Inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee but not sure where to start? Following Team Tatty’s very own take on the GBSB, we invited one of our favourite craft bloggers Kathryn of Yes I Like That to compile a beginner’s guide to sewing. You’ll be whipping up your own spring capsule wardrobe in no time! Take it away, Kathryn:
1. First things first – you’ll need a sewing machine.
Maybe a relative has an unwanted one stored in a dusty attic, or you can borrow a friend’s machine and have a go. Look out for second-hand models, most sewing machine shops will sell them and it’s a thrifty way to get started. Or if you’re the kind of gal or guy who needs to colour co-ordinate all their accessories to their outfits, how about these adorable mini machines from John Lewis?
2. Got the machine? Now you need to learn the basic skills.
There are sewing cafes and workshops springing up all over the UK, like the Make Lounge in London, Super+Super in Brighton, or Make It Glasgow in Scotland. If there’s nowhere like that near you, don’t fret – Craftsy run online video workshops on everything from sewing an A-line skirt to re-creating a pair of your favourite jeans. Or if you couldn’t get enough of Tilly’s retro style on the Sewing Bee, she’s got a whole series of beginner sewing tutorials on her blog.
3. Supplies are next on the list.
Fell in love with a pattern, a fabric, or a trimming on the Great British Sewing Bee? The Thrifty Stitcher blog has put together a handy list for every episode, listing what each contestant used. Sadly, as yet there’s no pattern available to sew your own Patrick Grant complete with beard and three-piece suit.
If you’re shopping online for fabric, check out Ditto Fabrics, a Brighton-based shop which sells ex-designer fabric. You could make your own catwalk recreation for a fraction of the price! For haberdashery, head over to Jaycotts. They’ve got everything you need from neon metal zips to dressmakers dummies.
4. So now you want to make something. But where to start?
The standard way to begin is with a paper pattern, but you might find these intimidating when you first start sewing. They can also be pretty frumpy, with illustrations straight out of the 80s.
We’ve found a solution though. Take a peek at the DIY Couture site and join the patternless revolution. It’s full of picture-based instructions that are really easy to follow, with style that’s more haute couture than home economics. At the moment you can download a totally free tutorial for making a pleated tulip skirt.
5. Inspiration time!
New independent sewing companies are popping up all over the world. Here in the UK, two super-stylish ladies recently set up By Hand London selling on-trend patterns like the Charlotte wiggle skirt, and the retro Elisalex dress.
Craft blogs are a great way to get ideas on what to sew next. Check out our favourites – the hilarious Lladybird from Nashville, DIY queen Zoe of So, Zo, What Do You Know, and retro New Yorker Gretchen of Gertie’s New Blog For Better Sewing.
What are you waiting for – it’s time to DIY!
Thank you for creating an amazing starter guide, Kathryn! Looking for inspiring makes, the latest sewing gossip and hilarious reviews? Head over to her blog, Yes I Like That for all this and more. (Seriously, you have to read the David Bowie exhibition post!)