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Making your own clothes

Discussion in 'Personal' started by JTL, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. JTL

    JTL Occasional commenter

    I love sewing and always used to make my own clothes and dresses for my daughter. Sadly, it is not easy to buy decent fabric these days to make your own. Shops seem to sell cheap material that's only good for fancy dress although you can still get good furnishing fabric. Even John Lewis only have a very limited range, though if anyone knows of a good supplier, I would love to hear.
    I recently cut up a favourite Hobbs dress to make a pattern which was successful. The original dress cost £99 and the one I made £45. However, there was only one roll of patterened linen/cotton fabric at John Lewis which luckily I liked.
    Sadly it is no longer a cheap option and sometimes a risk, rather like knitting.
    But don't be put off. You could always try out a pattern first using some old curtains before embarking on the real thing. It is rewarding in the end.
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    If you look at Paper patterns, if Butterick and Simplicity haven't yet got their act together, beware the sizing. Years ago I made a size 10 blouse that I had to give to my size 16 flatmate!
    Vogue are expensive but are a good fit and if you can manage without seam allowances (you add them on yourself so a bit of knowledge of appropriate sizes is needed) Burda patterns are good.
    Buttons can be a problem and are so important to the final finish and sometimes need some sourcing.
    If you're a beginner, watch out for jersey or stretch fabcrics, or anything which frays easily.
    Making your own clothes is fun and you end up with somthing no-one else has. Also usefulif you have any 'figure anomalies' which you can address at the cutting out pattern stage (I have one leg longer than the other, very short-waisted and unusually long arms and legs for my short height).
  3. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Lead commenter

    I experimented with knitting my own underpants for a while ...
  4. marshypops

    marshypops New commenter

    One of yours, hbf?
  5. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Lead commenter

    No, more like this ...

  6. anon468

    anon468 New commenter

    OOOOHHHHH!! Harshie! [​IMG]
  7. more like...OOOOHHHHH!! Itchie !
  8. kibosh

    kibosh Star commenter

  9. kibosh

    kibosh Star commenter

    Knitted from the fibre taken from sugar sacks appparently. Very fetching
  10. missmunchie

    missmunchie New commenter

  11. I used to make a lot of my own clothes when I was younger. I made trousers, jackets, skirts, dresses etc and the joy was that you could tailor them as you went along. I also made bridesmaids' dresses...so I was quite enthusiastic.
    All I know is, it can work out to be quite expensive, especially if the finished result looks a bit amateur-ish.
    You have to buy cotton, bindings, fastenings, good scissors, pins, tapes etc as well as the material and pattern.
  12. Missmunchie - that's a nice dress but I'd say the seamstress was an experienced 'sewer'.
    It works because the fabric she has chosen is patterned with rectangles. Notice how she has lined them up on the shoulders, round the neckline and under the bust. The squares, lined up like that, give it a more tailored look.
    It's a simple enough procedure but it might look just like a 'simple home made tunic' in the wrong fabric. Most of the floaty (often see-through) beach cover-ups in the shops are made in the same way.
  13. I haven't made anything myself, but for various items that no longer fit my oddly shaped body (I have fairly chunky thighs and shoulders thanks to rowing so any trousers that fit my legs are rather too big on the waist and anything that fits round my shoulders is hanging off my 'bust' so needs shaping/ darts), I can use the machine to adjust them so they fit better.


  14. I really like that link. We made a lot of our own clothes in years gone by - I think because my Mum probably had no money and then it was a quite cheap option. I am a funny shape too - very hourglassy but extra big bosoms. I think many things to look good would have to be quite fitted and complex - lined etc. If you could have a go using some cheapish fabric though it would be worth a try. Would floaty stuff suit you though? I find it not only hides a multitude of sins it also grows and shrinks with you. I keep on thinking I might like to do dressmaking again but I looked online recently and couldn't see any patterns I liked.
  15. I used to a lot - now sporadically.
    It really isn't the cheapest option though! (it used to be, but not anymore!)
    If you are sewing for yourself, you will need someone around to help with the pinning and trying on. My ex used to do this for me (he for some strange reason is a trained tailor, although he has never worked as a tailor and has always worked with computers, ho hum).

  16. cinnamonsquare

    cinnamonsquare Occasional commenter

    Hmmm. Thanks for the advice, having a few doubts now! (especially knitting my own underwear [​IMG] )

    Maybe I'll have a bash at something simple over the summer holiday.
  17. It was my new year's resolution a couple of years back - I have been going to some dressmaking workshops, and have made a couple of skirts and a couple of dresses - mainly because I like 50's and 60's clothes shapes.
    It is expensive and time consuming - I wasn't quite a complete beginner, but pretty close and I my first 'simple' Butterick A line skirt (3 triangles of fabric) took 2 workshops - about 6 hours each. All sorts of things are hard - cutting out takes much longer than you think, and so does putting in any pleats and darts. The sewing bit is simple, but then there's the lining, zips, buttons (not done them yet.) My favourite dress so far took about 20hours of work, because it's lined - you essentially make the same item twice!
    If you don't have someone around to help you fit things it's easy to make a perfectly good item look **** by not getting the hem right or having a dart in the wrong place. I really couldn't have done it on my own - I just don't have the skills required, but I am getting better, which is promising!
    Sizing is hard too - I take about a size 20 in Butterick. v depressing...
    I do enjoy it, but it is always a tiring day when I go! the woman who runs these classes does a 4 week evening course, but I couldn't concentrate that hard after work!
  18. Cestrian

    Cestrian New commenter

  19. lapinrose

    lapinrose Lead commenter

    I used to make all my own clothes and have done some tailoring , men's jackets and trousers. I qualified as a Home Ecpnpmics teacher which included Textiles and also did A level Needlework, so I think I'm fairly experienced.

    The first thing is, do you have a very large space for cutting out, it's important especially when you want to match patterns or get all the pieces laid out. You also need an iron and ironing board close by to press as you go along.

    If you haven't used a sewing machine for a long time, get some old fabric and practice sewing straight lines, curves and angles. Sounds simple but it is necessary. I think I would start, if you've never sewed before, with something like a drawstring bag.

    Any help or advice you want, please contact me.
  20. lapinrose

    lapinrose Lead commenter

    Sorry, forgot you said you had sewed at school, another thing, sewing machine tension. You need to test this on a piece of the fabric you're using, also if sewing jersey use a ballpoint needle.

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