Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I co-host the Your Home Story podcast and believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!
Mom to Otto born April 2018 and Lucy born August 2020!

Sewing Circle: Good patterns for work clothes

Let's talk about work clothes today on Sewing Circle.  Got an email from Rhiannon with this question:

Q: I was just wondering if you can recommend any sewing patterns for corporate wear? Or patterns where I can use a nice material and make it look like corporate wear. I work for a pretty corporate environment and I am over all of my work clothes, but in Australia to buy a nice dress you are looking at about $200 AU which I think is way too much!

I responded to Rhiannon that she might want to check out a post I did a while back when I bought a bunch of work-ey patterns.  Since then a few new ones have come out, but those are some great ones to start with.

You can find good patterns for work wear at any of the big pattern companies, if you imagine making them out of suitable suiting or heavier weights, generally in dark or solid colors.  Simplicity also has the Amazing Fit collection, which has lots of choices for pants, dresses, even a blazer pattern! I'd definitely check those out when they're on sale at the fabric store (if they do that in Australia).  If you're a pro seamstress or good at tailoring, you can certainly make your own pants, blazers, etc., but even an intermediate sewist can probably make some really nice work dresses.  (I've done a couple I'm proud of, but not all have turned out great.  If you search "work dress" on the search on the right sidebar of my blog, you'll see my posts about them).

Readers, have you used a pattern for work clothes with great success?  What do you find is a good balance between buying and making clothes for a more professional environment?

And just for fun, here are a few fun inspiration pics for work wear...

So, what do you say?  Any tips for Rhiannon?


  1. I actually just blogged about making a dress for work, based on a RTW "50s work dress" saw on the weekend. I am going to use the M6201 or V8511... if i make them in a nice "corporate" colour i think they might work for the office.

    full post here:

    1. Very fun! I'm sure you'll come up with something really cute!

  2. Meybe she should try something from japanese style :)

  3. Hi Suzannah!
    Sorry I dont have any tips about sewing or patterns. All I know is that you are extremely talented to know how to sew and create such beautiful pieces. I'm sure whatever you put together will look adoable! Those first two outfits are smashing! Will you be attending our next bloggers meet this Saturday! Hoping to see you there!


    1. Thanks, so sweet of you! I'll be there on Saturday, can't wait!

  4. Balancing sewn versus purchased is a big issue. Wouldn't we all love to sew our entire wardrobes? But who has that kind of time? Unless you really are able to whip up perfectly fitted, well-constructed garments quickly. Seriously, things like tailored blazers or complete suits are better off being purchased, considering the amount of time it takes to properly fit those garments and the price of durable, quality materials. You wouldn't want to try making a beautiful wool suit without testing patterns first in muslin, and that takes time. Always factor in the value of your time. If you're in a corporate or semi-corporate environment, I think it's better to buy a suit or two in an all-season material, in neutral colors like black, charcoal, brown, etc. in the best quality you can afford. Then mix it with other elements of your wardrobe, including garments you sew. Sew a series skirts and dresses and trousers in quality fabrics that coordinate, but don't necessarily match, the suit. Sew fun, more casual jackets to mix in, too.

    1. Boy, you said it perfectly! I totally agree. I wouldn't trust myself to be patient enough to tailor a blazer and suit perfectly, and would be hard to get the perfect fabric. I say buy the basics and make yourself some fun pieces to go with!

  5. Thanks for the tips everyone.

    Steph - I already have a couple of suits which I wear regularly. My problem is, I don't see clients..I sit in front of a computer all day long and as such I'd prefer a wardrobe for work that was a little more interesting but still corporate. I would prefer to buy blazers than make them, but I wouldn't mind making some skirts, blouses and dresses to add to my collection.

    Trochenizej - You just reminded me that I have a Sewing book I got in Japan that I should use a pattern from!

  6. Lovely post, very inspiring! Would you like to stop by my blog and tell me what you think? Following you here and on twitter :)

    1. Thanks! Your blog is lovely, some cute outfits! Love the aqua jeans. Some of your outdoor photos are nice!

  7. Anonymous4/19/2012

    Burda has really cute pencil skirt patterns #118 and #121b that would look really nice paired with their Chanel Style Jacket #109

  8. Eye catching... i love these!




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