Thanks to my mom's skill–and patience–the first garment I ever made using the sewing machine was a gathered skirt. It seemed quite mysterious to my eight-year-old mind, but for my mom this was truly an easy sewing pattern. And now that I've sewn a bit, I see the beauty in the simplicity. Here's the pattern.
First cut fabric. You'll need a waistband which is one strip of fabric 3" x waistline + 2".
Then cut the skirt body–one piece of fabric using the waist-to-knee measurement + 2" x twice the hip measurement.
Then construct the garment. Gather the skirt. Add the waistband. Insert a zipper. (True confession–my mom put the zipper into that skirt for me.) And then hem.
Easy–and for a second grader–high fashion.
Even though I don't wear a lot of gathered skirts anymore (thank goodness), I still have found a way to make even complex patterns easy.
Want to know my secret? Don't ever make anything just once. That's the secret. I learned this at a workshop years ago. The premise is that all the pattern's "problems" get solved the first time through–fit, construction details, closure choices, and fabric options, to name a few. Just think of all the decisions you make when you use a new pattern.
The second time through you don't need to think about any of the logistics, and you can simply have the fun of the making and adding your own customized touches. When I look through my favorite wardrobe pieces, many of them are similar in style. I wear tank tops with blazers year round. I only use one tank top pattern now. It fits and I can make the changes in the neckline, color, and trims without having to go to another pattern. I've narrowed my blazer selection down to three. I barely need to read the instructions anymore. Even though an individual technique might take some time, the whole process, from cutting to hemming, is now easy.
Why? I don't run into any surprises along the way.
Because of this, I find myself willing to take a few more risks with fabric choices or notion options since I have a good sense of how the pattern is going to work out in the end. It's the equivalent, I guess, of rereading a good book. By having an understanding of where the story is going, your mind and heart can glean other bits of wisdom along the way.
So pull out a pattern you've tried before. Try it again. It may be your easiest sewing pattern yet.
And if you need a sewing book for new projects, inspiration, or sewing techniques, check out the downloadable eBooks in the Sew Daily Shop. it's instant sewing gratification.
I'm wondering if other Sew Daily readers find that using patterns more than once puts them into the "easy" category. Do you re-use and revise? I'd love to hear your stories.