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  • lilysuggett

Sewing a garment from start to finish

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

Choose a pattern:

I often get my patterns from indie designers because I like to support small businesses, plus they are often better drafted, have better support, and I can find more inspiration, reviews, and examples online compared to patterns from big companies. Sometimes I also draft my own patterns, or 'hack' an existing pattern to make a completely new design.

Choose and buy fabric and notions:

Fabricland is the main 'chain store' fabric supplier around here, but there are many small fabric shops that carry smaller selections of high quality, eco-friendly fabrics. Some even carry deadstock fabric (fabric left over from the fashion industry). Many years of fabric shopping and a good amount of trial and error has taught me a lot about choosing suitable and good quality fabrics!

Wash and iron the fabric:

This is an important step to make sure the garment doesn't shrink afterwards.

Tracing out my size from the master pattern

Trace out the pattern pieces and adjust:

Patterns come with multiple sizes, and I don't want to cut up the master pattern, so I have to trace out the right size, and then make any necessary fit or design modifications. It's very normal to have to adjust a pattern to get a good fit - we're all different shapes! Some common adjustments are shortening or lengthening, grading between sizes (for example larger hips than top), small or large bust adjustment, or adjusting the angle of shoulder seams.

[Do a test fit]:

For very fitted styles or anything that's more of an investment (like a wool coat), I'll make a basic test version first in cheap fabric of a similar weight to check the fit, and then transfer any adjustments back to my pattern. Sometimes I will also do a baste-fit, where I sew together the main pieces with a long stitch, check the fit, and then take them apart again.

Matching pattern lines across all the vertical seams

Cut out the final fabric:

This usually involves me taking over the floor! This step can take quite a while for more complicated styles. Pieces must be cut perfectly straight (on the grainline) or the garment will hang oddly and twist, and any patterns or designs must be taken into account.

Sew the pattern:

Now we finally get to the fun part!

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