Summertime and the Kimono is Easy

Our new obsession is the kimono for summer. They make any outfit look instantly chic. You can go glam and layer them over a sundress, or you can go music-festival-relaxed and pair them with a little tee and a pair of cutoffs.

Take a look at McCall’s designer Melissa Watson wearing her own pattern, M7132:

McCall's designer Melissa Watson wearing her own kimono pattern, M7132.
McCall's designer Melissa Watson wearing her own kimono pattern, M7132.
McCall's designer Melissa Watson wearing her own kimono pattern, M7132.
McCall's designer Melissa Watson wearing her own kimono pattern, M7132. Closeup shot.

McCall's designer Melissa Watson wearing her own kimono pattern, M7132.

Melissa’s pattern calls for you to mix and match three different fabric, which is a great way to bust through your stash. Choose lightweight cottons, silks or polys, and make sure they have a soft hand and easy drape. I like how Melissa combined ethnic prints in her two versions of M7132; I might try mixing floral chiffons with a tiny print, à la Anna Sui.

More kimono style inspiration and kimono patterns for you, in case you need more convincing:

McCall's designer Melissa Watson wearing
Kimono patterns Vogue Patterns V9115, McCall’s M7132 and Butterick B6176.

Did I mention how fast and easy kimonos are to make? Even a real sewing newbie could knock one out in a couple of hours. Can’t wait to see your versions!

Kimonos are the perfect layering piece for spring and summer. These are different kimono sewing pattern options from McCall's, Butterick and Vogue Patterns,

Easy Patterns for Beginning Sewers: Pants

Easy pants patterns by the McCall Pattern Company. These sew up fast!

Pants are one of my favorite low-effort, high-reward sewing projects. If you choose a loose or semi-fitted silhouette, and an elastic waist, you can whip up a great pair of pants in no time. To sew pants that are really on-trend this season, choose a wide-leg style and pair it with a bold print fabric that’s lightweight—but not sheer—with a decent drape.

Roberto Cavalli wide-leg trousers available at Farfetch.
Roberto Cavalli wide-leg trousers available at Farfetch.

Here’s my number one tip for sewing pants:

Clearly mark each pant piece as FRONT or BACK. Doesn’t matter how you do it, whether you notch them or write a big F or B on these pieces in disappearing fabric marker. This will make your life easier, trust me.

Sometimes new sewers can get confused by the order of construction for a pair of pants, so here it is in a nutshell:

  1. Stitch the crotch seams. Pair the front pieces together and stitch the crotch seam; pair the back pieces together and stitch the crotch seam.
  2. Stitch the side seams. These are the seams that go along the outer side of your pants.
  3. Stitch the inseams. These are the seams that go along the inside of your pants.
  4. Stitch the casing for the elastic at the waist.
  5. Stitch the hems.

Pretty easy, right? If you are making wide-leg or loose-fitting pants you can knock out a pair in a couple of hours, since you don’t need to worry so much about fit. Here are two of our favorite beginner pants patterns:

McCall's easy pants pattern M6588. Great for beginning sewers.
McCall’s M6568. No in-seam pockets makes these pants fast and simple to sew.
Butterick B3460 pants pattern has pockets, but they're actually easy to add to your pants. And who doesn't love pockets.
Butterick B3460 pants pattern has pockets, but they’re actually easy to add to your pants. And who doesn’t love pockets.

You can see more of our patterns for beginning sewers by clicking on the Pinterest widget below. We chose these easy patterns for new sewers who have some sewing under their belts, like a tote bag or an elastic-waist skirt, and are ready to move on to sewing their own clothes.

Follow The McCall Pattern Company’s board Beginner-Friendly Sewing Patterns on Pinterest.

Make a pair of summer pants out of cotton voile or silk crepe in a cool print. Check out Alabama Chanin’s take on a Marcy Tilton for Vogue Patterns design for inspiration. Once you sew your first pair of pants you’ll be hooked. If you’ve made pants before, do you agree with how easy-to-sew and wearable they can be? Tell me about the pants you’ve sewn in the comments section. Thanks!

Sew a pair of pants that are perfect for beginning sewers. Pants can be so fast and easy to sew.

Easy Patterns for Beginning Sewers: Tops. Plus, New Discussion Topic

Easy top patterns for beginners from the McCall Pattern Company

What’s a great thing to sew when you want to add to your wardrobe, and fast? A simple little top. Keep the design lines to a minimum, make it on the loose-fitting, boxy side, and you can have a chic top in just a few hours. Right now I’m sewing three different versions of Butterick B6175, which fits this bill. One version uses up some Oscar de la Renta brocade I had in my stash, another version will be out of lightweight denim, and the third is planned for a designer silk in a bold orange print.

Fact: Even the newest of beginning sewers can sew really cute tops as a first garment project. Seriously! Here are three top patterns we think an unassisted newbie could successfully tackle on her own:

McCall's M6566 is an easy top pattern for beginning sewers.
McCall’s M6566. No set-in or attached sleeves makes this top super-fast and easy to sew. The neck edge is finished with bias binding. Set your machine speed on slow and take your time stitching the binding on; it’s not hard to do.
Butterick B6176 kimono pattern is easy enough for beginning sewers.
Butterick B6716: Kimonos can be considered tops, right? Skip adding the fringe if you’re a new sewer, but everything else about this pattern is fast and easy. And kimonos are HOT right now.

 

Kwik Sew K3610 top pattern is simple enough for beginning sewers to tackle in an evening.
Kwik Sew K3610: Even beginners can make this top pattern in an evening. Use a lightweight, soft, woven fabric that will give you gentle gathers around the neckline.

For fabrics I’d recommend lightweight wovens: cotton shirting, cotton voile, chambray, silk or poly crepe, or medium-weight georgette. Always choose a fabric you love, not just because the price per yard is right. No matter how perfect a sewing job you do on your garment, you won’t want to wear it unless you love, or at least really like, the fabric you made it from.

sewing topic posed on the McCall Pattern BlogTopic for discussion: Should brand-new sewers sew their first garment(s) using or NOT using a pattern? The reason I pose this to you is that if you search “beginning sewing” or “beginning sewing patterns” on Pinterest you see a lot of pins that tell you how to make a garment without using a pattern. Sure, you can definitely sew something like an elastic-waist skirt without using a pattern, but do you really want to make a dress, say, by using one of your RTW dresses as a pattern? If you’re a BEGINNER?! There are pins that encourage you to do this. I haven’t been a beginner since forever, and I can make my own patterns if I have to, but…WHY would you do this? It’s so much easier and faster to sew with a pattern. And cheaper too if you’re factoring in your time.

Your thoughts on this topic? Please leave a comment and let us know what you think about beginning sewers starting off sewing garments by making their own patterns. (This is assuming they’re hobbyists and not fashion designer hopefuls.) Thanks!

Follow The McCall Pattern Company’s board Beginner-Friendly Sewing Patterns on Pinterest.


Very easy top patterns from the McCall Pattern Company