Sewing offers endless possibilities to learn and master the skills. All MySizePatterns patterns have an indication of a difficulty level helping you choose a pattern that is right for your current sewing, fitting and fabric handling skills.
MySizePatterns difficulty rating is based on a few principles and expressed by a number of tailor’s dummies.
In general, the first two difficulty levels are focused on learning technical skills and forming good sewing habits. The other two levels feature more complex designs and sewing techniques. The completion of a garment requires more time and patience.
Sewing is not a single skill of operating a sewing machine. It is actually a puzzle of highly diverse, however closely related, skills. In defining difficulty levels for our models we consider the following issues:
- The pattern design and intended fit.
- Time needed to complete a garment.
- Sewing techniques required.
- Fabric indented for a pattern.
Easy – Adventurous beginner
Model difficulty level 1. The models are easy to make and are prefect projects for beginners. Presented sewing techniques are carefully chosen to be technically as simple as possible, yet giving a nice, professionally – looking finish.
Sewer skill level 1: You know how the sewing machine works. You have probably already made a cushion, a bag or something similar. You understand the concept of sewing the pieces together. You feel comfortable enough to finally sew something you can wear and start the real sewing adventure. The projects at this level can be completed quickly (by more advanced sewers even under 2 hours) and engage basic sewing skills.
Moderate – Advanced explorer
Model difficulty level 2. The models have an intermediate difficulty level. They may still have a relatively straightforward design, but some more challenging details and features are gradually introduced.
Sewer skill level 2: There are already some nice garments you have made hanging in your wardrobe – a simple shirt or a dress – and you feel you are ready to explore. You have learned a lot while sewing the beginner’s patterns and want to move on to something more sophisticated. Sewing buttonholes or inserting zippers may be challenging, but you are ready to face them. You are excited to learn some more advanced things like seam finishes and bias binding and your projects become more fancy. You gradually pick up sewing challenges (one at a time usually) relating to techniques, fabrics or fit.
Tricky – Daring enthusiast
Model difficulty level 3. The models have an increased level of difficulty. They may include some technically tricky elements, have a fancy design, combine a number of features requiring some sewing confidence and experience. They are also quite time-consuming.
Sewer skill level 3: You truly enjoy making your own clothing. Learning and executing new things is a thrill. You find the fine art of sewing a fascinating topic and understand the principles of pattern construction and fit. You feel confident enough to begin making small changes to a pattern to get your desired effect. You still read the instructions thoroughly, but can successfully attempt some tricky sewing maneuvers like plackets, collars, pockets. You want to learn more about how to get a really great fit and achieve a fine finish, making your garments look really professional.
Difficult – Passionate expert
Difficulty level 4. The models are technically difficult and therefore suited for advanced and (upper)intermediate sewers, who love challenges. There is more attention to detail, fit and finish at the same time. The projects require good sewing skills, time and patience.
Skill level 4: Sewing is your passion. You may go shopping just to secretly examine sewing techniques in exclusive ready-to-wear garments and try to copy these solutions home. You have your favourite ways to do things, but are still very much interested in alternative techniques and approaches. Learning special techniques, making tailored garments, working with tricky fabrics and making garments look as good inside as they do outside makes you feel alive. You are confident to play with patterns, altering and combining elements from various designs. Even though you like challenges and are very individualistic in your sewing, sometimes you also just like to take a nice pattern and put the pieces together. You can complete easier garments very quickly and get the things always the first time right.
The big question is, of course, how strictly should you stick to the indications of these difficulty levels. Generally speaking, it is assumed that the more and longer you sew the more advanced sewer you are. Well, not necessarily. There can be sewers who after +10 years of sewing remain actually at the beginner’s level, avoiding more challenging designs and techniques. Nothing wrong with that, really, if you end up with garments you like. On the other hand, there are lots of sewers who grow very quickly from the absolute beginner level (= zero experience) to the sewing expert level, by challenging themselves with more complicated projects and enjoying the thrill of learning. It is very personal and depends of the needs your sewing serves, the time you have for your hobby, what your intended still level is etc.
But most importantly, have confidence in yourself and choose the pattern that you LIKE. It helps to overcome any possible challenges if what you make is what you like. The finished garment will be your reward for all the efforts and courage.
Please note that all our patterns are provided with a Full Sewing Guide dedicated to the specific model, including a detailed photo step-by-step sewing tutorial and tips on fitting, fabric choice and more. This is almost a guarantee that you will end up with a successfully completed project. The sewing instructions for the first two levels focus on the detail, clarity, and tips needed to prevent the things from going wrong. The instructions for intermediate and advanced difficulty patterns are a little less hand-holding and concentrate on issues regarding the specific type of garment and design and present more challenging sewing techniques.
And do not forget that you are a member of MySizePatterns sewing community. Feel free to share your experiences, ask questions, engage others in your sewing projects.