Everyone rates the difficulty of a pattern a little differently. There are some industry standards based on what sewing skills are needed to complete a certain sewing project with any given pattern, but sewers also have their own scale of difficulty based on personal preference. Regardless, once you reach a certain skill level, there are certain projects you should try at least once. Here’s a round up of advanced sewing patterns and projects that I think will inspire the intermediate to advanced seamstress.
Challenge yourself as a sewer and spur creativity with this roundup of advanced sewing patterns you simply must try!
A well-tailored jacket
Photos via Craftsy instructor Amy Alan
First on my list is a well-tailored jacket. A well-tailored jacket gives you plenty of opportunity to test your abilities and go the extra mile with professional details. Bound buttonholes, lining techniques, welt pockets and print matching are just a few of the skills you might encounter when sewing a jacket like Amy’s version of the Anise by Colette Patterns.
Classic blue jeans
Next on my list is a classic pair of denim pants. Perhaps the most daunting thing about sewing your own jeans is trying to make them look on par with a store bought pair. Having the right hardware really makes all the difference, plus your top stitching has to be top notch. Of course, that whole process gets so much easier when you have a personal tutor to walk you through it! The pair of jeans shown above were made with the help of Angela Wolf’s class Sewing Designer Jeans, and the end result is seriously impressive.
A formal evening gown
Sewing formal gowns takes patience and careful attention to detail. Probably not the kind of project one would just “whip up”. Aside from the delicate, luxury fabrics that are usually involved in sewing formal wear, there is still the perfect fit and finishing details to get right. A lot goes into making these types of gowns, and I’ve heard even experienced dressmakers find certain parts of formal wear to be challenging, but the outcome is surely very rewarding.
A fitted corset
Corset making often accompanies formal wear and is also a pretty involved type of project when done properly. Corsets are made for many different occasions including weddings, theater productions, historical reenactments, or themed costume events. They can be worn under or over your clothing and suit a wide variety of fabric types depending on their purpose. They’re beautifully feminine and sure to make a statement.
A hand-embellished project
Projects with hand embellishments take time and focus to complete, and they add a level of difficultly to an otherwise simple project. Craftsy instructor Natalie Chanin is famous for her hand stitched details on simple garment silhouettes.Try adding hand embellishments to your next basic sewing project for an advanced look. It’s amazing how simple hand stitching can transform a plain garment into something intricately elegant. Sign up for Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Appliqué, Beading & Embroidery and learn how to add one of a kind hand-sewn details to any garment.
Photos via Colette Patterns
Last on my list of intermediate patterns is a form fitting, princess seamed, sun dress with contrasting details. The Lily dress by Colette is a great intermediate pattern to help advance your sewing skills. It includes a close fit, a kick pleat, and flap details to work through. When sewing a dress like this, a muslin is essential for sewing the perfect fit. You want to make sure the dress is flattering and all the seams follow your curves exactly as they’re supposed to.
As I said, all sewers will have their own views on what projects are challenging to make. Certain fabrics are more fussy to work with than others, there might be unfamiliar tools and techniques involved that make a garment harder to complete. Additionally, some garments are just simply complicated.
Are all your sewing skills checked off the list? Join the Craftsy class Sew Smarter: 30 Professional Techniques to polish off your sewing know-how with the advanced construction and finishing techniques you need to create sophisticated garments!