So I’ve just gotten my sewing machine back up and running, but I have zero to null skill beyond the basics. I don’t love sewing (I’m sorry) but I’m in love with the idea of creating a garment and calling it my own, as well as having fashionable peices that I dont have to blow my money on. But I want to get your opinion if you guys think I should start this really huge project I really want to do but I’m afraid I’ll screw up and it will be pointless. I’m too stubborn to quit, but I’m also too stubborn to start if I know I’ll just fail! Sorry if this is just a pointless shout out, but what was it like when you first started? What would you say to yourself if you started out with a huge project like this linktext ?
Would you say go for it or suggest something a bit simpler? Would you offer any tips to keep in mind?
Just…woundering. Should I do this or not?: Because sewing is scary.


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  • Sfacebrighter_large

    May 31, 2012, 03.38 AMby sweetfatigues

    Hi LittleMuse-ess, you should totally go for it. as someone who (apart from having a fabulous but very busy grade 10 home ec teach) basically taught myself, you’ll never be happy if you don’t try. the wonderful thing about costumes is you can get away with a lot. they can look messy on the inside and even perhaps not so good if you go over it with a fine tooth comb, but you’d be surprised with the over all appearance. i’ve made a couple of costumes with out patterns, and although i was self conscious, people loved them. a trick i’ve found truly helpful, is finding a similar item (like a skirt just like the one you want to make) cheap,thrift store maybe? and take it apart to get the feel for it. if it’s a good fit, you could even use it as a pattern. and there are sooo many wonderful videos,articles and tutorials out there (lots here too) that i think you could do it. also,grandmas and moms can be a wonderful resource, they don’t even have to be yours, good luck, long live cos-play….

  • Profile_large

    May 31, 2012, 04.34 AMby ToastyKnitsandSews

    I agree! Go for it! You might find out that you like it more than you thought (I found that once I got decently good it was a much more pleasant experience. I initially started out mostly because I wanted the clothes!). And if a few projects go screwy in the beginning, that’s normal. I’d start by getting your hands on a book or two (I like the Colette Sewing Handbook for beginners, and it has very nice beginner friendly directions) and/or a few sewing friends/family to give you a hand. You can probably find some pretty good beginner projects for free on the internet (pillow cases are good, same with drawstring bags but I’m sure you get the idea). Hope you get sewing and good luck!

  • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

    May 31, 2012, 09.34 AMby katexxxxxx

    It’s fabric. It has no brain cells. Are you REALLY going to let it get the better of you? ;)

    Joking aside, I WILL get back to you later today with some clear advice. I’m off out to sew Elsewhere today – or at least, to draft patterns!

  • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

    Jun 3, 2012, 10.35 AMby katexxxxxx

    OK, sorry about the delay. Things got a bit busy round here… They have a habit of doing that.

    Now, it really doesn’t matter what sort of garment or costume you want to make. If it’s something outside the normal parameters of Fashion, such as a cosplay costume, you need to think about two major aspects:

    Is there a pattern for this outfit, or do I need to adapt or draft something? And Do I have all the skills to make it work?

    If you need to adapt patterns, then you start with the pattern books. Look through both the costume and fashion sections, and look at the technical drawings rather than the photo or drawn illustrations. This will give you an idea of what the base pattern is like, and which bits you can use and which you can leave out. Don’t expect to find all the garment pieces you want in one pattern you may want a top from this, sleeves from that, trousers from a third, and another one entirely for a coat! You will then need to adapt your base patterns to your own measurements, and add or subtract the details you need to turn the base pattern into your costume pattern.

    When I look at the amount of work involved in making all these pattern adaptations, I usually opt to draft the pattern from scratch. This is great if you have those skills. You can draft a basic block, and then adapt that to make the pattern you need for the costume.

    Once you have your pattern, you need to test it. You need to make the costume up in cheap gash fabric to see if it fits, to make style adjustments, and to determine whether or not it actually suits you. For example, if you are short and stocky, and the costume has lots of frills at the shoulders, this will make you look shorter and wider… If you are tall and willowy, it might help balance your height.

    Once you have the fit and design details ready and taken back to the pattern (as in alter the pattern to match any alterations you make on the test garment), you can start to think about making up the real thing. Assemble your fabrics and findings: you interfacings, bindings, trimmings and linings, buttons, buckles and all. Sort out your pattern pieces, and make sure they are clearly labelled with what they are and what you need to cut them out of, and how many: ‘Center Back, cut one in fabric, cut one in lining’, and lapel & facing: cut one in contrast and one in woven interfacing B’ is quite common, for example.

    Lay out the pattern on the various cloths, and cut. Mark tops and bottoms, right sides and wrong sides of fabrics, and transfer all construction markings to the pieces they belong to. Keep everything for the project in one container, and get into the habit of putting each bit of pattern into the envelope as you finish with it.

    If the patterns call for any techniques you have yet to learn, find a handy general sewing manual and practice te techniques several times on off-cuts. You should always test things like buttonholes on the same combination of fabric, interfacings and seam or fold that there is on the final garment, so you can adjust size, tension, and buttonhole style to the garment conditions.

    And practice basic seam types. If it’s a while since you did anything major with the machine, you need to do a bit or refamiliarization before setting off on this adventure.

    There is no reason why you shouldn’t do what you want to do. Just be aware that there will be set-backs at every stage. Use them to learn what to do now and what to avoid in the future. And while you are doing the research and drafting or adapting patterns, gathering fabrics and trimmings, spend an hour or two each day working through all the stitches and stuff in the sewing machine manual, and the basic sewing techniques in the sewing book. This will help you come up to speed on the basics plus any other things you need to learn for this project. Play with all the sewing machine feet and see what they do. Just cut up gash fabric and play. Make notes about what works, and keep the samples you make: they’ll help you remember for next time you need to do this particular thing.

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    Jun 5, 2012, 11.09 AMby janelee1984

    I think you should totally give it a go. Costumes are always fun because it doesn’t matter if half your garment ends up glued together on the inside, you’re probably only wearing it once (you are speaking to someone who once had to tie a Princess Leia costume onto herself with piano wire, because the darned thing refused to defy gravity). If you also want to make clothes that you’re actually going to wear, these are my tips for actually ending up with a garment, rather than piles of cut up fabric. 1) Start off with easy fabrics. Sewing machines like cottons/polycottons, and they are easy to cut out. 2) Always prewash any fabric that is on a garment that you will wash. 3) Press stuff a lot. Every time you’ve finished a stage of your garment, get the iron out, trust me it will look better. 4) Avoid curved hems on the first few garments you make, you probably won’t do the nicest job on it and it will bug you forever. 5) Use online video tutorials for help with zippers, rather than pattern instructions, which usually make little sense to a beginner sewer. 6) Get some instant gratification projects under your belt before you move onto something that takes ages. Then you know that you can and will finish a project. I recommend this pattern ( on Burdastyle that I made this dress( out of. It only has a few pieces, and you can use it again when you want to do something more exciting.

    As someone who had no teaching and spent the last 18 months making clothes and fancy dress costumes on an incredibly cheap machine, I would say just give it a go. Making costumes is waaaaay cheaper than buying or hiring. As for every day clothes, I guarantee that even if you have a wonky hem and a hash of a zip, no one will ever guess you made it, and will only be impressed if you tell them.

    Good luck!

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