Sew it three times

Sew each pattern three times for maximum enjoyment and use out of your sewing patterns.

I’ve begun a new sewing approach that I got from one of the Sew News editors: sew it three times!

Why sew it three times? You’ve invested the time and energy to sew a pattern, you should get the most out of it that you can. Of course, you can make it MORE than that, but making it at LEAST three times ensures that you get the most value out of each pattern. It also forces you to use your pattern stash (we’ll tackle that later!)

Why make sewing patterns three times?

  • You’ll get your best fit with your first to second test and then you’ll have the second two that really fit well
  • You’ll get a chance to sew it “right out of the envelope” as the designer intended, with the recommended fabrics, but also….
  • You’ll get the chance to experiment with a different fabric or views available in the pattern
  • You’ll have the chance to make design or fit alterations that could catapult this into TNT (tried n’ true) pattern status, where you know you can expect consistent, well-fitting results. You’ll shorten the time between “I need this in my wardrobe” and the time that it’s IN your wardrobe.

You’ll make 27 garments in your #MakeNine for the year!

I have (and you do too) a lot of sewing patterns we’ve never sewn. While great for supporting independent sewing pattern designers, these never-sewn garments are opportunities to express your creativity. Further if you don’t like the pattern or it didn’t work for you – wouldn’t it be better to pass it onto someone else?

I have a whole collection of patterns I’ve never sewed, and that’s too bad – for those patterns and for me. Focusing my efforts on fewer patterns that I know I can successfully make (and make them work for my body and my wardrobe) are key. Those that I know I won’t ever make again, these should go.

Some years ago, a friend with a huge pattern stash she inherited from her late mom offered boxes of patterns to me. But I’d already inherited a stash of vintage patterns from both my mom (and friends.) I’ve committed to selecting at least two vintage patterns from my own stash and then deciding whether to keep any of the others that I have in my stash for anything other than just framing and decorating my sewing space with them.  

Some are ‘vintage’ but they’re back in style. My collection of Vogue Elements from the early 1990s is not only timeless but some of the more trendy 1990s styles are very much back in fashion.  I’ve sewn other things like ponchos from the 1970s or even pajamas and nightshirts from the early 1980s.

OK, you’re convinced, you’re going to sew each pattern three times. That’s great for basics like tee shirts and joggers, but what about other patterns?

Unless it’s an evening gown, many patterns can be made more than once to serve more than one purpose. For instance, make a tee shirt dress into a couple of dresses and a nightgown! Or sew a pair of pants into hiking pants or loungewear just with a change of fabric and the addition or omission of pockets. A button up shirt pattern becomes a jacket, or a pajama top just by switching fabrics and sizes.

Most patterns have at least two or three views, sewing all gives you slightly different patterns to weave into your wardrobe. Or they can be sewn in three wildly different fabrics for distinct looks.  If you live in a climate that changes with the seasons, sew with fabric for each season.

What patterns are you going to make three times? Select at least one pattern right now that you’re going to commit to sewing three (or more) times this year.

My three Toaster Sweaters from Sew House Seven. The green on the left was the “muslin” the two on the right in navy and black were my second after I adjusted the pattern for me.