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Learning to sew....

edited 2 June 2009 at 7:07PM in Old Style MoneySaving
105 replies 22.5K views
MajikMajik Forumite
137 posts
edited 2 June 2009 at 7:07PM in Old Style MoneySaving
Please don't laugh too hard, but I am seriously considering learning to sew at the ripe old age of 29 to start a wee business making sports clothes for the martial art I am involved in.

I'll be sewing pleather, lycra, velvet and a myriad of other materials hopefully, and am looking for some way to get started. My plan is to grab a machine from either Aldi or the local second hand shop and get stuck in to try it all out, but being pointed in the right direction would help :)

Anyone any tips, suggestions or insights which may help? Am I expecting too much of myself to think I will be able to sew to a reasonable level quickly with a machine? Anyone else on here sew dance costumes (the closest thing I can think of) and has a bit of experience to share?

Cheers in advance,

Maj (A slightly embarrassed male.....)

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Replies

  • skintchickskintchick Forumite
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    Hi - you will need specialist needles for leather and stretchy fabrics, and you also need a decent machine, otherwise it will drive you mad.

    It's not so much the using the machine that might cause you problems, as all the cutting out of pieces, making sure the naps runs the right way, and following the pattern instructions.

    But if you take it slowly and READ THE INSTRUCTIONS then you should be fine.

    I think you might want to start with simple patterns first, like a skirt or simple top, before trying a catsuit.

    The machine is important though - get a decent one.

    And good luck!
    :cool: DFW Nerd Club member 023...DFD 9.2.2007 :cool:
    :heartpuls married 21 6 08 :A Angel babies' birth dates 3.10.08 * 4.3.11 * 11.11.11 * 17.3.12 * 2.7.12 :heart2: My live baby's birth date 22 7 09 :heart2: I'm due another baby at the end of July 2014! :j
  • Sewing itself is dead simple, its the cutting of the cloth that can be tricky, because if you don't cut it the right way (on the grain or whatever) it might not hang right once its sewn. But thats not to say that you can't learn !!
  • My post overlapped with SkintChick's......great minds think alike and all that...
  • MajikMajik Forumite
    137 posts
    Thanks guys - it's quite encouraging to know the pattern is the hard bit, rather than the actual sewing. I am producing my own patterns based slightly on previous garments I've purchased, so am hoping I can work out the measurements for customers from there. I'm a logical bloke, so I'm hoping so :)

    Just clear something up for me - four way stretch material means it goes up down, left, right - correct? As a pose to two way, which goes left, right or up, down - depending which way I have it.

    Cheers guys!

    Maj
  • skintchickskintchick Forumite
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    Not sure.

    But I would be worried about making my own patterns - do you know about darts and naps and seam allowance and notches etc???

    Making a piece bigger isn;t just about making it bigger evenly all the way round - sometimes it varies according to the shape of the piece.

    I think you could get into difficulties if you're not going to buy patterns.
    :cool: DFW Nerd Club member 023...DFD 9.2.2007 :cool:
    :heartpuls married 21 6 08 :A Angel babies' birth dates 3.10.08 * 4.3.11 * 11.11.11 * 17.3.12 * 2.7.12 :heart2: My live baby's birth date 22 7 09 :heart2: I'm due another baby at the end of July 2014! :j
  • MajikMajik Forumite
    137 posts
    Hmmm... the problem is that for the stuff I am hopefully going to be producing, there aren't really patterns available. I will, however, go and purchase some patterns which should be close enough (i.e - your catsuit suggestion which I like) to give me a starting point.

    Oh, and you're right - I have NO idea what naps or notches are :) Seam allowance I can probably suss out :)

    Maj
  • RikkiRikki Forumite
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    PJ bottoms would give you a patern for the loose fitting trousers.
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  • tanithtanith Forumite
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    I wish you luck with your plan but can I just say that sewing leather and lycra are a devil for an experienced machinist , please don't go and buy loads of materials and stuff till you have learnt how , I also think you need a specialist machine for these items , an ordinary machine won't do....

    I think it may be more complicated than you think, you will need to overlock seams as well to stop fraying ....
    #6 of the SKI-ers Club :j

    "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" Edmund Burke
  • Skintchick is right, just making pattern pieces bigger/smaller won't necessarily get a good fit, although if you're making sports clothes out of stretchy lycra it will be slightly easier as the fabric will stretch over the [STRIKE]wobbly[/STRIKE] curvy bits. Maybe a copy of Winifred Aldrich's books (try the public library) on patterncutting will help in that respect?

    You're right that 4 way stretch means all directions, and two way usually means one way or the other (IYSWIM). You will need stretch needles for those fabrics and either special leather ones for pleather or sharp denim ones.

    I don't know what kind of machine Aldi is selling but personally I would go for a reconditioned heavy model from a second hand shop if you can find one, if you're going to be sewing tough/awkward fabrics like that, you will need a lot of patience if you go for a lightweight machine.

    Good luck (nothing wrong with being a bloke who sews - lots of designers are men!). FF
  • skintchickskintchick Forumite
    15.1K posts
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    I think getting patterns you can adapt is a great idea. If you post what things you need to make maybe we can suggest some.

    I agree with tanith that a good machine is vital.
    :cool: DFW Nerd Club member 023...DFD 9.2.2007 :cool:
    :heartpuls married 21 6 08 :A Angel babies' birth dates 3.10.08 * 4.3.11 * 11.11.11 * 17.3.12 * 2.7.12 :heart2: My live baby's birth date 22 7 09 :heart2: I'm due another baby at the end of July 2014! :j
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