How to sew a summer dress

Nothing says ‘summer’ quite like a dress, and the best thing about them is that there is a design to fit any style, body shape or age! Here is how to make your own summer dress from scratch on your sewing machine.

  1. Find your pattern: First, take a good look at your body and think about what you’d like to emphasise and where you’d like to cover. This way, you can create a tailored look that is perfect for you, which is what sewing is all about! Once you’ve decided on the look you are going for, measure your bust, waist and hip. This will give you a guideline when you are choosing your pattern. Keep in mind that there is everything from vintage patterns to boho dresses, so you have a lot to choose from.
  2. Choose a fabric: This might be the most difficult part of your whole project! There are so many beautiful fabrics out there but it’s vital that you find on that is right for your pattern. A pattern for a highly structured dress wont work with a light and insubstantial fabric. Likewise, a heavier fabric won’t compliment a beach wrap. If you’re not sure what type of fabric to choose, speak to a salesperson. They can help you narrow down your choices between crease-free fabrics, natural fabrics, synthetics and stretchy fabrics.
  3. Cut your fabric: Pin or weight your pattern down onto your fabric, being sure to pin inside the seam allowances to avoid making unsightly holes. Use a special fabric marker like a water-soluble pencil to mark out your pattern, as this will wash out easily. Once all your pieces are clearly marked out, you can start cutting.
  4. Darting: There are very few patterns that don’t require you to add some darts. These are folds in the material that will allow you to move and bend easily within the dress. They are often found in the bust and waistline as well as the sleeve.
  5. Add your finishing touch: Your pattern will walk you through the basics of assembling your dress, but remember that it’s actually all about you. Using a different hem or seaming method, buttons, embroidery and other small extras will take your dress from simple to stylish.

Speak to Empisal – the sewing machine specialists

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 is learning to sew as well as accomplished quilters, 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.

Maintenance tips for your sewing machine

Your sewing machine is an integral part of your crafting hobby or profession, so it makes sense to keep these hardworking machines operating at their very best! With some basic, quick maintenance, your machine will keep purring along, project after project.

Before we begin, you should first check your manual. It will have plenty of information on whether your machine needs oiling or not, tricks for getting the needle plate off correctly and other tips that are specific to your particular sewing machine.

  1. Always use your cover: Whenever your machine is not in use, be sure to put on its cover. This stops lint, dust, dirt and even pet fur from getting into your machine and causing a build up. If you don’t have a cover, use a clean pillowcase or you can even make a pretty material cover as your next project.
  2. New needles: Needles can quickly become blunt, resulting in skipping stitches, broken threads and loops. It’s best to change out your needle after a big project or 8-10 hours of sewing.
  3. Regular cleaning: After a big project, your sewing machine should be gently cleaned. First, run a piece of muslin cloth between the tension discs to remove fibres. Then, remove the throat piece, bobbin and bobbin case and use a small brush to dust around the bobbin area. You can also use compressed air to remove any dust or lint, just be sure to angle it away from the parts you are cleaning so that you don’t drive the dust deeper.
  4. Annual services: A good service once a year will ensure that the tension on your machine is correct, all of it’s parts are properly tuned and that any more difficult to reach areas are properly cleaned.

High quality, affordable sewing machines from Empisal

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 is learning to sew as well as accomplished quilters, 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.