want to make your own sportswear? Well, it’s easier than you think. here are a few things your should know first.
Have you looked at the sportswear available and thought ‘that won’t suit my shape’, ‘it’s too plain’, ‘If only I could change that’, well you can! But, before you start, here are some things you need to know about making your own sportswear.
One: Do Some Research On What You’re Getting Into
Look into all the bits you may need to know or buy before you start.
Making your own clothes has so many benefits; it’s made to measure so it’s going to fit, you can choose your own fabric and you can choose from a large variety of patterns. It’s worth going into lots of different shops to have a look at what fits you best, styles you like and fabrics that work for you. Have a look at what goes into making clothes. YouTube is great for that, there are so many tutorials out there on how to sew, so have a look and find a method that suits your ability and ideas best. Be careful though, excess use of YouTube will lead to increased watching of cat videos. Alternatively, if you prefer to thumb through some books, your local library will hopefully have some great choices for you.
Two: There Are So Many Great Fabrics Available
Sportswear fabric is getting seriously funky!
With sportswear becoming more and more fashionable, great lengths are going into providing materials of great quality. There are lots of things to consider when buying fabric, so make sure you consider exactly want you want to wear it for, because fabrics are made with different ‘properties’, which will affect your choice. These properties vary from Wicking, Breathability, Elasticity, Hardwearing and lots of others, there’s also lots of well-known names like Lycra (spandex, known for its elasticity) and Gortex (known for its breathability). Once you know what you’re looking for, the fun begins!
Melissa Fehr has a great blog post about where you can get fabrics worldwide and also a great all round feature post on a blog called Colette which talks you through all aspects of making your own sportswear. I definitely recommend checking them out!
Three: A Simple Block Pattern Will Go Miles
Copy the pattern to get extra use from it.
For me, when I’m starting out with a new sewing project, I look for the cheapest pattern, but still fitting the look I want.
Altering patterns can be simple depending on what it is you’re altering, but it always pays to start with a cheap pattern you don’t really care about, so you can build from it and use it over and over. My advice for buying patterns would also be to buy some easel paper (or any large roll of paper) as well. That way, you can accurately trace off your pattern from the block sheet and reuse it multiple times without ever cutting the original pattern. It’s a great way to get lots of uses from one pattern piece and also allows you to cut it up and adapt it for toile’s (tests) without having to buy a new pattern every time. If you’ve never bought a pattern before, go along to your local fabric shop and ask their advice or have a look online at the different options out there as there are quite a few.
Four: You Don’t Need a Degree To Sew
You don’t need to have been sewing for years. Do some research and go for it.
You may not know this about me, but I do in fact have a fashion degree, that being said, most of the techniques you would use for a simple garment I learnt during secondary school and sixth form. If you’re not planning on doing anything too technical with the garment or pattern, you can definitely pick up on how to do it by reading the pattern instructions and by watching everyone’s favourite online evening stealer… Youtube! As I mentioned before, there are so many great tutorials out there for how to make garments and alter patterns. I’ll add a few tips and tricks on the blog too, but if there’s anything you’re not sure of, don’t let it discourage you!
Five: It Can Be Expensive
It can be expensive to get all the things you need and for a good quality fabric.
I’m sorry to be the one to say this, but fabric is not cheap! There’s also lots of things you need to consider when you start a new project, a few being:
Do you have the correct machine needles
Do you need special thread (e.g. elasticated/waxed/strengthened)
Do you need to toile it first (I’d always recommend this when starting a new project)
And so on…
All these things and more will affect how much or how little you need to buy. I went out to buy some fabric from a local shop hoping it would be cheaper than the online wholesale suppliers. I was a little shocked (as I always am with better quality fabric than polyester netting) that it was £10.00 a metre. Bearing in mind you need a good… 3 to 4 metres depending on where the bias is (again you’ll be able to find tutorials of this on Youtube and if you do buy from a shop, they will be more than happy to help you with anything like this), this could become pretty costly pretty quickly and can work out cheaper to buy off the rack. That being said, there are so many benefits to making your own clothes, it’s really fun and becomes a good hobby if you get into it. You also have the glory when people ask ‘where ever did you get those fabulous leggings??’ to say ‘I made them myself’ (that’s exactly how they’ll ask… exactly!).
Six: You Can Deconstruct/Reconstruct
Look through your old clothes for anything you could reuse.
This pretty much means exactly what it says on the tin. We all know the slogan ‘Make Do & Mend’, well this is a little different from that, but follows the same principles. If you have an old item of clothing that you love but it’s almost seen its day, why not turn it into something completely new? I love deconstructing old clothes and making something completely different out of them and it’s a great way to reuse your clothes in an eco way as you can get two lives out of one piece. It’s also really exciting because the possibilities are pretty much endless! In this section of the blog, I’m going to explore this more and show you how I’m going to change some old garments into some great exercise gear… I can’t wait!
Seven: Don’t forget to enjoy yourself!
Don’t worry… be happy!
The most important thing to remember when taking on a new sewing project, or anything you decide to do in life, is to enjoy it. Things will go wrong and there will be times that you’ll be so frustrated that you want to throw it out and never look at it again, but don’t. Put it to one side and come back later and it will suddenly click. There have been so many occasions I’ve wanted to stop a project, but I’m always over the moon when I finish it and I know just how much time and love (and the odd naughty word) went into it. If you approach it thinking that it’s going to be a fun way to experiment with your sportswear and just keep smiling, you fall in love with it.
I hope these tips will help you to start your journey to making sportswear, or any pieces you feel inspired to make. Go out there and see what the world of sewing has to offer, it’s so fun and rewarding and I know you’ll love it.