Why Handmade?

Making your own clothes may not be very economical at times, so why should someone even bother with the time and trouble of doing so?  It is so easy to run to the mall or department store for a little retail therapy, right?  Or is it?  Let’s face it, how many times can you say that you went to the store, and found an outfit that you loved and that fit you perfectly?

A Perfect Fit: When you are making your own clothes, you have control over the fit of the garment.  Possibly you have a shorter torso or arms, so you are always having to hem sleeves and deal with ill-fitting bodices.  If you are sewing your own clothes, you can make all the adjustments you need to get that great fit.  And great fit = great confidence!

Unique Style: Isn’t it cool to be different?  I sure like the idea of having a wardrobe that is all my own.  It makes a statement of who I am, not what current fashion or others say I am.  I like expressing myself in my own way and clothing is a great way to do this.  Having a unique style guarantees that you won’t be wearing all the same things that others are wearing.  No one else is going to have quite the same thing that you have because you made it!

Clothes That Compliment Each Other:  When you make your own clothes, you actually can get away with having less. (Only if you want to of course:) ) If you stick to color schemes that go together, you will be able to mix and match more things.  Now I’m not saying only make things in one or two colors.  Boring!!  What I mean is stick to a color palate that goes well with your skin tone and blends well with other things in your closet.  Maybe you like neutral colors best.  You could stick to colors and prints that are navy, tan, creme, blush, etc, and most all of your clothes could be mixed and matched.  That way you are not wearing the same blouse with the same skirt every. single. time!  Variety is good, no?

Getting Exactly What You Want: For me this is a big one!  I can’t even begin to say how many times I have bought something at the store only to change it up when I get it home.  A dress isn’t the length I want it to be, a shirt has a neckline that is too low, and on I could go.  Custom is just that, you get a custom garment that is (hopefully) exactly what you envisioned.

Better Quality:  I don’t even really need to explain this one.  Just go look over some of your “professional, store bought” clothing and see seams that are unraveling, buttons falling off, and hems coming undone.  Bottom line is that those clothes are being mass produced and spot checked for quality.  When you make something yourself, you can be sure you sewed that button on good and tight, and that zipper is not going to break!

More Variety: You aren’t always wearing the same ole thing.  I find myself basically shopping for the same kinds of clothing.  Sewing your own garments gets the creative juices flowing and it encourages you to branch out and try new things.  The result is more variety and tons of fun new things for you to wear!


Finishing Touches

Finding modest, stylish clothing at the mall or department stores is extremely difficult these days.  Modesty is extremely important to me, but I don’t want to walk around looking like a prairie lady either (no offense to prairie ladies of course).  I just want to look stylish and put together, while remaining true to my principles.  That being said, I have decided that I’m setting a goal for myself to have 80-90 percent of my clothing to be handmade.  I will be working for the next several months on creating a wardrobe that is stylish, unique, and modest.

Before you say, “What? That’s a lot of work,” remember that those prairie ladies:) made all their own clothes and they had a lot more tasks and chores to complete than I do!  If they did it, I sure can.  Now, just because things are handmade doesn’t mean they have to look that way. Or possible I should say, they don’t have to look ill fitting or unfinished.  Finishing a garment gives confidence to the person wearing it and can lengthen its life.  Let me give an example of little things that can be done to complete a handmade outfit to make it look store bought.

1.  Finished Seams:  If you take the time to serge your seams, it will greatly reduce fraying and strengthen the seams of the garment.  Plus it gives a more polished finished to the seams.  Of course, people can’t see the inside of the clothing, but  you can, and that’s important!

2.  Don’t skimp on interfacing: If the pattern calls for interfacing, make sure you use it.  Otherwise your collar, or whatever you are sewing, will be floppy and not lay right.  I know this is elementary, but I have skipped interfacing before because I forgot to buy it, and I have always regretted it!

3.  Lining, Facings, and Tacking: Take the time to line things properly, especially dresses.  Facings are so important because they usually are in prominent places that are easily seen, like the neckline.  Also, be sure to carefully tack things down so that they will lay properly and not become undone when the garment is washed.

4.  Add Your Own Special Touches:  Sign your work:)  Some people like to put tags or labels on their clothes.  I like to put a little ribbon bow in the things I make.  I think it adds a girly touch:)

I know that these points are so basic, but it’s a great reminder for all of us and it’s helpful to beginning seamstresses.

Happy Sewing!


Refashion: Jeans Into Skirt Tutorial

Have you ever seen a cute pair of jeans that would make a really cute skirt?  Ever wanted to try and refashion them into a unique skirt that you can’t just buy off the rack?  I have always wanted to try and do something like this, so I decided to try it out and make a tutorial for my blog.  I found a pair of jeans at Target for $5 for this project.  You could just as easily go to the thrift store and find something that would work.  I don’t recommend buying that $120 pair of jeans with all that snazzy white stitching for your first attempt! 🙂 Save that for when you have become a pro.  The following tutorial is just one of many ways you could do this, and it is my first ever attempt at making jeans into a skirt.  I have some other ideas that I want to play with and I will bring them to this blog when I have completed them.

Step One: Start with a pair of jeans that is your size or one size larger.  Cut the jeans to knee length and cut open the inseam.  I cut all the way up to where the inseam meets, and then seam ripped up to the zipper.  On the back, I just cut up to where the seams met and then seam ripped about the same distance as the front (it was about two inches).

Step Two:  Cut the lower portion of the pant legs into strips.

Step Three: Divide the steps in half and sew them together.  This will create a front panel and a back panel to put in the skirt.

Step Four: Serge the seams of the two panels.  If you don’t have a serger, you can either run a zigzag stitch over the edges, or just leave them unfinished.

Step Five: Pin the panel into the front of the skirt on one side and sew.  Repeat with the other side.  Take your time in the pinning.  The skirt should lay flat when you pin it.  Check for puckering and bulges just below the zipper before you sew.  Most of the bulges can be fixed during the pinning process.  Once you get the front to look the way you want it, repeat the process with the back of the skirt.

Step Six: Hem the skirt, run a serge around the edges, or leave them raw.  If you leave the hem raw, I suggest running a straight seam around the bottom close to the edge to control the fraying.

Step Seven: Top stitch along the edge of the V in the skirt all the way up to the zipper.  Repeat on the back side of the skirt.

All Finished!

Please note: You may find that you need to take in the waist slightly or wear a belt.  It just depends on the cut of the jeans, sometimes a skirt that you make will fit in the hip area, but is too loose in the waist.  If that is the case, I would recommend taking it in at the sides.