10 Tips for Garment Sewing Success

Sewing With Sandi

10 Tips for Garment Sewing Success

10 Tips for Garment Sewing Success

If you are new to sewing, and are not sure where to begin – here are some tips to help you
navigate your first purchase. If you are like me and have an enormous fabric and pattern stash, you can apply these principles to shop in your stash! These 10 tips for garment sewing success is a great place to start sewing.

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Before You Shop

1. Decide what you are going to make before you get to the store. Now this sounds
simple, but it is so easy to get distracted by all the pretty fabrics and enticing patterns.

Fabric Selection

2. For beginners, Selecting a pattern is the first step. Chose a pattern that has clean lines
and techniques you feel comfortable with i.e. zippers, buttons, etc. It’s great to stretch
your talents, but that should be one or two new techniques, not the entire garment.

3. Once you have selected your pattern – read the back of the pattern envelope. There is
so much information here. Look at the type of fabric the pattern designer suggests and
use one of those. It’s okay to go off the rails, but make the garment out of a
recommended fabric first, this will help you see what the fit, drape, style etc. was
intended for this garment and will help ensure success.

4. Find the location of the types of fabric recommended – not all cottons, silks, wools,
jerseys are the same. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, the sales people know their stock
and are typically very knowledgeable.

5. Choose a fabric you love! Nuff said!

Visit Minerva Crafts for a great selection of fabrics and pattern available online.

Besides Fabric

6. On the back of the pattern it will indicate how much fabric you need. At this point, you
can guess your size (don’t get me started on the sizing – it’s awful). There will be two
lines for each size – 45” wide and a 60” wide (if you are not sure, measure it at the desk
or ask the salesperson) each width will have a different yardage requirement. Be careful
to take into consideration stripes, nap and one directional patterns – these may require
more fabric.

7. Decide if you need to make a muslin (test fitting garment). It is always a good idea.
For this you will only need an inexpensive fabric that has the same weight and hand as
your fashion fabric.

8. Check the back of the pattern to see what notions you need. Matching thread, of
course, also zips, buttons, tape, interfacing, lining, etc. Choose your notions
carefully. The thread should match, for most beginner garments cotton coated poly is
fine. Zips should usually match the background color – pay attention if it should be an
invisible, traditional or separating zip and also what length. Buttons are organized by
size, the pattern will indicate what size is recommended.

9. Have your fabric and notions that require measuring out, cut at the cutting table. Again, if you are unsure, ask the sales help. Most stores will not take a fabric back once it
is cut. Make sure you get one continuous piece of fabric

Get Ready to Sew

10. Cash out, head home and dream about your exciting new creation!

It’s easy to plan stunning clothes with these 10 tips to garment sewing success. If you are ready to sew, check out some pattern reviews like this one for Vogue 9330 turtle neck sweater

Happy Sewing,



34 Responses

  1. Sydney says:

    Great tips! Easy for a non sewer such as myself to follow 🙂

  2. Debbie says:

    A test garment sounds like a great idea.

  3. Lisa Manderino says:

    Great advice! I would get distracted for sure!

  4. I used to sew a lot but can’t do much now. I enjoy your posts because it takes me back to when I could sew and really, really makes me want to do so again!

  5. Jennifer says:

    There’s some handy tips for sewing.

  6. Casandra says:

    Choosing a fabric is so much fun!

  7. Oh how I wish I had learned how to sew. I feel like this is a skill that I am lacking. My daughter has been able to learn some sewing from my mother in law, but I wish it was something I could teach her instead. Maybe now that I have some free time on my hands I need to get my sewing machine out and start learning how to use it.

  8. Cindy says:

    I always admire someone who can sew…can’t do so much as a button here. Well I can, but it is sooo frustrating.

  9. I love to sew but haven’t for awhile. I guess I have the perfect opportunity to pull out the machine and fabric. Thanks for the information. Nicely laid out and would be very helpful if you were first starting out.

  10. Debbi H says:

    These are great tips, thanks!

  11. Angie says:

    I like the tip about making a decision before you go to the store and avoiding the distractions. I’m easily distracted so this is something I need that constant reminder about!

  12. Hillari says:

    Reading this made me think about my brother-in-law. The other day on Facebook he posted that he just learned there was a thread “cutter” on the side of his sewing machine, haha. All of these years that he has used it, and he has always cut his thread with scissors. Proves that we learn something new every day – thank you so much for this information!

  13. Charlene says:

    I have so many great seamstresses in my life that I never felt as though I needed to know much more than how to sew a button or mend a seam. However, if there’s one thing this quarantine has taught me, it is that basic skills are more essential than ever!

  14. Tim says:

    This sounds very much like the process that my wife goes through before she starts a sewing project.

  15. Tricia Snow says:

    I would love to try this! I have always wanted to learn to sew! Thank you for the inspiration!

  16. Tiffany says:

    I’ve been crafting masks these last few weeks, might need to step it up a bit and expand my skills after we can head to the stores again.

  17. Christina says:

    Thank you for this info. I am interested in starting to sew again, and this was very helpful!

  18. Kendra says:

    Love this! I haven’t tried to sew anything other than a hole or a button for close to 40 years. I almost didn’t pass that home economics module. hehe

  19. Chantelle says:

    I’m the only one in my family that can’t sew! I keep saying I will start someday!!

  20. jen says:

    perfect time right now to get started on a new sewing project!

  21. I am always in awe of those that can sew. Such a great talent to have and I bet your designs are great.

  22. Great tips. I’d definitely be one to get distracted by all the different fabrics!

  23. Lisa says:

    I’ve been wanting to take up sewing. Thank you for sharing this.

  24. Suzan says:

    I no longer sew clothes, I do quilt and make small projects. The hardest part for me always is picking out my material. So many wonderful choices!

  25. Angela says:

    My daughter is learning to sew from a friend of mine – shared with both of them.

  26. Michele says:

    My daughter would love this. She wants to sew so bad, but I have never tried. Maybe I should share this with her.

  27. Cindy says:

    Excellent tips! I used to sew a lot and made many of my clothes as a newlywed. Sadly I lost my sewing machine during the Joplin tornado in 2011. I should purchase another one!

  28. Pauline says:

    Great tips. I really need to get my machine out and see some dresses for my daughter.

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