Tag Archives: clothes spying

Sewing to sell How to be better than store bought

Sewing to Sell – How to Be Better Than Store Bought

Sewing to sell your creations at markets or online is tough and you need something to set yourself apart from the rest – especially from store bought clothing. Basically you should be aiming to be better than store bought. Consumers want to know why they should pay more than what they do at a department store – why is handmade better than mass produced?
To be cost effective, mass produced clothing has to be constructed in the shortest time possible. This often means certain steps are skipped, which can mean a less than perfect garment.
Here are a few of the common flaws seen in store bought clothing and ways for you to improve on that and make handmade the best it can be.Sew to sell   excess threads
An obvious thing like loose threads is something everyone has encountered in a store bought garment and is the first way you can improve. Get into the habit of going over your finished garments to clip all those threads.Sew to sell correct grain
Correct grain – take the time to ensure you’re cutting on the correct grain or you will run the risk of your finished garment warping – either as you finish or worse, after the customer has washed it. Pre-washing your fabric is good for removing the dressing from manufacturing, but make sure you hang it on the clothes line straight or you could be creating another warp.Sew to sell pocket facings
Pocket facings are used when manufacturers want to save cost on the main fabric, but sometimes they skimp too much and the pocket lining peeks out. If you want to do better – make sure your facings are deeper.Sew to sell twisted hems
Narrow hems are fine in the right application, but take care not to let them twist and ripple when ironing. If you keep a mini ruler at your sewing machine you can watch that your turning up stays parallel to the edge. For sheer and light weight fabrics, consider folding the edge twice and eliminating the overlocking all together.Sew to sell matching stripes
Matching stripes can be frustrating but is well worth the effort. The side seams of a top or dress will look so much better if the stripes line up. And don’t forget repeating patterns form stripes too.Sew to Sell centering
Check the direction of the print too. For example, if a fabric has a row of boats finishing just above the hem on a pair of shorts, it’s going to look odd if the other leg doesn’t match. The superman logo on these shorts has been centered in the width of the panel and sits at the same spot on the hems.Sew to Sell  coverstitch
If you’re using a cover stitch in your sewing, practice getting the stitch to cover the raw edge exactly. Store bought t-shirts are a common place for this flaw.
If you really want to get fussy with your sewing you could look at how you finish your belt loops. Sometimes you’ll see belt loops that have frayed after washing because the ends have been left raw. While it’s not convenient to overlock them, you can try turning them under a second time to conceal the raw edge. Or even try enclosing them within the waistband at the top edge and where the band joins the shorts.
Have a think about any pet peeves you have about store bought clothing – surely if you notice something your customers will too. Taking the time to do some quality control once your items are finished could make all the difference to your work and will go a long way towards lifting the standards of what consumers expect and deserve.

This article first appeared in Issue 5 of One Thimble magazine and can be purchased here (affiliate link)

Creating a Sewing Plan

How to Create a Sewing Plan

If you’ve been sewing a particular item for a while, you’ve probably already established a sewing plan without even knowing it. A sewing plan is a bit like the sewing instructions but simplified into bullet points and is useful for when you’ve got a large order of the same thing and need to work like a production line.

A sewing plan for a pair of elasticated shorts for example would look like this –

  1. centre front (CF) and centre back (CB) seams
  2. side seams
  3. overlock
  4. hems
  5. crotch seam
  6. overlock
  7. waist casing and labels

As you can see, it’s not a detailed set of instructions, but more of an ordered list of steps. The underlined steps are done on the straight sewing machine while the others are done on the overlocker. Doing the first two steps together saves a trip to the overlocker and will save you time.

For these shorts I’ve chosen to do the hems before the crotch seam because it’s easier and quicker to do the hems out flat. This is common practice in  children’s wear because of the size of the items. A hem on a pair of size 1 shorts can be a small area to work in and maintaining an even hem stitch line can become tricky when you’re trying to work quickly.

Top Tip – Elastic Casings

Not many commercial patterns show this, but you can insert elastic into a casing as you’re sewing. This eliminates the need to thread the elastic through the casing later. Learning this method will save you time and double handling – you won’t have to take the garment back to the machine to sew up the opening. It’s trick, but well worth mastering.

This post has been shared in the And Sew We Craft Linky Party.

Clothes Spy

Become a sewing spy

Here’s a trick I used in college and was always a source of inspiration.

When you’re out shopping – take note of how garments are constructed. Take them into the fitting room and turn them inside out. Take a photo or draw a quick sketch to help you remember.

Take notice of

  • how trims are attached
  • and how are the ends secured
  • what method have they used to finish the hems
  • what shape is the draped piece
  • what grain has each piece been cut on
  • how are the facings being held back
  • how is the lining attached
  • are these things you could learn to do?

If you wanted to take this a step further, how about finding something from the op shop? An item that’s only cost you a few dollars would be worth unpicking to learn how to do something new. A jacket collar or lining? A front fly zip perhaps?

It’s all problem solving so the more you learn about how things go together, the better you’ll become.

Happy clothes spying!