Do It Yourself Fashion—How to Be Your Own Dressmaker

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Have you ever seen an outfit in a magazine or on TV and thought “wow – that looks great, I wish I could have something like that?” Well, the good news is that dressmaking, i.e. making your own clothes, is really not as difficult as it might seem at first. Of course, you won’t want to try a full-length bridal gown, or tailored two-piece suit for your first effort, but even complete novices can make a simple skirt, top or shift dress that looks great and is completely unique.

If you are tempted by the idea of being your own dressmaker, you will be able to find everything you need at Spotlight. With a wealth of fabrics, sewing equipment, patterns, trims, haberdashery and all other sewing essentials, you can find everything you need to make beautiful outfits, and all in one convenient place.

Close-up of adult female dressmaker drawing clothing design

Get Inspired

Once you have decided you want to make an outfit, your first action should be to find a pattern. You don’t absolutely need a sewing pattern to start dressmaking, but it is the safest way to start your dressmaking efforts, and it will give you some knowledge of how clothing is put together. The best way to do this is to buy a pattern or two and start sewing something. At Spotlight, the large range of sewing patterns includes several that are marked easy, which means they are not made up of too many pieces and will be suitable for beginners. If you are not confident enough to tackle dressmaking straightaway, you could always start with an easier item such as a stylish tote bag.

Get Started Dressmaking

If you are new to dressmaking, you will need to look at buying some equipment that will help you when creating your designs.

  • Sewing machine – There are many sewing machines on the market today, and some of them do very complicated things such as embroidery, overlocking, blind hemming, and more. To start with, keep your machine simple – you can always upgrade later to a fancy model. The Brother GS2510 has 25 different stitching styles and is easy to operate and maintain.
  • Scissors – No dressmaker should be without a pair of good quality, sharp scissors, such as the Fiskars Dressmakers Scissors or similar. Scissors are not cheap but this is one area where you cannot compromise on quality – buy the best you can afford. To make sure you keep your scissors sharp, make sure they are not used for other projects such as paper cutting, as this tends to blunt them.
  • Haberdashery – This term covers all your sewing essentials such as measuring tapes, pins, thread, zips, buttons or other fastenings and much more. Check your pattern, it will have a list of the items needed for your dressmaking project. If you are starting out, take a look at some of the sewing kits available at Spotlight, which will get you all the basics in one handy pack.
  • Iron and ironing board – Last but not least, make sure your iron and ironing board are close at hand, as you may need to iron certain parts of your dressmaking project before sewing it onto something else.
Fashion designer measuring a dress. Shallow depth of field.

Get Creative

This is where the fun really starts. Choosing your fabric. Browse through the many pages of fabrics at Spotlight to get inspired by the beautiful colors, designs and textures that they offer. You may already have a fabric in mind, or you may be guided by your pattern, which will recommend a certain type of fabric. Beginning dressmakers should keep in mind that thin, silky materials can be tricky to control when you have little practice, so start with something like cotton, which is not quite as slippery. Thick, bulky fabrics, gauze, and net can also be difficult to handle when you are a novice.

Your pattern will tell you how much fabric is needed for your chosen creation. Most dressmaking fabrics are between 120 and 140 cm wide, but materials do vary. Patterns will indicate with an arrow in which direction you should place a certain pattern piece, this may be because of the design of the fabric (for instance if you have striped fabric) or the sheen (fabrics such as velvet and silk can look quite different depending on how the light strikes them) or even the stretch in the fabric.

Of course, since you are making your own dress or outfit, you can be as individual or creative as you like. Fancy a contrasting color zip? Some outrageous buttons? Or ostrich feathers? It is all possible.

For everything from neat bias binding to elegant and colorful tassels, check out the great range of trims at Spotlight.

So, whether you want to make your own clothes, clothes for your kids, or even projects for around the home such as quilts, toys, decorative items or curtains, blinds and bedding, Spotlight will have everything you need for your dressmaking, sewing or craft project.

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