Monday, August 19, 2013

Sewing Modest Clothing on a Shoe String Budget Part 1: Introduction and Defining Purpose and Focus

I started sewing clothing for myself when I was probably eight years old. I vividly remember finishing my first project, a super simple, A-line skirt with an elastic waist, and the sense of accomplishment that I felt. In the 12 + years that I’ve been sewing since then, I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t and how to do it in a manner that is both economical and fashionable. Over the years I’ve had tons of projects, some which have come out beautifully, some which have been a complete flop. Most of what I learned was purely by trial and error, but it was well worth learning and sharing none the less.

The one BIG thing that I’ve found is that, sewing clothing can be a wonderful economical  way to create fashionable modest clothing, but if it’s done incorrectly it can be a horrible money trap. Over the course of the next few posts, I’m going to discuss some of the things that I’ve learned either from personal experience or second hand through teaching sewing classes.

Define Your Goals
If you are interested in starting to sew clothing, you probably have a reason for doing so. Maybe you’re a mom who’s tired of wandering around the stores in search of modest clothing for yourself and your daughters. Or maybe you’re a young lady who doesn’t want to take a huge portion of her meager budget to buy expensive, modest clothing anymore. Regardless of what your reasoning is, you have a specific goal in mind for what you want to do once you begin your sewing journey.

If you don’t have a specific goal in mind when you start sewing you can quickly get overwhelmed by the vast number of projects available for you to do. By having a specific goal in mind when you walk into the sewing store, you are less likely to buy fabric that you don’t need and won’t use.  I’ll refer back to having a goal frequently in my later posts.

When I started sewing I didn’t have any goal besides sewing things that I thought would be fun and exciting. Of course, as I got older and started buying my own fabric, I realized that I was going to hurt my bank account by sewing  a project just because the idea popped into my head.  That was when I realized I needed to have a goal. Now when I go shopping for fabric, I go with the purpose of finding fabrics that will make versatile, fashionable, modest clothing. I’m no longer wandering aimlessly; I go in with a plan and stick to it.

Assess Where You are Now
When I first finished that A-line skirt, I had one of those I-can-now-take-on-any-sewing-project moments. In my young and impressionable mind, I assumed that I would be able to take on any sewing project and have it come out perfectly, after all I KNEW how to sew now. Well fast forward another year or two and suddenly I had tons of projects that I never finished because they were too hard for the skill level that I was at.

Before you get all excited about sewing all sorts of amazing things, take some time to think about what you know how to do and make an accurate judgment of whether you are ready to do so. Taking into consideration what your goals and skills are, you can begin to choose what the next steps are going to be.  As fun and beautiful as making taffeta special occasion gowns would be, it will only end up being an expensive disaster if you really aren’t at that skill level.

However, just because you can’t sew something now, doesn’t mean that you can’t practice and grow your sewing skills to the point where you can’t do it at some point in time. There are plenty of good books available as well as tutorials online.

Over the course of the next few posts I’ve got lots of subjects to cover, so be sure to check back regularly. If you have a question, please feel free to leave me a comment!
Happy sewing!

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