Home > Dressmaking > Fashion Fundamentals

Fashion Fundamentals

By: Laura Farrant - Updated: 25 Nov 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
Making Your Own Clothes fashion Basics

Thinking about making your own clothes? Learn the basics with our quick rundown of the tips and tricks. This is all you need to know to get started with your very own fashion label!

Stock Up
Making your own clothes is a cheap way of putting together your own wardrobe. However that doesn’t mean that you can get away without spending anything. There are some essentials that you will have to make sure you have available.

Here is a quick list of the absolute necessities:

  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Thread (in all the colours you need)
  • Pins
  • Muslin cloth – the perfect testing material
  • A workspace that you can spread out on
  • Pen and pad to jot down your ideas and inspiration on

Measure Up

Before you start cutting the fabric or sewing you need to take measurements. In general, clothing measurements are based on the waist and hip numbers. When you are measuring yourself or a friend, always use a linen or fiberglass tape measure like the one in the picture. This is the most flexible type and will ensure a close and accurate measurement.

However, one thing to be wary of is getting everything too exact. Always always always add a couple of inches to each measurement that you take. This allows a comfortable fit and gives the wearer some movement. It’s also far easier to take something in than rework it to accommodate a bigger than expected figure!

How to Measure
This is a tricky business but there are some rough rules of thumb that you can followFrom top to toe:

Bust – measure the fullest part of the bust and across the fullest part of the back.

Waist – try and measure around your natural waistline. If you are not really sure where this is, the best trick is to place the tape around your waist and let it drop – wherever it lands is where you should take your measurement from.

Hips – hips are a little trickier but if you are 5ft 4inches or under, measure the hips about 7 inches from the waist measurement. Over 5ft 4inches? Measure about 9 inches from the waist. In both cases, the tape should rest over the widest part of the hip and wrap the tape, firmly, all the way round.

Pattern Making Time
There are plenty of patterns that you can buy in the shops and online. They act as excellent guides to the novice fashion maker – the instructions are comprehensive and all you have to do is follow the steps.

However, not all of us are blessed with a figure that conforms to these standard patterns. Sometimes it’s easier and quicker to put together your own pattern. This is often a case of trial and error and working out what works best for you. Make sure that your measurements are accurate, allow an inch on each measurement to hems and start sketching out a basic pattern.

Pinning It Down
As soon as you have cut out your pattern, you have to pin it to the fabric. You could do this anyway you want but there are couple of rules that seamstresses follow to the letter.

Rule number one is that the pins should always rest in parallel to the cutting line. This is not a rule for the sake of rules – if your pins rest along the cutting line, it makes cutting easy and allows you to follow the line precisely.

Rule number two relates to the fold. If our pattern has a fold then you must make sure that you pin this line first. Think of your fold as the base and you must start here. If you don’t follow this rule be warned – your piece won’t be as secure and it may not rest correctly on the grain.

Pressing it All into Place
Pressing is not a final step. You should get the iron out and press as you go through the dressmaking process. If you do this you will get a professional result and your sewing will be as accurate as possible.

One piece of advice - always press on the interior side of the fabric. You don’t want burn marks or water marks on the good side!

Summary
Making your own clothes is a real skill and one that can bring a huge amount of pleasure. It is like setting up your very own fashion label where you are the creative director. There are lots of rules that you need to follow in sewing and we have outlined some of the basic fundamentals that you need to be aware of. Follow these and you will be off to a great start!

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Hi, I want to start sewing and would like to start off with lingerie. How do I go about doing a course for that. Are there any night courses available anywhere as i work full time.
hayleyjean - 25-Nov-15 @ 5:34 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Red
    Re: What Does With or Without Nap Means?
    I haven't sewed from a pattern since school so I'm trying something simple. A simple dress by McCalls. At first I…
    21 April 2017
  • Terri
    Re: Fabric and Pattern Preparation
    I have a hard time understanding a Pattern. I want to make a tote bag. Any suggestions on following a pattern? Thank you
    16 February 2017
  • Marge
    Re: How to Make Swags and Jabots
    I need picture illustrations.
    19 April 2016
  • hayleyjean
    Re: Fashion Fundamentals
    Hi, I want to start sewing and would like to start off with lingerie. How do I go about doing a course for that. Are there any night courses…
    25 November 2015
  • Sue
    Re: Stitch Types
    My machine is not stitching properly - on the back of the fabric the stitch can easily be pulled out - do you know what the problem is.
    18 November 2015
  • StartSewing
    Re: How to Make a Tablecloth
    msgarlic - Your Question:MOST IMPORTANTLY and before you do anything else.WASH THE FABRIC FIRST!As with anything you make and will wash…
    11 September 2015
  • msgarlic
    Re: How to Make a Tablecloth
    MOST IMPORTANTLY and before you do anything else..WASH THE FABRIC FIRST! As with anything you make and will wash regulary there will…
    10 September 2015
  • fish
    Re: The Best Way to Alter a Dress or Top so it Fits
    How to shorten a dress with a train
    11 July 2015
  • StartSewing
    Re: Sewing With Sequins
    @Wondernan. Generally you should remove the sequins that are in your seam area before sewing. Also check your needle is suitable - and note,…
    28 April 2015
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the StartSewing website. Please read our Disclaimer.