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CHOOSE YOUR CURRENCY

By Annabelle Short on 08/22/2018

How to Plan a Sewing Project

How to Plan a Sewing Project

If you were heading out on a road trip, you would definitely want to have a map handy—or at least your GPS on standby. The same is true when you start a sewing project. You want to have a good idea of where you're going and how you're going to get there before you break out the scissors, needle, thread and your uniqe personalized labels. So if you're about to dive into your next sewing project, hold on just a minute and check out this step-by-step guide to planning the whole thing, from picking a pattern to getting done on schedule.

  • What are you making?

Don't laugh, but this is one of the most frequently overlooked steps of planning a sewing project. It's one thing to decide, "I think I'll make new drapes for the kitchen," and quite another to decide that you're doing four panels with tab hangers and a valance to match. Whatever you decide to make, be specific about what you're looking for. It sets the foundation for the rest of the planning process.

  • Choose a pattern

The next few steps typically need to occur simultaneously, but we'll start with this one since it's often how most of us define what we're making anyway (I'm making the dress in that pattern, for example). Once you know what you're looking for, or at least have a good idea, start looking at patterns. This isn't a final selection process, so you won't need to know measurements just yet. This is just to get an idea of how a project is put together and what the roadmap of that process might look like.

  • Check your skills

One reason to consult a pattern at this point is so you can read through some of the information about the project and decide whether your skills are up to the challenge. While it's always good to give yourself room to grow with a project, there is such a thing as biting off more than you can chew. If there is more than one unfamiliar technique used in creating a particular project, you might want to hold off until you've had a chance to practice.

  • Check your equipment

Another crucial point in selecting your pattern is your equipment. If a garment requires a serger or overlock machine, your standard domestic machine might not cut it. Sure, most of them these days come with approximations of serger stitches, but it's not quite the same. The same goes for sewing machine attachments, like an invisible zipper foot or piping foot. If you don't have the right equipment, or aren't comfortable using it, you may want to look at an alternate pattern for the time being.

  • Take measurements

Once you've had a chance to think over your options and found the right general pattern, it's time to see specifically what size you'll need. Take careful measurements of the space or person who will be sporting your finished project. Write these down as you go, or call them aloud to an assistant to write down for you so you're sure there's a precise record. Double check them for consistency before packing up for the day. For example, the length of the arm from shoulder to wrist should be greater than the width of the shoulders; if it's not, measure again to make sure.

  • Plan your material

Once you know your pattern and your measurements, you'll be able to select your material. Pay close attention to the recommendations on the pattern. Different types of patterns call for different material, and your pattern will give you guidance on what might be best. It will also provide the layouts you'll need for fabrics with or without nap, and may even provide help with matching prints. Pay close attention to the amount of material you'll need for your pattern; it may vary based on the width of the fabric you choose. Get extra if you plan to make adjustments to your pattern, or if you're going to match prints.

For garment making, it's a good idea to make a practice version, often called a muslin or toile, made out of inexpensive fabric before you cut into your pricey fashion fabric. Traditionally, these were made from unbleached muslin (hence the name), since it comes in different weights and could approximate the drape and hang of material made from other natural fibers like linen and silk. Today, with so many different materials available, muslin isn't always the best option. If you're practice a garment made from knit fabric, choose a knit of similar weight and stretch to practice on. The same is true of woven fabrics.

  • Don't forget the notions!

When you're picking up your fabric, don't forget to grab the other materials you need to complete your project. Whether it's something unique to this particular project (like extra long pins for quilting) or something more basic, like matching threads and buttons, it's always a good idea to make sure you've got everything you need before sitting down to sew. Double check the specifications in your pattern. Zipper length and style, button size, and hook-and-loop type will all be listed, and though you can always modify the pattern to suit your personal style (or your client's request), you'll want to know what you'll need to modify beforehand.

  • Break up the work

Unless your project is very quick, it's best to plan to accomplish it over several work sessions. Maybe you can plan to cut your pattern pieces out one day, do the bulk of the sewing the next, and add all the finishing touches on a third. For major projects, like a full-sized quilt or bridal wear, it's particularly important to plan out the work, especially if it's been commissioned. Be realistic with your timeframes, and be sure to build in breaks so you don't burn out—the longer you work, the more likely you are to make a mistake, so take the time to get up and stretch.

  • Prepare your material

Before you start cutting and sewing, make sure your material has been appropriately prepped. Most fabric is soaked in stabilizers and sizing before being folded onto bolts or rolls. This helps it hold its shape and allows for accurate measurements when the fabric is purchased, but can cause problems with fit if you cut out your pattern pieces before removing those stabilizers. Follow the care instructions to wash or rinse your fabric, and dry it appropriately (some recommend drip-drying, while others can be tossed in the dryer). If necessary, iron it smooth. If you're not transferring it straight to your cutting table, store your fabric rolled instead of folded to avoid crease lines.

  • Prepare your space

In addition to getting your material ready, you'll also want to take some time to prepare your equipment and space. Clear off your cutting table and put a fresh blade in your rotary cutter. Wind extra bobbins the the thread colors you'll need and set them aside for later. Switch out your sewing machine needle for a new one, making sure it's the right type for the project at hand. Perform any regular maintenance tasks your machine is due for, and test your stitch settings on some scraps of your fabric to make sure everything's ready to go. Just before you sit down to start sewing, plug in the iron and make sure it's set correctly, including filling the water reservoir if you plan to be using steam. Have a press cloth handy to protect your work, and make sure your ironing board is set up and ready to go.

  • Keep your work contained

As you're working on a project, it's helpful to keep all your pieces, notions, and embellishments together in one place. For larger garments, or those undergoing alterations, this might mean hanging them in garment bags and tucking any extra materials in the bag along with them. For smaller projects, or for projects that have lots of small pieces, use stackable storage containers to corral all your pieces. Be sure to label the box with its contents— a strip of masking tape works great for this. Keeping project pieces together and organized is especially important if you're balancing multiple projects at once, especially if they've all got different deadlines.

  • Take stock

Once you've completed a project, take some time to assess what went right and what didn't quite go as you had originally envisioned. This includes not only the sewing itself, but also your plan. Did you leave enough time for cutting, or did it take an extra day? Did you have to order special materials that took longer to arrive than expected? Does the pattern build in too much extra fabric, so you can order less next time? Taking a few minutes to break down your plan and figure out how you can improve will make your next project that much easier, giving you more time to focus on the part you actually love: the sewing!

Your needs will differ pretty dramatically depending on how you plan to use your studio.

So you're ready to take your sewing business out of the spare bedroom and start your own studio. Congratulations! It's a big step, and there's a lot that goes along with it. Check out these steps to picking out and setting up your new studio, from start to finish.

How do you plan to use the space?

Your needs will differ pretty dramatically depending on how you plan to use your studio. If you're holding classes, you'll need lots of space for students, their equipment, and their projects. If your main focus is on doing alterations, you'll want spaces for changing rooms, lots of garment racks, and full length mirrors. Before you start planning out your space, first, you need to work out the details of your sewing business.

Choosing a location

Once you've got an idea of what you need your space to do, it's time to start looking for a location. And you know what the realtors say: location is key! Again, the ideal location depends on what your studio does. If you rely on lots of foot traffic to bring in customers, look for a space with access to parking and crowds. If you work by appointment only, there's no need to be right downtown. Keep in mind any zoning requirements your location might have for the type of business you plan to run, and all the expenses of insurance, licensure, rent, and utilities that might be required.

To remodel or not to remodel

If your studio will include a lot of customer-facing spaces—for example, if your studio includes a bridal salon where your creations are sold—then you might want to think about creating a shop front area that's unique to your business. But for most of us makers, remodeling just isn't in the budget. The one exception would be for safety or to meet basic requirements. For example, you'll need a lot of power outlets for different equipment, and rather than running everything off an overloaded power strip, consider having a few more outlets installed. You also may need to have plumbing installed for a sink, washer, and dryer where you prepare you fabrics for sewing.

Planning your equipment

Upgrading to a studio space can make it tempting to upgrade all your equipment as well, but resist the urge—at least at first. You've already made lots of changes to your workflow just by moving into the new space. Don't give yourself the challenge of adjusting to finicky new equipment at the same time. Plus, working in the new space for a while will give you a sense of what you really need, which typically means you'll get more bang for your buck.

As always, the precise needs of your studio will depend on what you make and how you work. However, here are some basic points to consider, no matter what you plan to create in your new studio!

  • Where will you set up your sewing machines and sergers? Will they need to be stored when not in use? If so, where?
  • Where will you set up your ironing station? Make sure there are enough outlets nearby for your irons and steamer, and easy access to water. Where will you keep ironing tools like press cloths and your tailor's ham?
  • Where will you set up your cutting table? Is it a permanent fixture, or does it fold down? Where can you keep your cutting tools nearby?
  • Where will you store your materials? Think thread, fabric, and notions, as well as tools like needles, pins, measuring tapes, and thread snips. Try to coordinate items frequently used together (like storing your rivet-setting tools with the rivets rather than with other tools).
  • Where will you store your patterns? Boxes, files, scanned and stored digitally? Are they kept in the studio, or in a separate office space?
  • Where will you store works in progress and finished projects? Garment racks or boxes? Shelves or cabinets?
  • Where will you take care of your administrative work, like ordering materials and setting appointments? Where will all your records be stored? If you opt to handle admin from your studio, try to set aside a designated space for that kind of work that's separate from your sewing tasks. That way, you won't end up hunting through the scrap fabric for missing receipts come tax time!

Marketing your studio

One of the greatest things about having your own studio is having control over how it's marketed. Of course, that's also one of the worst things, because it means you're the head marketer as well as the head of everything else. Having your own space does give you some advantages, however, especially if your studio doubles as a shop front. It gives you a fixed point of reference, a professional space to which to invite clients, and a chance to start building a local reputation, which is tricky to manage when you're working out of your home and doing most of your business at craft shows and other off-site events.

The biggest thing to remember about marketing your studio is to keep your brand consistent. Your business is the same as it was before—just bigger! So don't let this change in scenery affect your brand aesthetic or goals. Update your materials to include the location and new phone numbers, and make sure to add a map to your website if applicable. List hours of operation, or appointment schedules, and any other helpful information clients might need, like parking recommendations.

Now get the word out using your favorite platforms, as well as local media. Send a press release to local news and radio stations and pitch your grand opening. Team up with local boutiques to host a fashion show, or contact crafting groups to offer special pricing on classes. Making the most of your new location can help integrate your new spot into the local community and improve your overall outreach.

All sewing studios should have a stash of labels, check out our wunderlabels for inspiration!


Guide to Starting a Sewing Studio 

Guide to Starting a Sewing Studio

Your needs will differ pretty dramatically depending on how you plan to use your studio.

So you're ready to take your sewing business out of the spare bedroom and start your own studio. Congratulations! It's a big step, and there's a lot that goes along with it. Check out these steps to picking out and setting up your new studio, from start to finish.

How do you plan to use the space?

Your needs will differ pretty dramatically depending on how you plan to use your studio. If you're holding classes, you'll need lots of space for students, their equipment, and their projects. If your main focus is on doing alterations, you'll want spaces for changing rooms, lots of garment racks, and full length mirrors. Before you start planning out your space, first, you need to work out the details of your sewing business.

Choosing a location

Once you've got an idea of what you need your space to do, it's time to start looking for a location. And you know what the realtors say: location is key! Again, the ideal location depends on what your studio does. If you rely on lots of foot traffic to bring in customers, look for a space with access to parking and crowds. If you work by appointment only, there's no need to be right downtown. Keep in mind any zoning requirements your location might have for the type of business you plan to run, and all the expenses of insurance, licensure, rent, and utilities that might be required.

To remodel or not to remodel

If your studio will include a lot of customer-facing spaces—for example, if your studio includes a bridal salon where your creations are sold—then you might want to think about creating a shop front area that's unique to your business. But for most of us makers, remodeling just isn't in the budget. The one exception would be for safety or to meet basic requirements. For example, you'll need a lot of power outlets for different equipment, and rather than running everything off an overloaded power strip, consider having a few more outlets installed. You also may need to have plumbing installed for a sink, washer, and dryer where you prepare you fabrics for sewing.

Planning your equipment

Upgrading to a studio space can make it tempting to upgrade all your equipment as well, but resist the urge—at least at first. You've already made lots of changes to your workflow just by moving into the new space. Don't give yourself the challenge of adjusting to finicky new equipment at the same time. Plus, working in the new space for a while will give you a sense of what you really need, which typically means you'll get more bang for your buck.

As always, the precise needs of your studio will depend on what you make and how you work. However, here are some basic points to consider, no matter what you plan to create in your new studio!

  • Where will you set up your sewing machines and sergers? Will they need to be stored when not in use? If so, where?
  • Where will you set up your ironing station? Make sure there are enough outlets nearby for your irons and steamer, and easy access to water. Where will you keep ironing tools like press cloths and your tailor's ham?
  • Where will you set up your cutting table? Is it a permanent fixture, or does it fold down? Where can you keep your cutting tools nearby?
  • Where will you store your materials? Think thread, fabric, and notions, as well as tools like needles, pins, measuring tapes, and thread snips. Try to coordinate items frequently used together (like storing your rivet-setting tools with the rivets rather than with other tools).
  • Where will you store your patterns? Boxes, files, scanned and stored digitally? Are they kept in the studio, or in a separate office space?
  • Where will you store works in progress and finished projects? Garment racks or boxes? Shelves or cabinets?
  • Where will you take care of your administrative work, like ordering materials and setting appointments? Where will all your records be stored? If you opt to handle admin from your studio, try to set aside a designated space for that kind of work that's separate from your sewing tasks. That way, you won't end up hunting through the scrap fabric for missing receipts come tax time!

Marketing your studio

One of the greatest things about having your own studio is having control over how it's marketed. Of course, that's also one of the worst things, because it means you're the head marketer as well as the head of everything else. Having your own space does give you some advantages, however, especially if your studio doubles as a shop front. It gives you a fixed point of reference, a professional space to which to invite clients, and a chance to start building a local reputation, which is tricky to manage when you're working out of your home and doing most of your business at craft shows and other off-site events.

The biggest thing to remember about marketing your studio is to keep your brand consistent. Your business is the same as it was before—just bigger! So don't let this change in scenery affect your brand aesthetic or goals. Update your materials to include the location and new phone numbers, and make sure to add a map to your website if applicable. List hours of operation, or appointment schedules, and any other helpful information clients might need, like parking recommendations.

Now get the word out using your favorite platforms, as well as local media. Send a press release to local news and radio stations and pitch your grand opening. Team up with local boutiques to host a fashion show, or contact crafting groups to offer special pricing on classes. Making the most of your new location can help integrate your new spot into the local community and improve your overall outreach.


14 Steps to the Perfect Sewing Space

14 Steps to the Perfect Sewing Space

Whether you're a hobbyist or starting your own handmade business, having a space designed just for sewing makes the process easier and more fun! Check out these fourteen steps to setting up an ideal sewing space.

  • Lighting

You need to be able to see your work clearly, as well as how colors match or contrast, so natural lighting is ideal. If your space doesn't have great light, choose work lights with bulbs designed to mimic daylight.

  • Sewing table

Opt for a drop-in table, which uses a built-in compartment to keep your sewing machine's deck level with the tabletop. The lower height will spare your back.

  • Supportive Chair

Make sure that when you're seated, your feet are flat on the floor with your back supported, and you can comfortably reach your machine. If you can't get your chair high enough and keep your feet on the floor, use a platform under your feet to keep the pedal close.

  • Pressing Spot

Find a convenient place near your sewing station to set up your ironing board and iron. A nearby shelf is perfect for storing other tools you might need as you work.

  • Cutting Table

Ideally, your cutting table surface can be marked in a grid to help with measuring and squaring up your fabrics. Make sure it's low enough to work at comfortably while standing.

  • Dress Form

If you make garments, a dress form or tailor's dummy will make your life much easier. Opt for an adjustable version for maximum flexibility.

  • Fabric Storage

If you have shelf space, fold and store fabrics flat so you can see what you have at a glance. If you need to store them under counters or in drawers, store the folded lengths on edge in a single layer.

  • Thread Storage

For threads you use regularly, a spindle rack near your sewing machine keeps them in easy reach. Use a clear box to store specialty threads or seldom-used colors.

  • Tool Storage

Avoid piling tools like scissors and rotary cutters in a drawer. Instead, hang them on a pegboard or use holsters on your sewing table to keep everything close at hand.

  • Pattern Storage

A filing cabinet or file box is the perfect way to corral wayward pattern pieces. Store them in a plastic bag or large envelope, making sure to note the pattern number and size before filing.

  • Scrap Containment

Keep trash cans near your sewing table, cutting table, and pressing station so that every loose thread you trim ends up in the bin and not on the floor.

  • Idea Board

A bulletin board for sketches, inspiration images, fabric swatches, and time frames not only helps you visualize your projects in the works, it's also a fun decorative element that helps your sewing space feel more creative!

  • Finished Project Storage

A closet or rack for clothes or neatly labeled bins for other items will keep your finished work neat and out of the way.

  • Helpful Information File

Keep all your owner's manuals for your sewing machine, serger, iron, and any other tools you might have in one convenient location for easy access should you need to troubleshoot.


10 Good Sewing Habits That Lead to Better Results

Good Sewing Habits

You can use the best materials and equipment available and still have your sewing projects turn out a bit wonky. It can be incredibly frustrating, but some simple changes can help you build better sewing habits. Mastering these basics will give you a solid foundation for every project, from the simplest to the most detailed. Here are ten top areas to focus on.

  • Prepare your fabrics properly

Fabric, whether it's coming from the craft store or a specialty fabric shop, is treated to make sure it looks and behaves well on a bolt. This is exactly what you don't want in your finished sewing project. Before you start marking out patterns or cutting into your fabric, make sure to wash and dry it according to the care instructions. This will remove any starch or sizing, remove excess dye, and pre-shrink all those shrinkable fibers.

  • Read your entire pattern

No one likes to be caught off guard, especially when you're in the middle of a sewing project. Before you start in on a new project, make sure to familiarize yourself with the whole process of cutting and assembling the project. This includes looking over your pattern pieces so you understand how everything fits together and any alterations you may need to make.

  • Take careful measurements

For sewists who work with wearables, this is probably number one on every list of tips and tricks you've ever read. But it's just as important for sewists who work with other projects as well! Imagine designing a new clutch purse, only to realize it's too small to hold a cell phone, or stitching new drapes which hang just a little too short. No matter what kind of project you're planning, make sure it's just the right size.

  • Plan and choose your signature label wisely

If you want to incorporate your own signature label create your own handmade label fitting for your project.

  • Slow down

Sometimes, you just want to crank through your sewing and get the project done. Of course, sometimes deadlines don't let you work at a leisurely pace, but whenever you can, remember that slow and steady wins the race—if by race, you mean creating perfectly finished sewing projects!

  • Practice your projects

This tip is especially important if you're working on a new design or using techniques you haven't before. Save your pricey fashion fabrics or beautiful quilting prints for the finished version, and use inexpensive or scrap fabric as a stand in to practice your techniques. Make sure to use a stand in that closely matches the important features of your actual material, though. No use practicing with cotton muslin if your finished garment is going to be made with a knit material.

  • Keep your equipment in good shape

Get in the habit of regularly cleaning and tuning up your sewing machine. A few minutes every few weeks can save you lots of time and trouble later on. Go through your pins and needles and (safely!) discard anything that's bent or showing rust. Get your serger tuned up by a technician to keep everything running smoothly, and take your scissors in to be professionally sharpened. Even the very basics shouldn't be neglected, like washing the cover of your ironing board.

  • Work on one project at a time

Keeping all your pattern pieces, equipment, and techniques straight can get tricky. If you have to work on more than one project at a time—like if you're stocking up for a craft show, for example—, try to make it the same kind of project. In fact, if you're planning to make lots of things from the same pattern, it's a good idea to work on them one after another rather than switching between project types.

  • Don't multitask

Sewing while multitasking is a bit like texting and driving. It's ill-advised, and for very good reasons. Never operate a sewing machine while distracted. It's not a car, but it can still cause pretty severe injuries. Of course, lots of people do enjoy working on hand sewing while doing something else, like watching a movie, listening to music, or enjoying an audiobook. This is fine for tasks you're very familiar with, but if you're trying something new, even something basic like learning a new embroidery stitch, take the time to focus and concentrate to make sure you're doing everything correctly.

  • Mark down everything

Think you'll remember exactly where that notch is? How much were you supposed to gather again? All those little pattern marks are more than helpful suggestions. It's easy to skip over them, but your projects will suffer for it. Make sure to include any adjustments and alterations, and always mark both your stitch lines and seam allowances— lining up the edges of your fabric won't always give you the desired result.

  • Remember to take breaks

It's easy to get so absorbed in your work that you completely forget how much time has passed. Until, that is, you make a mistake. Now you've got even more work undoing the errors, or repairing or replacing damaged pieces. Save yourself a lot of time and trouble. Set aside your project at regular intervals to stand up, stretch, and refocus. If you have a hard time remembering to do this, set a timer. It may seem a bit counter-intuitive, but stepping away can actually help you work faster and better overall.


How Much Fabric Do I Need for my Sewing Project?

how Much Fabric Do I Need

If you're about to embark on a creative project, whether it's sewing a garment, making home furnishings or implementing a DIY idea, you're probably familiar with the nagging question: "How much fabric will I need? 
The right amount of fabric depends on several factors, which we will discuss in this article. We'll tell you what to look out for when calculating your fabric requirements, so you don't overstock or understock and your projects come off without a hitch.

Yard or Metre?

When searching for fabric you will come across the terms 'yard' and 'meter', which can be confusing for some. Geographical location and tradition often dictate the choice of measurement unit. Yards are common in the USA and some other places, but most other places, including Europe, use meters.
But how much is a yard of fabric? One yard is approximately 0.914 meters, or just under 91 centimeters. So if you shop in an American or yard-based shop, you will see fabrics measured in yards. Check with the shop assistant first to avoid ordering the wrong amount.

Choosing the Fabric Pattern

Sewers choose patterns based on many factors, including their creativity, resources, budget and the specific project they are working on. Here are some options for selecting your fabric:

1. Buy a ready-made patterned fabric from a shop: 
Sewing enthusiasts can look for ready-made fabric patterns in fabric shops or online. There are a variety of designs and prints already available on different fabrics. These ready-made fabric patterns may have been designed by fashion designers, textile designers or large fabric manufacturers. Sewers can choose between different designs, colors and types of fabric depending on the requirements of their project and their personal preferences.

2. Buy a commercial pattern: 
A commercial pattern is a recurring design created for sale and mass production. Sewers can use commercial patterns to make products that will appeal to a wide market. These patterns may be available in the form of pre-printed fabrics, fabric panels or digital print templates. They offer a practical and time-saving solution to selecting an attractive and professionally designed pattern.

3. Buy fabric with your own design: 
Some sewers choose to design their own fabric patterns. This requires creativity and knowledge of textile design. Hand-drawn designs, digital designs or even photographs can be converted into patterns that they can then have printed on the fabric of their choice or, if they have the necessary tools and skills, print themselves. Using your own fabric pattern allows you to create unique and individual pieces that cannot be found anywhere else.

So the decision to use a particular fabric pattern depends on the needs of the project, the budget available, the creative vision and the technical skills of the sewers. Some may prefer the convenience of ready-made patterns or commercial designs, while others enjoy the challenge and creativity of designing their own.

Buying Fabric with a Commercial Pattern

A commercial fabric pattern typically refers to a recurring or repetitive design produced for sale or mass production of textiles and fabrics. Such patterns can be used in various industries such as fashion, interior design, furniture and crafts.
Commercial patterns are often created by designers, textile printers or design companies. They may include different motifs, colour combinations, symbols or geometric shapes. They can be applied to fabrics for clothing, bedding, curtains, handbags, cushion covers, tablecloths and many other textile products.
The term "commercial" means that the patterns are designed to be produced and sold in large quantities to appeal to a wide audience. Because the designs can be reused and applied to different types of fabrics and products, they are a cost-effective way of making products in the textile industry.

The Advantage of Commercial Patterns

One of the main advantages of commercial patterns is that they usually give a clear indication of the amount of fabric required. They will tell you how many meters or yards of fabric are needed for the size and design of the project in question. This eliminates the need for time-consuming calculations and makes planning and shopping lists much easier.
Also, commercial patterns are usually designed for specific fabric widths, which helps you use fabric more efficiently and have less waste. This not only saves money, but also valuable resources.
In addition, the designs include detailed instructions and recommendations on the most appropriate fabric type for the project, to help choose the right fabric with the right properties and in the right quantities.

Dealing with Fabric Waste

Fabric waste is the inevitable loss of fabric during the cutting and sewing process, whether it is due to aligning patterns, adjusting pieces or making small mistakes. To ensure that you have enough fabric, it is a good idea to always plan a little more than the calculated amount. Natural fabrics such as cotton, silk and linen can shrink during the first wash. Many manufacturers compensate for this by adding a little more material than you ordered. However, it is better to check with the seller to ensure that you do not end up with too little.

To successfully deal with waste and buy the right amount of fabric, follow these important steps:

  • Accurate measurement and planning: Start by accurately measuring and planning your project. Use the measurements from the pattern or template to determine how much fabric you will need. Also allow for any alterations or size changes.
  • Plan for more fabric: It is always a good idea to buy a little more fabric than you actually need. A good rule of thumb is to add 10% to 20% to allow for unexpected shrinkage and small errors. Always include allowances for hems, seams and repeats!
  • Efficient cutting: When cutting the fabric, try to minimize waste. Clever arrangement of cut pieces can help use fabric more efficiently and reduce waste.
  • Use scraps wisely: Save small scraps of fabric as they can be used in future projects. For patchwork, appliqué or small accessories, these scraps can be very useful.
  • Use your experience: The more experience you gain with particular projects and types of fabric, the better you will be able to estimate shrinkage and calculate the right amount of fabric.
  • Follow washing instructions: Always follow the fabric manufacturer's washing instructions on the laundry label of your new garment.

Patterned Fabrics - What Do I Need to Know?

Patterned fabrics can be beautiful and bring your projects to life, but they require careful planning to get the patterns right and to allow for waste. 

There are some important aspects to consider, especially when it comes to buying the right amount of fabric:

  • Pattern repeat: Make sure that the pattern of the fabric has repetition. This means that the pattern repeats periodically and is not linear. If you have to cut several pieces of fabric, the pieces should flow seamlessly into each other. This is called the "repeat": it refers to the distance at which a pattern repeats itself (length & width). 
  • Precise planning of the cut: Precise cutting is especially important with patterned fabrics. You may need more fabric to center the pattern or to place certain designs. 
  • Correct orientation: Think about how you want to place the pattern on your project. Will it be horizontal, vertical or diagonal? 
  • Fabric type and pattern: Consider the type of fabric and how the pattern will look on it. Some types of fabric make it more difficult to align patterns accurately. If necessary, test on a small piece of fabric to see how the pattern will look on the chosen fabric type.
  • Minimize waste: Try to arrange the pattern pieces to minimize waste. It may be helpful to arrange the pattern pieces on the fabric before cutting.

Conclusion

With careful planning, using commercial patterns, allowing for waste and choosing the right fabric, you can ensure your project runs smoothly and you can easily achieve the end product you want. With these tips, you'll be well equipped to bring your creative ideas to life and improve your sewing skills. Happy Sewing!

FAQ

How much fabric do I need for a pair of trousers? 

The amount of fabric needed for a pair of trousers depends on various factors, such as the desired size, the pattern and the width of the fabric. As a rule, about 1.65 to 2.2 yards of fabric are needed for a simple pair of trousers without lining. However, it is advisable to check the pattern and plan a small reserve if necessary to allow for wastage and individual adjustments.

How many meters is 1 kg of fabric?

The weight of a fabric is usually expressed in grams per square meter (g/m²), not in kilograms per meter. The number of meters in a kilogram of fabric therefore depends on the density or weight of the fabric per square meter. For example, 1 kg of a fabric with a density of 200 g/m² corresponds to a length of 5 meters. If the fabric density is higher, the length for 1 kg of fabric will be correspondingly shorter, and vice versa for lower density.

What fabric do I need for my project?

To choose the right fabric for your project, you should first define the desired project and its requirements. Consider whether the fabric should be light, heavy, stretchy, firm or flowy. Also consider the intended uses and maintenance requirements to find the best fabric for your project that meets your needs both functionally and aesthetically.


How to Measure and Cut Fabric Perfectly for Sewing

How to Measure and Cut Fabric

Have you ever been working on a sewing project and discovered halfway through that things aren't quite working out? Your pattern pieces aren't lining up, your seam allowances are uneven, and none of it looks the way you'd intended. Before you start blaming your sewing skills, take a step back. The mistake may have been made before you even sat down at your sewing machine, when you were first measuring and cutting out your project.

Cutting is possibly one of the most difficult aspects of sewing. In fact, some of the mostly highly regarded (and well paid!) employees working in high-end garment creation are the cutters. They're masters of turning measurements into pattern pieces and making sure they're laid out with maximum efficiency to take advantage of all the best features of a fabric, whether it's a bias cut lapel or effortlessly matching a complex print.

Of course, you don't need to apprentice for years at a Parisian fashion house to brush up on your measuring and cutting skills. Check out these tips to make sure your next project turns out flawlessly.

Know your measurement

Measure twice, cut once, the old saying goes, and boy, do they mean it! While it's important to take careful measurements for every project and plan the position of your logo label, it's especially crucial (and especially tricky) to get the right measurements for garment making. These will affect everything from what size pattern you need to how much fabric you buy.

The precise measurements you'll need will depend on what kind of clothes you're making. Pants obviously don't need a chest measurement, and you don't need to know inseam to make a shirt, but there are some basics that are good to take whenever you start a project, like height (with and without shoes) and waist, hip, and shoulder measurements. These give you an idea of a person's general proportions, which can help you with design choices.

When it comes to taking the measurements, it's a two person job, so if you're measuring yourself, enlist the help of a friend. You'll need a flexible but non-stretch measuring tape. Invest in a dressmaker's tape if you haven't already, or (for really big projects) a quilter's tape. These are much easier to use than other types of tape measures as they're specifically designed for sewing. In a pinch, you can use grosgrain ribbon or another type of cord. Just make sure it doesn't stretch at all, or your measurements are likely to be inaccurate. Check out this tutorial for a complete how-to on where and how to take your measurements.

Add a little extra

Now that you've gotten your precise measurements, it's time to add a little extra. It may seem counterintuitive to go changing your measurements after you took the time to make sure they were accurate, but in this case, there's a very good reason. Actually, there are several:

Ease: Ease refers to the extra space in a garment. If you followed the measurements exactly, the garment would be skin tight and almost impossible to put on, let alone wear all day. You want to add ease to your pattern for two different reasons. First, you want to add enough space to ensure you can move comfortably in a garment. This is what's known as wearing ease. Style ease, by contrast, is any extra that's added to change the look of a garment—for example, maybe you like a fuller sleeve than the pattern originally calls for. The amount of ease you'll need depends on the kind of fabric you're using and the shape of your garment. A loose, flowing design may not require any additional ease at all, for example. Pay attention to your pattern as well; most commercial patterns have already built in wearing ease, but some, including historical patterns, may not use enough, or any at all.

Seam Allowances: Once again, this is a crucial factor in making sure your measurements translate correctly into your finished project. Pay close attention to commercial patterns, adding the appropriate seam allowance where necessary and marking any adjustments you've made. Using ⅝" seam allowances with a pattern designed for ¼" may not seem like a big change, but if the fit is close, it could mean the difference between a comfortable garment and one that binds. If you're designing your own patterns, it's even more important to make sure you remember to add the appropriate allowance on every seam.

Understand your fabric

Another factor that's closely related to your measurements and pattern is, of course, your fabric. There are some basics to pay attention to when choosing material for a given project. Make sure to check the width of your fabric against the requirements of your pattern. While you can easily ask that fabric be cut longer, it can't be cut narrower or made wider (at least, not at the fabric shop cutting counter!). Also make sure you understand whether you'll be using a "with nap" layout, as that will change how much fabric you'll need.

Most patterns also come with suggestions for the types of material that work well with that particular design. Though it's not strictly necessary to use the precise types listed, it is important to understand why they were recommended. There are three basic types of material:

Non-woven This category includes material like vinyl, leather, and felt— all materials that are produced without weaving or knitting fibers together to form a textile. These typically have very little stretch, so if you're planning on making garments from them, be sure to build in plenty of wearing ease to make them comfortable.

Woven Most of the fabrics we work with regularly are woven, meaning they're made from threads interlocked together in patterns. The type of thread and the pattern of interlacing affects the properties of the finished fabric, which is why light, flexible silk organza and sturdy, twill-woven denim are both considered woven fabrics even though they're so different. Woven fabrics typically have some stretch "with the grain", depending on the type and closeness of the weave, but their primary flexibility comes from cutting on the bias (at a 45 degree angle to the direction of the threads in the weave). Some woven fabrics are made with elastic fibers, and may have much more stretch than one might expect at first glance. Always test to see how much, and in which directions, your fabric will stretch.

Knits Knit fabrics are made by looping threads over one another. This makes for a highly flexible and often quite stretchy material that is perfect for all kinds of garments from comfy fleece sweatshirts to classy jersey cocktail dresses. Knit fabrics also have a particular grain to them, depending on the direction in which the loops are running, and so most will stretch more in some directions than others. Once again, be sure to test the stretch of the particular fabric you're working with to make sure you know what to expect in your finished garment.

Make sure you don't substitute one type of fabric for another, unless you take the time to adjust your pattern to account for each fabric's different properties.

Pre-wash and press

The last step to ensure perfectly cut patterns is to prepare your fabric. For most projects, this will mean pre-washing and drying the fabric to remove any sizing and help settle the fibers into their final shape and size. Always follow the care instructions for your fabric. These are typically listed on the bolt of fabric; if not, check the internet for care instructions for your particular material. This website is a great resource for that. Remember that not all fabrics should be washed at home. Some should be dry-cleaned instead, so pay close attention to those care instructions! That goes for pressing, too. While pressing before you cut is an absolute must for fabrics like linen, you should avoid ever pressing some fabrics, such as velvet, unless absolutely necessary.

Cut with care

Your measurements are set, your fabric has been prepared, and you're ready to cut. Start with a large, flat cutting space. A cutting table is ideal, since they're typically marked with a grid to help you make sure your fabric is properly aligned. Lay out your fabric and your pattern pieces according to the pattern instructions. Whenever possible, cut just one layer at a time, as this helps avoid slipping, especially with particularly thick or very delicate material. Take your time and make sure to transfer all the marks you may need to your fabric as you go, including notches, grain lines, and buttonholes. Need to speed things up? Opt for a rotary cutter and cutting mat. Instead of using pins to hold your pattern in place, use pattern weights. This arrangement allows you to quickly stage your fabric and pattern, cut what you need to, and then move on to the next area. It's also great if you don't have a lot of space for a big cutting table.

Ready to get started with your next project? Keep these steps in mind as you prepare, and leave your own favorite tips and tricks in the comments below!


17 Best Time Saving Sewing Tricks

17 Best Time Saving Sewing Tricks

Whether you want to make more time for your hobby or need to get a few more projects done before your next big show, it never hurts to pick up a few time-saving sewing tricks. Check out these ideas for making the most of your sewing time.

  • Prepare for your project

Before you begin, take some time to plan for your project, making sure that you've got all the material, notions, and equipment you'll need to see it through from start to finish. Carefully read through your pattern, taking note of any tricky procedures or any techniques you may not be familiar with.

  • Cut multiple projects at once

Most of us home sewists don't have full-time cutting tables, so whether you take over the floor or the kitchen table, or have a fold-out cutting table you use, it's so much easier to set it up once, spend an afternoon cutting, and then use your sewing timeto actually sew!

  • Use pattern weights instead of pins

If you've been using pins to lay out your patterns, this will be life changing. Pattern weights work best with a cutting mat and rotary cutter. Paired together, it's amazing how quickly you can cut out project after project, all without accidentally stabbing yourself or pinning the wrong layers together.

  • Plan your seams

Your pattern comes with a specific order in which a project should be sewn, so make sure to follow those instructions carefully! Make an easily legible list of the order in which.

  • Grab a spare bobbin

Before you start sewing, take a moment and wind a few extra bobbins with the thread you might need as you work on your project. This will keep you From having to unthread and re-thread your sewing machine each time your bobbin runs out.

  • Mark your seam lines

Most of the time, the seam allowance lines on your sewing machine's deck are a good indicator that you're putting your seams right where they need to be, but if you really want to save yourself some sewing time, mark your stitch lines while you're laying out your pattern. It's a particularly handy habit for sewing curved seams, where one piece of material may need to be eased to match the other, or if your project uses a range of different seam allowances.

  • Take a break

The Longer you work on a project, the more likely you are to get tired and make a mistake that will then take more time to Fix, making it more likely you'll make another mistake, and so on and so forth. Break the vicious cycle by remembering to set aside your project at regular intervals and stepping away. When you come back to it, you'll be ready to work again!

  • Keep your iron hot

Make sure your iron is turned on and set to the appropriate temperature. Fill the water reservoir to make sure your steam Function is ready, and keep your iron and ironing board close at hand for easy access while you work.

  • Chain seams together

When you finish a seam, there's no need to cut your fabric loose from your sewing machine's thread. Simply pull it away to give yourself a bit of space, and start in on the next seam, chaining the two seams together. This is aparticularly helpful trick for finishing small items, like collars and cuffs.

  • Pin perpendicular to the seam line

Always insert your pins perpendicular to the seam line. Not only does this lessen the likelihood that you'll be stabbed while you're sewing, it also makes it much easier to sweep pins out of the way with one hand while guiding your fabric with the other.

  • Use reinforcements

Working with a delicate fabric like lace, chiffon, or organza? Use a tearaway or washaway stabilizer to help keep your project in line as you sew. This will also help give your finished works a polished, professional appearance.

  • Press in batches

While you should always press your project as you go, that doesn't necessarily mean you have to stop work every time you Finish a seam to go press it immediately. Instead, wait until you've sewn three to four seams (chained together if you like!), then cut any trailing threads and press all the seams before beginning your next round of sewing.

  • Keep your tools close at hand

You never want to have to trek across the room just to retrieve your scissors or thread snips. Keep all your frequently used tools close at hand. For some, that could mean a sewing-table caddy that stays in easy reach of your workspace. For others, that could mean a dedicated drawer, or even the pocket of a sewing apron to keep everything corralled.

  • Don’t skip your maintenance routine

Sewing machine difficulties can be a real time suck. Make sure to follow the regular maintenance plan recommended by your machine's manufacturer to try and avoid as many of those issues as you can, and take your machine in for a tune-up when necessary.

  • Switch to a rotary cutter

Rotary cutters allow you to follow even the most complex seam lines. They can handle tough fabrics and delicate ones, and even mark pattern points like notches. Even better, they can do all this much faster than ordinary cutting shears.

  • Use "project boxes"

Got multiple projects in the works? Keep everything straight, including swatches and materials, notions, patterns, and more, by keeping each project in its own separate box.

  • Use time-saving tools

While there's always a bit of a learning curve with new equipment, sometimes it's worth the up-front investment to save a lot lot of time later. A great example is specialty feet For your sewing machine. A narrow hem foot can save you hours of meticulous pressing or even hand stitching, while a ruffler foot gives you even results without breaking.

After learning some valuable sewing tips, now you can put them to use with our next tutorial: How to Sew an Apron. With the techniques you've just acquired, you'll be well-equipped to embark on this project and create a practical and stylish accessory for your kitchen adventures. Let's dive in and bring your sewing skills to life with this hands-on tutorial!


An Easy Apron Tutorial

sew apron

What’s great about this tutorial is that basically any sturdy fabric can be used.

If you cook, or do the washing up, wearing an apron is a good idea.  It will keep your clothes clean and dry and if you follow this tutorial to make your own, you’ll also look like a million bucks in the kitchen.  What’s great about this tutorial is that basically any sturdy fabric can be used.  We suggesting avoiding lightweight material.  Jazz up your design by using contrasting thread or maybe an appliqué - the possibilities are endless.  You could also make it longer, or shorter and a sweet border ribbon would definitely kick it up a notch in the style department.  Use your imagination and have fun!

Our finished apron dimensions are 36” x 10” (top), 25” (bottom), and the armholes start 9.5” down.

You will need:

  • 36in (91.5cm) by 26in (66cm) fabric of your choice
  • Fabric for straps – you need to be able to piece together a 4yd (365cm) strip
  • Thread in a coordinating color
  • Matching clothing label

Make the Straps

Cut the straps – cut 2 strips each measuring 4” by 72” (10cm x 190cm) and sew the short ends right-sides together using a ½” seam allowance to make one long strip. Press the seam open to reduce bulk.

An Easy Apron Tutorial

**You can also use 4 strips each measuring 4” x 36” if your fabric isn’t long enough for the 72” strips. Other alternatives would be 144” (4yds) of bias tape sewn closed, or sturdy ribbon to match your apron fabric.

Fold in half lengthwise and press. Unfold the strip and fold the raw edges to the fold line before pressing again.

An Easy Apron Tutorial

Fold in half lengthwise (hiding the raw edges in the center of the strip) and press one final time.

An Easy Apron Tutorial

Fold each end in by ½”, hiding the raw edges inside the strap.

An Easy Apron Tutorial

Top stitch along both edges of the strap, making sure to sew in the same direction for each side – this will help to ensure that the strap does not get twisted.

An Easy Apron Tutorial

Make the Apron Body

Fold each short side of your fabric in ½” (1.5cm), press and fold in by ½” (1.5cm) once more to make a hem (if your hem works out a little wider because your fabric is thicker, that’s OK). Sew close to the edge of the hem – if you’re adding a clothing label, tuck it under the hem in the middle of the top edge before sewing. Repeat the process for the long sides.

An Easy Apron Tutorial

Make marks along one of the short edges, 6.5in (16.5cm) in from the corners. This will be the top of your apron. Make a mark 8.5in (21.5cm) down from the top corner on each long side.

An Easy Apron Tutorial

Draw a line between each pair of marks and cut along these lines.

An Easy Apron Tutorial

Fold the cut corners in ½ in (1.5cm) and press. Now fold them in 1½ in and sew along the previously pressed edge. This will make casings for your straps to pass through.

An Easy Apron Tutorial

Thread one end of the strap through the casing on one side and then the other (make sure it’s not twisted at the top).

Now it’s time to enjoy your new apron!

An Easy Apron Tutorial

Thinking about making your own apron - you'll need personalized labels to go along with it!

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