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The Beginner’s Guide to Making Clothes

by | Jun 22, 2023 | Tips & Tricks

Making your own clothes might seem like a bit of a dream but, with a touch of hard work, a flair of imagination and the help of a sewing machine, it’s remarkably achievable. Not only is it fun and rewarding; it’s also ethical and great for the environment, helping you craft that dream outfit in a way which helps.

Not sure where to start? The team at Franklins Group have pulled together some of the top tips when creating your own clothes. Read on to learn how you can bring your envisioned dress patterns to life.

Sewing Basics

When venturing into the wonderful world of clothes making, it’s a good idea to first familiarise yourself with sewing basics. This includes both basic hand-stitching techniques, and sewing machine techniques. Although a sewing machine works most of the magic for you, it’s still good to have a simple grip of hand stitching techniques. This basic knowledge will make using the machine all the easier.

It’s also important you understand the machine itself. Learning how to thread the machine, wind the bobbin and adjust the tension aren’t difficult to learn, but essential for your sewing.

There are endless Beginner’s Guides to Sewing. Read blogs, watch Youtube tutorials, find magazines; each one will give you deeper insight into the sewing basics. Terminology like backstitching, hemming, seam allowance might seem like another language at first, but it doesn’t take long for them to form part of your everyday lingo.

Gather your materials

Every good carpenter needs their tools of trade. The same applies to seamstresses. Of course, you don’t need to go overboard with your supplies. Finding the right sewing machine for you is the first step; at Franklins Group we offer a huge variety of sewing machines, helping you achieve the dream stitch, in a way which suits you.

Fabric is also a necessity for sewing basics. If you want something to practise on before you dive straight in then why not try stitching some old clean cotton socks, or an old pillow slip? Once you’re ready to take your skills up a level, find the right fabric for your desired look. Because fabrics vary in weight, stretch and fibre content, you’ll want to find a fabric which is easy to work with. Price is also a factor: although wearing your own cashmere jumper might be the end goal, it’s probably a bit risky to jump straight into using it.

Cotton and linen are fantastic choices for those starting out. Due to their stability, easy of handling and relatively low price point, they are easy to play around with. Just remember to prewash your fabrics before use to prevent shrinkage.

Pattern things out

Although sewing machines do all the manual labour for you, the creativity needs to come from you. Understanding different patterns for your garment is essential, but don’t jump straight into the most complex, niche pattern you can get your hands on. Simple dress patterns are much more manageable; a simple search on the internet will draw up endless different patterns for you to explore. Terminology such as granlines, notches and darts are useful to learn, making it easier to follow tutorials.

Make the first cut

Making the first cut always feels the hardest, but it’ll get easier with practice. Once your pattern, fabric and measurements are ready, you’ll want to cut your fabric pieces. Lay your material flat, pinning the pattern material in place. With the help of fabric scissors, cut along your pattern lines.

Once your dress patterns are ready, seek help from your trusty sewing machine. The sewing machine achieves various finishes, from plain seams to French seams. It can also add in those simple, but effective, finishing touches. Insert buttons or zippers, or use an embroidery machine to add in a little extra detail.

So, whenever you’re ready to bring your wardrobe into your own hands, visit us at Franklins in one of our stores, or browse our website to find the perfect sewing machine fit for you.