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September 19, 2017 5 min read

Surprisingly or not, sewing is a common pastime and there are tens of thousands of sewing enthusiasts who make their living through dressmaking. So if you consider becoming one of the enthusiasts who make some or even all the living through this occupation, then you’re in the right place. With this article, we want to help you learn some basics and get some tips about dressmaking.

Of course, not everyone has the skills required in this niche. However, they can also be learned and exercised, so you don’t need to give up if this is your dream. Still, you need to have an eye for fashion, as this helps you to have a nice result of your finished work. But even with the required skills, you still need to study fashion design to be a great dressmaker. As you probably know, dressmakers not only make garments, but they also do alterations, create patterns and offer basic tailoring services to their clients.

Competition is high in the dressmaking field, so you need to be truly confident if you want to make it through this. You’ll be competing with other dressmakers, tailors, designers, and with clothing retailers. So you need to understand the basics of dressmaking, including the classic looks, construction, and the current trends.

How to get started in dressmaking

So now you thought that you want to get started in dressmaking. Well, the decision is taken, but what do you need to do to get started? You have a few possible approaches, so you can choose the one that is most suitable to you.

  • Start as a hobby, by making garments for yourself and your family or friends
  • Get a mentor. It is possible that you find an experienced dressmaker who needs your help around the workshop. Helping them allows you to gain knowledge and experience.

For the beginning, you should choose a basic beginner’s pattern at the fabric store and give it a try. This will help you develop your skills. Once your skills start to develop, you can choose to create your own custom patterns. As the time goes on, you could also combine parts of various patterns to create unique garments.

Some basics

As we said before, dressmaking is a skill that some of us have. However, besides being a skill, it can also be learned. So no matter that you desire to create garments for you, or you dream to have a career in fashion, you first need to learn the basics of dressmaking.

Before you even think about starting, you need to ensure you have a clear workspace, and proper equipment, which includes plenty of pins, pens, needles, bobbins, thread and fabric. Don’t forget about the sewing machine and make sure it works fine. Once you gathered all these tools, there are a few things to know:

- Take accurate measurements.

Although you may need to take specific measurements depending on the garment you make, there are also a few basic measurements that you need to have on hand for almost any type of clothing. These measurements include hips, waist, and bust. For this, you need to have a flexible measuring tape. Excluding the very tight-fitting dresses, you are recommended to measure loosely, to make sure that the finished clothing doesn’t fasten too tight.

- Use a pattern.

Although many beginners consider this step to be optional, this is one of the critical steps. Only the best dressmakers could consider working without a pattern. So whether you buy a prefab pattern, or you make one on your own, this is the safety net that ensures you’ll have a wearable finished clothing.

- Pin, pin, pin!

Don’t worry about having too many pins in your working project. When you carefully pin your project, you make sure that your seams don’t wander and that you create clean and true to form pieces. There are never too many pins, so continue adding them.

- Use the iron.

This is yet another step that many dressmakers may consider as a time-waster. Well, the reality is that you need to use the iron as much as possible, to make sure that your finished garment looks great. However, may you have any concerns about scorching, you should turn the garment inside out.

- Scissors are essential.

You need to have sharp sewing scissors. Besides, you shouldn’t ever use your fabric scissors to cut anything else.

- The thread must match the fabric.

We know you already knew this, but we’re just making sure you remember that the thread must always match the fabric. Otherwise, your garment would look unprofessional and you definitely don’t want this to happen.

Helpful tips

Now you know some of the basics that will help you on your start in dressmaking. So let’s go on and see some useful tips that you may want to consider in your projects.

  1. Keep up with fashion trends.

No one says you should copy the latest trends in your garments, but you should get some inspiration from the fashion to use it in your work. This will bring you some positive attention when you’ll wear your garment. To keep up, you can watch some TV shows, read some fashion-related magazines, or even spend some time online, trying to find out some information about the latest trends in fashion. You won’t regret the time spent like this, trust us!

  1. Choose your target audience.

Although this is not a must, it is sometimes helpful to specialize by picking a specific target audience. Depending on what you want, this may include women of a certain age, body type, interest, social group, men, or kids.

  1. Quality counts.

No matter what you do, establish high-quality standards for your garments and maintain these standards. However, to achieve this level in your projects, you also need to consider using only top quality gear. This includes using a well-maintained sewing machine, higher quality pins, and so on. We know that you may not always afford to invest in the best tools, but try to buy some quality ones and you won’t regret doing so. Besides buying high-quality equipment, also remember to maintain it, by offering regular service and maintenance to that equipment that needs these services.

  1. Invest in a dress form

It is not always an affordable investment, yet it is a true necessity. We know that there are also some great tutorials that show you how to do your own custom dress form, but this may only work when you are still a beginner. However, if you think about making a career in dressmaking, then you really should consider investing in a dress form. For the beginning, you should opt for a cheaper one, and buy a more professional dress form once you become an advanced dressmaker.