The Sew Weekly Sewing Circle

Are you easy? (joke in in poor taste, I couldn't help myself, sorry)


I saw a really good question on Tilly and the Buttons that is a question I have been asking myself recently. In a nutshell, when are you no longer a beginner?


I just love patterns that have "easy" or "beginner" written on them (even better: very easy). But recently I bought a couple of "average" or "less easy" Vintage Vogue patterns. I haven't got the guts to try them though. 


Of course, proper vintage patterns often have no "level" on them at all. So, my questions are:


What level sewer are you?

How do you know? What skills do you think constitute intermediate / beginner / advanced?

Does the level of a pattern influence you?

Do you think having a level on patterns is actually discouraging (ie you might have tried a pattern until you "knew" it was above your level)?

Do you think this sort of labelling is helpful?


Thanks for your thoughts xx

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I think it depends on how much time I have or what mood I'm in.  I quite like an easy pattern that I've done before if I don't have much time, or if I know it turned out well and I want the same result.  On the other hand, easy patterns are sometimes not challenging enough in that I want to learn more about sewing.  I really don't know what level I'm at.  I know I'm not at the couture (!) end yet, but then again, I know I'm past beginner now.  In answer to labelling on patterns, I think this is a trick to deceive us into buying them!  I've never yet encountered a pattern that takes the time described on the envelope (and the small print always says 'sewing time' - not including the cutting out etc...)
Good point Diane on the time involved and the intention of the pattern company! I exactly see your point about time and mood, sometimes I just can't be faffed. Cutting out always takes me ages....
I'm not a complete beginner however I'm no expert either but I wouldn't let anything put me off a pattern. I mean if it goes wrong it goes wrong, it's only fabric ;) I'll give anything a go once, if its not working out I'll look online and see what I can fix. I suppose it varies from person be person but I've always got an attitude that I'll just give it a go and see what happens.

For example, it's my brothers wedding in january and so far I've no idea what to wear, all I know is I want it to be navy blue, I've actually just cone across this and I am in love with it. I've only sewn one dress before but that doesn't put me off. Although I'm sure I'm one of a very few who might want to dive head into a pattern like this, I say 'bring it on' :D

I like your attitude Sarah and I LOVE your pattern, what a find, I so see it in navy blue. Bring it on indeed!

I have an awful habit of choosing easy! But I tend to gravitate to what I like. I am also super impatient! I hate hate hate it when things go wrong and it slows me down so I go for easy stuff for that reason. However I see myself as intermediate as in the past I've made tailored things and even corsets,

Just go for what you like. Youtube can also be helpful when you get stuck but being brave is a great way to improve!

You sound very advanced to me Stevie, corsets! wow! I am hoping I am up to your sewalong ;0) I don't have much sewing time so easy does it for me, I think I would be more willing to branch out into harder things if I knew I had more time.



Me  too Charolette...time or rather the lack of ... makes it hard to get into bigger projects.. I made my daughter and daughter in laws wedding dresses.. no fun..  And I am proud I dont have any more girls.hahahha. I have made my daughters prom dresses.. all of these are sooooooooo time consuming. And  I hate to be tied down for weeks on something.. So I go easy tooo..

  As for the pattern, stating the level ..I really dont go by that..because just never know until you get into the  envelope and go to reading.

  CONFESSION:  I have been known to  sneak... and open the envelope [yes ,at the store], and read some of the instructions , to see how difficult it seems..ooops!!!!

    I dont consider myself  advanced or intermediate... I have sewed  for 30 yrs ..but  I learn new stuff every day, and I mess up things, just  like when I started.. So.. I just say... I am a "enjoying sewer".. Try it and see  how it goes............and my boo boos.. sometimes ends in the garbage.. and another confession---- these darn vintage patterns..I love them............but ooooooooooooh do they frustrate me.. [hate them tiny,tiny waist.... I hate the vague instructions].. So Charolette... you are not by yourself..I am right there with you girl.. Happy Sewing.

I think I tend to try a little harder than i think I can do- I wouldn't want the ghost of my old home ec teacher to haunt me for not stretching my skills!

 Definitely not a couture sewer, tho

that's really funny Anne, are you worried she will give you a D- ? That's a good philosophy though....
Oh, dear- I'm still seeking approval after 15 years!!!

My skills tend to be around the intermediate stage I think. I can manage pants zips easily and are much better at putting in sleeves in than I used to be (the value of a decent class). I do still have problems with fit and making adjustments. Sometimes when feeling lazy I count the number of pattern pieces and if there are too many, I'll look for something easier. Having said that, a couple of the 'easy' patterns I've tried have caused the biggest grief.

I am getting more to the stage of 'if I like it, I'll try it', regardless of how hard apparently is.

I'm with you on the pattern piece counting, I had just figured out recently that we are looking for low numbers in this area ;0)


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