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2021 was the year I embraced slow sewing, not on purpose. I just didn’t want to make a lot of stuff. I wasn’t going anywhere, so making clothes to just sit on the couch wasn’t appealing. When I would make time to sew, I had to put in a lot of work to make clothes fit and frankly, that sucks.
So when I actually did make clothes, I stuck to stuff that was easy to make (and I knew would fit) OR I was finally going to make the time to focus on. And the top 5 sewing patterns of THAT list were pretty easy to determine.
That’s why you’re going to see some tried-and-true favorites in this list. Two of them have were even both on my 2018 list! Without further ado, and in no particular order:
Top 5 Sewing Patterns of 2021
Surprisingly, all of this year’s patterns were for me! To check out previous years’ lists, click here.
Chalk & Notch Wren Hack
Back in April, when the world was first beginning to open up again thanks to vaccines, I made myself this Chalk & Notch Wren for my birthday celebration.
But I hate sewing buttons if I don’t have to, so I decided to simply cut the front on the fold and voila!
And because the sleeves are two-parts, I simply left off the lower part of the sleeves. Using elastic in the hem turned them into cute puffy sleeves.
The striped cotton gauze was long in my stash, and was perfect for our hot spring/summer. Here are some similar options from a few vendors if you’re looking for summer weight fabric:
- Leno Cotton Stripe Gauze from Fabric.com
- Cotton gauze selection from The Confident Stitch
- Striped cotton gauze selection from Minerva
- Striped cotton gauze selection from Joann
Of course, I spilled wine on it and it’s never come out. But at least it’s a visual reminder of our first family get-together in over a year!
The pattern, as all Chalk & Notch patterns I’ve made (Fringe and Orchid), is beautiful with straightforward directions. A relative newbie could make this, especially if you hack it to remove the buttons.
Sew Altered Style Misty Dress
The Misty has been on my top 5 patterns list for a few years now. You know why it’s on it again this year? Because the original version I cut still fits!
The amount of ease in the pattern is perfect if you go up or down a few sizes. My waist and bust are both at least 4″ bigger than when I made my original Misty in May 2020, and yet still fit (more or less!).
And of course, I hacked this to have a shelf bra like I always do.
The unfortunate placement of the huge flowers on the front…eh, who cares?
The fabric was rayon I bought in Hawaii waaaaaaaaaaaaay back in 2016. I knew back when I bought it that it was destined for a dress or skirt, and look at that finally coming true 5 years later!
Here are some similar rayon fabrics from other retailers:
- Hawaiian print rayons from Fabric.com
- Floral rayon prints from The Confident Stitch
- Floral rayon prints from Minerva
- Floral rayon prints from Joann
Unfortunately I learned while writing this that SAS closed up shop. That’s really too bad because I love this pattern so much. But a really similar one is the True Bias Ogden, which can be hacked into a dress to mimic the Misty really easily.
True Bias Lander Shorts
Another oldie but goodie, the True Bias Lander Shorts are my absolute favorite shorts pattern in the entire universe. I always now make them with the zipper instead of buttons because that’s easier to deal with in the bathroom.
Plus designer Kelli’s instructions for the insertion are the absolute easiest to follow. Whenever I find myself with a zipper issue in other patterns, I simply pull out this one. It’s THAT good.
Over the years I’ve made a few adjustments to the pattern. By now I’ve slimmed the legs slightly, about an inch at the hem. That’s really the only non-fit adjustment. It’s just a preference.
The black fabric came from the now defunct but run by someone else (???) Michael Levine. They’re apparently not open anymore but still were in July 2021 when I bought it, and has a slight woven texture. Otherwise it’s just a non-stretch bottom weight. Here are some similar options:
- Bottom weight alternatives from Fabric.com
- Twill from The Confident Stitch
- Heavy weight twill fabric from Minerva
- Bottom weight fabric from Joann
Itch to Stitch Atenas Jacket
I have held onto the Atenas jacket pattern for YEARS. I actually tried to make a different jean jacket pattern a few years ago. Back in 2020 we had 2 jacket patterns for Sew My Style, and I attempted the Rebecca Page Kingston.
But because my boobs are too big for that pattern, and two different muslins just couldn’t address it properly, I had to abandon that project.
The Atenas jacket, on the other hand, has cup sizes included! HALLELUJIAH!
My body isn’t the same size it was when I bought the pattern, but because there are so many seams all around the pattern (the front has 3 seams, and the back has 2, plus the side seams), adding width was not a problem.
I actually documented the process on my Instagram account. Check out this 90+ story highlight for the whole fitting journey. It was EPIC.
The hot pink bull denim came from a fabric garage sale, and I had juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuust enough for this project. Here are some similar fabrics:
- Bull denim from Fabric.com
- Denim and canvas alternatives from The Confident Stitch
- Bull denim from Minerva
- Bull denim from Joann
Itch to Stitch patterns are very beginner friendly. Designer Kennis includes a lot of information and great diagrams for each step. This particular project is a bit advanced. Working with denim isn’t necessarily easy because it gets bulky very quickly. But if you’re confident your sewing machine can handle it, putting in jean buttons, and you are comfortable making button holes, this jacket pattern is awesome.
True Bias Roscoe Hack
I said this list wasn’t in any particular order but this True Bias Roscoe is my absolute favorite thing I made all year long. The fabric is from Minerva so all of my photos are also on their site (and much better than this pic!).
You can still get this fabric from Minerva too. It’s deadstock though, so you might want to hurry!
If you miss it, here are some other options:
- Similar alternatives from Fabric.com
- Watercolor prints from The Confident Stitch
- Watercolor prints from Joann
I’m still kicking myself for not getting 3 yards of this. I really wanted this version to have long sleeves and I thought I’d turn it into a dress too. Alas, 2 yards just didn’t cut it (bad pun).
So that’s why you’re seeing a Roscoe made in winter with short sleeves: I ran out of fabric. Wah wah.
Despite all those challenges, here was another pattern I could still wear in the original size 12! That means there’s a good amount of ease in the pattern. Just like my Mistys, I can still wear my Roscoes in this bigger bodacious body of mine.
For this version of the Roscoe I also addressed a fit issue you can read about on my post for Minerva’s site.
The pattern is very easy for beginners. Again, True Bias patterns are very easy to follow. This is my 4th version of this pattern and I’m still amazed how fast it comes together. It’s a great intro to bias binding and skinny straps, too.
In order to avoid making this whole list one huge tribute to True Bias, I didn’t count my two Rio Ringer tees in my top 5 sewing patterns of 2021. But they’re also my favorite t-shirts!
And the fact that I can squeeze my size out of a single yard of fabric makes me that much more of a fan! Cotton jersey and regular knits are easy to find just about anywhere but the pirate knit is so cute! It’s unfortunately no longer available in blue from Minerva, but they do have it in the cream colorway!
Here are some more pirate options:
And that’s my personal list for the top 5 sewing patterns of 2021. Most were easy enough to whip up in a day. The jacket took time, but it was worth it!
I hope these sewing patterns inspire you to create easy but beautiful clothes even as our collective sewjo might wane these days. And since I gave you so many fabric options, you might be interested in storing all that fabric. If so, check out my Dos & Don’ts of Fabric Storage post.