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One of the great advantages of making your own clothes is finding the perfect fit.

In high school we just used store bought patterns and they would never fit me as I wouldn’t take the time or effort of actually making the adjustments to fit.

( ^My first dress I made.)

Now I try to make my own patterns and I usually put more time into the pattern making than the sewing. I keep measuring and making templates until I am finally happy with the pattern, because now I’ve learnt that the time and effort is always worth it.

You don’t just want a store-bought feel of a standardised sizing system.

My aim with sewing is to have that bespoke/couture feel and look but it cannot be achieved without a pattern which has a good fit.

So my tip is…

Find a pattern that fits you and flatters you. Hold onto that pattern, treasure it and make as many clothes from it as you like. Adjusting patterns even slightly can make a world of difference. From changing the style of skirt in a dress or changing the neckline in a top. Add a few finer details like a belt or change the type of closure, and just imagine how all the different fabrics can completely change the purpose of a clothing item. Believe me, the possibilities are endless.

I found my favourite pattern from a vintage dress (pictured below), which was too big so I took in the sides and then had the perfect dress and the pattern to recreate it however I like.

A few ways to make your perfect pattern:

1. Look for mainstream patterns and then make a prototype to see how you can make the pattern fit better.

2. Find an item of clothing in a shop which you absolutely love and then trace the pattern from the item. That’s how I made the pattern for my pink silk dress and then changed the neckline to make my floral linen dress.

3. Or, if you have the really amazing skills of pattern drafting use your own measurements to make your own pattern block to which you can adjust to every style you so desire.

The most important part...

Is the measuring and trying on the garment as you make it. Keep checking in the mirror, wiggling your body and if you can, ask for a second opinion to see how it’s looking. You find the perfect fit during the making of the garment, not when it’s finished. Trying on is a vital part of sewing and probably not much shown in sewing tutorials so try to remember as you go along to check how your masterpiece is looking.

Together, a good pattern and beautiful fabric can make a an incredible garment and you’ll always be astonished as to how on earth you made it.

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