Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Tips for Garment Making {WIP Wednesday}

Having made a few garments I love, I thought I would share a few tips for sewing clothes. These are mostly tips for myself. I've found that my "make-it-do" approach to quilting hasn't necessarily lent itself well to garment sewing.


The clothes I've sewn for myself are suffering from my poor workmanship! In the interest of saving time, I took shortcuts. Now I'm seeing popped seams and fraying seams, among other problems. Now, I'm left with clothes that need repair or artful concealment.

Now, as I'm working on a new top for myself, I'm going to invest a little more time and care to make my garments last longer.

Slower than necessary progress...

I can chalk it up to being a beginner, but now I see the value in:

1) Cutting out the pieces properly. This is obvious, and maybe I'm showing my laziness here, but choose a clean, hard and smooth surface for cutting. Once I cut out a pattern on my carpet, which wasn't ideal, especially when it came time to cut the bias strips.... I think my table was dirty. Don't laugh.

2) Choosing the right thread. Instead of settling for the thread I had on hand, I should have waited a few days for the appropriate thread. I have a popped seam on a shirt, but had I chosen a better thread  for the material, I likely would have a stronger thread.

3) Choosing the right and new needle. I've damaged the hem by unknowingly (or lazily) using the wrong needle or by using an old, dull needle. (Gulp!)

4) Finishing the exposed seams on the wrong side of the garment either by a french seam or serged (or zigzagged) seam allowance. By skipping this step, I'm seeing random threads from unfinished seams, which is annoying and weakens the seam.

5) Marking the pattern pieces where applicable (i.e. Don't skip this step!). Although, they are a pain, pattern markings are so useful. (Sometimes I wish there were more markings on patterns!) Construction is always easier with properly marked pattern pieces.

6) Taking one's time. These tips mostly can be chalked up to taking my time. I am investing my time and precious fabric in something I'm going to wear. Not only do I want it to look good, but I want it to last!

These are just a few notes to myself. Do you have any related experience? Or tips to share?

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday.


  1. I often wish I had a serger so that I could finish the edges of my fabric pieces before I sewed them together. Since I don't, I use french seams whenever possible, and occasionally on heavier weight fabrics add bias binding to the seams.

  2. That's a great idea! I tried a French seam on a bulky seam... And it popped a short time into wearing the top. I'll try the buas strip next time. Thanks!

  3. I'm so using this pattern again for Market(I shrunk out of the two I had made before! yipeeee!), but I'm going to try it with knits! I also love the bias strips better! Can't wait to see your finished lovely project! ♥

  4. Such good advice, Becca! You know I'm just starting out here, but I can already see the wisdom in what you're saying. I'm so bad at replacing my sewing machine needles -- must improve on that one!

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  6. I am close to turning 60 and grew up in the last days of home-ec in high school. We had to learn the basics in order to pass the class, and these skills have been invaluable to me my whole life. I am so sorry there aren't as many opportunities to learn sewing skills, but I'm very proud of you to be discovering how to improve your skills - and ultimately your enjoyment of and satisfaction with your lovely garments - on your own. Seek out some old broads if you need help in person!! Best of luck, and I so enjoy your blog!

    1. It is so unfortunate that sewing is not a more widely taught skill. But I guess - on the bright side - if one wants to learn maybe they are better invested in learning sewing. I was lucky enough to grow up learning from my mother - she taught me the basics and I can still call on her when I have a problem. (Love ya mom!)

      Thanks for commenting Liz!


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