Pansies are real 'doer' plants - quite apart from their floral glamour in times of need, they don't mind the cold, are perfect for pots and will do whatever you want them to do before and even after, other plants flower.
Frilly, dramatic pansies are bred from wild violas, their hardy and robust nature lending themselves to the garden form, hence they give it their all in the colder months. Sown now and they'll overwinter nicely and be ready to grace your garden early next year, starting the season off nicely.
Sow in pots or trays of well-draining but lightly and evenly moist seed compost, covering seed with a fine layer of Vermiculite. Keep the seedlings at about 15C (59F) or so, but no higher than about 19-19C (64-66F) or their germination may be hindered.
Prick out the seedlings once they're big enough to be handled and transplanted into bigger, 9cm (3 1/2in) pots and overwinter in a cold frame, before planting out in early spring.
Apart from the satisfaction of sowing your own bedding, this is a good way of getting early blooms from your own propagation.