Now you might have guessed this is a subject close to my heart. I love fabric. I can quite happily look at it all day. Like many sewists I have a substantial stash that I take in hand on occasion and actually use. Sadly I don’t appear to make it up at the same rate as gaining it. There are worse habits to have.
At the beginning of each beginners course I talk of thinking about what you want from your fabric.
What do you want to make?
What’s your budget? consider this very carefully if this is your first foray, but don’t start with the cheapest of the cheapest. Unless you’re making a toile of your final garment. Then I’d use an old sheet or something cheap to check the size and fit. Charity shop duvets are a favourite.
What do you need in your wardrobe? Make something you’ll actually wear. We all get carried away with lovely fabric and who wouldn’t want a fabulous evening top or dress, but will you have the occasion to wear it. I’m going to put a little thought of my own out there…If you’ve already got the me made sitting in the wardrobe with no-where to wear it, take it shopping. I still have a problem with wearing pjs or a onesie to do the weekly shop. Sorry if it’s just me. Wear the fairy outfit instead, Go Glam. I for one would find find that far more fun.
Start simple. The big four have simple sections and a lot of the Indie patterns are suited to beginners. Each of them work towards their own style and fit and will appeal to some but not all of us.
Choose your pattern first, because it’s so much easier to buy fabric with a project in mind. Particularly at the beginning, there’s such an overwhelming choice of beautiful fabric. The soft, shiny, textured not to mention the colours…I could go on, in fact I probably have done already.
It can be a minefield if you not sure what you’re looking for. That’s where the store can help. Now, granted, if you can only make it in on a busy Saturday afternoon they’re not going to be able to give you masses of attention. They will however be able to give you a rough idea as to the fabric that will work best for your project. If you’re shopping online then check out the description, give them a call and ask about it, more often than not they’ll send you a sample if you ask nicely.
If you fall in love with a fabric before finding a pattern then life does indeed become more interesting. What does that fabric say to you? Yes, really. Sometimes it tells you exactly what it wants to be. Does it drape? Does it have body? Is it asking to be made into a dress, a skirt, that perfect pair of trousers that seem to elude you. Maybe just a scarf if it’s a beautifully soft silky number that you haven’t plucked up courage to sew with yet. Note to self- I bring out the snakeskin silk chiffon every year but never get around to making the top up. If I made a scarf it would at least get used.
Consider what you would make before buying. If you have to have it, check to see how much that pattern might need. Don’t buy blind. I can see those of you that might know me, laughing, I know. Will she be taking her own advice?
I’ve got better at it. I now keep the TNT patterns on my phone. I photograph the back of the envelope so that I can quickly work out how much I need. It saves carrying the patterns around and it’s there at a moments notice. Keep your phone charged. Just saying. I will only buy if I know what I’m going to make. Don’t get me wrong, there are still those impulses but I’m better prepared.
I hope my ramblings might help, if you’ve made it this far I hope you had a cup of something to help you through. If not, pop the kettle on. Mines black with one sugar. x