For me the value is in the versatility. Often the simplest design, the kind you scratch your head and think "do I really need a pattern for this?" are the best because they leave the most room for you to modify them. It's an added bonus if the designer offers modification tutorials for a that pattern.
When looking for a pattern to become your "tried and true" look past the bells and whistles to the core structure. I think about the design lines I'm looking for and decide which core features I need to achieve the look I want. If you want a set in sleeve, or bust darts, find a pattern that offers them because they are crucial to the fit. If you want a scoop neck, or a hi/lo hem those can be easily added without significantly impacting the over all fit.
1. Basics Tank from Cali Faye Collection
|Image from Cali Faye Collection|
This top fits me like a glove with very little alteration. It does not have a dart, but makes me feel like a million bucks so I don't mind. The elliptical neckline and curved hem flatter my best features. It is amazing that something so simple can do so much. This is my very favorite woven tank tee.
Modifications: Elastic Waist Dress (you can purchase the dress as a separate pattern, more experienced seamstresses can add their own). I would love to lengthen this into a shift dress, haven't done it yet.
2. Lou Box Top from Sew DIY
|Image From Sew DIY|
Perfect simplicity. Easy to add a skirt. Simple sewing at it's best.
Modifications: Elastic Waist Dress, Cover Up, Button Back.
3. Scout Tee from Grainline Studio
|Image from Grainline Studio|
I've never made this pattern as directed. I tinker with the edges (the sleeve length, hem shape, and neckline), but at the core it's still a Scout Tee.
Modifications: Knit Scout, Long sleeves, Tiny Pocket Hem, Split Neck, Button Back (I did this, but haven't blogged it yet.)
4. Archer Button Up from Grainline Studio
|Image from Grainine Studio|
I love this pattern for the sew-a-long instructions on the Grainline blog. The pictures are very detailed, allowing the novice to achieve a very polished finish. I recommend a crisp cotton for your first try. I once made with a 10 ounce denim which is so thick it made the finishing a hot mess.
Modifications: View B is well worth the sew. I modified the ruffle placement to be more flattering on me.
5. Alder Shirtdress from Grainline Studio
|Image from Grainline Studio|
I consider this to be an extension of the Archer Button Up because the mix and match possibilities are great. Use the Grainline tutorial to add the Archer Sleeves to the Alder and you have a pattern for all seasons.
Modifications: View B is just as good as View A. Add the Archer Sleeves. View A as shirt. View B as shirt.
|1. Alder + Archer 2. Lou Box Dress 3. Split Neck Scout Tee 4. Broken Stripe Lou Box Top|
What are your tried and true patterns? What makes you sew the same thing again and again?
Check out #bpsewvember on Instagram for more tried and true pattern idea.
What's up with 5 More?
I suspect that if I'm up into the wee hours of the night searching for a certain style of sewing pattern, others are probably shopping for it, too. With the 5 More series I try to sift through the mountains of patterns, and possibilities in search of 5 safe bets, for good results.