I have decided to try something a bit different on the blog and occasionally post about style on Saturdays. I love clothes. I love making clothes. I love planning out what I am going to wear. I love accessorising. I love shopping. I love seeing what other people are wearing. All of it. And I wanted to share some of that love with you.
So if you want to give it a whirl, here are some beginners sewing tips.
What you need
- A sewing machine with a fairly new needle. A blunt needle is not a fun sewing experience. If you are dusting off the cobwebs, think about changing the needle before you start. (It’s not hard. You just need to unscrew the little screw and place the new needle in – easier than changing a battery)
- An overlocker. Well you don’t need an overlocker but they do make life easier. If you don’t have one, you can neaten your seam edges using pinking shears, zig zag stitching them or (if you are feeling really excited) French seaming.
- An iron.
- Fabric (more on that below)
- A pattern (more on that below)
- Whatever notions you need to finish your garment (e.g buttons, elastic)
- An un-picker / seam ripper (sorry, but you probably will need it.)
- Some good tunes
- A sense of humour, some patience and a fair wack of time.
Choosing a Pattern
For your first attempt it’s best to choose something simple.
Here are some guidelines to help:
- Look for patterns with three to four pieces or less.
- Avoid darts and closures like zips for your first project.
- Don’t be too scared of linings or facings – they are actually the easiest way to neatly finish a neckline. They just will take a bit more time.
- Simple dresses, elasticated skirts and shorts are perfect choices. The current off shoulder dresses and tops are super simple to make.
- Do buy a pattern – either a paper one or download one. Winging it can lead to disaster, plus a good pattern will clearly tell you the exact steps.
- Patterns are normally rated. Look for the easy rating.
- Avoid anything slippery like silks – it will be a nightmare under the machine.
- Cotton fabrics with a bit of weight are perfect.
- Simple patterns allow for prints, so go nuts but choose something that doesn’t have obvious repeating join (e.g checks). That way you won’t have to worry about matching it up at the seams. (confession: I never bother anyway)
- Choose a two way print so that you don’t have to worry about which way the fabric falls when you are cutting out the pattern. It sucks when you cut the pattern out and realise that the print is upside down.
- Make sure that you check that the fabric type suits the pattern (there will be details of suitable fabrics in the pattern information).
- Make sure that you buy enough fabric. Sometimes the lengths of fabrics listed on the pattern are based on bolts that are wider than what’s available in Australia. Do check and buy some extra fabric if you aren’t sure.
- Don’t buy stretch fabric – it’s a whole other ball game.
- Don’t spend too much. Or if you are in love with something expensive, make it up in a cheaper fabric first – just to test.
- Don’t forget to buy matching thread. If you make a few mistakes, they will be well hidden if you have a good thread match.