How to Tell When a Sewing Pattern Is NOT for Beginners (Part 4: Difficult Garments) #SewEasy #SewingFun

The image shows a laundry line of doll clothes that fit 14 inch, 15 inch, 16 inch, or 17 inch dolls like Wellie Wishers, Hearts for Hearts girls, vintage Velvet dolls, or Best Friends Club BFC Ink dolls. There are free printable sewing patterns for making all of these doll clothes at

This is the last installment of a four-week journey to discover what makes a pattern difficult for beginners who are just starting out with their very first sewing projects.

By “beginners,” I’m referring to adults learning to sew as well as children of all ages who are learning to sew.

We’ve been studying a single pattern, Simplicity doll clothes pattern #4654, which is a fun pattern for people who have developed their sewing skills beyond the beginner stage, but I’ve underlined in red some of the terms on the back of the pattern that are clues about the difficulty level of this pattern (see image below):

This image is the back of Simplicity doll clothes sewing pattern #4654 with key words underlined. These key words coordinate with an article found on which describes what to watch out for when you're shopping for patterns, especially if you're new to sewing and consider yourself something of a beginner in the sewing world.

Now today’s blog post is the last in this series, so I want to be sure to reference the other parts of the series here. Click on these links if you missed, or would like to go back and re-read, any of these “Sewing Tips for Beginners” blog posts:

And today’s blog post is Part 4: Clothing Items to Avoid.

I’m going to keep this blog post shorter than the others have been by simply listing items of clothing I remember myself struggling with during those “sewing beginner” years:

  • overalls or coveralls
  • one-piece pajamas with feet in them or similar Halloween costumes
  • any garment that’s reversible
  • skorts
  • any garment that has a lining
  • T-shirts (esp. if you don’t have a walking foot for your sewing machine)
  • business jackets like blazers
  • anything with a collar
  • period costumes like Renaissance gowns or medieval garments

Now that my don’t-bother-trying list is out of the way, let me say this… I only know that these are tricky to sew because I’ve made them! And the only way you’ll ever learn to tackle them is to give them a try!

However, when you’re first starting out, I recommend sticking to the easy stuff. Shorts, skirts, and pants that have elastic waistbands are among the easiest garments to make. A doll’s sundress is a nice stepping stone to the intermediate-level sewing projects. And eventually, you’ll want to try the hard stuff!

Don’t let fear anchor you in easy-only patterns. Just take it one step at a time.

Let’s hear from some of you now! What doll clothes have you tried to make that ended up being a lot harder than you thought they would be?

Did I leave any hard-to-sew garments off my bulleted list? If so, please mention them in the comments. Thank you!

Visit for free, printable sewing patterns for dolls of many shapes and sizes. Image shows a pattern of small pink flowers. One flower = super easy difficulty; two flowers = kind-of easy difficulty; three flowers = about average difficulty; four flowers = somewhat advanced level of difficulty; five flowers = very advanced level of difficulty. This chart is used to determine how hard a sewing project will be on, where free doll clothes patterns are posted nearly every week, along with sewing tutorials.
Visit for free, printable sewing patterns for dolls of many shapes and sizes.

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