I know patterns and fabrics vary, but I wanted to make a cute 50's style dress. I feel like I was made to be born in that era. haha. Anyways, what's your experience with designing your own clothes, is it easy to work a sewing machine? If I were to began trying, what's a cheap way to go about doing it so I don't screw up and end up wasting money? Thanks for your help!
I applaud your wanting to learn sewing. I wish I were better at it. I have some experience, but right now, my sewing machine is broken.
Quite some time ago, I had a couple of great seamstresses who sewed for me. I'm good at picking out fabrics, if nothing else.
If you can, I'd suggest taking a continuing education class in sewing if one is available in your community. They may be able to teach you to sew a master pattern for yourself so that it becomes easier for you to fit and tailor your own garments. This takes skill, because usually one hip is higher than the other, your shoulders are off in some way, etc.
I have no doubt that there are some excellent instructional videos on the Internet, but taking a class is fun because of the interaction with the teacher and students.
I must warn you that you'll find that you're not very objective when it comes to fitting yourself. I even had a fantastic seamstress remark that she had nothing to wear and she just didn't like to sew for herself. But she made me the most wonderful dress, with lots of top-stitching. I still have pictures of it to admire.
Sewing your own clothes allows you make clothes that fit yourself to a 'T'. I sewed most all my clothes all through high school, and any major outfit all through my early 20's. I regret letting that skill, that interest, fall by the way side.
Fabric is very important to your end results, fabric really is what any outfit is all about. You can learn to look at a pattern and know what fabric will best make it work. And if in high school I could create my own patterns to overlay for my pants to fit the way I wanted, etc... any adult with an interest should be able to do the same.
When you shop for clothes you notice what is too much fabric in the thigh or butt, too short, stride not long enough, etc... Taking a basic pants pattern and your own measurements, you can cut your own basic pattern, same for form fitting shirts, etc... and overlay them on the patterns you can buy, so you can fit them for yourself.
Once upon a time, I would buy really cheap on sale fabric to experiment with till I got it right if it was somewhat complicated, you could do the same now surely. One of commenters here said sewing your own is more expensive, that shocks me, but I haven't fabric shopped in a long time. So, if fabric is now so terribly expensive, working with cheap cloth till you get it right is the best idea. Once perfected, you will have something you can make as original as an 'Oscars' outfit...........
I used to love those simple 'Make it Tonight, Wear it Tomorrow' patterns, and I would do just that, with a bottom of the barrel basic portable sewing machine from Montgomery Ward, circa 1976? . . . now that dates me. And I actually learned to sew on a Singer pedal operated sewing machine of my Grandma's. Glad I ran across your question/topic, brings back good memories.
I was influenced to make my own clothes before so what I did was checked online for local sewing classes to see if it was something I can do. I love designing but when it came to making the clothes with the sewing machine, I found it difficult with keeping a straight line stitch, It takes alot of patience and steadiness surprisely since a sewing machine is pretty quick. I did a few classes. The teacher was very hands on. It gave me alot of knowledge on how clothes are made from a pattern, measuring, cutting, and sewing. At the end of the classes, I made myself a skirt. You should test it out with local classes before going for the expense with materials. The place I went was called Fabricland. Best of luck!
Oh, and start with a simple pattern, or learn to sew by making a pre-schooler's garment. Little kids don't have "fitting problems."
There's a way to get fabric economically -- buy it on sale. I used to be a member of a fabric club, and I received swatches every month to evaluate. Some of it was on the expensive side, but I always had beautiful and unique fabric that would have been difficult to find in a chain store.
At times, you'll be able to beat the retail price of off-the-rack clothing. It depends on fabric selection, and how much fabric is needed for your pattern.
Gracenotes has some great advice.
I think you will find that you can usually buy clothing for cheaper than you can make it. By the time you buy the pattern, fabric and notions it's not always worth it.
Now days the only time I make something is if I can't find what I want in the stores.
Sometimes you can find great fabric in charity shops - I once bought some wool worsted fabric for about £2 and made it into a skirt, which I still wear today.
if you do not want to take courses you can just buy some patterns and sew according those patterns, it's very easy, you just need a pattern that corresponds to your size. And a sewing machine that works of course. I used to sew a lot in my country - it was a necessity. The simpliest solution for me was to take apart an old dress, shirt, skirt, whatever, and use it as a pattern to sew a new one. Hardest are pants, jackets with lining and winter clothing. Skirt is the easiest I think. I do not do it anymore, in Canada I can buy stuff I need and I do not have time for that. Though I want to buy a simple sewing machine to do some alterations. For example, 2 days ago I bought jeans and they are way too long. And they are cheap and I do not want to pay more for alterations.
Nowadays, clothes are very cheap. I tend to buy then add extras to turn them into originals. This system works best on plain fabrics, then 'collage' bits n bobs on - felting works well with wool based fabric - sewing buttons as design elements is jazzy- cutting out a design element from something and sewing this on strategic places is good and blanket stitching around the edges and seams of jerseys especially, is effective....and so on...
Sewing your own clothes usually ends up costing you more than buying off the rack, but to me the whole process is both enjoyable and rewarding. You could get an older sewing machine at a garage sale, or off Craigslist pretty inexpensively. You can get it serviced by an experienced sewing machine service person. No need spending big bucks on a new machine until you know you love sewing and are going to do a lot of it. Also, the service person should be able to show you how to use your machine. I hope that helps. Also, if you want make something for yourself, Buterick 4790 is a great starter pattern. I hope that helps.
Dressing up in clothes designed by you and sewn to fit you perfectly always brings in appreciative glances and accolades. It costs less and yes,I had the same problem in my head before I started stitching too. All it takes to gain confidence is to first experiment with some cheap fabric or any old cloth lying in your cupboard. When you are happy with the result, go head and buy good material to create your masterpiece which you can model in.
I love making my old clothes but I find that my fashion sensibilities are a tad dated..
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