Beyond the Big Four: Independent Pattern Designers
If you’ve been sewing garments for any length of time, you are probably very familiar with the Big Four pattern companies– Simplicity, Vogue, Butterick and McCalls. These companies offer a wide variety of patterns, are easily found in big box craft stores, and are certainly a great place to start when searching for your next sewing project. But did you know that there’s also a whole world of independent pattern designers? While they might not offer quite the same variety of patterns, once you find a designer you love, you might find yourself wanting to stitch up one of every pattern (could you say the same about one of the Big Four companies?).
The Internet makes it easy to find and purchase from independent pattern designers. Some designers even offer PDF patterns if you don’t want to wait by your mailbox. If you have a local independent fabric store, you might find some patterns stocked there, as well.
Here’s a roundup of some of my favorite independent pattern designers:
Sew Liberated: I love Meg McElwee’s patterns because they have a sweet, country vibe to them. Her designs are obviously wardrobe staples you will reach for again and again. She has a pattern for whatever you are in the mood for– knits, wovens, accessories, dresses, even something for your little one. Meg’s more recent releases also come with video tutorials. Meg is also a Craftsy instructor; check out her Sewing with Knits class.
Colette Patterns: Sarai Mitnick offers a wide variety of patterns; she even dabbles in men’s wear and lingerie. Most of her patterns are available in PDF form to be printed at home. Her frequently updated blog is a great resource while working on a Colette pattern (she’s hosted several sew-alongs). Sarai is great at dreaming up extras for her patterns. One of her recent patterns, the Laurel shift dress, was the subject of a free downloadable booklet showing nine different ways to add variation to the pattern.
Favorite Things: This company focuses on simple, flattering silhouettes. They offer patterns for women and children, including a nice variety of tote bags. They don’t offer PDF patterns but seem to be stocked in good number of retail stores.
Megan Nielsen: Megan offers several patterns appropriate for nursing mama’s and mama’s-to-be, which is a bit of a rarity in the independent pattern market. Of course, these patterns will also work for the non-maternal, and she has some great patterns that will work for just about every woman (my favorite is the Darling Ranges dress). Megan also has a great blog where she showcases variations on her patterns as well as helpful tutorials.
Sew Chic: If you like the idea of vintage patterns but are looking for something more updated, Sew Chic has you covered. Each pattern has a bit of vintage flair, but the convenience of working with a modern pattern. Sew Chic designer Laura Nash also has a blog with useful sewing tips. (And if you are interested in sewing with vintage patterns, be sure to check out this post for some tips.)
And don’t forget about Craftsy’s independent designers from around the world. Be sure to check out our Pattern Marketplace featuring thousands of amazing sewing patterns.
Do you have a favorite independent pattern designer? Let me know in the comments!
Come back to the Craftsy blog tomorrow for tips on sewing with taffeta.