|Image from Pinterest
Well I’ve been making clothes for 6 months now and have learned a few things, here are my tips for starting dressmaking;
1. Start small. I started out very ambitious with my Cath Kidston Birds dress which led to it not fitting properly at the back and thus I never wear it.
Start out making cushions and bunting, something small that lets you understand how your sewing machine works and whether you have the patience for something bigger.
2. Get a sewing machine – don’t get one of those cute colourful dinky ones, mine was £80 from Tesco, it’s really basic and doesn’t have a zip foot (which I would recommend – I avoid zips for this reason). One day I will upgrade, but if you can afford I’d recommend one about £150 with some snazzy extras like embroidery stitches and a zip foot and walking foot if you fancy making quilts.
3. Buy cheap fabric to start with, that way you won’t get frustrated when you inevitably make mistakes.
4. Make things you like, model dresses/tops you like and recreate them. This seems like a no brainer but if you know your style you’re more likely to wear what you’ve made.
5. Enjoy it! Dressmaking can be really tough but it’s so rewarding, especially when people say oh I love what you’re wearing, such satisfaction.
Have you got any tips for dressmaking?
Merchant & Mills are my favourite online shop, I spend hours browsing their fabric and products dreaming of combinations of patterns and fabrics. The first pattern I decided to try was the Dress Shirt, I was a bit nervous about this pattern because it’s the first “proper” pattern I’ve used, the others have been from the sewing bee book. I also decided with this pattern I would invest in good quality fabric. Which made this project very scary for me!
The fabric I chose was Doll’s Deckchair Linen also from M&M, it’s a gorgeous baby blue stripe that feels lovely and soft. For the Dress Shirt I needed a metre and a half, but ordered two.
I had some trouble with the dress shirt’s instructions, they come on one piece of thick paper and the illustrations are quite small. The bib took some brain power to figure out how to attach, I thought the sleeves were going to be really tough to fit but actually found them really easy to sew in.
I absolutely love this dress but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’ve made at least one item of clothing before. Whilst I wouldn’t say it’s complicated, I would say it requires some skill.
Now to dream of other fabric combinations to make… I think a gorgeous soft white linen could be the next project.
I’m not sure if it was the time taken to make this dress – I made it over 4 days instead of rushing to finish in one day – or the expense of the fabric but I’ve worn this dress more than anything else I’ve made and even braved putting it in the washing machine!
I’m subscribing to the idea of slow fashion – making gorgeous items of clothing that I love instead of picking up poor quality clothes in Primark for that quick fix.
I’m already dreaming of my next project – a long summery faded floral dress.
In other news, I’m marking for the exam board and currently in the middle of marking 432 exam papers – nightmare! Come follow me on Twitter or Instagram for more up to date updates