Categories: Do It Yourself

How to Start Tailoring Your Own Clothes

So you’re looking to start tailoring your own clothes? You’ve come to the right place! Tailoring is a life-long skill you can improve upon for years to come. Knowing how to sew comes in handy when you need to fix a small tear or a button in your clothes. You can also rework the pieces you already have, and flip them into something unique. This makes your clothes last longer and prevents more fabric waste from ending up in a landfill. Dropping your clothes off to be tailored at a shop is always an option, but tailoring your own clothes yourself will save you more money in the long run. You can also go bigger and make your own clothes.

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Start Small

Learning how to hand sew is the best way to get into tailoring. Hand sewing beats out a sewing machine when it comes to finer details on garments. You should be able to fix buttons, or small bead-work if it comes undone. You can also tailor store-bought clothes to fit your unique body tyTo start hand sewing, find yourself a pack of all-purpose sewing needles, and a spool of a neutral color thread. Push the thread through the small eye of the needle, and match up the two ends of the thread. Tie the two ends together, and now you can get to work!

There are many different types of stitches you can use. The easiest one to learn is called the running stitch. First, match the edges of the tear. It is very useful to use pins to keep the fabric in place. Poke the needle through both pieces of the fabric, and then poke the needle through the fabric again, next to the spot where you just came up. Repeat these motions until the tear is finally stitched up. When you are finished, make sure to tie a knot so your stitching does not come undone.

If you are repairing a shirt with a rip in the shoulder (this happens to me all the time!) make sure to turn the garment inside out before starting to sew. This makes the stitching invisible when the garment is turned back to normal and makes the repair look cleaner.

It’s a good idea to start small when it comes to sewing. You can practice your stitches on scrap pieces of fabric until you get the hang of it. Remember, if your stitches don’t come out the way you want them to, you can always start over.

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Gather Your Materials

Before you jump into buying fabric and thread, it’s good to know what you need before you buy. If you have safety pins around your house, you can use them as pins to keep layers of fabric together. Take a look at what you have in your closet, and determine if there are any ill-fitting pieces that you want to tailor to your size, or if you need to buy new fabric. If you’re starting fresh, here are the most important things you are going to need: a pack of needles, a pack of pins, chalk or a pencil, black thread, and white thread. It doesn’t matter if you want to use cotton thread or polyester, but be aware that polyester thread is made out of plastic, and therefore won’t decompose. You will need chalk or a pencil to make markings on the clothes. Don’t be afraid to mark up the fabric, it will all come out in the wash.

It is much cheaper to buy your fabric in bulk, instead of from packages. If you go to a fabric store, you can bring the roll of fabric that you like to the cashier, and they will cut it for you. The way fabric is priced is by the yard, so make sure you have your measurements for your project before you go, so you know how many yards to buy. It is always a good idea to buy fabrics made from natural materials. This includes cotton, silk, wool, and linen. It might be more expensive than polyester fabric, but these natural materials are more breathable, you won’t sweat through them. They are also much better for the environment. To find the material a fabric is made out of, check the tag or ask a store employee. 

See Also

A helpful way to start sewing is to use patterns! Craft stores such as Michael’s and Joann Fabrics carry a multitude of sizes and styles. Patterns are also very cheap. You can find vintage reproductions of older clothes there too. Another great source for patterns is Etsy. Before you buy your patterns, make sure you know your measurements!

For much bigger sewing projects, you might want to buy a sewing machine. You can hand sew these projects too, but it will take a very long time. If you are interested in machine sewing, it is best to get a secondhand machine or an older model. Avoid buying a brand new sewing machine, because they are expensive, and many great models already exist. You can get a great quality machine for a much better price than a new one. Also, older sewing machines are very durable, because they were built to last much longer. I recommend going on second-hand retail websites, such as Facebook Market Place or eBay to find a second-hand sewing machine.

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Other Resources

To further your sewing education, look for sewing classes at your local community center, or check the internet. Youtube has a wonderful collection of instructional sewing videos. You can get inspiration from some very talented people, as they thrift and flip old clothes into something new and spectacular. Another source for your sewing education is the online classes that Skillshare offers. Finally, you can learn in person, by asking your friends and family members who know how to sew or tailor. This is wonderful because you can spend quality time with your loved ones, and improve your tailoring skills. It is always wonderful to have a mentor!

So now you know what to buy, how to hand sew, and where to get more resources from. The best thing about sewing is that the sky is the limit to what you can do with it. This is a great skill you will have for the rest of your life. Get on out there and make something great, I believe in you!

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Kelly Stanton

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