“Fashions fade, style is eternal” - Yves Saint Laurent
How many Brits does it take to change a lightbulb?
This isn't a joke... It might surprise you to learn that fewer and fewer brits are actually capable of sewing on a button and other basic household tasks like replacing a fuse! However, stitching on a button is something even a beginner can manage.
Sewing clothes is far from being passé! Since it’s a way to let your creativity flow and a great way to save money at the same time, a lot of people have decided to learn to sew.
Once you've mastered the basic aspects of sewing, you can let your creativity run riot, start doing different arts and crafts projects, and start making your own unique and fashionable clothes and accessories!
Are you into arts and crafts?
Have you dreamt about your ideal dress but didn’t know how to thread a needle? Learn how to make your dress here.
Learn to create your own great-fitting wardrobe with interesting sewing projects, fix stitches and seams on old clothes, and save money!
Why Start Making Your Own Clothes?
You don’t need to be a professional seamstress or tailor to start making your own clothes. In fact, there are many simple techniques and patterns for beginners to follow.
What are the advantages of getting into sewing?
Have a Unique Wardrobe
If you’ve already walked by someone wearing exactly the same skirt or trousers that you thought were so original in the shop, you don’t have to worry about it if you make your own clothes. You can be as creative as you want when making your own clothes! You can make the garment you’ve always dreamt of or take something you already own and add a few alterations.
Even if this isn’t your main reason for taking up sewing, you can save a lot of money by making your own clothes. When money’s tight, it’s a good option and you won’t need to wait until the sales come around, either! Patterns are often available for free and you can get the basic materials for very little from specialist stores and haberdasheries.
Flex Your Creative Muscle
Did you ever dream of creating your own fashion lines when you were younger?
Sick of having nothing to wear?
There’s still time to take up sewing and start by making something simple like a bag. You can be proud of anything you make with your own hands. All you have to do is get the materials you like.
What Equipment Do You Need to Sew Clothes?
Once you’ve made your mind up, you can follow sewing blogs, attend a workshop near where you live, and start learning how to make your own clothes. Whether you decide to sew at home or in a workshop, the equipment you’ll need will vary.
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own wardrobe:
A Sewing Kit
There are plenty of basic sewing kits for around £10 each.
You might even have one lying around the house with a pair of scissors, some needles, pins, measuring tape, elastic, and buttons. You’re basically ready to go... Once you’ve got some thread, that is!
When you learn how to sew, you should start with patterns. You can get a sewing pattern from specialised books or sewing blogs. Trace patterns to cut out from sewing books or download them online, you just need pattern paper or tracing paper.
A Sewing Machine
A sewing machine isn’t essential when you first start since you can always sew by hand. If you want to create more complex pieces more quickly, your sewing machine will be your best friend.
A sewing machine can be quite the investment but there are second-hand options available. You can check out websites like eBay, Gumtree, and Craigslist. There are also sewing workshops where you’ll be provided with a sewing machine.
Find cutting and sewing courses here.
Patterns and Tutorials on How to Sew Clothes
There are sewing patterns for trousers, dresses, shirts, tops, and blazers available online for just a few quid. There are also sites offering sewing patterns for free.
Here are some of the best sites to find a sewing tutorial and free sewing patterns:
- So Sew Easy: This is a blog with plenty of free sewing patterns, sewing tips, tutorials on sewing techniques, videos on how to make clothes, quilting, projects, and a shop selling everything you need to get started. Absolute beginners will find this site great when they first start learning to sew!
- Whipstitch: This blog has tonnes of information on making clothes for both adults and children as well as explanations of sewing techniques and terms.
Sew Over It: This blog includes plenty of tutorials (including video tutorials) and there are patterns, books, and e-books available through the site.
- Tilly and the Buttons: You may remember Tilly from The Great British Sewing Bee. Her website has a great blog full of tutorials on sewing, patterns, and online classes for those wanting to learn more about sewing and making their own clothes.
What about making your own perfect trousers? Learn everything there is to know about sewing, search "sewing classes near me" or "sewing classes London".
Can You Save Money by Making Your Own Clothes?
As you’ve seen, there are a lot of websites offering free patterns and sewing tutorials to follow.
But what about everything else you’ll need?
Can you really save money by making your own clothes?
It’s true that once you add the cost of patterns (when you have to pay for them), material, fabric, and all the other bits and bobs, sometimes you’ll end up paying more for an item than it would otherwise cost in a shop. There are ways around this, though.
Buy Less Fabric
While you can get cheap fabric, you’ll soon notice that it can be difficult to sew and it won’t last as long.
It’s a good idea to buy good quality fabric with nice patterns, taking into account the value for money rather than the final price. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for promotions and sales!
The Pride of Making It Yourself
Making your own clothes isn’t as cheap as buying from big stores who make most of their products in Asia. However, when it comes to quality, there’s really no comparison.
The clothes have a better cut since they’re made-to-measure. For the same quality, you can make some really affordable clothes!
It goes without saying that your clothes will be original, you’ll be proud of them, and you won't need to worry about some of the less ethical practices going on in the developing countries where a lot of clothes are made.
We don’t often think about it, but offcuts are a great way to save money when making original pieces. So don’t throw away anything and use every inch of your fabric!
There are plenty of tips on making accessories like making a pouch, headband, make-up bag, plaid, patchwork quilt, etc. These are also quick projects! You could start by customising your clothes by sewing a button on them.
You can save a lot of money and renew your wardrobe by recycling your clothes. People usually think about getting rid of their clothes when they don’t wear them any more. However, you can turn a dress that doesn’t suit you into a cute top, jeans into summer shorts, and skirts into trendy cushion covers. With a bit of imagination and some good advice, the possibilities are endless.
When you start sewing, some terms and concepts will be completely alien to you. To help you out, here's a list of three of the most important sewing terms you'll come across when you first get into the hobby:
Tacking is when you put together several bits of fabric with a temporary stitch. The tacking stitch will be removed once the permanent stitch has been made. This can stop fabric moving around when using a sewing machine, too.
Gathering shortens the length of fabric so that it can be attached to a shorter piece. This results in pleating, plaiting, shirring, or gauging. This technique was commonly used on shirt sleeves in the olden days!
To sew the edges of the fabric in order prevent it from fraying.
There you have it! If you're going to start making your own clothes, remember to start by learning how to sew on a button, then make some accessories like bags, purses, and pouches first, and finally move onto more complicated things like skirts, shirts, dresses, tops, and trousers.