Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sew Baby Sew!

This is me in a maternity maxi dress I made recently. I love dressmaking not only because it saves a lot of money but mainly because I've made some lovely clothes that I wouldn't be able to find in the shops. Having a baby is a great excuse to take up dressmaking, as you can make all sorts of things for your little one like clothes, toys and blankets. If you'd like to get started with this skill here are a few tips:

1. Don't invest in an expensive machine to start with. All you need to get going is a machine that can do straight and zig-zag stitches. I bought my Janome machine from John lewis for £89 and it does a few extras like buttonholes and hemming stitches. However you can get a decent starter model for under £60. Bear in mind that sewing machines can be expensive to repair so it's good to have a cheaper one to break yourself in.

2. Take a sewing class. There are quite a few around and your local fabric shop may know of some near you. There are plenty of great online tutorials too, especially on Burda Style, which is a friendly online community for sewers of all levels and has lots of free patterns you can download.

3. Start with a kit. Shops like John Lewis sell some great sewing kits which feature the exact amount of fabric and clear instructions. Amy Butler has some lovely projects that would make good baby quilts and changing bags.

4. Recycle! Use the fabric from your old clothes to make things for the baby. If a skirt has a worn hem or a shirt has a scruffy collar there'll still be plenty of good fabric in the garment for you to make a whole baby outfit from.

5. Have fun and experiment. Don't expect your first projects to be perfect but start with simple ones and you'll soon find it easier as you go along. You'll feel a lot of pride when you and your baby are wearing great outfits you've made yourself.

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