Favorite Patterns

A reader recently asked me about patterns that I love, and why. Is it because they're comfy, well-drafted, or have some super special element? For me, my most-used patterns end up being rather basic patterns that can be made again and again in different styles. Of course I will supplement these with a one-off coat or some experimentation, but these are the basic patterns that have earned their keep (see if you can spot the frankenpatterns):

Basic woven top: Grainline's Scout Tee
Why I bought it: Before this pattern was released, I had made a few failed attempts at sewing a woven tee. The Scout Tee was the first pattern to hit the market in a big way that really allowed sewists to make a great t-shirt out of their favorite non-stretch fabric. Now I use it as a starting point for almost all my woven tees or loose-fitting knit tops.
Modifications: lengthened the armhole opening (now is same proportions as my Archer Button-Up)
Alternatives: McCalls 6927, Sinbad and Sailor Dove Fitted T, Salme Color-Block T-Shirt, Sewaholic Belcarra Blouse


Knit tops and dresses: McCall's 6164
Why I bought it: This is a pattern from way back that has definitely given me a lot of bang for my buck. As you will see from the pattern images, it originally came with a lot of sleeve variations that are now mostly out of date, but underneath it all was a simple knit t-shirt which has given this pattern longevity. It fits my curves just right, and is my go-to pattern for knit tops and knit dress bodices.
Alternatives: the ever-popular Sewaholic Renfrew Top, the free Plantain T-Shirt, Bluegingerdoll Bonnie, BurdaStyle Lydia


Pants: Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans
Why I use it: Pants fitting is a b*tch! After many, many patterns and drafts, I finally found my TNT in a modified Closet Case Files as my go-to pattern block. Pants construction is actually quite simple, so once you find your perfect pattern it doesn't take much more to make some up.
Alternatives: BurdaStyle 7250, Named Jamie JeansSew Loft's Emma Pant (which is now free), Colette CloversBurda Style 7447


Dresses: Simplicity Special Occasion Dresses #4070
Why I bought it: This is such a great, adaptable dress, and the pattern itself includes different options for hems, skirts, overlays, and embellishments. I usually keep it simple, but it is my go-to for any formal events. I also love princess seam dresses because they are easy to fit, and the skirt can be changed out for whatever suits your fancy.
Alternatives: Style Arc JanetBluegingerdoll Billie Dress, Colette Lily Dress, McCall's 8572


How about you? What TNT patterns would you suggest to new sewists and why?


  1. That was very interesting to read! Now I want to try the ginger jeans :D Are they difficult to make? I am new to your blog, really glad I found it:) Have a nice day, Sophia

    1. Thanks Sophia. I would say sewing jeans isn't that difficult, but fitting can be a challenge. Buy lots of fabric and be prepared to make muslins!

  2. I love this post! I love your write-up on each pattern with pictures and alternative patterns. This is super helpful.

  3. The Simplicity dress pattern is also a go-to of mine. My mom bought it for me when it first came out, during a pattern sale, and I left it laying around (I was around 13 and didn't sew yet). But when I picked it back up years later, I was surprised by how easy it was to fit :)


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