It doesn’t matter if you’re just looking for a fun and creative new hobby, or you’d like to make a career of it, sewing and dressmaking can be incredibly fulfilling activities. Better yet, it doesn’t take a lot of time or money to get started. Basic equipment can be had for less than a hundred dollars, and basic skills really don’t take too long to master.
Pick up an instructional book or magazine, or jump on line and look for simple starter projects. Run out and pick up some second-hand equipment, and you’re good to go. Better yet, connect with a friend or neighbor who already knows how, and you can benefit from their knowledge and use their supplies while you find your feet. Couple that with their good company, and you’ve got it made.
True experts have likely spent years in the school of hard knocks developing their skills, project by project. There are a few shortcuts that you can take to gain a basic level of competence without putting in years and years of effort. One way to circumvent at least some of the required time is to take a class – often offered through adult education programs or community colleges. In a class, you’ll have the benefit of a watchful and knowledgeable teacher who can walk you through the process from day one. These classes also frequently offer free use of sewing supplies, so that’s one less immediate expense to worry about. Following are a few tips to think about as you get started with dressmaking:
1. Use quality supplies and equipment. From scissors and sewing machines to thread and pins – buy the very best you can afford. The difference between a fifty cent spool of thread and a more expensive spool of thread will make itself immediately clear if you try both. Breakage, snarling, tangles, and difficult threading await if you use sub-par thread, and the same applies to nearly any other tool of the trade. Dull scissors, broken machines, weak pins, and a chintzy measuring tape can turn what should be an enjoyable pastime into an intolerable chore.
2. Plan ahead. Don’t just run down to the fabric store and flip through the pattern books until you find something interesting. That could be fun, sure, but for your first few projects, try to make something you’ll LOVE. If that means digging into the near infinite selection of patterns available on the internet and waiting an extra week for delivery, so be it! Better to make a dress you’ll love than to allow your first project to be a toilet-paper cozy.
3. Think hard about fabric. The pattern you decide on may have some suggestions regarding suitable fabric. Honestly, it’s best to just follow those suggestions to the letter when starting out. As your skills develop, you’ll learn to love experimenting with fabric, but at first, there’s enough to challenge you already! Ideally, look over the pattern and make some decisions regarding color and thickness of the fabric before you go to the fabric store. This sort of planning will pay off when you have a finished product to be proud of.
The importance of forethought is hard to overstate when it comes to getting started with dressmaking. The more thought and planning you can put into your first few projects, the faster your skills will develop. It won’t be long before you have the knowledge and experience needed to run into the fabric shop, grab a bolt off the shelf, and freehand some nice pieces. For now, focus on the basics, and watch your skills develop before you know what happened!
Recommended Read; Sew Serendipity: Fresh and Pretty Designs to Make and Wear