Have you ever wondered how we determine our patterns’ level? Do you have trouble quantifying your experience with sewing on a scale of 1 to 5?

The number indicated on Deer&Doe patterns and on the product pages correspond to your sewing experience level, on a 5-point scale:

1/ Complete beginner
2/ Beginner
3/ Intermediate
4/ Advanced
5/ Expert

Here are the criteria that we use:

Meticulousness

Crooked seams, mismatched notches, wavy top-stitching… just like with any other craft, meticulousness in sewing comes through practice! Complete beginner (1) and beginner (2) patterns require less precision (straight lines, no complex manipulations…)

Techniques

When you are new to sewing, you have to learn the knacks and lingo, which is why beginner patterns have very detailed instructions (complete beginner patterns, such as the Arum dress, even include a small lexicon). For more advanced patterns, techniques that are considered known are not detailed, so that more time can be spend on more complex steps!

Fit

When a pattern is hard to adapt to one’s morphology, even the most enthusiastic of beginners can be easily discouraged, which is why beginner patterns are easier to adjust. When a pattern is easy to assemble but has features that make fit adjustments more difficult (such as the Belladone‘s open back), we prefer placing it in a higher experience level 🙂

Pattern testers’ perceptions

When we can’t choose between two experience levels, we survey our pattern testers before making the final decision!

Conversely, we decided not to use the following criteria:

Sewing time

Some garments, like the Chardon skirt, can take a long time to sew (because of its many pleats at the waist), but does not require any advanced skills! We consider that a beginner can tackle them without any issues in several sittings.

Number of pattern pieces

We know that a pattern with a lot of different pieces can be intimidating. But that doesn’t mean that it is more difficult! Once the pieces are cut and organized, you might only have to sew straight seams 😉 . The inverse is also true: the version of the Datura blouse with the triangle cutouts has only 5 pattern pieces, but requires a lot of focus and attention!

Of course, these levels are just an indication, and nothing is stopping motivated beginners to tackle a level 4 or 5 pattern (armed with patience and a good sewing book). It’s by pushing your limits that you make the most progress!

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