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How to make clothing

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There are many reasons why you may want to make clothing. If you are interested in fashion design, have some garments in mind that you’d like to make for yourself or simply need to make some alterations to clothing you already own, then it would be beneficial to know how to sew a garment from scratch. You do not need to be a seamstress to learn how to create your own custom apparel.

Part 1 of 4:
Learning the Basics
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Learn the different tools you’ll need. Making clothes requires a bunch of different tools for sewing, for making patterns, and for measuring the patterns to make sure that they will fit you. You will need to learn each type of tool and how to use it. In the beginning you won’t be comfortable with all the tools, but the more you practice, the easier it will become.
Iron and ironing board. It’s fine to use whatever quality iron you already have, but you’ll probably want to eventually invest in a higher quality one. You’ll be using the iron to press the item being sewn as you are sewing as this makes sure the seams stay open properly.
Seam ripper. You’ll use this when you’ve made a mistake to rip out the wrong stitches.
Chalk for marking the fabric so you know where to sew and where to cut.
You’ll need a really nice, sharp pair of scissors that you designate for cutting cloth only, otherwise the scissors will dull more quickly and can damage or fray your fabric.
Tracing paper for drafting your patterns and modifying the patterns as you’re sewing.
Rulers for drafting and measuring while you’re constructing your piece (both in the design stages and the sewing stages).
Tape measuring, especially a flexible tape measure. You’ll use this to take measurements and make fit adjustments if you need them.
Pins for holding the fabric in position before you start sewing. Pins should be used only sparingly as they can distort the fabric that you’re working with.
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Acquire a sewing machine. There are basically two types of sewing machines, ones that fall into the household/domestic category and ones that fall into the industrial use category. There are pros and cons to both of these categories so it will take a little deciding to figure out which will work best for your needs.[1]Household sewing machines tend to be more portable and more versatile. They tend to do a variety of stitch types. However, they don’t work out as well in terms of speed and power, and they aren’t very good with heavy fabrics.
Industrial sewing machines are much more powerful and much faster, but they tend to only be able to do one type of stitch (such as a straight lockstitch). They do that one stitch very well, but aren’t terribly versatile. They also tend to take up a lot more room.
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Learn the parts of your sewing machine. Hopefully your sewing machine will come with an instruction manual, because that will tell you which direction the bobbin is going to spin and where the bobbin case is. However, you’re going to need to know at least the basic components of your sewing machine before you can get making fun things.
The spool holder holds the spool of thread and controls the direction of the thread while it goes through the sewing machine. Depending on the type of machine you have, your spool holder might be horizontal or it might be vertical.
Bobbin is basically a spindle that is wound with thread. You have to wind the bobbin with thread and fit it into the bobbin case (which is found under the needle plate).
Your sewing machine also has different stitch adjustments to help determine stitch length for each stitch, the amount of tension needed to make sure the stitches come through properly, and the different types of stitches (if you have the type of sewing machine that does different stitch types). The take up lever controls the thread tension. If the thread tension isn’t at its proper level the threads will knot up, jamming the sewing machine.
You can check with a nearby sewing shop to see if they have any classes or know anyone willing to help you get set up with your sewing machine, or you can ask a knowledgeable family member or friend.
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Start simple. When you’re just beginning with making clothes you’ll want to start out with simple designs, otherwise it’s easy to get frustrated and quit. It’s best to start with skirts, because these are easier to make than say a 3-piece suit and they require you to take fewer measurements.
When you’re first starting, try to avoid making clothes with buttons or zippers. Do aprons or pajamas with elastic bands. Once you’ve gotten the hang of your tools and your sewing machine, then you can start advancing.
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Make test garments. The best way to make your final piece the best it can possibly be is to make test clothes beforehand so you can tweak your design and make any changes to the final piece as you see fit.
It’s recommended to use scraps from the same fabric as the final piece.
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Take the appropriate measurements needed to make a pattern. Even if you’re making clothing from a pattern that you found somewhere, instead of creating one yourself, you’re still going to need to take your measurements so that the clothes will fit you when you’re finished.
For trousers, you will need the following measurements: waist, hip, crotch depth and full leg length from waist to floor. For shorts, use the trouser measurements you have, only shortening the pant length to the desired length. For shirts, you will need the following measurements: neck, chest, shoulder width, arm length, armhole length and shirt length.
For skirts, you simply need waist and hip measurements. The length and fullness of the skirt will vary depending on what type of skirt you want to make.

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