If you have never attempted to make your own clothes before, or if you have little or no sewing skills, finding some good reference materials is a great place to start. Head to your local library, fabric or craft store, or bookstore and look for a how-to book on sewing. A handy reference should have many clear pictures and easy-to-follow instructions in order to be of use to you.
Before you purchase any other materials besides a few reference books or patterns, you may want to start thinking about what kind of clothes you would like to make. That way you can watch for patterns and materials that you find appealing, and you’ll be able to focus on just a few items while you’re first starting out.
Gather Notions, Materials, and Equipment
Before you begin to learn how to sew, you’ll need to accumulate a few sewing necessities. First of all, if you don’t have a sewing machine, you may want to invest in one. Although you can sew clothing by hand, it can be very time consuming and tedious. If you’re on a limited budget and a new sewing machine is out of the question, look for a used one. You might be able to find one at a consignment shop, a sewing machine repair shop, or ask relatives or friends if they have one that you could either buy or borrow. Once you’ve secured a machine, you’ll need to put together a sewing kit. Some things you’ll want to have in your kit are fabric scissors, needles, bobbins, a pincushion, pins, a measuring tape, a seam ripper, and any other items necessary for the projects that you are interested in tackling. You’ll also want to have an iron and ironing board ready and waiting–they are very useful and in most cases essential when making clothing.
Learn How to Sew
If you already have some basic sewing skills or if you’re already a master seamstress, you can skip this part and move on. If you don’t know the first thing about sewing, you’ll need to pick up a few tricks of the trade. There are a couple of ways to do this. You can either teach yourself using how-to instruction books or DVD’s, or you can take a few lessons. Many craft and fabric stores offer Sewing 101 classes–and even if they don’t, there might be someone there who would be willing to sit down and work with you one-on-one for a small fee. If you have a family member or friend that knows how to sew, ask them if they would be willing to teach you. You can enjoy each other’s company and acquire a new skill all at the same time.
Choose a Project
You’ll want to choose a project that is suitable for your skill level when you first begin making clothes. Pick a basic pattern to start with, and tackle the more advanced ones later. If you start out with something that’s too difficult, frustration and wasted materials might be the result. Take it one step at a time and be patient with yourself. Once you get the hang of what you’re doing, you’ll pick up both skill and speed.
Use Recycled Fabrics
Making your own clothes is definitely a great way to save money–and you can take penny-pinching to a whole new level by using recycled materials and fabrics to make clothes. Old or vintage jeans, sweaters, tops, and coats can be taken apart and used to create some unique and funky pieces– and they’re free! Not only can you recycle fabrics that you find around your home, you can also browse secondhand stores, thrift shops, flea markets, yard sales, and more to find old clothing or materials that you can take apart and transform into something new and fun. If you come across some vintage or antique buttons that you can’t pass up, set them aside– you never know when you might be able to use them in one of your handmade clothing items later.
Once you get comfortable making clothes using patterns, why not try coming up with some of your own ideas? It may take a while to get there, but once you get a good understanding of construction and fit, you can draw up your own patterns and make some one-of-a-kind items that you’ll be proud to wear.
There’s nothing better than finding a hobby that actually saves you money rather than costing you. Making your own clothes is a great way to learn a fun new skill, and you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment when you’re able to sport your own unique, handcrafted fashions.
So, have you ever tried making your own clothes? What was your experience?