Sewing is a fun, creative, and potentially profitable hobby that opens a world of possibilities. Through it, you can create your wardrobe, add decorations to your space, or even craft handmade gifts. However, as with any kind of skill, getting better at sewing takes a lot of time, practice, and helpful advice. Whether you’re a complete beginner or you’ve just dusted off your old sewing machine, the following tips will help you kickstart your creative journey.
Pick the Right Fabrics
The materials you use have a large impact on how the end product looks and feels. So, look for a reputable store for fabric online that offers a variety of high-quality materials and top-notch customer support. This means that you can reach out to them through email or telephone, whether you need more information about a certain product or want to place an order. If you’re interested in a certain fabric, I recommend ordering swatches first, so you can get a feel for its drape and weight.
Drape and Weight
We’ve all been there: you fall in love with a certain design from an online fabrics store and fantasize about how the garment will look like, only to get disappointed in the end. Every tailor’s secret is knowing the weight and drape of different sewing materials.
The drape describes how the textile hangs around your body when you wear it. Its rigidity, flexibility, and elasticity all play a role in this factor. Poor drape makes a material keep its shape and look stiff or inflexible, while a solid drape material flows effortlessly and adapts to your curves. If you’re looking for a good drape, choose materials such as silk, rayon, modal, chiffon, etc. On the other hand, some examples of poor drape are denim and canvas.
Now, how do I choose fabric weight? The density of the fibres or threads determines the weight of your material, which is typically expressed in grams per square metre. Fabric online that contains natural fibres is more breathable than its synthetic alternative, which indicates a lighter weight. On the other hand, synthetic fibres are usually thicker, which suggests a heavier weight.
This factor also influences the comfort and practicality of the material. Heavy materials are ideal for colder areas or winter clothing since they offer more insulation, while lighter materials breathe better and are perfect for warm weather or activewear.
Prewash Your Fabric
After you buy fabrics online, you should always prewash them and ensure that they are free of dirt, dust, and other particles. Companies typically use chemical treatments on their materials to preserve their original shape during transit. These substances can cause wrinkling, shrinking, or a change in colour, all of which can impact the way your garment looks and feels.
When you buy fabric, don’t just toss it in the wash and choose any old program; remember to prep your machine. Hot water typically causes shrinking and colour bleeding, so stick to a cold and mild cycle. If you decide to use washing detergent, please make sure it is mild and free of colours and harsh fragrances that can damage your materials. Don’t use bleach or fabric conditioner, since these might damage delicate fibres, causing fraying and discoloration in the future.
Once your materials are dry, put them in the dryer on a low heat setting to prevent shrinking. Keep in mind that over-drying them might make them brittle, which is something you don’t want. If you don’t have access to a dryer, hang them or lay them flat so they don’t get creases while they’re drying.
Start with Patterns
Some online fabric shops even offer patterns for everything from baby clothes to handbags. These tools help you craft your garments without worrying about how they’ll turn out. They include a lot of useful information regarding body measurements, garment descriptions, sizes, necessary skills, and fabric recommendations. Many of them also include pictures of the finished product. Along with the pattern sheet, or template, that you’ll use to cut your materials, you’ll also find a list of instructions, so you can start sewing right away!
Look through different sewing patterns carefully to find the one that fits your preferences and skill level. Choose the ones that indicate they’re intended for beginners. These designs will be simpler to make and won’t require intricate fitting or tailoring.
Take Accurate Measurements
Take off any bulky clothes before you start measuring yourself to ensure that you’re taking accurate measurements. Better yet, wear only your underwear and your usual bra. Try to relax and move around a bit before you start. Keep your breathing regular while holding the measuring tape close to your body (but not too close). Whether you’re a complete beginner or have been sewing for some time, you can see that most patterns provide three standard measurements to assist you in determining which size to make:
- Bust: This is the measurement across the largest part of your bust. The measuring tape should be straight when you record the value, so make sure it doesn’t slide down in the back.
- Waist: This is the smallest measurement in your sewing project. If you find it difficult to locate the right area, bend to one side while standing tall; the spot where your torso bends is your waist. Tie a piece of string on your waist to locate the right area and take measurements more easily.
- Hips: This one represents the largest measurement of the lower part of your body, a.k.a., your hips. Many people mistake it for the lower part of their hipbone, but it’s lower down.
Press as You Go
Learning the right pressing techniques helps you improve your sewing skills quickly. Pressing makes the garment sit flat and fall correctly on you. This blends and sets your stitches, eliminating bulk in certain areas. When you press, the iron slides across the fabric with a lifting and lowering motion on the overlapping pattern, and when you “iron” you move the iron back and forth across it. This technique won’t cause the material to stretch or distort.
Go with the coolest heat setting to avoid damaging your materials. For synthetic materials like polyamide or polyester, choose the coldest setting so that your fabric doesn’t melt. Silk does well on either cold or medium. And even though cotton and linen are far more heat-resistant, I still recommend using a medium setting, unless your material is difficult to work with. You can adjust the temperature progressively as needed, but start at the lowest setting.