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Dressmaking and Fashion Design at Home

18 June 2021

A lot of people, particularly women have the innate artistic skill and inclination to create and make their own clothing better. Now and more than ever since improvements and hacks can easily be found in YouTube, books, websites, and blogs it is easier to get into this hobby or aim to have a profession out of this. A lot of influencers on social media found their fame having dressmaking and fashion design as their unique niche.

Dressmaking is the art and work that entails creating dresses and clothes for women and girls.

But how do we distinguish that from fashion design? Fashion design is also a form of art creating clothes but it also includes children, menswear, and fashion accessories like jewelry, bags, shoes, and others. It is divided into two: haute couture that is primarily for custom designing and creating to fit a particular client. On the other hand, the next category would be ready to wear which is standard-sized and suitable for large production of clothing.

Creating clothing has always been a thing for human beings but the modern concept of fashion design is attributed to an individual named Charles Frederick Worth.

He is an English-born fashion designer who founded the House of Worth in Paris in 1858. Before the foundation of his design house clothes were made by nameless dressmakers while trends were set by blue bloods.

Charles Frederick Worth was the first designer who has not just followed what the fads or trends set by royalty were. Instead, he designed and dictated what it was to be worn. He did, however, have gotten his fame and success because of a royal, particularly Empress Eugenie of Spain, spouse to Napoleon III. The House of Worth has become so famous that the mass was able to pinpoint his designs to him and his fashion house. This became the beginning of fashion being represented by the symbol of a brand. The House of Worth became a long-standing brand until the retirement of Worth’s great-grandchild in 1956.

If dressmaking or fashion design interests you, you can start whenever you like, even right now!

The first and foremost skill you need in dressmaking is sewing. You can find free tutorials on YouTube that teach the step by step of sewing. It will help you understand the parts and its importance to your sewing. You can buy or thrift a sewing machine but don’t sweat the decision too much. As long as it is in good working condition and it has both straight and zigzag stitch, it will be enough for a beginner. You can upgrade as you go along or make money out of your hobby.

The next thing you need to do is to gather basic tools for pattern making and dressmaking. For starters, you need the fabric you’re going to use, fabric scissors, pins, measuring tape, seam ripper, marking tools like chalk pencils, iron, ironing board. As you go along, you would want to have a sewing mannequin for draping and easier dressmaking.

Following this, you need pattern-making tools. Pattern making is the art of manipulating, cutting, and shaping fabric or pieces of this to fit and conform to the curves of a person or client. To have good fitting clothes a little bit of mathematics and pattern-making tools is necessary. Among these tools are the following:

1. A flat surface to work on and cut your fabrics cleanly and accurately.

2. Pattern paper/craft paper which you will use to mark depending on the client’s size and cut as a pattern to put above the fabric, pin it then cut it.

3. Sets of rulers needed for drawing lines. We have the straight ruler, triangle, L shaped ruler. Don’t fret if you cannot remember all of it, there are stores online where you can buy the whole kit.

4. Curved rulers are special so we separated them from number three. Mostly because curved rulers are specifically used for the curves of the body. For example, the sleigh curve is used for necklines, armholes, pockets, cuffs, and collars. On the other hand, a French curve is just for shaping armholes and necklines. Lastly, the hip curve ruler is used to shape the hipline, hem, and lapels.

5. Remember, scissors used for cutting the pattern paper and fabric should be different.

6. Masking tape can be used to secure the pattern paper to your working table.

7. Two types of tracing wheels - the blunted tracing wheel is used to transfer pattern shapes to the pattern paper. While the pointed tracing wheel is used with carbon paper to transfer pattern shape to muslin or the fabric you will use.

8. Pattern notcher - this looks like a pair of scissors but it has a squarish edge that is used to cut an opening at the edge of a pattern. What this does is indicate seam allowance so that you can make repairs if you’ve gained weight or the like. This is also used to ease notches, center lines and identify the front and the back of a pattern.

Once you have your tools with you it’s time to decide on what you want to make. What specific trend do you like and what kind of aesthetic are you going for? There are a lot of pdf files available for patterns on different styles of clothing. You can download it and follow it. That, or you can take your measurements and create the pattern yourself.

Once the pattern is created, you would need to cut your fabric for each part of the clothing. After that, you can sew it to your liking. A mannequin is very helpful in seeing your progress and adding styles as you go along. To help you work and sew more efficiently, you can check out the Height Adjustable Sewing Table at Flexispot. It has an adjustable sewing platform for a comfortable dressmaking session. You can lift the sewing machine work portion of the table and it will make a great pattern making and fabric cutting surface. A must-have for every aspiring and professional fashion designer.