Tried and True Sewing Patterns

After sewing for two years I've actually hit the point of sewing the same pattern more than once. It was something I always said I would do after each successful project, but secretly thought I'd probably never get around to it. I thought I would always want to try something new and exciting. I would be too busy honing new skills to spend time making something a second or third time. Well I was wrong, I am a total convert and will explain why. Looking ahead to 2018 I thought it might be interesting to consider whether tried and true patterns will be a part of your sewing journey this year.

The two patterns I chose were the Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top and a simple Simplicity skirt (1370).

Tilly and the Buttons Agnes Top

I have now made this top four times! You can see my first and second versions here and here. The most recent versions were one in our gorgeous animal print jersey fabric and one in our beautifully unique smudged abstract floral jersey.

Tillya and the Buttons Agnes Top Envelope

The Animal Print Jersey Agnes

The animal print jersey is fairly lightweight with a good amount of stretch and recovery. By recovery I mean stretch it and it springs back into shape. I cut a size four based on previous Agnes tops I've made and thanks to the nature of the fabric it is a slightly looser fit than some of my other Agnes tops.

The colours, well they speak for themselves don't they?! Wine is the colour of the season and even when it's not I still love it.

Animal Print Tilly and the Buttons Agnes Top

The Smudged Floral Jersey Agnes

The smudged floral jersey fabric feels more stable than the animal print jersey, but still has good stretch and recovery.

I cut a size four again, however, Angela pointed out this version of the top is perhaps a smidge tight around my bulging biceps! Just kidding - Mr Muscle has bigger muscles than me! Nevertheless Angela suggested I add a 1/4" onto the sleeves to create a bit more room next time.

Again I love the colours in this fabric and it has become a firm wardrobe staple since I made it.

Abstract Floral Tilly and the Buttons Top

The Simplicity 1370 Skirt

Simplicity 1370

I've made this skirt twice now and can see myself making more in the future. I made one in our 'I want to wear it all day every day' mid blue denim and another in our soft, warm black scuba.

You can read all about the denim version of this skirt here.

The Scuba Skirt

This scuba fabric is a John Kaldor in other words guaranteed to be the most beautiful quality. It is soft, warm and easy to work with. It has a delightfully subtle sheen making it perfect for smart day wear or evening wear.

I cut a size 16 as per the denim version expecting to size down due to the stretch in the scuba. First I pinned the darts and basted the skirt pieces together then tried it on. I had to shave a whopping 1 and 3/4" off the side seams and 1" off the back seam to get the right size due to the nature of the fabric.

Sewing Simplicity 1370 in Scuba

Although I knew the sizing of the skirt would be out the fact I was confident the construction was super simple meant I didn't need to make a toile. It was very easy to adjust the skirt to fit in this way.

As with the denim skirt I added an exposed zip for interest at the back. I also made this version slightly shorter to make the plain black feel less formal. I knew my wardrobe was crying out for a plain black skirt, but you can always make those staples a little bit more fun can't you?

With the benefit of hindsight I made sure the zip finished right at the top of the waistband. I just need to unpick those few basting stitches I forgot about - whoops!

Sewing an Exposed Zip in a Scuba Skirt

What is so Great about Tried and True Patterns?

Ok so I've shown you what I made, but why make the same pattern again?


Firstly I needed some winter basics in my wardrobe quick sharp and I knew these patterns were quick and easy to make. The Tilly top has only four pattern pieces and I whipped two up on my overlocker in a day. The skirt also has just four pattern pieces and is a very straightforward sew.

The more you make them the easier it is to whizz them off your sewing machine in record breaking time. Perfect for when the seasons suddenly change or when you want to stop yourself from shopping!

Sizing and Adjustments

My Agnes top pattern pieces were already adjusted for my high round back and forward shoulders. There was no need to make these adjustments and I knew the top would fit.

The only thing to bear in mind is that different fabrics will affect the fit. If it is the same type of fabric with slightly different qualities the difference won't be too dramatic. However, if it is a completely different type of fabric such as a stretch rather than a woven the sizing will be completely different too. As mentioned above, I knew using a stretch as opposed to a woven fabric would mean completely different sizing for the skirt. However, I knew I could make up a bigger size and adjust it thanks to my prior experience of the pattern.



Agnes Top and Scuba Skirt


From past experience with the Tilly pattern I knew there was a lot of fabric wastage and decided to try and squeeze it out of a metre of fabric. This is something I could only learn by trying the pattern out beforehand.

For information the way I did this was by folding the selvages in towards the centre. One side of the selvages was about 1/3 of the fabric and the other side the remaining 2/3. I was able to get one bodice piece out of the 1/3 and the other bodice and sleeves out  of the 2/3. There was ample room to squeeze the neck band on at the end.

Truly Wearable

One of my main motivations for making these patterns again was that I wear my previous versions all time time. I knew they would be something I would actually wear and want to wear over and over again.

Having said all of this I'm about to make a bold step into the unknown and make my first pair of trousers. I guess for me, it is all about mixing things up to keep my sewjo going. Projects that challenge me and help me to learn balanced with tried and tested favourites is my magic formula.

Have fun sewing!


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