Whether you're avidly into The Great British Sewing Bee, or simply like the idea of sourcing yours or even other people's wardrobes, the idea of making your own clothing seems both hugely exciting and equally daunting. The ease and availability however of basic sewing equipment and guides gives everyone their own gateway, so today we're going to cover the basics for those who want to know how to get started when it comes to sewing their own clothes.


Even if you've never used a sewing machine or don't have much knowledge on the craft, let us assure you that this is something everyone can master (and by everyone, that includes you...). It's always possible to try something new, and though getting the absolute best result takes a large amount of practice, your expectations should never overwhelm your goals. Learn at your own pace, working whenever you can, and just ensure you enjoy the process as much as the finished result.

To start, you obviously must decide what it is you're going to make first. McCall's, a longtime producer of sewing patterns with a modern fashion-style, have a great range of designs perfect for the beginner. It's good to know beforehand what you intend to start with, as this allows you to work out both how much time you can commit to the project, as well as the budget you'll need for fabric and a sewing machine.


 mccalls pattern toddler Mccalls 2_184x262 Mccalls 3_183x262
See our full selection of McCall's patterns for toddlers, girls, boys men and women!

If this is your first time using a sewing machine, and you're not sure where to look first, note that picking the right model can come down a lot of factors beyond just the cost and how much mileage you intend to get from it. Some swear by the reliability of industrial sewing machines, others the portability of a domestic. Whatever decision you come to, the best way to learn to use it is a hands-on demonstration, either from a knowledgeable friend (or friend of a friend...) or from a class. Once you can wind a bobbin, change a needle and adjust the thread tension, you should have enough know-how to get started.


For your first piece, a simple one-piece project is the best way to get to learn the ins and outs of your machine, and areas you need to practice your technique on. For your next, more complicated project (whether it be commercial or otherwise), it helps to create at least three or four test garments out of cheap fabric to get closer to the ideal size of the clothing.

The last two key points to mention are tools, and the fabric itself.

McCall's pattern sets give examples of what fabrics might work best with the design, but its important you seek out a comprehensive fabric guide; one that shows the differences between the various types, what to bear in mind when working with each, and how to cut, mark and work at them with a needle.

The other, your sewing kit, doesn't have a set roster and mostly comes down to the tools you use the most. Seam rippers, rules, rotary cutters & mats and a good pair of scissors seem to be universally used, but we also recommend our own little Sewing starter kit for anyone truly embarking from scratch.

sewing starter kit

What advice would you give someone about to start sewing their own clothes for the first time? What pointers helped you get over the learning curves? You can let us know via the Ajanta Studios Facebook page, through Twitter or over at Google+.


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