Why You Should Sew Your Own Clothes (and Where to Start!)

Growing up (especially in high school) I hated wearing things that others had. If I  got something new and wore it to school, and saw someone else wearing it, I would immediately put it in the back of my closet. Wearing the same thing as a classmate was just not cool in my book. I didn’t care if others did it, It just wasn’t something I could handle myself. If I did wear it again, it became a challenge to wear it differently than others. Creating things was and still is one of my favorite thingsOften times when I am shopping, I see lots of cute things–I AM pretty obsessed with clothing. BUT, over the past 4 years my shopping mentality has shifted: I look at the quality of the garment, the wearability, the price, and the originality. Very rarely do I see things that I feel are worth my hard earned cash because so many items can be made at home! Yes I said it! Handmade is where it’s at.

I teach high school fashion as well as adult sewing classes, and more times than not, students tell me that sewing is too hard. They will make bags all day long (even though they don’t need them). The main issue I see is that they have no clue where to start. They may know what they like and they already know how to use a machine but they shy away from attempting clothing because, it just seems too hard. 

Well I am here to tell you it isn’t! Most of the best patterns out there are simple, well fitting basics. You can go out, choose and buy fun fabric, and make make away.

But I can easily buy basics that I like, you say…well!

Here are my reasons to sew your own clothes:

  1. You can choose the fabric! You might make something super simple but when you create it in your chosen fabric , it becomes an original piece!
  2. You can create a well fitting garment for YOUR body! Why spend money on something that doesn’t fit well only to have to come home and take it in or send it to a tailor.
  3. It’s pretty affordable! Average patterns cost around $15 and you can use them more than once! So let’s do the math: I just made a shirt, where I spent $15 on the pattern and about $20 on the fabric. So we are up to $35. The average shirt at Target or other fast fashion establishments can cost anywhere from $15-25. Why not spend a little extra and have something original that you love!
  4. It’s a stess reliever. Yeah right you say, sewing stresses you out. But once you build your confidence, it’s so nice to create something from scratch and see it come to life! Then get compliments on something you made!
  5. Fast Fashion Sucks! They have trained us to think that we are never in style and always need something new. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 15.1 million tons of textile waste was generated in 2013, of which 12.8 million tons were discarded. We buy things because we think we need them…but then we discard them because who cares, it’s taking up space in my closet and it was only $10.  Hey, I will be the first to tell you I AM guilty, and I LOVE shopping at H&M and Forever 21 but… we all have to start somewhere. Most of those styles are pretty basic anyway and you could make your own, save some money, and also have a garment that will last longer because it’s just better quality!

So you agree with me but you just don’t have the skills!

Here is where to start with sewing your own clothes:

  1. Take a class! Even if you already know how to sew, there are always new tips to learn from others. I have been sewing for 20 years and there is still so much I have to learn and can learn from others. This can also help build your confidence! Having some moral support and someone to guide you can really help with the whole process.
  2. Practice! Use old sheets from the thrift store or old clothing that you will never use again. YouTube and Instagram are full of tutorials and videos that can guide you through most basic projects.
  3. Start simple. Just because you want to make something super difficult doesn’t mean you should (but it also doesn’t mean you can’t either). Starting simple really helps you to learn new skills and build on your confidence. Starting with a sewing project that is too difficult can scare you away and make you never want to sew again. So start slow. You need your driver’s permit before you can get your license. The same holds true for sewing, you will never feel comfortable if you don’t get the practice you need.
  4. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are doing way more than most people and you are learning a new skill! You are going to make mistakes and that’s OK!

These are some great introductory patterns that I love and have made several of each! Great fitting patterns that are simple and the perfect place to start:

  1. Ogden Cami by True Bias
  2. Sew Caroline’s Tank Dress
  3. The Ella Top by Liola Patterns
  4. Laurel Top by Collette patterns
  5. Belcarro top by Sewaholic

SEW…. Join me in the #handmaderevolution and try your hand at making your own clothes!

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