Until the first World War, women wouldn’t have considered purchasing clothes for themselves or their families. It was very much a matter of doing it yourself. But gradually, by the 1920s it had become common practice to buy affordable ready-to-wear clothes that were not tailored exactly to the individual body measurements. Somehow, it is a pity that the industry of clothing had taken over the art of creating your own fashion and sewing dresses that fit exactly on your body. When the Depression of 1929 hit the USA, the idea of making it yourself had become an indication of wealth. The families who were forced to sew their clothes were regarded as poor. It was only with the revival of home sewing a few years ago that making your own clothes came back favorably in trend. It’s not only about making ends meet, but it is a different way of expressing your style and your creativity. It’s hard to believe that it’s taken people almost a century to fall back in love with the antique sewing craft and to appreciate its complex beauty for what it is: A creative piece of bespoke fashion. You can forget everything you know about the high street fashionistas; sewing your clothes is definitely a trend that reinvigorates a dull wardrobe for the best. You are truly what you wear, and that’s exactly why you should consider making your clothes. If you think it’s too difficult, here’s how you can make your very first dress in only a weekend. Ready for a sewing challenge? Ready, steady, stitch!

#1. Make friend with the sewing machine
Sewing is a hobby that can be very rewarding assuming that you stick with it long enough to develop your craft. You need to be honest with yourself: It’s likely that your first project might not be as perfect as the clothes you can buy from the shops. But you’ll get better, and that is when it becomes rewarding. As a beginning looking for sewing machines these are the best on the market, as they offer a variety of features without breaking the bank. With more and more sewing machines offering computerized stitching, you need to understand the difference between mechanical and computerized sewing. If you intend to keep your sewing projects at a domestic level, then you don’t need to invest in a computerized machine. However, if you want to explore the possibility of a sewing business and you are not afraid of technology, the computerized machine is a time-saving ally with its automatic features and its pre-programmed stitches. Another big difference is the price: A mechanical sewing machine will be cheaper with some starting around $70. For beginners, the choice is made on two main issues: Firstly, you need to know how much you are happy to invest in a sewing machine. Secondly, you need to know how you prefer to learn - with a machine that does everything at the touch of a button, or by learning the basics with a manual machine.

#2. Practice your stitches
Picking the best sewing machine for you is the beginning of a fantastic adventure. Before you decide to move any further, you need to get your head around the instructions, aka how to make certain stitches with your machine. It might sound dull – and I’m sure it can be – but as long as you feel confident with your stitches, you won’t be able to make a dress. The best way to get used to the machine is to make a few sewing practice sheets to combine stitching and changing directions – which is important because the stitches of your dress will need to follow the curves of your body. You can practice with no thread and on a piece of paper, following lines that you draw on it: Straight lines, curves, snail shapes, labyrinth, and many others. You can also use old clothes and rags with colorful threads if you prefer to keep an eye on your performance. This will also help you to get used to controlling the speed of the sewing machine and the accuracy of threading. Most beginners can get easily discouraged by the food control. It is designed to control the speed of the machine, but it can be very sensitive to pressure. So it’s best to practice before you start on your first dress.
Pink thread

#3. Pick a pattern that works for your body
Looking for a sewing pattern is one of the easiest things you’ll have to do, especially once you begin to find your way around the sewing world. Sewing is a popular craft, and consequently, there are plenty of experienced crafters who offer patterns online and via guide books. If you are looking for a fashionable first pattern, Tilly Walnes, a blogger from London, has been a sewing inspiration for several years. She regularly updates her sewing patterns on Tilly and the Buttons with the latest trends and ideas. From a casual dungaree dress to a 60s little number, you will find the inspiration you need on her blog. Or if you’re struggling to pick just one model, have a look at Tilly’s latest book that comes with no less than six dress patterns – and some fantastic tops and skirts too, but that’s for another day. Although, there are some things that you should pay attention to when picking the right type of dress for you. Sewing your own dress means that you can sew it to your body measurements. You don’t need to worry about the dress being too tight around the bum or too loose around the waist if you’re pear-shaped, for example. The dress will fit. But you still need to focus on the best shape for your body. If you’re a little heavy on the lower half, a mini dress may not work for you, for instance – but a 1950s inspired pattern will look amazing on you! If you’re an athletic type, you should pick a simple pattern, either straight or slightly A-shaped – we’ll discuss ways of emphasizing your curves with embroideries and accents in a bit.

#4.Pick the right fabric
When you first approach the idea of making your own clothes, you need also to choose the best type of fabric for your project. As a beginner, it’s always best to buy a type of fabric that is both easy to sew and not too expensive. To do so, naturally, you’ll need to take your measurements first and add at least one-third to the total so that you have plenty of fabric and don’t need to panic in case something goes wrong. As a rule of the thumb, beginners prefer to use a woven fabric such as cotton or linen for their first project, as it is guaranteed not to slip or stretch as you sew. What this means is that the fabric will have no give, so you need to take this into account when you sew body curves. Focus on plain colors because printed material might be difficult to lay out at first. Keep these for a later project, when you feel confident enough to maintain the fabric pattern while you sew. Finally, avoid heavy fabric such as denim as it requires more practice.

#5. Sewing tips you can learn from the pros
The last few tips to help you through your first sewing project: First of all, make sure to pick the proper pattern size. As Tilly Walnes often says, you might have to combine patterns to get to your size. Remember that using cotton means that the fabric has no give, so you expect to fit in a dress size S if your hips are those of a size M. Secondly if you are worried about making mistakes, you should make a muslin version of your dress. This allows you to practice cutting the fabric to the right size – including extra fabric for the seams – and to sew the pieces together. Consider it a draft before the final dress.

#6. Make your dress unique
Finishing your first dress provides an amazing feeling of pride. Okay, it may not be as exciting as what you can find in high street shops for now, but with practice, you’ll get to create a stylish wardrobe that your friends will envy. Using plain or simple fabric might sound a little dull for a first project, but there are ways in which you can spice up your dress. Using embroidery at the right places can completely change the shape of your dress. For instance, if you’re worried about your waist, you can divert the eyes from it by adding an embroidered design along the neckline or running down your legs. Another way to add personality to a dress is to bring visible finishing touches, such as a colorful zip in the back or playful buttons at the front. Little details can turn a plain dress into a stylish and bright piece.

I hope you’re ready to take this sewing challenge and transform your wardrobe. Creating your fashion, stitch after stitch, is the reward of this fantastic craft hobby. Besides, you might even discover a brilliant idea to launch a craft business at home!