Have you ever dreamt of making your own outfits? Wondered how to start making clothes to sell?

If you have considered sewing your own clothes as an unreachable goal, then we're here to prove you wrong. 

It's never too late to learn a brand new hobby, which could become the perfect outlet for your creativity. Being able to make something from a pattern is a wonderful way of expressing your own style, and there are endless patterns and resources available that will make the process accessible and fun!

With a lot of online guides and tutorials, together with tools that will make it possible to make your own original printed fabrics, you will be able to produce bespoke garments that will make you proud – made with or without patterns!

It’s also a concrete way of battling fast fashion clothes overproduction, as you will make clothes you love, each article made to last using a pattern of your choice.

To sew your own clothing using patterns may seem way too complex, but with the right tricks up your sleeve and an easy pattern at first, it can be pretty easy to sew!

Making clothes: A beginner's guide

  1. Enrol in a sewing course
  2. Head to a sewing machine shop to buy the best sewing machine you can afford
  3. Buy sewing equipment
  4. Buy quality fabric
  5. Choose a sewing project and pattern
  6. Never stop improving – practise on your sewing machine and search for sewing tips. 

The first things you'll need to make your own clothes are determination and a strong will. Everything else will follow, one step at a time. Follow us for a beginner's guide that will clear all your doubts and answer all your questions about sewing and how to make garments.

1. Learn how to start make clothes: Take a sewing course 

You can learn new sewing techniques with some classes, whether online or in-person! As you'll be working with a sewing machine, in-person sewing classes might be preferable, but online sewing classes make it easier to fit into a busy schedule. Pick up a needle and thread and start learning how to stitch seams, and make clothes with the help of an expert. Don’t make your first step using patterns – use simple tasks until you gain confidence.

2. Buying a sewing machine

For people who are wondering how to begin making clothing, buying a sewing machine is the first essential step. Finding the suitable one is a bit like falling in love. You need to discover the perfect match, and it's a very personal choice: ultimately, it depends on individual preferences. If you're looking to make a purchase of an entry-level sewing machine, Singer and Brother make a sewing machine that isn’t overly complex and can be highly versatile. You can find a sewing option that is beginner-friendly but will still be a great fit as you improve your sewing techniques.

3. Choosing equipment

As well as your chosen sewing machine, you'll have to make a list of appropriate equipment to buy. No need to consider this a significant investment: we're talking about low-cost accessories. Don't rush and buy things all at once: you will realise that you probably already own the majority of these. And when it comes to patterns – people only buy those when they have an idea to make something. You don’t need to collect a library of patterns to choose from until you plan to make clothes.

After all, all you need to get started is your beloved sewing machine, a great pair of fabric scissors, tape measure, pins, a marking tool (a chalk pencil is perfect), seam ripper, iron and ironing board. And the pattern and some fabric, of course!
You can figure out what you're missing and then visit a department store or haberdashery shop, or order them on an online store. Once you get more experienced, you can add additional tools gradually. 

4. Select your fabric wisely 

One of the best bits of being a DIY dress maker is finding your dress or clothes fabric once you’ve chosen your pattern or patterns. Choosing the right fabric to match the outfit and the pattern is probably a most entertaining step in the sewing process. 

It’s not only about the colour or the sewing pattern, it’s also about the type of fabric you use with whichever clothes patterns you choose.

View the best fabric for your pattern

People who are beginners usually start sewing a pattern using firm materials like cotton, linen, denim, canvas, viscose, or cotton lawn as they’re not so slippery under the needle. 

But, after mastering sewing these materials on a machine,  you can easily switch to sewing with stretchy kinds like polyester (and poly blends), viscose and lycra.

We have compiled a number of informative blogs on choosing the right fabric for your project. We recommend you read our go-to guide on the top 5 fabrics to use for making fashion items. Those are maake’s top picks of luxury fabrics for clothes.

If you’re making things for kids, our comprehensive blog on kids fabric choices will be really helpful. And read here if you’re for choosing fabric for special occasion dresses.


5. Start making your first sewing project: Find a simple pattern

Even if you're tempted to go for sewing an intricate dress design or pattern on your machine, or you want to replicate the pattern of that catwalk dress you're dying for (only 10 times cheaper if you Do It Yourself), these patterns shouldn't be your first choice when you sign up to sew a dress. 

Making something complicated or using difficult patterns to sew will be a frustrating experience, and it's not how you want to feel when you’re taking up something that has the potential to become your favourite hobby (or even a small business!).  

Opt for an easy pattern – create a tote bag on your machine, perhaps. With a killer fabric and a simple pattern, even a straightforward tote can be something that will turn heads. 

Make a tote bag

Other than something made from scratch on a machine, a great starter project is to customise clothes you already own instead of using a brand new pattern: it's a great way to make sure your clothes will last, and it's the perfect answer to fashion's overconsumption. You can add patches to a ripped pair of jeans, add an original collar to a plain blouse, expand the waistband of a skirt or try and mend that beloved T-shirt that is too good to throw away although it’s starting to show the signs of time. You don’t need a pattern to do any of this, and it's the best way to start to make or create.

6. Search for tips on how to sew 

Even if you've finished your sewing class, that doesn’t mean you know everything. The more you make from a pattern, the more you get into new clothes projects, the more you will learn and the more perfect the outfit will be once you’ve made it on your machine.

Always search for new tips and tricks to improve your knowledge about patterns. Choose easy patterns at first and then, as you get more confident, choose more complicated patterns.

Extra inspiration for making clothes

Practice on scrap fabric

When you really don't know how to approach apparel that you plan to sew, start on something you can throw away or give away – something that doesn’t require a difficult pattern.

The initial sewing experience can make you feel intimidated, but you will quickly start learning that there's no such thing as a permanent mistake when you’re sewing. Everything can be mended and fixed, all fabric can be repurposed. We suggest you set off by finding some fabric scraps to practice sewing on, or cut up an old T-shirt or blanket. This will give you more confidence when you start to sew, and you won't be worried about wasting precious fabric or having to buy a pattern for sewing.

Try on your garments

You don't want to spend much time and energy to sew an article that will end up not fitting your body correctly, whether it's too tight or too loose. That’s not because of the patterns; to customise an outfit, you need to measure carefully. Trying on the patterns of your design during the sewing process will help you troubleshoot any issues, and you'll make sure you're able to adapt the design to your real-life shape. 

Use scissors just for material

Investing in a great pair of dress-making scissors will make you feel like a real pro. It's just so much easier to cut fabric, and to work on sections that have a clean, sharp edge. Keep it for cutting fabric only: it will maintain its sharpness and stay clean all the time. You can also get a small pair of scissors for snipping threads and trimming seams.

Change your machine needle regularly

The truth is, the more you use your needles, the blunter they will become. Unfortunately, a blunt needle damages fabric, threads, and the sewing machine itself. Not a good thing. You should make sure you change your needle for every three bobbins of thread you use. You should also try to change your needle every time you start sewing a new project, or an outfit is made. Remember also to clean it regularly by removing all lint and getting gunk out of it. Lint accumulates quickly, so get a brush to remove it, or use anything you already own that can fit the purpose. 

Wash fabrics before you start to sew 

It's crucial to wash fabric before sewing. In this way, you will prevent shrinkage issues in your final garment. Imagine doing all that hard work for nothing! You can wash the fabric in the same manner that you plan to launder the final design. You can skip pre-washing for 100% polyester fabrics or, if you will never launder the article, such as a wall hanging.

Choosing the right clothing pattern 

Sewing patterns will give you all the directions you need to create your garment. These include an envelope with lots of helpful info about garment descriptions, sizing,  body measurements, fabric suggestions, what skills you need, photos and illustrations of the patterns final outcome. Consider the pattern information as a guide on how to make your garment along with the tissue included in the sewing pattern (or templates), which you can use with your fabric to cut out your garment. This will be a life-saving purchase!

When choosing sewing patterns to make clothing, be honest to yourself about your skill. It’s no use selecting complicated patterns to sew that you won’t finish. Rather choose simpler patterns to make that will work out beautifully and be wearable once they are made.

Now you know how to set about making apparel using a pattern, you just have to get going!

Get started on your project now!

May 17, 2022 — Artemis Doupa