Our Pattern difficulty rating helps you choose a pattern that is right for your skill level.
Beginner and Advanced Beginner are aimed at helping those new to sewing achieve success in their sewing projects whilst learning basic techniques and form good sewing habits. Intermediate and Advanced difficulty patterns have increased detail and feature more complex designs and techniques.
Want to know if a pattern is right for your skill level? Use our guide below:
You've had a few introductory sewing lessons either at school or from a more experienced sewer but this may have been some time ago. You are keen to take more time out for yourself and create something beautiful from scratch.
You know how to thread a sewing machine and sew a straight line but not much more. This may be the first time you've used a pattern, but we have videos and instructions that will help you along the way. When you have sewn most of the patterns in our Beginners range you will have mastered most of the basic sewing techniques.and be ready to move to more Confident Beginner projects.
The following beginner sewing projects (in order of difficulty) will help refresh and extend your skills and build your confidence:
- Sew an easy cushion cover
- Sew a tote bag from an old tea towel
- Sew our summer PJ pants (& learn how to download & print our free sewing pattern)
- Successfully sew at least 2 other sewing patterns from in our Beginners range.
You will be ready to move to the next level when you can:
- Confidently download, print and compile a PDF sewing pattern
- Follow & understand basic pattern markings & instructions
- Confidently sew curves & straight lines
- Confidently bag out and insert elastic into a waistband or armband channel.
- Hand sew a button
You can confidently download, print and compile a PDF sewing pattern. You can easily follow pattern instructions, understand pattern markings, sew a straight and curved seam. You are ready to learn about darts, different seam finishes and progress to inserting in seam pockets and waistbands into garments. You are also ready to start sewing knits and garments with a little stretch.
We suggest the following patterns to help consolidate what you know and learn a little more as you sew:
You will be ready to move to intermediate level when you can:
- follow & understand all pattern markings & instructions
- confidently sew in-seam pockets and darts
- understand a variety of seam finishes and when to use them
- confidently add embellishments to garments (decorated pockets, patches and decorative linings).
You are ready to learn about darts and practice adding fastenings (buttons, zips, velcro & domes), and progress to inserting pockets and waistbands into garments.
You enjoy making your own clothing and sometimes make changes to a pattern to get your desired effect (like lengthening or shortening a hem or narrowing a waist by bringing in a side seam or increasing a dart). You want to learn more about how to get a really great fit and become confident achieving some finer details like welt pockets.
You will be ready to move to the advanced level when you can:
- confidently sew buttonholes, zips and bias binding.
- adjust a pattern to get a perfect fit or personalize the style (eg: change a straight hem to a curved or A-Symmetrical one, change a straight leg pant to a boot leg).
- refine your sewing techniques to ensure a professional finish (button holes and zips look professional as do seam finishes, hems and top stitching)
- comfortably sew collars, use interfacing, sew pleats
- comfortably sew a large variety of fabrics and understand their nuances (silks, satins, chiffons and lycra).
You are obsessed and your idea of bliss is spending unlimited hours in a fabric shop selling designer fabric ends. You may even be making your own patterns and will confidently tackle tricky projects (like tailored jackets and pants). Whilst you are largely unguided, we still hope to provide you with inspiration and access to patterns you keep coming back to because they make for a versatile wardrobe, some of which you can knock up within an hour or two.