How to Start Making Clothes? Starting your Clothing Business
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 new hobby, which could become the perfect outlet for your creativity. Being able to sew 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 many online guides and tutorials, together with tools that will make it possible to create 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 sew clothes you love, each article that is made to last using a pattern of your choice.
Sewing your own clothing 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!
How to start making clothes? A beginner's guide
1. Enrol in a sewing course
2. Head to a sewing machine shop to buy one
3. Buy sewing equipment
4. Buy quality fabric
5. Choose a sewing project and pattern
6. Never stop improving - search for sewing tips
The first things you'll need to sew 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 clothes are made.
1. Learn how to make clothing: Enrol in a sewing course
You can learn new sewing skills 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 are easier to fit into a busy schedule. Pick up a needle and thread and learn how to stitch seams, and make clothes with the help of an expert. Don’t set off using patterns – with simple tasks until you gain confidence.
2. Buying a sewing machine
For people who are wondering how to begin making clothes, buying a sewing machine is essential. 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 for an entry-level sewing machine, Singer and Brother make machines that aren't overly complex and can be highly versatile. You can find a sewing option that is beginner-friendly but will still be a good fit as you improve your sewing skills.
3. Choosing sewing equipment
As well as your chosen machine, you'll have to gather appropriate equipment. 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 are planning on making something. You don’t need to collect a library of patterns to choose from.
After all, all you need to get started is your beloved machine, a good 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 online. 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 fabric once you’ve chosen your pattern. Choosing the right fabric to match the outfit and the pattern is probably one of the most entertaining steps of 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 patterns you choose.
People who are beginners usually start sewing a pattern using firm materials like cotton, denim, canvas, viscose, or cotton lawn as they’re not so slippery under the needle.
But, after mastering sewing these materials, 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 luxury fabrics.
5. Starting your first sewing project: Select a simple pattern
Even if you're tempted to go for sewing an intricate dress design or pattern, or you want to replicate the pattern of that catwalk dress you're dying for (only 10 times cheaper if you DIY), these patterns shouldn't be your first choice for breaking the ice with sewing 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 take up something that has the potential to become your favourite hobby (or even a business!).
Opt for an easy pattern – sew a tote bag, perhaps. With a killer fabric and a simple pattern, even a straightforward tote can be something that will turn heads.
Other than something made from scratch, a good 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, 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 designing or creating.
6. Search for sewing tips
Even if you've finished your sewing class, that doesn’t mean you know everything. The more you sew from a pattern, the more you get into new projects, the more you will learn and the more perfect the outfit will be once you’ve made it.
Always search for new tips and tricks to improve your knowledge. Choose easy patterns at first and then, as you get more confident, choose more complicated patterns.
Here are some tips we would like to share with you.
Practice on scrap fabric
When you really don't know how to approach sewing apparel, begin 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 learn that there's no such thing as a permanent mistake. Everything can be mended and fixed, all fabric can be repurposed. We suggest you set off by finding some fabric scraps to practice on, or cut up an old T-shirt or blanket. This will give you more confidence to start sewing, and you won't be worried about wasting precious fabric or having to buy a pattern.
Try on your garments
You don't want to spend much time and energy sewing 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 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 only for fabric
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 needle, the blunter it will become. Unfortunately, a blunt needle damages fabric, threads, and the 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 sewing
It's crucial to wash fabric before sewing. In this way, you will prevent shrinkage issues in your finalised 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 pattern
A sewing pattern will give you all the directions you need to sew your garment. It's made up of 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 this pattern information as a guide on how to sew your garment along with the sewing pattern tissue (or template), which you can use with your fabric to cut out your garment. This will be a life-saving purchase!
When choosing sewing patterns to sew clothes, be honest to yourself about your skill. It’s no use selecting complicated sewing patterns that you won’t finish. Rather choose something simpler to sew that will work out beautifully and be wearable once it’s made.
Now you know how to set about making apparel using a pattern, you just have to get going!
Your project starts here!