Many of my beginners tell me that they would love learn to sew their own clothes after discovering the negative impact the fashion industry has on the world, both in terms of the environment and the people who work in it. Or event struggling to find clothes that fit well. If you want to move away from fast fashion, sewing your own clothes is a great way to put yourself in control of your sustainability impact and also make clothes that fit you well.
With the odd item, like cardigan or leggings, I haven't bought clothes in about 3 years. I pretty much make all my own clothes from dresses and tops to coats and t-shirts. The big goal this year is jeans.
If you are not sure where to start, continue reading and I am sharing 5 tips with you to you to get you started and build your sewing skills whilst creating a sustainable and stylish wardrobe.
IDENTIFY YOUR STYLE AND COLOURS
Before starting to sew, it is worth to spend some time to think about what kind of things you like to wear. Honestly, I didn't do that when I first started sewing. Looking back now, it would most likely not be of much help either, as I like to mix it up with dresses and casual wear with t-shirts and shorts. But if your wardrobe is full of jeans and t-shirts, then you might not sew that many dresses or use a bright bold prints, and vice-versa.
Aside from your style, I would also recommend to look into your colour scheme. While I am drawn to many colours and prints, some colours don't suit me that well and I had to learn this the hard way.
I have recently discovered Pinterest, and making boards of items that you like to wear as well as the colours that fit is a great way to refer back to when choosing fabrics and patterns.
CHOOSE A PATTERN AIMED FOR BEGINNERS
If you pick a pattern that is too tricky, it is likely to go wrong and might end up not being wearable or you might not continue sewing at all, and we really don't want that to happen. So choosing something that is within your sewing skills is a good start. A pair of PJ bottoms is a fantastic first dressmaking project (we sew these in my Beginner Course). PJ bottoms have very few pieces and aren't difficult to fit and therefore make a great first dressmaking project.
PICK AN EASY-TO-SEW FABRIC
If you have never sewn clothes before, starting with an easy to sew fabric will make your sewing experience more joyful. Start with medium-weight woven fabrics such as cotton lawn or poplin - also quilting cottons make great simple garments to start you off with. Try to stay away from fabrics that are very soft and have lots of drape, like silk or viscose/rayon. They are slippery and therefore a little tricky to handle. Also fabrics with a lot of stretch content might be more difficult to handle when you are first starting out. If you are conscious of the environment, choosing a fabric that is OEKO-tex or GOTS certified guarantees you that the fabrics have been made in an environmentally or ethically responsible way.
GROW YOUR SKILLS WITH EVERY PROJECT
If your goal is a 100% handmade wardrobe, you will have to build various sewing skills to achieve that. A lot of clothes include fastenings such as zips, buttons and other items such as collars and pockets. With every project you can gain new skills and this is a great way to learn and practice. If ever you get stuck at a step and don't know how to continue, there are many sources online in video tutorials or blog post step by steps. Don't be shy to ask for help through a friend, the online sewing community or even take a course - it's another great way to learn something new and make sewing friends at the same time.
UPCYCLE AND REFASHION
Using the clothes that you already own, is the most sustainable fashion. Refashion your existing clothes or mending is trendy right now. You can give a preloved item a new look and put your own personally in it.
It is another great learning curve while deconstructing you will get to know the construction of garments and familiarise yourself how clothes are made.
Another great way of refashion and clothes not ending in landfills, you can buy larger sizes (they are also often in the sale section of your favourite shop) and refashion them into something new to suit your style. I sometimes find it hard to find fashion fabrics and that gives me the possibility to wear something that is on trend right now and at the same time, it won't be thrown if not sold.
Do you have any other tips? Comment below, I love hearing your thoughts.