The Bad Seamstress Chronicles


As I panic sew my way to my holiday wardrobe because I always leave everything to the last minute (or four weeks in this case), it got me thinking about how much I’ve improved since I first started. Although I started sewing nearly 16 year ago, I still have a way to go until I think I’m at a professional level but the last year or so I have been concentrating on improving my skills. In the beginning my mistakes were a learning curve but later on they became due to ignorance and laziness, I would cut corners and then get frustrated and make more mistakes.
Soon we are heading to Viva Las Vegas 19 Festival and since my last wardrobe clear out, I’m lacking in vintage  and vintage inspired clothing, so I’m on a bit of a sewing spree at the moment, which is kind of good because I need to catch up on my sewing goals and apologies for the lack of sewing posts, or any posts as a matter of fact. I also hope to restock on a bit of vintage whilst I’m out there! Anyway, one of the outfits I tried to make the last time we went, I kind of messed up because I didn’t make a muslin or test garment first and I should know this because as someone who started sewing because they could never find clothes to fit their awkward figure properly, you think I would be an expert in altering patterns by now. I see some sewers and I’m in awe of their skills and their ability to alter patterns, and I know all it takes is practice but it’s something I get quite nervous about but I’m finding my confidence with this. I have a big bust but very small back and always have to shorten straps and shoulder, so sometimes have to alter pattern tops quite a bit. So this time round I made a toile version of the top and altered it before cutting the actual top. I will definitely be doing this items such as trousers with my small hips and pancake flat butt!
And here are some other things I never used to do but really should, so I have started doing so in the bid to be less of a bad seamstress!
Washing Fabric
This important for two reasons.
1: It preshrinks the fabric. Most fabrics shrink a little after there first wash, so if you don’t prewash it, a garment can end up a little tight if the first wash is after the garment is made. You should wash trims that are being added to hems or arms sleeves as decoration as well, especially if it’s made from cotton or your could end up with a weird gathering/pulled effect where one piece of a fabric has shrunk.
2: And this has happened to me not once but twice because I’m that bad a seamstress, a dye lot gone bad! I washed a dress and all the dye faded and the dress went from black to grey in one cold wash! Another time the lining dyed the skirt and ruined it. Lesson definitely learned now!
Hand Hemming
I’m lazy and hate hemming and a lot of the times I’ve used my machine, especially on day dresses, I tend to save hand hemming for the more delicate fabrics or special occasion outfits. But it does make a difference to the look and hang of the skirt, so now I’ll be hand hemming most (depending on the type of hem) my skirts!
Serging/Overlocking Seams
Not a real necessity depending on the fabric you’re using, some patterns require different seam finishes but serging or overlocking seams can really give a garment a nice, neat finish. So many items ending up with raggedy, frayed edges especially after several washes and this stops that. Sergers can seem quite scary at first and take a bit of practice learning to rethread but it’s worth having the patience for.
Back stitching
Technically you should tie off threads to secure them and not back stitch on your machine but it’s a hard habit to break.
Tracing Copies of Patterns
Yeah I still cut straight from the packet, rather than tracing it out. My shape doesn’t tend to really change and awful lot except for the few pounds gained over the winter months and as they’re personal it’s not a major problem for me, and I don’t really tend to sell my patterns, in fact when I find a good pattern, I tend to use it to death and I have to trace some out again because they’re kind of well worn now.
Lining up Fabric Print
This is something I have become a little bit obsessed with now because a badly matched print can really alter the look of a garment, especially with some prints, like the one in the picture below. Certain prints you can’t match up due to the cut of the pattern, and there will always be one part of the garment especially where you have darts that the print won’t line up exactly but where there is a focal point, it can make all the difference.
These may not seem like major things, especially as most of the clothes I make are for me and no one ever sees the inside of your clothes but you wouldn’t buy a half arsed made piece of clothing from a shop.  The other week I sold some skirts I made for myself at a market as sample pieces, and was a little worried people might think they were poorly made but it appears I am better or getting better at finishing touches than I thought because they sent me a message saying they really liked them.

I still have a long way to go in my own opinion despite the length of time I’ve been sewing, the same goes for knitting but I will be sharing my lessons learnt with each outfit I make and as I improve my skills.

If there is anything you would like me to blog about in regards to sewing or crafting, like tutorials etc leave me a comment or message