We’ve just begun our latest 6 week dressmaking course. This is a really popular course as everyone can make what they want and get guided through the process.
Once you have learnt to make your own garments, it is a very fulfilling hobby. However, like everything, it is a learning process and it can take a bit of practice to get it right. You can help yourself a lot by making the right choices from the start, so I have put together a few tips for helping you to choose your first project and set you on the right path to successful dressmaking!
Don’t run before you can walk!
If you’ve never made a garment before, pace yourself. Don’t start with something very complicated as you’ll get confused and disheartened. Choose something simple, with not too many different techniques – a nice simple A-line skirt with darts and a zip is a great first project as it teaches you some techniques, without being too difficult, or try children’s clothes which don’t have a lot of shaping in them.
Make something you like!
If you don’t wear dresses, don’t make a dress! Make sure you choose something that is your kind of style so that you will be motivated to finish the project.
Choose a reputable pattern make.
There are lots of modern cool-looking patterns available these days, but experience has shown us that they are not always the best to start with. Instructions can sometimes be a little vague, assume too much, or simply be wrong! Go for a traditional pattern make such as Butterick, Mccalls, Simplicity or Vogue – they have everything in there that you need and more detailed instructions and diagrams.
Choose your fabric with care.
Working with stretchy and silky fabrics throws up a whole different set of challenges, so for a first project choose a fabric that’s easy to work with – cotton is ideal. Also, make sure you buy enough fabric of the correct width. People often bring craft cotton to our classes, but it is only 112cm wide. Dressmaking fabric is either 115cm or 150cm wide, so make sure you buy the right sort of fabric and then you will have enough to fit your pattern on.
Measure yourself before you start.
Dressmaking pattern sizes aren’t the same as high street shop sizes. You will need to measure your bust, waist and hips to decide what size to make – you can find all the sizing information on the back of your dressmaking pattern. Don’t worry if it seems like you’re making an enormous size – it’s easier to adjust downwards than upwards.
So, now you should be able to head off and choose yourself a pattern and some fabric! Our next blog will cover laying out and cutting out your pattern!
Katharine Create has been crafting from the age of seven - the first thing she knitted was an egg cosy. She's branched out a bit since then and loves dressmaking, patchworking, jewellery making, crochet, knitting and silversmithing and giving any new craft a go!