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Topic: clean slate  (Read 756 times)
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« on: September 06, 2009 07:37:32 PM »

hi! i hope this is in the right area, i had a look around and was unsure, but here goes

i really am interested in making/altering my own clothes. mostly because i always have great ideas in my head of exactly what i want to wear, but can never find it! also, i find it super interesting and i always admire the way clothes are put together and made.

but i have NO idea where to start. i don't expect to make a beautiful ballgown in a week or anything, but does anyone have ideas on where to start? i've got absolutely no talent/experience (i'm totally serious, i can't even hem a dress Embarrassed)

what should i do to get started!

thanks in advance
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2009 08:21:28 PM »

I would suggest buying the Singer Series of books for instruction, mainly the New Essentials Guide (http://www.amazon.com/Sewing-Essentials-Singer-Reference-Library/dp/0865733082/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1252293346&sr=8-2).

Try some of the Simplicity Easy patterns to begin with. Don't start off with a Vogue pattern, they're more advanced and the instructions aren't as clear.

If I were you, I would buy some cheap fabric from Joann's to try a simple, drawstring waist skirts, and then work your way up from there. It takes a lot of patience and practice.

Oh, and invest in a good machine! I would suggest an Elna, base-line model. I love mine, it's never skipped a stitch. And also invest in some basic sewing tools, such as marking tools, scissors, pins (the ones with the balls on the end), a tape measure, a tomato pin cushion to clean your needles and pins on, hand needles (because some things are easier to do by hand).

I hope this helped! Cheesy

E.B. Designs

Life isn't measured by the number of breathes you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away.

evelynbaxterdesigns .etsy.com
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2009 10:42:10 PM »

ah thanks a lot for those ideas! i've already got a super-mini sewing kit (scissors, measuring tape/ruler, pins, pin cushion, etc) and sorry but what on earth is Joann's? a US chain store? because i don't live in the US, sorry, excuse my ignorance Embarrassed

how much material should i buy roughly at first? are some fabrics easier than others?

thankyou heaps for the ideas Smiley
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2009 11:19:12 PM »

Sorry, yeah, Joann's in a US chain store.

I would suggest a quilting cotton, something with a nice print, but cheap since it's your first try. You'll need anywhere from 2 to 3 yards, depending on the pattern and your size.

Life isn't measured by the number of breathes you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away.

evelynbaxterdesigns .etsy.com
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2009 12:43:08 AM »

thankyou very much!

also roughly how long would it take for me to be able to put together a pattern? i have ideas in my head about what i want and all the details but no idea how to put it together
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2009 12:53:35 AM »

Do you have access to manufactured patterns?

Life isn't measured by the number of breathes you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away.

evelynbaxterdesigns .etsy.com
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2009 02:18:51 AM »

i don't think so, but i don't know what that means  Embarrassed

i've seen a few free patterns and stuff on the internet, if that counts? haha, sorry, i really am completely naive with this
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2009 05:18:32 AM »

Well, if you were in Canada, I'd say go to Fabricland. My boyfriend sings the theme song all the time... Anyways, any fabric store will carry patterns or can order patterns (except for quilt specialty shops, they carry hardly any clothing stuff). Just sit at the counter and look through all the catalogues. Then, when you've got a few you like, ask one of the people who work there if they think those are good patterns for a beginner, and don't be afraid to ask for a recommendation. If you tell them the sort of thing you want, they can suggest a pattern or two.

If you want free or really cheap patterns (aside from sale days at the fabric store), try BurdaStyle:


You can also have a look at patterns online from quite a few companies:


You need a credit card or PayPal account in order to buy patterns on the internet.

Good luck Cheesy


« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2009 04:35:37 PM »

thankyou very much! i'll probably get most of them online at least at first, seeing as i don't even know where to buy them yet haha

thanks for everyone's help guys  Smiley
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2009 11:33:23 AM »

The book Sew U is a really good beginners intro to making your own clothes using patterns. It comes with a few patterns that are useful if you're under a size 12. It has good info on how to use, alter, and reuse your patterns.
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2009 12:16:07 PM »

Do you have any really simple looking clothes which you like? You could try and copy them - its what I did first but I did it with my mums help - I dont know if it might be too hard to do by yourself if you have never done it at all.

Anyway whatever you do you could practice first using a really cheap bedsheet?

Would love to swap journal ephemera if anyone is doing that
Pink Cheeseburger
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2009 06:11:53 PM »


If you're in the UK I recommend Sew Direct for patterns.


especially the butterick basics

They are only 2.95, and there is no postage. I would also go with the suggestion of a drawstring or elasticated waist skirt as your first project, or the site I suggested has a pattern for pyjamas, elasticated trousers are pretty easy too as long as you don't get the legs mixed up!
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