Hi, my name is Louise, and I am a lapsed sewist. Is anyone else in the same camp? Sewing can take a bit of a back seat when you have big things going on in your life – be that a new job, a new arrival, a bereavement, health concerns… it falls right to the bottom of a list of priorities. I’ve had a bit of a year and sewing has been pretty non-existent for me.
We have officially moved into cosy season where sewing takes centre stage. It can be comforting to take your mind off the worries of the world and indulge in some self-care. I have compiled a selection of comfort sewing projects that are perfect for slowing and calming the mind. I’ve picked things that can be picked up and tackled in small increments of time, are perfect for snuggling on the sofa or are easy peasy.
Before I get onto some ideas about how to get back into sewing (and find your sew-jo) I will say that the most important thing is to be kind to yourself. Sometimes, and I speak from experience here, the best thing you can do is curl up with a (insert your de-stressing activity) jigsaw. But, when you are ready and want to fit in some comfort sewing that offers a little escape, you might find one of these sewing patterns fits the bill.
The first sewing I am going to get stuck into is quilting. I am a complete newbie and started one *cough* three years ago. I need to get back to it. I love how you can pick it up, sew a block, and put it away again. There’s no timeline for finishing a quilt and I find repetitive sewing strangely soothing. Once you get going you don’t have to think about what you are doing and enjoy the gentle hum of your sewing machine.
- Merchant & Mills Grove Creations: Great if you don’t want to make a patchwork quilt. Snuggle up on the sofa with this quilt which is made with lots of linen thread ties.
- Quiltfolk Foundry Frances Quilt: This timeless design is based on a small but mighty 100-year-old quilt. Quiltfolk patterns come with easy-to-follow instructions and clear diagrams which is very helpful if you’re a beginner quiltmaker.
- Matchy Matchy Picnic Square Blanket: This is very similar to the design I’m quilting so I know it will be great for any newbie quilters. This simple pattern is based on squares and rectangles – if you can sew a straight line, you can make this quilt! It comes together very quickly using the chain piecing method for the quilt top.
- Modern Handcraft Dot and Dash Quilt: Great for sewing up scraps using the included “make it scrappy” directions. This quilt is perfect for both beginner quilters and those who love a minimalist look.
Sweatshirts are one of my go-to sewing projects when I’m stuck in a sewing rut. They are straightforward to sew and are a really useful piece to have in your wardrobe. A sweater is a bit like a much-needed hug so it is quite a calming thing to wear. There are lots of options to pick from so I have shortlisted a few of my current favourites.
- The Maker’s Atelier Big Easy Top: A chic sweater with a round-neck cocoon shape, or a more boxy style with a grown-on funnel neck. Make it in fabrics that can be left with a raw edge (no finishing required!) such as microfleece, bonded jerseys or boiled and felted wools. It makes me think of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
- Matchy Matchy All Round Crew: I love this simple sweatshirt. It has a wide, relaxed fit with dropped shoulders and a gently curved back hemline. The boxy style sleeves are meant to be worn cuffed for a casual look – a simple styling detail that makes it look modern. If you have never sewn with knit fabric before this is a great, simple pattern to start with!
- I AM Patterns Baloo Tee, Sweatshirt and Dress: With 15 variations, this pattern gives you plenty of bang for your buck. Pair the elasticated hem sweatshirt with the Mowgli Joggers for a luxe loungewear set.
- The Modern Sewing Co. Rib Sweater: A slouchy jersey jumper with a bit more style – a ‘big cosy sweatshirt’ that somehow manages to feel both supremely relaxed and chic. It’s a simple piece to make so is a great project for beginners. For ultimate comfort sew the Sunday Trackies to match.
Remember batch sewing face masks? It was a bit like marmite. Some of us loved it and some of us hated it. I actually loved it and I know why. Batch sewing is quite soothing. There is something about doing something in a repetitive fashion that calms the mind and shuts out the noise. It is quite consuming and is pretty comforting. Here are a few projects that I think would make great batch sewing projects that are also super handy as they are the basics you need in your life.
- Tilly and the Buttons Iris Knickers: Never run out of undies when the washing basket is overflowing by sewing your own! This multi-style knicker pattern offers different waistline, leg opening and finishing options making a total of 36 combinations! It’s also great for getting rid of those pesky jersey scraps that are too small to do anything else with.
- Sew Liberated Bedrock Tee: With the breezy fit and three sleeve options, Bedrock layers beautifully. The instructions are full of tips for sewing with knits, so if you’re ready to begin making your own t-shirts, the Bedrock Tee is a great place to start.
- Helen’s Closet Avery Leggings: When I’m hanging around the house (or working from home), I pretty much live in comfy joggers or leggings. I sewed a batch of Avery leggings in black and I have to say they are some of my most-worn handmade items.
- Papercut Patterns Rise and Fall Turtlenecks: Last year I sewed a variety of turtleneck patterns and this was my favourite. The pattern has two completely different variations: a chic fitted version, or a dropped shoulder in a loose fit. It was a great pattern to sew in a row ensuring I had plenty of cosy tops to see me through winter.
Oh, the longline cardigan. How I love you. It feels like a dressing gown, but it doesn’t look like one. It’s quite possibly the most comforting garment you can wear and it looks chic. It can make an outfit feel instantly polished and is pretty easy to sew. Here are my longline cardigan pattern picks…
- Fibre Mood Luz Cardigan: A favourite of mine, Luz is an easy-peasy sewing project. Wear Luz with or without a belt and you can also turn Luz into a sleeveless jumper.
- Helen’s Closet Blackwood Cardigan: An absolute icon in the sewing community, this cardigan will become your favourite. Designed with layering in mind, its fitted shape and extra long sleeves make it perfect for wearing under jackets and vests, while also looking stylish over tank tops and dresses.
- Sew Over It Marni Cardigan: This cosy and stylish long-line cardigan sits just off the shoulder and features the roomiest pockets you’ve ever seen! You can make it just above the knee or a trendy midi length which I love.
- Named Esme Maxi Cardigan: An oversized, super cosy relaxed longline cardigan with a chunky button closure. The rolled-up cuffs emphasize the casual and carefree look. You could also leave off the buttons to have an effortless throw-on layer.
A peaceful night’s sleep is essential when you need a bit more calm in your life. I think there is nothing better than fresh pyjamas – especially when you have sewn them. I am a big fan of sewing my sleepwear as it sets the tone for restful nights which in turn makes you feel more restored and ready for the day.
- Named Olo Set: This was one of my favourite new arrivals last winter that I have yet to sew. The hem and sleeve openings can be finished with a rolled hem or a simple turn-up hem. They are great for anyone who enjoys PJs all day.
- In the Folds Whitlow Robe: A robe is pretty essential for hygge vibes. This relaxed robe is designed for slow and easy mornings. It has two length options and a deep overlap which gives a generous amount of coverage so there’s no risk of flashing the postie.
- Sew Liberated Nocturne Pajamas: If you are looking for an elegant alternative to button-down pyjamas, this is a great option. The top features gathers, a V-notch at the neckline, and a slight high-low hem. You can also lengthen the top into a darling tunic or nightgown which I love.
- Sew DIY Unisex Quilted Slippers: Get cold feet? ME TOO! These quilted slippers are the perfect way to keep toes warm and use up small cuts of fabric. Plus, it’s a great way to introduce yourself to quilting. The quilted exterior is constructed by quilting a layer of fabric and batting together. Or you can use pre-quilted fabric for a quicker project. The pattern is gender-neutral making it a great gift for all your friends and family.
When life is a little hectic or stressful I find a great way to calm my mind is to make my home extra inviting. Keeping things clean and tidy (and cosy) can help a cluttered mind. I light a nice smelly candle, put some mood lighting and cosy on the sofa. So I’ve picked some great projects for beautifying your home while enjoying sewing them!
- Lasenby Borage Table Mats, Cup Mats and Napkins: I enjoy the ritual of setting the table for dinner. It must be a hangover from being ‘helpful’ in my youth (and being told to set it!) but in my adulthood, I do enjoy making the table setting look inviting. These hexagonal mats and napkins are stylish and contemporary. You can find fabrics to match your decor or use up offcuts from previous sewing projects or even sew some special Christmas placemats.
- Lou Orth Designs Sprout Quilt: Dip your toe into quilting with a mini project that will spruce up your home! This modern floral quilt design can be made with or without the coloured stems. The pattern also includes instructions for making blocks for incorporating into smaller projects such as cushions, totes and pouches.
- Merchant & Mills Grove Creations: OK, I might have already mentioned this pattern pack, but it is great for homebodies. The pack includes instructions for making a simple pillowcase with a deep envelope – ideal for scatter cushions for the bed or sofa.
- Modern Handcraft Hexie Pillow: Modern hexies is a faster version of traditional English paper piecing. This pattern gives you full instructions for a decorative pillow which would make your sofa even more appealing!