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Curlykat
03-08-2006, 10:33 AM
I just got my very first sewing machine and want to try sewing some clothes for myself.

If you sew your own clothes, where is the best place to get nice, stylish patterns??? I've checked out the McCall's and Simplicity websites and nothing there is really jumping out at me. I'm specifically looking for a summery dress pattern.

brendajos
03-08-2006, 10:49 AM
well i don't know what kind of options you have in Canada for patterns but Vogue does put out a pattern book. The patterns are generally more expensive though and i don't recall ever seeing them on sale.

when i sewed (which was very rarely and very square projects) i would wait until Joanns or Hancock Fabrics had a sale and they would put either McCalls or Simplicity on sale for 99 cents. usually presidents day weekend and labor day and all that was when that happened. Hobby Lobby usually has good prices too. But again, i don't know if you have any of that where you are.

knitncook
03-08-2006, 10:49 AM
I love the Vogue patterns, but they can be spendy. I've found some lovely patterns in Simplicity and McCall's and Butterick, but you have to really look through the books. I usually get my patterns at JoAnn's when they have a 99 sale or I use a 40% off coupon. I refuse to pay $13 for a pattern. What happened to the days when sewing for yourself was cheaper than retail? Oh, and the quality of the pictures is much better IRL and you also have the ability to look at the pattern. Don't be afraid to pull out the pattern from the sleeve and look at the directions before you buy it.

nicolethegeek
03-08-2006, 11:40 AM
I don't know if they have Fabricland as far east as TB, but their membership price for patterns is pretty decent. Several times a year they will have excellent deals on patterns too, especially in January right before inventory. I have paid as little as $1 each for McCalls and Butterick patterns. When I did a lot of sewing, I would more than justify the cost of my membership for Fabricland and Fanny's Fabrics with the members-only sales. The regular prices aren't all that bad either.

:hiding: <looking for brendajos> Wal-Mart is the only department store that I know of that still has a fabric section. There's a line of patterns... New Look I think, that is about $2-3 a pattern. It's in a wire circular rack in the department. There's also McCalls and Simplicity patterns in the drawers. Unless you are lucky, I wouldn't expect to get a great deal of help or insight from the person working in the department. Personally I prefer Butterick patterns since I have found them to be well-written, and they fit me better {with a minimum of altering} than any other brand I have tried. Online, I would try craftster or some other crafting BBS {other than the one on the SFSE website :evil: } for answers to questions you may have. The Nancy's Notions website {used to at least} have a great section with various tips and tricks, and if I remember correctly, there was some simple no-pattern patterns to make. Those would help you get used to your new machine, and learn a few basics of pattern construction.

My number one recommendation to you before you buy ANY clothing pattern for yourself is to take an honest set of measurements. The best way is to have someone else take these for you. The sizes on the envelope do *not* correspond to ready-to-wear, and you will need those measurements to buy the best size for you.

If you have any other questions, just holler... sewing was my main hobby for years since it was the only thing my ex would let me do!

cheesiesmom
03-08-2006, 02:17 PM
If you sew your own clothes, where is the best place to get nice, stylish patterns??? I've checked out the McCall's and Simplicity websites and nothing there is really jumping out at me. I'm specifically looking for a summery dress pattern.

I used to use Vogue patterns a lot when I sewed although they are pricy and if you're new to sewing stick to the easy to make patterns for a while. The designer pattern can be pretty daunting and difficult at times. Remember, the best part of sewing your own clothes is that you can adjust them to fit and use whatever material you want so what may look like nothing out of the ordinary can become pretty spectacular by adding details and trims. So Simplicity and McCall's can be great patterns. You really have to go to the store and wade through the pattern books. I'd spend hours looking at patterns. (My DH hated getting stuck with me in a store that had pattern books!)

Also, once you get into it and you want to continue you might consider buying a serger. It really saves on finishing time, especially for jackets that you don't want to line.

Good luck and have fun with your new venture!!

Gladys in dismal & dreary Michigan.

humblestumble
03-08-2006, 03:15 PM
Well, I think Simplicity, Burda and Vogue are the best, fashion-wise.

The best thing about Simplicity though, is that if you live in a city with Joann's or Hancock's, they go on sale a LOT. For like 1 or 2 bucks. vogue goes on sale for 75%, leaving most to be around 4 bucks.

And I just want to tell you now, that you will HAVE to make adjustments to any pattern you make (especially if the fabric is woven). I just found that out recently, and I wish I would've known it sooner.

Fast Fit by Sandra Betzina is a great place to start when it comes to that. I'm still a little chicken to do it, but I will soon.

Curlykat
03-08-2006, 05:40 PM
Hi all! Thanks for the tips!!

Just got back from Wal-Mart, with some cute pink flannelette material, with cats riding on spaceships....umm, it's cooler looking than it sounds...and a pattern for pyjama pants as my first attempt! I figure that's a pretty safe bet, even if I totally mess it up, I'll just be wearing them around the house!

Nicole - I PM'd you for some help!! :D

nicolethegeek
03-08-2006, 06:03 PM
some cute pink flannelette material, with cats riding on spaceships
It does sound cool to me! I'll have to look at work for it.

and a pattern for pyjama pants as my first attempt! I figure that's a pretty safe bet, even if I totally mess it up, I'll just be wearing them around the house!
Sounds pretty safe to me too... just remember that flannel shrinks! If you haven't cut it out already, I'd throw it in the washer first to preshrink!

Nicole - I PM'd you for some help!!
checked and replied! {btw: thanks for letting me know here! I totally miss seeing it on the top of the page! :oops: }

VictoiseC
03-08-2006, 06:13 PM
I'm so wanting to learn to sew well! I got a new machine after using my old one (or not using it to be more exact) for 20 years or so. Got a beautiful new one at Walmart and have been making easy things like curtains.

I want to sew a lot for this summer.... I wish I could take a class mainly because I don't understand everything about the machine, namely tension. Do you have that figured out? The brochure just doesn't explain it that well. Like should the tension be higher for thin silky fabric and lower for corduroy etc? Anyone know where you can take a class on using the sewing machine?

I once saw if you buy your machine at Sears they have classes but I didn't buy it there! Aren't there some good online places to buy patterns also?
Should be if there aren't.

Curlykat
03-08-2006, 07:10 PM
Aren't there some good online places to buy patterns also?
Should be if there aren't.


Buy??? I want FREE!!! Like KnittingPatternCentral.com!!!

Jan in CA
03-08-2006, 08:21 PM
Aren't there some good online places to buy patterns also?
Should be if there aren't.

Buy??? I want FREE!!! Like KnittingPatternCentral.com!!!

Have you actually looked at a real pattern? It would be pretty hard to make them free. The pieces are often quite large and there is no way you could print them.

I started sewing when I was 10 and I think the best way to find good patterns is to go to a fabric store and look at all the books. They also have them on racks and there are easy ones, too. Making something like a pillow with straight sewing is a good way to get the feel for the machine. Just being in a fabric store can be inspiring. ;)

Curlykat
03-08-2006, 08:29 PM
Have you actually looked at a real pattern? It would be pretty hard to make them free. The pieces are often quite large and there is no way you could print them.

Good point... :oops:

nicolethegeek
03-09-2006, 12:34 AM
The free patterns I've found online have all been basic items that are sewn out of simple squares and rectangles, where the pattern "pieces" are all just measurements.

cheesiesmom
03-09-2006, 09:45 AM
Anyone know where you can take a class on using the sewing machine?

I once saw if you buy your machine at Sears they have classes but I didn't buy it there!

And places like Walmart don't even employ people who know how to use them. They just sell. You have to fiddle with the tension to get it right for the fabric. The upper and lower thread should be even. Yu have to test it. Once you get a feel for it, it will be easy to figure out. Have you checked any of the craft stores for sewing classes? Besides teaching you how to sew they'll probably be able to help with the questions you have on the machine. Or possibly check out the local school districts for Adult Ed/Enrichment classes. Or maybe could ask the sales people where you buy fabric. The women at my Joann's seem to know a little something about the process. If you catch then on a not-so-busy day, maybe you could pick their brains.

Sara
03-09-2006, 10:06 AM
Vic, you should take a look at a book called "Simplicity's Simply the Best Sewing Book" (I think that's the right title). I got mine at JoAnn's, but I think I've seen it at other booksellers. I've been sewing for twenty five years and I still find it useful for sewing tips. They discuss machine anatomy and give guidelines for gauge.

Different fabrics may require different tensions, plus you need to pay attention to stitches per inch and needle size in order to get a smooth seam.

I'm going to sew today! I was going to make knitting needles, but it's rainy. So I'm going to finish a couple projects. Good luck everybody! :thumbsup:

nicolethegeek
03-09-2006, 10:46 AM
Sources in Canada for sewing are even more different from those in the US than with knitting/crocheting. Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's and the like are non-existant north of the border. You might find one or two {possibly} in the TO area, but that's over a 24 hour drive for me, and about 16-18 for Curlykat. Here in Winnipeg, I've seen sewing classes occasionally in our Leisure Guide, a quarterly publication of various classes and activities offered in the city. The best selection of classes I've seen are with the various sewing machine dealers. I've never taken a class because my schedule never seems to coincide with the classes they offer that I want! Most of the classes require you to bring your own machine, but as common courtesy, I would buy any supplies needed for the class from the shop offering it.

I agree that most WMs don't employ people in the crafts department that know a lot about the merchandise. The best person there is *usually* the department manager, but even their knowledge tends to be limited to the crafts that they personally do {if they do any at all}.

VictoiseC
03-09-2006, 12:44 PM
Thanks for all the good advice! (btw, Nicole your blog is fantastic, how the heck did you learn to do all that fancy stuff.... !)

Yeah, we are spoiled with the free patterns we find online for knitting!
Remember the old trick of using newspaper to make a pattern based on a piece of clothing you already have? I don't think I ever did it but then again... my memory's getting sketchy? what's the word!

Sara, I will look at that book! Thanks for the tip. Strangely enough, I don't care much for the Walmart near us (upstate NY) but when we really need something and can't pay a lot (a lot of the time) we do go there and when I bought my sewing machine, both of the women working there were experts! I was surprised, one had grow up near or in the town where Singer sewing machines were made, she had relatives that worked there. She steered me towards the other brand, Brother and gave me reasons why they were better. Said she had been working at Walmart for many years and the machines that were returned for being defective were the Singers, not one Brother. Well, I'm getting off topic.
It was just a pleasant experience to find someone at Walmart who was so knowledgeable.

I've been staring at all these gorgeous little cotton dresses in the windows here in NYC, esp Barneys where they cost like $245 for a simple little cotton thing, and I'm making some sketches and going to try and reproduce a few. Hope I can do it!

all for now!

candicane
03-09-2006, 01:22 PM
I like Burda patterns and they are often on sale at Joanns. I am evening thinking of a beautiful flowy sundress pattern that I saw!

I bought a Husquvarna sewing machine (ok my dad bought it) and it came with a class on how to use it. It was a great class and made me love the machine even more than when I first got it.

candice

ChroniclesofYarnia
03-09-2006, 01:27 PM
Ugh, funny you mention showing cause I sat at the machine near tears this morning. I am sewing my first garment, a simple dress for my oldest. I have gotten to the sleeves just fine, but I just cannot get it. I'm going to take it to my friends house on Saturday and have her finish it and show me. Ugh. Damn Project Runway for motivating me!!!

Anyhow, I was advised to start with the really easy Simplicity patterns. What happened with me is I went to JoAnn's with all the fabric on sale last weekend, and sat there looking through books and asked old ladies who looked like they knew what they were doing "Is this easy?". :lol:


Good luck on sewing!

VictoiseC
03-09-2006, 01:30 PM
Yarnmommy, WHO is that guy in your avatar?????

Looks quite interesting! :happydance:

Holly
03-09-2006, 02:33 PM
I also wanted to learn to make myself clothes, and started off with a Simplicty pattern: First dress -- looked very cute, but waaaay to huge. Didn't figure that out until after I put in bust darts and a side zipper, so I just gave up on it and started another. Second pattern (a dress) -- just a bit too tight, and couldn't figure out how to get the sleaves on correctly! AHHHH. I think I'll keep my sewing to quilting! My suggestion would be to stick to an inexpensive fabric for the first project(s) until you are comfortable with fitting techniques, etc... I always thought a dressmakers dummy would be an awesome thing to own. If I ever got serious about making clothing, I'd think about treating myself to one :-)

BTW, I did see the Simplicy sewing book mentioned earlier at Walmart in the fabric section.

Have fun!

nicolethegeek
03-09-2006, 03:18 PM
Nicole your blog is fantastic, how the heck did you learn to do all that fancy stuff.... !
Which fancy stuff? The crochet? the knit? or the html? ;)

Yarnmommy... send me a message on Yahoo {nicolethegeek AT yahoo DOT ca}, I might be able to help with your sleeve problem... I learned a couple really cool tricks for setting in sleeves.

VictoiseC
03-09-2006, 06:16 PM
Nicole... I meant the percentage charts you have, or whatever you call them,that show the progress of your knitting projects. html I guess.
I just can't get it together to learn fancy stuff, my blog at blogspot is so plain it's ridiculous.

Funny you should mention the dress makers dummy/mannequin
Holly, I was looking at this yesterday:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Female-Mannequin-Dress-Form-Wooden-Stand-White_W0QQitemZ7597215537QQcategoryZ50943QQrdZ1QQc mdZViewItem