How to Sew Your Own Clothes

sewing machine image by pavel siamionov from

Sewing your own clothes or making them for your growing kids can be a real money saver. Kids' clothes, especially, cost a lot of money. If you enjoy sewing, you can make your own clothes for pennies on the dollar.

Learn how to operate a sewing machine. Using the instruction book that came with your machine is a good place to start. It will explain everything you need to know to operate your machine. A serger is an optional sewing machine that can make homemade clothing much easier to sew, because it cuts, sews and edges seams all in one step. Threading a serger the first few times is a taxing process, so be patient while you learn to use your serger.

Buy a pattern. Choosing a simple one is the best idea. Many patterns are marked "easy" or "learn to sew," and those are good for beginners. Double knit T-shirts or turtlenecks are among the easiest things to sew, as are simple shorts or pants without waistbands or pockets.

Following the instructions printed in the pattern, place the pieces on your fabric using pins or pattern weights.

When you have all the pieces laid out correctly, cut them out.

Pin the appropriate parts together and sew them together according to the instructions. As you create each seam, carefully remove the pins before you sew that area. When using a serger, you should not have the pins placed anywhere close to the serger blade or needles. You can ruin your machine by sewing over a pin. If you are using a serger, you can finish the edges of the hems for your T-shirt or shorts, along with the waistbands.

Try the garment on to see how it fits. If it is too big, make a bigger seam allowance. If it is too small, rip out a seam and sew it over again with a narrower seam. If you made the garment using a serger, either give it to someone who is smaller than you, or finish it and donate it. Iron the garment if it fits. If sewn with a sewing machine, iron the seams open and flat.

Depending on what you are sewing, finish the garment by adding the elastic to the waistband and sewing it down, or add the ribbing to the T-shirt.