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....