Plain Profiles – Sewing Patterns

I love to sew. I wish I had more time for it. This coming week is sew-a-thon week for me, God willing. I have a pile of things cut out, even kapps to be finished, as well as children’s bonnets, a dress and bloomers for two-year-old Patience, and (ah-hem) baby clothes for an expected GRANDDAUGHTER! (Is there any greater midlife bliss than for a traditional woman to find out a little girl is on the way? Oh, please, don’t let her parents crave pink leopard print sleepers and tiny t-shirts with a crowned skull in glittering mauve…Because Nanny is sewing tiny floral dresses with matching pantoloons and bonnets, that’s why.)

Many of my baby and child patterns are vintage. Apron patterns, too. Most rummage sales and thrift stores will have boxes of them, or you can get them for a song and a few cents at estate sales and auctions. If a pattern is much holed or has been torn, I trace it onto tissue paper or old gift wrap. Leftover gift wrap is great for patterns, much sturdier than tissue, and you can then make notes right on the pattern piece without tearing it. And if you actually have most of a roll of l’il Nemo paper left after six years, there’s use for it.

I bought two patterns from Friends Patterns ( recently, a cape dress (3 piece Ohio style dress) and a surplice apron. I have the fabric, but haven’t touched it yet because, well, little girls grow up so fast…

I am very impressed with the quality of the patterns. Directions are clear and extensive, and the paper is high quality, drafting type. These patterns will last. With a little tape measure work it would be fairly simple to alter the pattern to fit well, I think. They are not discount patterns in any way, but since you could use these for decades, don’t be intimidated by the price. I paid with PayPal, and everything was shipped promptly.

Others speak highly of Kathy’s Modest Sewing/Common Sense Patterns. ( She has a wide range of patterns for women, girls, infants and little boys. The styles are simple and modest, but not really Plain, although some of the dresses would look great with an apron over them, made in small dark prints or plain colours. She has patterns for modest underwear and nightwear as well.

Do you remember Folkwear patterns? I was a romantic child of the seventies, and yes, I do! They are still around. ( If plain Plain or modest pastor’s wife doesn’t quite work for you, they have some beautiful traditonal and old-fashioned styles in their Old Europe, Romantic and Frontier lines. There’s a prairie dress just like Laura Ingalls wore, and a Kinsale cloak that would have impressed my Irish great-grandmother. There’s underthings out of a Victorian bride’s trousseau, as well. Just what you need to feel like a real woman! I’ve had their patterns in the past, and they were always well-made and well-described. I wish they would publish a traditional Hutterite costume – waist-length jacket, full long skirt, and kerchief. These are often made in rich colours and old-world prints. The kerchief is always black with white dots – I don’t know why!

 I know that I’m sewing a Kinsale cloak before this winter!


10 thoughts on “Plain Profiles – Sewing Patterns

  1. My dress patterns are from Kathy and they are wonderful quality. I just wish more of the places that make plain clothes made patterns in larger sizes. Kathy’s was the only place I could find patterns in my size.

    • And it can be so much added time to sewing to alter a pattern! Funny, I just made up an apron I had cut out a couple of years ago, and was surprised to find that the bust was much bigger than me! Then I remembered that I had started it for a relative who is more generously proportioned, who changed her mind after I started it and wanted a waist apron instead. I had to take a couple of tucks in it. But I must have been in a hurry and just cut the extra inches into the fabric, because I don’t have an altered pattern piece. Which is too bad, because it did take some time, and someone else might have wanted the larger pattern.

  2. I am much more into knitting and crochet than sewing but I do not dislike it. I do not have time as I work so very little is made at the moment but I hope to complete some things during my vacation. I hope to make a cap, some headbands and a dress but I do not know if that will happen as I have plenty of other things to do as well.

    • I’m pushing hard to get sewing done here. My afternoons are all sewing until I have it done! I have four baby dresses, two baby blouses, three pairs of baby pantaloons, three pairs of baby and toddler bloomers, one toddler slip, and two bunting bags (winter outerwear for babies) on the sewing table. I still have about six prayer caps, four toddler sunbonnets, a cape dress and two aprons to make as well. I need at least two more cape dresses for myself, and a new sunbonnet. For winter, I will need a new cape and bloomers. The baby will need some slips for her dresses, and Patience will need some winter things, and then there will be another round of baby sewing! When my boys were little, I sewed quite a bit, mostly crawlers and overalls. At least, baby things are quick to sew- very short seams!

  3. Your sewing list looks just about as long as mine. I am in desperate need of some new dresses. Some of mine are getting down right shabby. Ella growing like she does, I’m always playing catch up (thank goodness for big hems). I’ve got some patterns from Common Sense, they are good but I find them baggy. I usually have to do some altering. I do like that you get to pick the size range you want. I LOVE Folkwear. It’s even better now that they have made a lot of their patterns larger. I use a number of their patterns. You will love the Kinsale cloak. I made one years ago with wool and coat lining. It is so heavy, it makes you feel warmer just putting it on. One thing (you might know already), don’t use lining material in the hood -it will slip off. Line the hood with something ‘grippy’, cotton velveteen would be lovely.

    Baby girls are so much more fun to sew/knit for 🙂

    • I used velveteen in my last cape. Somehow my cape, Nicholas’s boat cloak and all our vestments got misplaced. I have no idea if I left them back in New Brunswick or in Kingston. If they don’t turn up, it will be time to sew new ones.

  4. Another wonderful pattern company is Sense and Sensibility ( All the sizes are included, on very sturdy paper. The patterns can be made authentically or for modern wear. If you have any problems Jennie is fantastic at helping you out.

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