Why Learning to Sew Means Never Having to Wear Something Badly Fitting Again!

We've all done it, ladies - and gents too, I suspect - that is, bought a garment we love the look of in the fitting room, while overlooking one small but annoying fact: it doesn't fit properly. Just the other day I bought a dress, knowing the straps are too long, so that it gapes at the sides, showing things it shouldn't. This is more obvious on one side of my body, because in common with most of the population, one of my shoulders is higher than the other. But clothes manufacturers are cutting garments for the perfectly symmetrical body, perfectly proportioned... which sadly, 99.99 % of us do not have... so there will always be some point where a commercial garment doesn't quite fit. So do we need to put up with badly fitting clothes? In fact, we don't.

One way out is to pay someone to do sewing alterations for you. But I doubt many women can be bothered to find someone good, who will actually do what you want, quickly and - keyword - cheaply. Otherwise it's not going to get done.

The real solution is to learn how to sew yourself - not even that well, necessarily - and then you can say to yourself, as I did in the changing room, 'I can easily alter this dress so that it actually fits me... ' or even, 'I could make this dress myself, for half the price, and in a fabric I really like..'!

A lot of us learned to sew at school, making some hideous elastic-waisted skirt which we never wore, or even worse, a shoe-bag, and have happily since forgotten the ins and outs of hand-sewing. Maybe you also learned how to use a sewing machine 20 years ago, but have forgotten. And modern machines are different -the good news being that they are a great deal easier to use, with buttonholes, for example, being sewn in just one operation. The things your Mum's old black Singer couldn't do, like zigzag seam neatening, are now done quickly by every inexpensive sewing machine.

It really is worthwhile to re-master or master for the first time how to sew by machine. In the case of my dress it's a quick job to take up the straps, but in a few lessons you can also easily learn how to add darts, or take in the side seams, to make a top fit better if it's too big, how to take up trouser and skirt hems, or add extra pieces to customise a garment, or just renew some dodgy elastic in your Mum's favourite skirt waistband. Before you know it, you have a new 'career' making your children fancy dress outfits from bits you've bought in charity shops, and your friends who are getting married on a shoestring budget are popping round with their internet bargain wedding dresses pleading for you to take them in...

And then... when you're feeling confident, you could start to make clothes from commercial patterns, in fabrics you really love. There's something very satisfying about making a unique garment, which no-one else has, - and which fits you properly, because you can adjust the pattern as you're making it.

In order to really understand how patterns work, and fit together, it could be worth going the extra mile (or two) and taking a course in how to cut your own sewing patterns. This is, to me, the ultimate craft secret, the technical knowledge which is used by fashion designers, and also by those who realise their designs in the atelier or mass-production workshop. Once you have grasped the basic principles of altering a basic shape, you can then make a garment from scratch, either adapting a commercial dressmaking pattern, or creating your very own pattern which will fit you exactly. It's like having a bespoke suit or tailor-made garment made... by you, at a fraction of the price.

So, next time you try on a skirt that's a bit too big in the waist but fits on the hips, or a dress that's too long... don't put up with it. Learn to sew!

0 komentar:

Posting Komentar