The Best Pattern Sources for a Variety of Sewing Needs

Every seamstress begins a project with certain goals in mind. They may want to make something that is different from the choices in the department stores for a special occasion or have the freedom to add or take away features that aren’t available. In some cases, making it yourself lets you have the design you want at a price that is a lot more affordable than the ready-made version in the store. Whether your next project is an embellished formal, a pirate’s costume, or a new pair of kitchen curtains, finding the best pattern sources for a variety of sewing needs is the first step towards ensuring your success.

Costumes, Historical, and Period Reenacting  Best Pattern Sources

Whether your little one wants to dress like his/her favorite superhero for Halloween or you are looking for the most authentic civil war uniform pattern, authenticity is important. Simplicity offers a diversity of costume patterns for children and adults alike. They often include popular cartoon and movie characters like those from Finding Dory for the little ones or Alice in Wonderland Cosplay costumes for adults.

When it comes to creating historical costumes, authenticity is even more important. These costumes are often used for reenactments or other period-themed events that rely on authentic costuming to create the right feeling. Butterick patterns offer a number of designs with their Making History series, particularly for women. For men taking part in reenactments, the patterns from Amazon Drygoods include a variety of historic patterns and you can also try C&C Sutlery which deals in Civil War reenactment supplies.

Finding the exact pattern for the period that you are searching for can be difficult if you rely on the newest pattern selection from top sellers. Instead, search online for those stores that specialize in historical patterns and often have related patterns that are out-of-print with the original company. Take a look at blogs and online tutorials, such as Jennifer Rosbrugh's Old Petticoat Shop and Historical Sewing.

Casual Wear Pattern Sources

One thing to keep in mind when searching for sewing patterns for casual wear is that you will get a lot more benefit from a single pattern that includes multiple pieces that you can mix and match. Look for patterns that give you different sleeve-style options or pant-length options for greater versatility. Simplicity offers a number of mixable wardrobe pieces in their regular and New Look patterns for kids of all ages and women. For men’s patterns, check out all of the leading brands including McCalls and Simplicity. There are usually more choices for women than men so you will need to go to more resources to find new styles.

Sportswear and Uniforms  Pattern Sources

Simplicity has a wide variety of patterns for women’s sportswear and a fairly good selection for men. McCall's usually offers the better variety of kids’ sportswear but most pattern companies offer little in the line of school uniform patterns. For sewers with a serger, Serger Pepper offers downloadable PDF patterns that are designed for serger sewing including some popular styles for kids’ school uniforms.

The most popular type of uniform pattern for adults is that for scrubs worn by all types of medical personnel. Most pattern brands are going to offer some type of uniform pattern for men and women including the versatile McCall’s pattern M6107. This pattern includes a variety of pieces that can be used interchangeably to build an entire professional wardrobe from a single pattern.

Formal Attire and Bridal  Pattern Sources

All patterns tend to change with the current trends, bringing more options to copy the most popular fashions that you can buy at any given time. When it comes to formal and bridal attire, Vogue patterns are the most fashionable choices for any special occasion in part due to the many designer patterns they offer.  Be prepared to pay somewhat to significantly more than you would for other pattern brands.

McCall’s and Simplicity also offer a number of formal and bridal designs, many of which are less challenging than those from Vogue if you are not as confident in your sewing expertise.

Infants’, Toddlers’, and Children’s Clothing  Pattern Sources

The best resource for kids’ patterns depends in large what you want to accomplish. If you are looking for basic clothing patterns to serve as wardrobe staples, Simplicity and McCall’s will probably have everything you need. For fashions that stand out for little girls of every age, Sew Sweet Patterns offers downloadable patterns for adorable fashions that are made for the beginner seamstress. While these patterns are made for little girls, Beatnik kids offers downloadable PDF patterns for boys and they even have some free patterns available.

For the widest selection in infants, check out the selection of patterns on They bring together patterns from all the popular brands that you can either purchase or download as a PDF.

Home Fashion  Pattern Sources

This is another area where each of the top fabric companies offers a number of patterns but not a wide variety that will meet every need. If you want to expand your options, consider looking at sites like DIY JOY for home sewing projects that don’t require a pattern. Projects include sewing tips that help you get professional results.

Sewing Patterns for Knit Fabrics

As any seamstress with experience sewing knit fabrics knows, there are a number of differences when working with stretch fabrics than with woven fabrics. Christine Johnson Patterns has some really good patterns that are designed specifically for use with stretch fabrics and they also provide tips to help your stretch designs come out better.

In-Store vs Online

If you limit your choice in any type of patterns to those offered at the local fabric and/or crafts stores, you may be missing a lot of opportunities to add more versatility to the types of garments or other sewing projects you can make instead of purchasing them.

Online, check out Pinterest and Etsy for even more resources and gain the advantage of new and vintage patterns that may be more appropriate for the style you want. Also, there are numerous specialty sites that focus on one area of interest and some even have the option to customize your pattern choices. When you can’t find what you are looking for in-store, search online and there is little that you won’t find waiting for you!


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