Commercial sewing patterns or tailor-made – What’s best?

When you’re making clothing on your sewing machine, you’d usually work off of a commercially available pattern that you’ve bought online or through a sewing shop. However, these patterns only follow a certain range of body shapes and measurements that often don’t provide the best fit. A tailored pattern is one that’s been developed to specific measurements, but will likely cost more because it will be a once-off pattern.

The solution is to combine the availability and affordability of commercial patterns with techniques to tailor them to your own measurements – getting you the best of both worlds! There are three ways to do this:

  • Making a mock-up in muslin before sewing the final garment.
  • Altering the garment after you have sewn it up.
  • Altering the pattern before you start sewing.

The first option is the most time-consuming and the second is only really good for minor adjustments like altering a hemline. The third option is the most effective and involves pattern grading (increasing or decreasing particular parts of the pattern by spreading the difference equally over particular parts of the pattern, like the hips or bust) or working with a sloper (the term for a flat dress form that accurately represents the perfect fit for your body).

With a sloper, you can lay the commercial pattern on your flat form and see exactly where the pattern needs to be adjusted to give the perfect fit. You will likely have to pivot the sloper’s darting shape to match the pattern’s darting, but it does solve the more complex issues around fit.

Because the sloper is designed to be a completely accurate representation of fit on your body, you can also use it to make more intuitive changes to the fit of your garment based on how tight or flowing you want the finished product to be.

Affordable, reliable sewing equipment from Empisal

At Empisal, we’ve been providing high quality, affordable sewing machines, sewing kits, steam presses, overlockers, haberdashery products and ironing equipment to South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa for over 35 years. Ideal for anyone who wants to learn to sew as well as accomplished crafters and professionals, our machines and equipment are reliable, precise and durable.

For more information on our sewing machines and products, please contact us today.

5 great beginner sewing machine projects

Knowing how to use a sewing machine is a wonderful skill to have, it lets you get creative and save money through a wide range of projects. It allows you to put your own unique stamp to your very own creation. Here are some great first projects for beginners.

  1. Pillowcases: Nothing updates your living room or bedroom as quickly and effectively as new pillowcases, whether they’re for throw cushions or full sized pillows. Choose an attractive and eye-catching fabric for impact and, if it has a pattern, don’t forget to orientate the print so that it looks the way you want when it’s finished. These larger scale, low pressure projects let you relax and practice your new skills – with great results!
  2. Pajama pants: Want to start sewing your own clothes? This is the ideal beginner project! Pyjama pants don’t have a lot of pieces, the seams are straight and you can use them to practice making drawstring and elastic casings as well as pants hems. They make great gifts and, with so many fun fabric options out there, you can get creative with this simple pattern.
  3. Totes: Useful and fun to make, you can make a tote that fits every outfit and occasion. There are a huge range of styles and patterns out there, from simple 30 minute projects to more complex quilted, reversible, patchwork and zippered options, so you can move through them as you gain confidence.
  4. Bathroom caddy: Running out of storage space in your bathroom? A caddy will help store and display your toiletries and can easily be hung on a bathroom hook. You can make it out of soft terrycloth, mesh or a more water-resistant material depending on your needs and include as many pockets as you want!
  5. Window shade: Make a pretty and simple window shade out of your favourite materials – we love raw linen. Measure your window and place pretty buttons at two different heights so that you can adjust the amount of light coming into your room. This simple look is elegant and creative, and so easy to make!

Buy your first sewing machine from the best in the industry

At Empisal, we’ve been providing high quality, affordable sewing machines, sewing kits, overlockers, steam presses, haberdashery products and ironing equipment to South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa for over 35 years. Ideal for anyone who wants to learn to sew as well as accomplished crafters and professionals, our machines and equipment are reliable, precise and durable.

For more information on our sewing machines and products, please contact us today.