I get a LOT of people asking me about my tips for starting to sew your own clothes so I figured I should write them all down for you. I’ve been sewing for a number of years now and I’ve had my fair share of mistakes I have to say! Accessories are a great way of starting, especially if you’ve never used a sewing machine before. Try head bands, scarves or maybe even some fabric belts? choose simple and classic designs. Emphasis on the simple! Always stick to easy to work with fabrics – cotton is always good. Don’t feel like you can’t use cheap fabrics – they are great for when you’re building your confidence. When you’ve got some projects that you’re happy with then try to experiment with more quality fabrics – it makes such a difference! When it comes to style – take your time and consider what you like and dislike. Think about what colors suit you and don’t be afraid to try things. Use a dress form if you can – it helps you really see how the piece is hanging. Get a really good sewing machine, but nothing overly complicated. If you’re a beginner then there’s a good guide to the best beginner sewing machines here. Get inspiration from other sewing blogs, Pinterest and from fashion magazines like Vogue. Creating your own clothes from on point, inspiring icons is what will distinguish you from others! Speaking of Pinterest – it’s great for curating your ideas about fashions you like, colours and fabrics. Get help – there’s no substitute for finding like minded people to ask for help. Whether you need technical help with working the machine, help deciding which pattern to go for or help fixing a mistake these people are a lifeline! Find sewing cafes, groups or just a FB group for locals. You might make some great friends. Anything I’ve missed?
I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite sewing books each season. Sometimes it can be so hard to find a gem of a book so I hope that if any readers come on by that they find this helpful. My top tip with these books is to check them out in person, either in the book store or in a library and see if the style suits you. Often the cover won’t quite fit what’s inside! Simple Modern Sewing I’m really enjoying this book (and if I’m honest – I love all sorts of Japanese sewing books) and I think you’ll love it if like me you enjoy the simple classic lines and that wonderful understated look of clothes and interiors (the book is just clothes patterns though). Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Another Japanese style clothes pattern book – I told you I liked them! This one is by a different designer, Yoshiko Tsukiori, who actually has quite a few books out right now. If you like it then you’d probably enjoy her other books too. I’ve not indulged yet, but I think I will be soon! Sewing Happiness: A Year of Simple Projects for living well I’m also really loving this book which has a couple of clothes projects but also some non clothing ideas too. It’s organised by season and I think I’ll be returning to this book time and time again as the seasons change. I love the simplicity of these designs and it’s a really enjoyable book to read too with a nice theme of living well running through it. It’s a joy. What books are you reading and can recommend? I’d love to hear about them!
I’m so lucky to be living in NYC with a passion for sewing like I do. The whole city oozes style and fashion and if you want some inspiration you don’t have to go far to find it. Walk down 5th Avenue at any time and you’ll see the biggest names in fashion displaying their ideas for the coming seasons – you can straight away get a feel for the colours, the fabrics and the styles that are hot right now. I never realised quite how much these big fashion houses and department stores set the tone for the fashions that trickle down to normal people until I really started following them and using their ideas for my own clothes. But more than the fashion that jumps out at you, in NYC we have sewing shops galore! Like I have no idea how many we have around here but there’s at least 3 that I can walk to from my apartment. It doesn’t matter what you want to sew, whether you’re into modern sewing like me or whether you like more traditional quilting, making children’s clothes or just home decor there will be a sewing shop that will have what you need. One other thing I’ve found about NYC is that the sewing community, if you can call it that, is definitely not what you think of when you think of new yorkers. It’s vibrant, fashionable and full of millennials exploring this wonderful craft, yes, but it’s also full of the friendliest people you’d ever meet. I’ve met some great people and made some amazing friends who are so inspiring to me. I’ve come along so much in my sewing, daring to try new techniques and sew with some amazing fabric too! I may have been too scared if it wasn’t for my friends who share their knowledge with me.