In honor of Mother’s Day, I dedicate this post to my mom and my nana who taught me how to sew and inspired my career in fashion. Here are a few tips to making your clothing from store bought patterns:
1. Selecting your pattern – Pattern sizing doesn’t always match store bought clothing sizing so go by the measurements indicated rather than the size number. Also, these don’t have to match your measurements exactly; I will explain how to alter a pattern.
2. Selecting fabric and notions – It is very important that you follow the fabric types listed on the back of the pattern. The garment will not fall correctly on your body if you choose a fabric quality that is not conducive to the shape of the pattern pieces. You also need to match the content of your notions to your fabric, meaning if you have cotton fabric, use cotton thread so they react the same way in the wash.
3. Prep your fabric – Wash and dry your fabric before you cut. It may shrink in the wash, have excess dye on the surface or be starched. You don’t want the fabric to alter after your garment is done! Also make sure to iron it before cutting, moving the iron along the grain of the fabric.
4. Altering a pattern – Pattern making is basic geometry. If you want to make sure the bust will fit before you cut your fabric, measure the circumference of your bust at the apex, divide by 4 and add or subtract to the bodice pattern quadrants to match. Remember to keep your seam allowance!
5. Make a practice garment – Use cheap muslin or scrap fabric of the same quality that you bought for your finished garment to make a draft first. This will allow you to make sure it fits properly, and you can practice complicated construction.
6. Attention to detail – Don’t rush or skip steps. Make sure you iron all seams as you go and finish your hems properly (please don’t use hem tape!) so the garment has a quality look.
7. Practice makes perfect! – The more garments you make, the better your skills will get.