Contact Form Not Working

Hello Sew Independent Readers.

Just a quick announcement and an apology- the contact form of the contact page has not been working. I’m so sorry if you’ve tried to contact me there! I haven’t received any of your messages through that form.

While the contact page is still up, the form has been taken off it until I can get it fixed. In the meantime, please email me at hello [at] sewindependent [dot] com.

Sorry for the inconvenience!



Last Day for the SIM Bundle 1 Sale!

Hello Sew Independent readers! Just a quick note to let you know that today is the last day of the Sewing Indie Month Bundle 1 sale! The sale ends tonight, Wednesday August 12th, at midnight PST. So fly over to the Sew Independent shop to get your patterns while you can!


Not sure what to make with the bundle? Check out these great projects for inspiration:

Special Features in the Sorrel Top & Dress


Since we went over some special features in the new Saltbox pattern, I figured we ought to go over some in the new Sorrel Top & Dress by Seamster Sewing Patterns (that’s me!).



One of the things I find difficult about using PDF patterns is storing them, so I made printable envelopes for all my patterns. The envelopes use just two pieces of paper that you can print on regular US computer or A4 paper. They’re not big enough to store the taped and uncut pieces, but once you cut out the pattern pieces you should be able to fit them all in.

Printable pattern envelope

The pages that are printed, folded, and taped together to make your pattern envelope.

There are four different versions of the Sorrel you can make, two of which are dresses, which means you’ll be using up a lot of paper if you print the entire pattern at home. Thankfully, there’s a printing guide that tells you which pages to print for which version of the pattern you want to make.

Sorrel Printing Guide

When it comes to sizing, the majority of Seamster patterns have been graded so that the larger sizes can accommodate larger bra cup sizes and the smaller can accommodate smaller sizes. The medium will work on many C/D cups. While the smaller end of the size range has been graded for smaller cups than the larger, you may still need to make a small bust adjustment if you have a  proportionally smaller bust.


Sorrel Top & Dress size chart

Speaking about sizing, the faux collar takes up a lot of shoulder room, which may worry you if you regularly need to adjust patterns for narrower or wider shoulders. Fear not, because there are directions and measurements in the Sorrel pattern that tell you how to grade between sizes to cut the right shoulder size for your body.

IMG_0869 (1)

Ready to sew the Sorrel Top & Dress? Snag it in the Sewing Indie Month Bundle 1 sale now. Tomorrow, Wednesday August 12th, is the last day for the sale!


Special Features in the Saltbox Sewing Pattern

Because it’s a brand new pattern that’s never been released before, I thought you might want to find out a little more about the Saltbox by Blueprints for Sewing.

Saltbox Shirt by Blueprints for Sewing

Its interesting name comes from the colonial style Saltbox houses that inspired the fun seaming on this pattern. You see, Blueprints for Sewing takes inspiration for its patterns from architecture. The asymmetrically sloping roof of these houses is reflected in the asymmetrical triangle that makes up the front and back of this top.

a Colonial Saltbox style home

Since you can learn more about the design of and inspiration for the top on the Blueprints for Sewing blog, I’m going to share some neat features of the pattern with you.

You may have noticed in the flat garment illustrations that there are no darts in the Saltbox pattern. That makes for a quick sew! And I’m not really sure I’ve ever heard of anyone who actually likes sewing darts. But if you have a larger bust that could put you off making the top, especially since it’s been drafted for B cups. Thankfully the designer, Taylor, has made altering the top for larger and smaller busts incredibly easy.

Salt Box FBA SBA lines

Different bust adjustment lines have been drawn for each size of the pattern.

She’s put Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) and Small Bust Adjustment (SBA) lines right on the pattern pieces! This is an especially nice feature since the lines end up crossing multiple pattern pieces. You won’t be in danger of cutting your shoulder pieces at different spots than your front bodice piece.

Saltbox Top Armhole

There are some other really nice things about this pattern too. A sign of good drafting is when the armholes are drafted differently for sleeves and for sleeveless tops. Normally, when you have a pattern with sleeves and sleeveless options you’ll get separate full sized pattern pieces for the bodices. On this pattern that’s accomplished by providing different shoulder pieces. But, the smaller shoulder piece on the back doesn’t take up the entire armhole.

Saltbox Armhole Drafting

Instead of making you print out and tape together a completely separate back piece when you want to make the tank top, you simply cut out a little rectangle of paper and tape it onto the back pattern piece. It’s easy to add to the back piece since there are alignment marks printed on the back piece.

Saltbox Armhole Alignment

One other feature I really like about the pattern is that it has a space on each pattern piece for you to write the size you’ve cut out and the date you cut it out. It can be so easy to grab an old Tried ‘N True (TNT) pattern (or even one you cut out but never got around to sewing!) and sew it up without realizing that your measurements have changed, so you end up with an ill fitting garment. This is a really easy way to remind yourself to recheck your measurements and size before cutting into your fabric.

Saltbox Pattern Notes

I have sewn this pattern and really enjoyed making it! I’ll be posting about it on the Seamster blog. But before I do I just wanted to let you know that everything on this pattern lines up perfectly. I mention this since it may look like things don’t when you’re sewing the front shoulders to the front. It’ll look like the shoulder piece is too long at the neckline, but I promise it’s not! Here’s what it will look like.

Saltbox sewing the front

Once you sew the remaining front shoulder piece to the front you’ll see that everything lines up perfectly. It only looked too long because of the seam allowances. If the piece were shorter you wouldn’t have enough of a seam allowance to sew your facing to the neckline.


I hope you end up loving sewing the Saltbox as much as I did!


SALE – Sewing Indie Month Pattern Bundle 1

Hello Sew Independent Readers! My name is Mari, designer and owner of Seamster Sewing Patterns. Donna, the founder of Sew Independent, decided to step back from this site so I took over.

I’m incredibly excited to be running Sew Independent because it’s the perfect home for Sewing Indie Month (SIM). SIM is a month-long celebration of indie sewing patterns that I started last year. And it’s going to be even bigger this year when it fully kicks off in September.


We’re starting the celebrations a little early though by throwing a huge sale. From today, August 3rd, until next Wednesday August 12th you can buy a bundle of 10 PDF sewing patterns from different indie designers for as little as $3.80 per pattern! What makes this insanely discounted sale even more exciting is that 20% of proceeds go to charity!

The way the sale works is that you get to decide how much you pay, starting with a minimum of $25. Paying the minimum will get you a great wardrobe building pack of 5 patterns. The more you pay though, the more patterns you’ll get, with up to 10 patterns for as little as $38!

International Folk Art Alliance

Of course you can pay over those minimums, and when you hear about the charity you’ll be supporting you may very well want to! The charity is the International Folk Art Alliance, which means you’ll get to help artisans from around the world create sustainable livelihoods through education and by giving them access to exhibition opportunities. Through the International Folk Art Alliance’s efforts, artists from around the world have been able to build schools and feed their local villages, find shelter from abuse, and recover their ability to support themselves and their families after the destruction of war.

With your generosity you’ll get to help makers from around the world and even those in your own backyards (us, the pattern makers!) create sustainable livelihoods. And because we appreciate your support, the 10 people who spend the most will receive a free bonus reward- printed copy shop versions of the patterns mailed to them anywhere in the world!

By now I’m sure your fingers are itching to start sewing!


If you spend $25 or more you’ll get the following patterns:

  • Sutton Blouse by True Bias
  • Cressida Skirt by Jennifer Lauren Vintage Patterns
  • Sugar Plum Dress by Lolita Patterns
  • Mississippi Ave Dress & Top by Sew House Seven
  • Ultimate Trousers by Sew Over It

If you spend $32 or more you’ll receive the previous 5 patterns and the:

  • Cookie Blouson by Waffle Patterns
  • Bonnel Dress by Dixie DIY

And if you spend $38 or more you’ll get all of the above patterns plus the:

  • Melissa Dress, Blouse & Skirt by Muse Patterns
  • the NEW Saltbox Top by Blueprints for Sewing
  • the NEW Sorrel Dress & Top by Seamster Sewing Patterns

That’s almost $100 off the full retail cost of $132.61! Because making a sewing pattern is so work intensive, we designers can only sell our patterns for such a low price when they’re bought in bulk- just like with Groupon. Chances are you’ll never again see these patterns offered at such rockbottom prices. We just couldn’t keep the lights on in our studios if we regularly offered such big discounts. So take advantage of this deal while you can!

This is a great way to try out a bunch of different designers. Plus, you’ll be able to get the brand new Saltbox from Blueprints for Sewing and the Sorrel Dress & Top from Seamster Sewing Patterns before the designers even start carrying them in their own shops. That’s right! During the bundle sale you won’t be able to buy these brand new patterns anywhere else.

Are you as excited as I am?! Head over to the new Sew Independent shop to support your fellow home sewers and artisans from around the world. Remember, the sale only lasts until August 12th!

so …. sew independent?

Fri, 11 Oct 2013 22:49:31 +0000

I went looking for a website that had a complete list of all the Independent fashion pattern designers that are around at the moment and their sewing patterns.

I wanted to be able to look at the patterns and see how other people have made it.

I also want to see what new patterns are being released and what patterns are hot right now without scouring dozens of blogs for that information.

I couldn’t find a site with all of these things – so I decided to create one.

Welcome to Sew Independent.

Sewing Independent

Sun, 13 Oct 2013 04:09:51 +0000

Over the past few years the number of independent pattern designers has significantly increased.

Up until recently the only sewing patterns that were readily available were those that you bought at your local chain fabric and haberdashery stores. Those patterns were generally from the larger pattern companies which can provide large scale distribution. These are referred to as the Big 4 and include Butterick, McCalls, Simplicity and Vogue.

The popularity of DIY and the huge online sewing community created a new market place for alternative pattern producers. Home sewers wanted patterns that were different, they were looking for something new and were more than willing to support the community.

Independent designers saw the need. Smaller companies could promote, create and distribute their patterns with little outlay. Patterns are generally sold as a printed pattern or distributed electronically as a PDF for you to print at home.

Independent designers can often provide a more personal support system than the larger companies can. Pattern instructions are often easier to follow and most designers generally provide sewing tips and tutorials, as well as sew alongs on their blogs.

So what is an independent designer.

Let’s start with what is not. To begin with, calling the major companies the “Big 4” is not entirely correct. It is really the Big 2. Vogue, Butterick, McCalls and Kwik sew belong to the McCall Pattern Company . Simplicty, New Look and Burda Style are part of the Simplicity Creative Group.

To make it easy on me and for the purpose of this blog. I am going to class pretty much anything that is not produced by the above companies as Independent.

And if we want to get technical, an independent business generally refers to a company that is privately owned. “Independent” is frequently used to distinguish smaller companies from corporate chains and conglomerates.

There are hundreds, if not thousands of independent designers out there. Here at Sew Independent I am going to focus on fashion designers of adult apparel. No crafts, toys, quilts, accessories or kids clothes.

Designers that will be included will need to have at least 3 appropriate patterns, have a web presence and sell their patterns online (either printed or distributed digitally).

This will be a fun journey … welcome aboard and enjoy the ride.

There is an exception to every rule

Wed, 16 Oct 2013 03:24:35 +0000

There are some very clever designers out there that I would class as independent but have their patterns published by one of the larger companies.

Gertie and her blog for better sewing has no less that 6 patterns published by Butterick.

Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing

Her 2012 book “Gertie’s new book for better sewing” also includes 10 of her patterns with an additional 13 variations. It is hugely successful and includes information about couture techniques, pattern customisation and fitting. She is currently in the midst of writing her second book which many are eagerly awaiting the release of – myself included!.

Oliver + S is probably both the most popular and successful independent pattern company of childrens patterns.

Liesl Gibson has also released a line of womens clothing under the brand Lisette for Simplcity.

I have purchased a few of these patterns and have had great succes with them.

Just recently Leisl has released a new range of womens digital patterns that are now available in the Oliver + S shop under the brand Leisl + co.

Every Day skirt 

Every Day skirt

Late Lunch Tunic  

Late Lunch Tunic

Weekend getaway blouse or tunic

Weekend getaway blouse or tunic

I can’t wait to see these patterns sewn. They look fantastic.

Sew Cake – Red Velvet

Sat, 19 Oct 2013 20:15:54 +0000

As part of Frocktober on The Monthly Stitch I decided I needed to make a new dress. For my first ever make for “Sew Independent” I chose the Red Velvet dress by Cake Patterns.

Craft Schmaft!

Craft Schmaft!

Over the weekend I am helping Claire from Craft Schmaft at the Brisbane craft and quilt fair at the exhibition centre.

The pattern arrived on Thursday and I gave myself unrealistic goal to have it done by Saturday.

Steph C from Cake Patterns has been doing demonstrations at the show all week and I wanted to wear it so I could show it off.

I chose to make the “A” bust size bodice to reduce the amount of fabric under the sleeve. Steph has details on her blog about lengthening the toso. I added 3″ to the torso, however only 1.5″ would have been sufficient. The weight of the skirt does drag the fabric down.

A quick and dirty fix of folding the excess fabric at the bust seam made the dress wearable on the day!

Cake patterns stray from the traditional forms of pattern measurement. They use the high bust measurement to determine the main size. Individual pattern pieces are then created uniquely by marking on the pattern to join your measurements. For example my pattern was a 35 bust and 32 waist. The waist piece I created for my pattern then fitted into the appropriate bodice and skirt pieces. There was a little bit of fiddling but nothing too difficult to figure out.

There is a Red Velvet Sew Along starting on Nov 11. The sew along will be 10 sessions over a 2 week period that will cover all of the stages of making the dress.

In black the dress is a little boring, but it is very easy to dress up with accessories. For whatever reason I dont think this dress is very flattering on me. The neckline is possible too high; I think it makes me look busty and instead of accentuating my tiny waist it draws attention to my larger hips.

Overall the Red Velvet dress is very wearable and comfortable. Mine is made in a fairly stable black merino knit. The neckline is not too low, the sleeves are not to tight and the skirt is not too short. A good wardrobe basic.

Sewing with quilt fabric

Fri, 25 Oct 2013 01:40:36 +0000

When I first started sewing, my projects were toys, bags and simple quilts. Most of these were made from quilters cotton in fabulous prints.

Toys, quilts and bags I made  and blogged on Creative Controller Toys, quilts and bags I made  and blogged on Creative Controller

Then when it came to sewing clothes I wanted to continue to use this fabric because I was comfortable with it. I knew where to buy it at the right price and I was experienced with how to cut and sew it.

My wardrobe is full of dresses, tops and skirts that I have made from quilters cotton.

I have made no less than 4 Colette Sorbettos from quilters cotton and at least 3 skirts using the A-line pattern from Sew What! Skirts.

My favourite item is my red Colette Crepe dress. The fabric I used was from the Oliver & S city weekend range. Unfortunately it no longer fits me (it’s too big!) but I can’t bear to get rid of it.

When sewing with quilt fabric you need to pick the right pattern. Quilters cotton is slighty heavier and doesn’t have as much drape as normal dress making cotton.

Some popular fabric designers have also released sewing patterns for women’s clothing that are created with their fabric in mind. Designers include Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner and Sis Boom.

Pattern company Serendipity Studio has just released its new fall pattern line that includes a wrap dress, a denim style jacket and a maxi skirt. All of these would be great in a bright or bold quilting cotton. Perfect if you have a favourite fabric that you want to make something special to wear with it.

Have a look at my Pinterest board – using quilting cottons for more ideas and inspiration.