Thursday, March 27, 2014

Beginner Advice

          For those who cannot draw too well and have ideas for their projects this is a decent idea. The McCalls-website allows you to copy the actual pattern design, which you can save to your computer put all on one sheet and print. Simplicity and those adjoined to them do not allow for this particular method.  Example: I drew in color ideas and designs for my 2014 projects.  A great way to keep track of ideas!!


                                                              ADVICE TO BEGINNERS
Or rather what I have learned as a beginner and wish someone would have told me before undertaking sewing.

         Fitting  and sewing in a straight/curve lines will be your biggest challenge.Fitting will be the ultimate challenge. I think understanding this can take away lots of frustration that beginners have. Patterns labelled easy-will not be! Do not get discouraged when you are on a site such as pattern review and see that many people made a garment in 4 hours, when due to minor things the entire project for you, is about to become a UFO(Un-finished object)"Most" patterns(by most I mean all) will need some form of adjustments. The sooner you learn to adjust patterns and tweak the finished garment the better. It will take you more time to complete wearable projects, depending on your garment..It could take  months even with instruction.
         Having many garments made that can't be finished due to fitting adjustments can be money and time consuming as well as EXTREMELY frustrating. In other words..MAKE LEARNING TO FIT AND ADJUSTING PATTERNS A TOP EDUCATIONAL PRIORITY FROM THE BEGINNING.  I wish fitting muslin's had been my first projects. It would have given me a better grasp on fitting,my personal measurements and my adjustments needed for future pattern alterations.

         If you want to make clothing, start off making clothing. No need to take 5 classes in order to make a pillow case, when WITH AN INSTRUCTOR you can have a WEARABLE dress or shirt done in 8.
***If you are going to take classes and want to make garments, make sure your instructor takes a bountiful amount of measurements for you. If you are sewing on your own you could always try contacting a local seamstress/Tailor and pay them to take measurements for you :)***
     Personally I love making dresses/skirts. I recently got into jackets-coats-cardigans, but when I first started to sew that's all I wanted to make and still is. The jackets etc are just to compliment my dresses/skirts.

For example..How many types of basic skirt designs are there? A line, Flare etc...A little knowledge of basic designs can go a long way. Especially when purchasing patterns. I'm not saying be a fashion walking dictionary.That will come with time;) but invest in learning about your craft.

                          Aren't they lovely...Filled with so much possibility for your closet!

               It is good to have a well established pattern collection for the beginner sewer..(Unless of course you are at a fashion school and learning pattern drafting.) But lets be honest 200-500 patterns can be costly,and absolutely repetitive, although inspirational. So before you run out to buy the new line of  vogue patterns, -EVERY RELEASE take an honest assessment of your skill level, Skill level of pattern wanted, Style of pattern wanted, and most importantly use potential. Is this a style that will be in season a few years, something you can wear in the long run. In other words having 50 a line skirt patterns can be avoided. As well as 20 Bell Bottoms-That go in and out of style.HIGH-LOW MUCH!!! I was very cautious about purchasing high-low dress patterns. For they will go out of style in a couple of seasons and I do not want to be saddled with a bunch of out of style patterns.. ..(Even though as you progress you will learn how to alter old patterns to look modern; again basic silhouettes change very little, and styles normally repeat generations later) Still be thoughtful in your pattern stashing -some are just unnecessary. At least I've come to think so.YOUR WALLET WILL THANK YOU After awhile I looked at the patterns that I had and noticed that a lot of them had the same basic design. I wish I had taken the money and bought fabric or Craftsy classes/workshops Now I will only purchase ones I feel are very unique and cannot be combined with other patterns to create the same effect.
         When building up your pattern collection check out sales. Joann's run pattern sales all year long from $4.99-..99cents. Wait for the sale and buy in bulk as opposed to regular price. You can visit the website of the pattern company and make a list of the patterns and sizes you want..This will save you time at the store and from buying duplicates. It will also help you look to see if the patterns have the same design as ones you already have. Also, usually you can call and reserve the pattern on the day of sales. Since all fabric stores are far from me I call to confirm they are in stock and reserve them before I drive all the way out.
          Try out different patterns and designs to see how they will look on your body. I think the amazing thing about sewing is building a personal wardrobe that you are proud of and looks amazing on you.Over time you will learn what level of patterns to get and what style flatters you the most. You may see a blogger who looks amazing in particular patterns and the design does absolutely nothing for your body type.      

       In short: YES!!  That one blogger looks AMAZING with the new clothing she makes from patterns, but you don't have to run out and buy every pattern you've seen her use.:) It may not suit your body type. Be mindful of purchasing recurring silhouettes and designs-it can save you moonaahhyyyy!Be sure to pick up some patterns that allows you to try different techniques,example..Pleats and gathers

                                                                 FABRIC STASHING                                                                

          A lot of sewers also spend lots of money on fabric.  I would not recommend going out and buying $500.00 worth of fabric "but" if you are becoming serious about sewing fabric can always be utilized. I don't mind fabric stashing as  much as  pattern stashing Here's my reasoning-Simply as stated above, patterns become repetitive and you realize you practically have the same design or the design is out of style.Fabric can always be used...50 A line skirt patterns v 50 yards of fabric . 1 A line skirt pattern can be reused and traced. It can be muslined so you have the design forever. 50 yards of fabric goes a long way even if its in the same color and texture.That's not to say go crazy with your fabric buying..At this stage the goal is to learn how to construct and fit garments.  The ultimate goal is to be a savvy sewing spender!

      Try out different colors...You never know what looks amazing on you..As well because of online shopping you may have a much better color selection that buying ready to wear. Try it out..Teal Blue--ed Much?

                                                  Buying Patterns for Wardrobe building..
Strategize-....Look for patterns with various designs and patterns that have more than one item..
Use Patterns that can help you create multiple looks.

For example.. These contain entire outfits, that can easily be mixed and matched. With two patterns I have three jackets, two skirts, a shirt and a pair of pants.(Vogue 1389 and 1132)

If you are trying to build a dress wardrobe follow the same guidelines..
Example: They have variations on the same dress as well as 
Simplicity 1873 and 1651 try it in different lengths and fabric.
Project Runway does a very good job with giving you multiple looks in one packet.

This is definitely not an exhaustive list of sewing material, but this list will get you started and going.
If you start in a class more than likely your instructor has these items to practice but you will eventually need your own. This list  is not in any particular order!

1.)Ruler 2.)Measuring Tape  3.)Dressmakers Shear  4.)Paper Scissors 4.)Embroidery Scissors 5.)Rotary Cutter and Mat 6.)Pins and/or Pattern Weights 7.)Pin Cushions 8.)Sewing Machines with Standard Presser Feet 9.)Sewing Machine Needles 10.)Hand Sewing Needles 11.)Thread 12.)Bobbins 13.)Ironing Board 14.)Iron 15.)Tailors Ham 16.)Seam Roll 17.)Lint Brush 18.)An Assortment of Pressing Cloths 19.)Hem Marker 20. )Curved Ruler 21.)Tracing Paper and Wheel 22.)Tailors Chalk 23.)Invisible Zipper Foot 24.) Walking Foot 25.)Narrow Hemmer Feet. 26.)Patterns 27.)Fabric 28.)Buttons (29 OPTIONAL--Muslin fabric for test garments.)30.Seam Gauge

Recommended Books:
I choose these books based on the shelf life that they had for ME as a beginner. The first book listed you can use forever :)I did not list project books and I also did not list many construction books..Amazon is a great resource..but if you really want my recommendations on some just let me know:)

1.Fitting and Pattern Alterations by E.lietchy,J.Rasband, D.Pottberg-Steineckert.
2.More Fabric Savvy-S.Betzina
3.McCalls Sewing Book Copyright 1963-1968,second printing,this may be difficult to find.

Keep in mind when using Fitting books, it is best to study them as if you are in a course..The illustrations and adjustments shown will usually not make sense first read through.It might work best to actually work on a muslin several muslins ;) as you go along..Most pattern companies also have fitting shells you can buy to use along with. Also try live/or Web classes on fitting and construction when possible, in conjunction with the books.

        The biggest lesson is to make sewing a priority.You will never get better if you don't sew.. SO SEW, but sew with intention, be mindful of what you are sewing and the goals from it you want to achieve. It can be daunting after the first couple of projects, come out much less than expected, expensive and non wearable. Daunting is not the right word, it can make you want to quit! Ready to wear is cheaper, faster and  you can have the semi-results you want. But.. Sewing can give you garments you can't afford, (like that Burberry Trench ),that can withstand much more wear and tear, made specifically to accentuate your body.(IMAGINE MAKING YOUR OWN IMPECCABLE WEDDING DRESS)
      It takes time and practice like every other endeavor..Most of all HAVE FUN AND ENJOY THE PROCESS..This is a very creative outlet learning to make your own clothes..The detail, design, fabric choice...ALL UP TOO YOU!


For those that sew is there any other advice you would give to a beginner?Thoughts? Comments?

Kenneth D. King: With my teaching and writing, I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of nice people. I’m often asked for advice for people who are just embarking on the journey called exploring sewing and design. If I were to say one thing and only one thing, it’s this: perfectionism is a disease, and a form of fear!

When learning the craft of sewing (which I believe is absolutely necessary in order to know what’s possible when designing), you should expect to destroy several acres of fabric before you get good. This is an acquired skill which can only be perfected by means of repetition—practicing over and over, learning from mistakes, learning when you can save something, and when you need to cut your losses and start over. If you are afraid to make a mistake, afraid to ruin some fabric, or afraid to waste some time, you won’t ever get really good at this craft. It’s the dues you pay for becoming proficient.

However, if you are willing to charge forward, cut into that fabric, try something different, and risk making a mistake, there will come one day when you realize that you’re sewing without that knot of worry in the pit of your stomach, and the process effortlessly glides along. "ARTICLE TAKEN FROM THREADS MAGAZINE"
, contributor
Posted on May 25th, 2010 in sewingdesignfundamentals