Sewing and dressmaking are fulfilling, enjoyable, and time-honored activities. Wearing clothes that you’ve made yourself and outfitting friends and family with quality garments just feels good, and the special and creative skills needed in order to be successful keep the mind active and increase resourcefulness. It’s a never-ending journey, truly.
Traditionally, dressmaking has been a largely female endeavor. No more! With the advent of the successful male fashion designer, men and women alike can engage in this tradition and experience the creative and financial benefits of the practice.
If you’re just starting out with dressmaking, there are a few specific techniques that you’ll want to pick up quickly if you want to turn out dresses to die for. Basic skills and techniques simply cannot be overrated or over-practiced. A mastery of dressmaking techniques will ensure that every bolt of fabric you spend your hard-earned money on will turn into a garment worth wearing!
One exciting aspect of dressmaking is the little tips and tricks you pick up through experience. Every problem you encounter leads to a solution – and another unique skill that you can bring with you as you move ahead. As you get better and better at it, you’ll truly come to enjoy every minute you spend dressmaking.
Good technique is important when it comes to sewing. Practiced skills and techniques make the difference between a mediocre garment and an excellent one, and sloppy construction stands out. There are a few simple tips that can help you to ensure that your work is the best that it can be:
1. Marking: Marking is an overlooked sewing skill. Because your patterns will be cut along the marks you make, and your marks depend on accurate measurements, there’s a lot to it! Badly marked fabric means poorly cut dresses – or in the worst cases, a lot of wasted fabric. Get some quality chalk and use the old adage – measure twice, cut once!
2. Cutting: Cutting fabric can be deceivingly tricky. Unlike paper, most fabrics have at least some stretch to them. This means that a cut made on stretched fabric may not even resemble the same cut un-stretched. It’s important to make sure that the fabric is taught, but not stretched, when cutting to ensure that your edges will line up well.
3. Sewing: Yeah – this is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Whether hand-sewing or using a machine, sewing carefully using the right thread and sharp needles is a great start. Read your machine or sergers manual for recommendations regarding needles for specific fabrics. My mom’s old sewing machine used the same needles in the same size for years, regardless of the fabric or garment being worked on. Change out your needles according to the work being done, and you might be surprised at the difference.
4. Stay Informed. Cultivate an awareness of fashion trends, as well as new tools and techniques. Magazines and websites like this one are one good way to keep up with the happenings in dressmaking. Whatever means you choose to stay informed, solid dressmaking techniques are critical to putting this awareness into practice!
Recommended Read; The Dressmaker’s Technique Bible: A complete guide to fashion sewing