Want to be a better dressmaker? Here are my 3 go-to hints that work!

Jun 17, 2014

I have just had two weeks of solid sewing and dressmaking workshops. Like as in living, breathing, cutting, and sewing.  Wash, rinse and repeat.

As we near the end of our workshop, and their garment has taken shape – the one question that always comes up is “can you suggest another pattern for me to try”.

Success is all about the pattern that you chose!

So instead of sharing my words of wisdom (feel free to insert a laugh here!) with a chosen few, I thought it would be worth a short blog post. Sit up straight, dust off your lap and prepare to take notes:

Tip Number One:  Do your homework!  Chances are you are looking for a pattern on-line (the days of having a store that had all the pattern catalogues are long gone…plus they tend to only carry the top 4 pattern makers which I can’t say I find the most inspirational..).  Unless it specifically says ‘for beginners” or “easy” it can be a bit of judgement call (remind me to tell you the time when I had a private booking of  beginner sewers who wanted to make a vintage ball gown – true story!). So if you see one that takes your fancy, take the pattern manufacturer and the number (so in this case it is a Simplicity 2305) and I just google it with the word “review beginner” added to the search.

back_of _pattern_ImageChances are someone will have posted images of the pattern, and you can see their write up on whether it was suitable or not. If you struggle to find a review, you can either be a trailblazer, make the pattern and write a review….or you might want to give it a miss.

Tip Number Two: There is a great website originating from the States called Sewing Pattern Review – www.sewing.patternreview.com  and it does exactly what it says on the tin  – people submit their own reviews (with photos) of patterns they gave sewn.  They review a wider section of patterns – both independent and mainstream – and it is from the horses mouth as such. They also give you good hints like if the fabric suggested for the pattern is really what is best and if there is an error in the pattern. Saves you a bit of the hard work!



And Tip number three: If you have tried to get a skinny on your pattern via the two tips above and still now joy – I tell beginner sewers to look at the images on the back of the pattern and if your garment looks like it has a lot of detail (you can see this better without the distraction of the image of the fabric on it), or you can see that it requires alot of piecing, you may want to think again.

And look at what they suggest you use for fabric (my guide for any one that wants to know more about the fabric they might want to use  – get it here) – there are certain fabrics I think anyone just new to sewing should avoid – anything super slippery and silk.