It's really not as hard as you might think....

November 6, 2009


I get so many wonderful compliments from readers saying things like "I wish I could create my own clothes like you do." It feels good to hear but I have to confess it's not as hard as you might think.


I don't have any formal training in creating patterns. My only prior experience has been with sewing existing patterns and understanding how they look and fit together.


If you have ever seen a blouse or dress in an expensive catalog and wished that you could save $150 and sew the piece yourself, I would suggest taking a look at
one of these books. Design it Yourself Clothes and Sew U.


These books show you how to 'alter' existing patterns to make them look how you want. I love the photos in these books. They are really designed for the layman and NOT the tailor.


Plus they are totally catalog worthy! Sometimes it's hard to find eye candy in a sewing instructional manual.




But before you try all of this I would suggest
familiarizing yourself with patterns.


Maybe you are already well versed in making clothing from patterns. But if you aren't try making a couple articles of clothing from a Simplicity or McCalls pattern.





I was in college when I tried to sew my first pattern. It was scary bringing it home and unfolding the giant brown tissue paper pieces. Then reading the tiny step by step instructions and being completely confused.


When this happens,
I would suggest taking a break for a day. Work through it until you have a finished piece. Even if it doesn't look quite right, you will have gained some tailoring experience that you can use when you start your next project.


Once you get the hang of sewing patterns, I would also recommend getting an adjustable sewing dummy. I use mine ALL THE TIME. I believe you can buy them at JoAnn Fabrics for 40% off with a coupon (but I'm not 100% sure about that.
)

When you feel ready to try your own patterns start with something small like a sleeveless blouse and work your way up to a full bodied dress. Use a cheap material to make your first few pieces until you feel comfortable making your own patterns.

I think you might be happily surprised that it's really not as hard as you might think....

13 {comments}:

Katherine said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you for sharing that! I do have experience with sewing, but whenever I try to just jump in and create something without a pattern I botch it up horribly. Maybe I'm just not taking it slowly enough and studying carefully enough. I agree that sewing books rarely have clothing styles that I would be proud to wear, so it's good to know there are some better options out there!

Sarah @ Dream In Domestic said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for the advice! I have only made one dress with the help of my mom but now have a sewing machine and really want to start making my own clothes. It's very encouraging to know that I could one day make my own clothing any way I want to without any special training. I still think you should give yourself more credit, though!

Courtney Price said... Best Blogger Tips

Those are fabulous beginner tips... I agree, it's really not that hard. You just have to know how to read and give yourself plenty of time and practice-- and allow yourself to make mistakes :) A dummy is my next...want :)

Adventures in Dressmaking said... Best Blogger Tips

I have heard good things about Sew U from a more advanced sewer, as well! It sounds like a great book for anyone who sews. My favorite tip for people who want to learn to make great clothes is, familiarize yourself with one basic pattern that can be altered with simple things like sleeves, etc. I made four or so cute summer dresses from variations on this simple New Look pattern: http://www.simplicity.com/p-2349-misses-dresses.aspx
and since then, almost all dress patterns seem pretty similar and I understand the basic construction. It also helps to fall in love with your fabric and design around it!

BluBabes said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for the inspiration

Jeanette said... Best Blogger Tips

Your amazing! Your very confident and I think that can rub off on your readers. I don't know how you find time with your little ones and being preggers to sew all these darling dresses, but somehow you do and they are amazing! Your a fabulous inspiration, especially to a girl like me who can sew and loves it, but somehow can't seem to find/make time for that passion in my life. Thanks for sharing your great blog!

Kat said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you for your advice! I have actually been thinking lately about getting both these books to help me learn how to make my own patterns. I would really like to learn but the classes they do around my place are all over $1000. I think I will definately be buying these books after your recommendations! Thank you :)

Christina said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for the tip on the 2 books, I tried to ask this advice of someone I admire and she would not help, like it was a state secret or something.

Sarah-Jo said... Best Blogger Tips

Great tips Kathleen :)

I have no trouble making up patterns for my lil girl BUT cant make a piece of clothing for myself, ive given up trying I would rather just admire others creations :)

Anja said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi, everybody, You can win the first book at SMS blog http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/

Good luck!

Tart Deco said... Best Blogger Tips

I learned how to sew out of necessity. I started performing at a renaissance faire and was told halfway through rehearsals that I needed to provide my own costume with strict period guidelines! Luckily my aunt was a fashion designer that also did ren fairs and helped me with my first year costume, but after that I slowly added new pieces to my stash and 8 years later I was able to make a beautiful italian style ren gown with an 8 yard bustle. In between those years was a lot of seam ripping and a few tears, however practice and research on finishing techniques, like pressing, have gotten me to the point where I am confident to tackle most projects.

BTW, there are instructions on how to create a dress form of yourself- http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/3659/clone-yourself-a-fitting-assistant

*plum*tree*studio* said... Best Blogger Tips

What a great post! I have to say that I am not that big on patterns. I have been known to buy them and attempt to get all the pieces out but then I don't complete them. The only patterns that I get excited for lately and actually complete are the Built By Wendy patterns. I believe it's the images on the front that speak to me and excite me. The instructions are easy and the patterns are super simple...but it's the style of the clothes that drives me to finish the pattern. I guess I'm a visual person.

Miss Sews-it-all said... Best Blogger Tips

Great book recommendations, it's always so much fun to add your own "spin" on sewing projects.

 
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