Last-Minute Gifts to Sew; Plus, Holiday Giveaway!

Elna sewing machine ad from the 1960s. Printed in Vogue Patterns Magazine
Elna sewing machine ad from the 1960s. From Vogue Patterns Magazine

There’s still time to whip up some handmade gifts for friends and family. After all, handmade beats store-bought, right? Here are six patterns that are fast and easy to make:

Last-minute gifts to sew. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.

With this simple Vogue pattern (V9038) you could make a cape very similar to those by Burberry that sell for several hundred dollars. Look for soft, blanket-like wools and fleeces in large-scale plaids.

Last-minute gifts to sew. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.

Robes are fast to sew and involve no fitting, which makes them the perfect gift to make. We’d sew this Butterick pattern (B6428) in the softest sweater knit fabric we could find. It also sews up well in French terry or sweatshirt fleece.

Last-minute gifts to sew. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.

Your dog-owner friend will be so touched with the custom coat you make for her precious pooch. Customize this to your friend’s taste with fabrics and trims. Love the pompom on the hood! Butterick B6432.

Last-minute gifts to sew. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.

Kimonos also sew up quickly because there’s really no fitting involved. For this Kwik Sew pattern (K4176), we’d choose lightweight crepes, chiffons or burnout velvets in dramatic prints and colors.

Last-minute gifts to sew. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.

We’re seeing fuzzy jackets like this one from McCall’s (M7511) on lots of teens and 20-somethings. Look for the cuddliest faux fur available, and make the lining in velour to amp up the cozy factor.

Last-minute gifts to sew. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.

Have a family member who likes to cook? She’ll appreciate an apron made especially for her. Quilting cottons in fun prints make great aprons. McCall’s M7448.

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McCall Pattern Company

You could win all sorts of fabulous sewing-related prizes—including a new sewing machine!—by entering our annual holiday giveaway. Click here for all the details. Hurry, entries are due by December 13th. Good luck!



If You’ve Never Sewn a Coat Before, Start With One of These Patterns

Coat patterns for beginning sewers.

Ready to sew your first coat? Even if you’re still relatively new to sewing, coats can be easy to make. In this recent blog post we gave you some tips for making your first coat. Today we’ve got suggestions for five coat patterns that a sewing newbie should be able to tackle with confidence.

Butterick B6244: Coat patterns for beginning sewers.

1) Butterick B6244 by Lisette. This is a great sewing pattern for beginners. One, no lining to worry about! Two, it has an easy, loose shape so you won’t need to spend time worrying about fit. Best yet, Lisette designer Liesl Gibson just hosted a sew along to make this coat, so you’ve got step-by-step help from the designer herself.

McCall's M7257: Coat patterns for beginning sewers.

2) McCall’s M7257. We show this coat in a faux fur, but it can be sewn up in medium- to heavyweight stable knits or wools. There’s no collar to worry about, making it suitable for newbies. The fit is on the boxy side, with a dropped shoulder. Minimal details means this coat will also sew up fast.

Butterick B6251: Coat patterns for beginning sewers.

3) Butterick B6251. This is another unlined coat option for beginners. Look for cozy knits and fleeces in solids or small prints. (Hold off on pattern-matching until you get a little more experience under your belt.) Shawl collars are simple to sew.

Vogue Patterns V9136: Coat patterns for beginning sewers.

4) Vogue Patterns V9136. Another one without a lining and a loose, boxy shape. Dropped shoulders are super-easy to sew, because you don’t have to fuss with set-in sleeves and achieving a smooth sleeve cap. And that stand-up collar will keep you nice and cozy this season. Make this pattern out of soft wools or fleeces.

Vogue Patterns V9156: Coat patterns for beginning sewers.

5) Vogue Patterns V9156. This one is the more complex patterns shown here, but it’s still beginner-friendly. The entire directions fit on one side of the paper, in fact. Plus, no fussing with set-in sleeves here. The collar looks intimidating but it’s actually simple to attach. Make this coat pattern out of wools, or tweeds with a tight weave.

We hope this post and our previous post have given you the confidence to tackle your first coat. You’ll be surprised at how quickly a coat pattern can come together, and how addictive coat sewing can be. Good luck, and tag us in your social media when you post about making your first (or gazillionth!) coat.

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.