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Tips for Sewing
Tips for finding sewing patterns and fabric for great sewing projects
Now, if you are like me and only sew on occasion, when the urge to sew hits, you may be more comfortable using a pattern. You can download patterns for free online. Some websites I have recently used at Burda Style and freepatterns.com. Burda Style has some fun dress patterns, although not every pattern is free. However, patterns that cannot be downloaded for free are often quite cheap. On the other hand, freepatterns.com is completely free, and in addition to clothing patterns, they also have patterns for pillows, home décor, and accessories.
The downside to these websites is that printing your patterns at home may take a lot of ink and paper. Also, once you have printed the patterns, you have to put together the pieces. Since most patterns will not fit on an 8.5 x 11" piece of paper, it will be printed in bits and pieces.
If you would rather have an already printed pattern, then try Simplicity. Simplicity is a well-established company, founded in 1927, that sells hundreds of patterns. You can order your pattern online, and they will mail you a packet. Inside the packet is a printed pattern, and all you need to do is cut out the right size. Usually, patterns come in four different sizes, and there are directions that tell you which lines to cut depending on your size.
Once you have your sewing patterns, you can buy fabric. Oftentimes patterns recommend which fabrics to use, but you do not always have to follow their directions. When you buy fabric, keep in mind how your fabrics are meant to be washed. If you are sewing an item that requires multiple fabrics, make sure every fabric you use requires the same washing techniques. For example, try to keep knit fabrics and other hand wash fabrics separate from cotton and polyester fabrics that may be machine-washed. The last thing you want after making a delicate dress is to accidentally machine wash it and ruin it.
One other thing to keep in mind while purchasing fabrics is the color scheme. If, for example, you are making a dress that requires three different fabrics, you may want to buy all three fabrics at once. This way, you can make sure everything matches before you start to do any work.