A person who is a beginner sewer may find themselves overwhelmed during their first clothing project. Two things two remember are to stay relaxed and get up and walk away for a while if you are becoming overwhelmed. By doing the last tip, you will be able to come back to your project with a fresh mind and more relaxed.
Choose an easy clothing pattern
When choosing a pattern, buy one that has few pieces. Fewer pieces to cut out from the pattern paper means a quicker start to your sewing project. A prime example of an easy sewing pattern for a women’s top is Butterick See & Sew B5512 Package A (Xsm, Sm, and Med). This is the pattern a fellow AC writer is using for her first sewing project. It has four pieces to cut out.
There are two ways to cut out the pattern for making the garment. One way is to cut out all the pieces from the folded pattern in the packaging. The second way is to pin the pattern to the fabric in its packaged state and cut out the pattern and fabric pieces at the same time. I have used both methods.
I use the first method of cutting the pattern out when there are three or more options to choose from. One prime example of this type of pattern is Simplicity 2368. There are six versions of a skirt to be made from this one pattern.
NOTE: Be sure to never cut away the notches on the patterns. These will guide you in aligning the pieces together when you begin to start sewing your first and future clothing projects.
NOTE: Let the instructions for the pattern be your friend. There is quite a bit of useful information, along with diagrams, to help you complete your clothing project.
Choose solid fabrics over patterns
Using a plain color of fabric without stripes or other patterns will simply your first clothing project even further. By using a solid fabric, you will only have to worry about cutting the pattern out on the correct nap.
NOTE: The direction the pile of the fabric lays and how it looks from different angles in lighting. Examples of fabric with nap: velour, velvet, and fleece. Think of the way pile carpeting looks and the way the yarn runs when running a hand or vacuum over it.
Suggestion: If you are wanting to try fabrics with patterns, I would suggest making a piece of doll clothing out of the fabric you want to use for your own clothing. By doing this, you can practice cutting out a pattern to make the pieces of the article clothing match. For instance, using a striped fabric, you can practice getting the stripes to match in the shoulders and side seams. You will also be able to practice on matching the stripes matching where the sleeves are sewn into the garment.
Choose trims easy to sew on
If you are using a pattern like the Butterick See & Sew B5512 Package A, use a straight edge trim. By using a straight edge trim, you will be able to line the edges of the trim and edges of the completed piece together easier.
Choosing threads for your first clothing sewing project
After you have chosen your fabric and trims, take the fabric to the thread section. Choose a thread that comes closest to the colors of your fabrics and trims. The same technique applies to buttons and zippers. You will want to have the thread that matches your fabric.
Choosing buttons and zippers
If your first clothing sewing project requires buttons, choose buttons that you think will be easy to sew on. For some fabrics a flat, four hole button will cause less puckering than a two hole or hook (a loop on the back of the button).
Their are buttons that require being covered with fabric and put together. These buttons require a bit of finger strength or gadgets to help put the back of the button into the mushroom looking top of the button. The packaging usually either has the instructions on the back of the package or on paper folded inside the container.
When choosing a zipper, be sure to read the back of the pattern package because it will tell you the length of the zipper needed. Be sure to follow the directions on the instruction insert for sewing the zipper to the garment.
Making button holes
I would suggest practicing the button holes on a scrap piece fabric before trying this on the garment you are making. Even though many of today’s sewing machines come with a button hole foot, getting the alignment right from the edge and between holes is very important.
By practicing the button holes on a scrap piece of fabric first, you will be able to see how the fabric and machine will work together first. Some fabrics will seem to always want pucker when using a sewing machine for the button holes. This is when you may find ways to keep this from happening when practicing first.
Straight pins are your friends
Always use straight pins to pin the pattern to the fabric. Use straight pins when putting the wrong sides of the fabric together for sewing the side seams, sleeves, darts, facings, waist bands, collars, and hems. Use straight pins when attaching trims.
The straight pins will help keep the fabric and pieces aligned while sewing. I personally use several straight pins while sewing because they help me from having to keep the fabric laying flat while using my sewing machine.
NOTE: Be careful not to sew into one of the straight pins because the needle from your sewing machine can break, bend the straight pins, and could cause a snag in your fabric.
Simplicity 2368 Misses’ Skirts
Butterick See &Sew B5512 Misses’ Tunic