Ways & How

How to Sew Clothes

How to Sew Clothes

Learning how to sew clothes is an invaluable skill. Once you have attained this skill, it is useful for mending those of your favorite clothes that have been torn from regular wear and tear, stitching hems that have come apart, and altering new clothes to fit you. Mastering sewing also allows you to make your own clothes so that you can save money and express yourself creatively.

  1. Learn how to stitch

    Knowing how to stitch is most practical for mending tears and broken stitches in existing clothes. When stitches have come apart, it is most useful to know how to do the running stitch. This is also the easiest stitch to learn. Thread a needle with a thread whose color matches that of the garment. Knot the ends of the thread and pierce the fabric with the needle. The knot should be in the underside of the fabric in order to be invisible to other people when the garment is worn. Pass the needle in and out of the fabric and make sure that the stitches on the surface are of the same length for uniformity. When you are done, knot the thread on the underside of the fabric and cut it.

    Once you spot a tear or break in the stitching in an item of clothing, it is best to mend it immediately to prevent the tear from becoming bigger or the thread from unraveling throughout the garment. Mend the garment after use and before washing.

    If you have bought a sewing machine, learn how to operate it and practice on fabric scraps or house clothes. When learning how to sew, whether by hand or with a sewing machine, start with the easiest tasks so that you feel a sense of accomplishment and stay motivated. One easy task involves sewing along a hemline that has unraveled. Thread breaks are also common in the crotch area in pants and in the underarm area in tops or shirts.

    Another easy task involves altering pants that are too long for the wearer. Measure the pants and cut, making sure that there is a half-inch of extra fabric for allowance. Turn the pants inside out, fold along the half-inch margin, then do a running stitch on the edge of the fabric. Iron the pants so that the fabric follows the new hemline.

  2. Start with simple patterns

    Once you have mastered the previously mentioned tasks, you can advance to making your own clothes. If you are creative, you can design the garments as well. You can buy pattern books from a fabric store, taking care to select those that say “in a jiffy”, “fast and easy to make”, or “for beginners”. To save on money, take a garment you own that fits well, turn it inside out, and pattern the new garment after it. You will also save yourself from having to measure your body and figure out how to make a pattern from the measurements.

    A very easy garment to make is a skirt with an elastic waistline. Turn the existing garment inside out and place it on pattern paper or any plain paper that doesn’t tear easily (e.g. brown paper). Newspapers are not advisable since the ink can stain the fabric. With a pencil or light-colored crayon, trace along the garment on the paper, then cut the paper. Now you have a pattern for your skirt and you can use it over and over. Trace the pattern on your selected fabric and cut the fabric. With running stitches, sew the waistline and hemline, and then put it together by sewing the side. Always remember the margins when cutting the pattern and sewing. Take a strip of elastic that will fit into the waistline. While the skirt is inside out, thread the elastic through the break in the fabric until it goes around the entire waistline. Knot or stitch the ends of the elastic together. The skirt is finished.

Having made your own skirt, you should now have the motivation to continue learning how to sew clothes. Maybe you can even move on to pillowcases.


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