a lighter weight main fabric, you can also use it for the lining. Read sewing pattern reviews here.
Format: paper pattern, PDF or PDF + printed copy shop / Sizes: Approx. UK 8 – 30 with different bust cup sizes
Cashmerette – Springfield Top
Make room in your closet for the Springfield Top! This woven shell is ideal for layering under a cardigan or pairing with dark jeans and your favorite heels. View A features a loose, swingy silhouette and optional hem band, while View B uses back princess seams to beautifully skim your curves. Both variations have scooped necklines, back yokes, and comfortably split side seams. Bring on the weekend!
What we think: A great top for colour-blocking if you opt for the hem band. You’ll get a great fit with this top thanks to the princess seams at the back and different bust cup sizes. Everyone should have one in their wardrobe! Read sewing pattern reviews here.
Format: paper pattern / Sizes: Approx. UK 14 – 30 with different cup sizes
Liesl and Co – Verdun Woven T-shirt
The Verdun is a relaxed-fit woven t-shirt with dropped shoulders, a faced hem that is longer in back than in front, and a scooped neck with a facing. View A includes cut-on short sleeves and a front pocket, while View B has a V-notched neckline and long sleeves.
What we think: Your handmade wardrobe wouldn’t be complete without a t-shirt and as this pattern is designed for woven fabrics, it’s perfect for beginners! A classic tee to pair with jeans or opt for the longer sleeved version with sleeves. Read sewing pattern reviews here.
Format: paper pattern or PDF / Sizes: Approx. UK 8 – 20 with different cup sizes
Sew Over It – Sylvia Robe
The Sylvia Robe is the perfect piece for layering in style! With its 1920s elegance, the long version exudes Gatsby glamour, while the shorter version makes a perfect pairing with skinny jeans and a simple t-shirt, taking an everyday look from blah to bewitching. Ideal for summer holidays, Sylvia makes a beautiful beach cover-up or fabulous festival attire (go wild with the pompom trim!).
What we think: This pattern is ideal for having fun with fabrics – think big modern florals in bright colours, bold monochrome geometrics or dainty subtle prints. Whatever you choose, you can really make a statement with Sylvia!
Format: PDF or PDF + printed copy shop / Sizes: Approx. UK 6 – 20 or 18 – 30
Papercut Patterns – Luna Jacket
Luna is a boxy cropped jacket for any season. Make it in wool for winter or soft chiffon for summer – the three variations provide plenty of options. Luna features an optional lining, 3/4 sleeves, drop shoulders, side seam splits, front ties and front patch pockets. The perfect match for almost every outfit!
What we think: A jacket is the idea cover up for lots of occasions, cool summer evenings, strolls through the park or over swimwear by the pool. Everyone should have one in their wardrobe! Read sewing pattern reviews here.
Format: paper pattern / Sizes: Approx. UK 4 – 20
Helen’s Closet – Donovan Skirt
The Donovan Skirt is a beginner sewing pattern that teaches a variety of sewing techniques and results in a beautiful, everyday garment. This classic elastic waist skirt has the perfect amount of fullness and works in many different fabrics. It has roomy pockets, an optional drawstring, and two views. View A is a midi-length with a modern side slit and View B is a summery above-the-knee length.
What we think: With an elastic waist, this skirt will be easy to fit and you can choose from a light weight cotton lawn to a medium weight linen and both will look great. Structured fabrics will have more dramatic volume, and drapier fabrics will have more fluid movement for plenty of different looks! Read sewing pattern reviews here.
Format: PDF or PDF + printed copy shop / Sizes: Approx. UK 6 – 30
Sew DIY – Lela Skirt
The Lela Skirt is a casual skirt featuring an elastic waist, straight silhouette and a split hem in either knee or mid-calf length. This is a beginner friendly pattern that is equally easy-to-sew as it is to wear. The pattern is designed to be mix-and-match for a total of 18 different designs. Select from a gently curved hem, an exaggerated curved hem or a straight hem. You can also choose between in-seam pockets, angled pockets or scoop pockets.
What we think: Without a zip to worry about the Lela Skirt is easy to fit with a drawstring waist. Once you’ve practiced making the basic version of this skirt you can try adding different pocket types to build your skills. Read sewing pattern reviews here.
Format: PDF or PDF + printed copy shop / Sizes: Approx. UK 4 – 30
Tilly and the Buttons – Jaimie pyjamas bottoms and shorts
Lounge in style in your me-made pyjama bottoms or shorts. With simple construction and a free step-by-step video tutorial, Jaimie is an ideal first sewing project for newbies, or a quick and satisfying make for existing stitch addicts. Choose between full-length pyjama bottoms or boyfriend shorts, with an optional drawstring detail. The low-rise, elasticated waist and relaxed-fit leg make these PJs oh so comfy to wear. You’ll never want to get dressed when you’re wearing your Jaimie jammies!
What we think: Jaimie includes Tilly and the Buttons’ award-winning beginner-friendly instructions, with colour photos showing you each step – making it easy for you to create gorgeous clothes you can be proud to say you made yourself. Plus you can sew along with Tilly with the free video tutorial! Read sewing pattern reviews here.
Format: paper, PDF or PDF + printed copy shop / Sizes: Approx. UK 4 – 24