5 tips for better dressmaking

Dressmaking is a great hobby as it gives you the freedom to expand your wardrobe with both more original, and more affordable pieces, whenever you like. Of course, dressmaking is a skill which needs to be learned, but once you have the basics down it’s actually better to do your learning through practice.

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So, if you are looking to build on your knowledge of dressmaking here are five handy tips to help you along.

1. Choose the best possible fabric

This is the key to everything, but it’s not just about picking out cloth with a pretty pattern. There are dozens of dressmaking fabrics to choose between but they all have their own uses, and require particular techniques when being sewn. Making a dress from cotton is quite different from sewing the same garment in more sheer dressmaking fabrics such as silk, while cotton tends to crease so may be a poor choice for a skirt.

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2. Pre-wash your fabric

Many dressmaking fabrics will shrink to some extent on the first wash, so it’s wiser to hand wash the material, then dry (and if needed, press) it carefully before sewing, to ensure the size and shape of the finished item is not comprised after being washed for the first time.

3. Always cut fabric correctly

This means cutting with good quality scissors which are kept sharpened, (or any other cutting tool which you prefer) and being sure to cut the fabric according to the grain. Patterns often direct you to cut against the grain because this guarantees the best possible result, with fabric that won’t hang awkwardly, or fall out of shape easily.

4. Mark with magic ink

Sewing means making marks on your fabric to help with hemming or topstitching lines, using a magic marker with ink designed to dissolve into the air after a short time. The timing can be tricky so secure your marks by covering with sticky tape until you can start stitching.

5. Always press garments as you are sewing

This makes the finished product look so much nicer and more professional, so get into the habit of pressing at every stage of construction. Sewing with the seams open makes pressing easier – but do check the heat settings on your iron are suitable for the fabric in question before you start.

Author: Kei Taylor

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