Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How to Sew Without a Pattern

Have you ever wanted to sew something specific but couldn't find a pattern for it? Or you went to look at clothing patterns in the store and all you could find were patterns for clothes with big sailor collars from the early 90s or giant, flowing coulottes or jumpers?  I don't know about you, but those don't really flatter my body type or my style. It can be discouraging and just make you vow never to sew again if that's all the fashion world has to offer those of us that like to sew for ourselves.
BUT, I'm here to tell you there are other options! Hallelujah! We don't have to get stuck in the last decade of fashion mistakes afterall! I'm going to show you ways to sew without buying a traditional pattern. We all like options, right?
When I realized for myself that I could actually sew without a pattern, my love for sewing went crazy! It became a passion. It was also a challenge that I really enjoyed. I'm not suggesting that it will always be successful or easy, but it's a lot more fun to sew things you will actually wear and use. My sewing machine sat in a dark closet for years until I realized this. Now, it's a permanent fixture in my craft room. (And I took the plunge and got a serger, as well.)

First, think about the items of clothing you have that fit you well and you love. I'm kind of on the taller side and it's difficult to find skirts that hit me at the right spot and look flattering on me, so I went to my closet and found my favorite skirt.
Look over your item and investigate how it was sewn together. Are there straight lines? Gathers? Ruffles? Elastic waist? Zipper closure? Now, if it's something that falls into those categories or categories you are comfortable sewing, why not try to make your own pattern from that item of clothing? Or if you're like me, just lay that item flat on top of the fabric you want to use and start cutting!
Check out this tutorial for a basic ladies' skirt that I made - and you can make one, too, with your own favorite skirt as your guide!

Another way to learn to sew something you'd like to make is to hit up Pinterest. There are thousands of tutorials on sewing so many different things on there. It would be hard not to find what you're looking for. If you look and there's not one, let me know! I might try to do one for you on this blog.
Just follow these directions: Go to Enter in the search bar at the top left, "elastic waist skirt" or whatever you want to make. It will pull up hundreds of pins. Look through them and see which one you'd like to make. Then, follow the directions.

If you're making a home item such as pillows or whatever, you can do a search or you can measure the item of yours you want to replicate. {I keep a notebook with all of my notes for measuring and fabric needed, etc.} Write down all the specifics that you need to know and go for it! You'll be surprised at what you can make without an official pattern. If there are basic sewing techniques you need to freshen up on, check out my {Sewing Basics} page above. I'm constantly adding more.

Sometimes, you can print patterns for free off the internet for things you'd like to sew. I've done this before and it actually works really well. I've done this on baby items and small things. It's really a great way to get patterns. Google "free sewing patterns" and you'll be surprised what you can find. Even Simplicity, a name we all trust, {who sells tons of patterns in stores} offers free ones online that you can print from your computer.

Don't be afraid to try to make your own pattern, though. Start with something simple like a throw pillow {or try one of my methods here} and then take the next step to something a little more challenging. You'll be sewing up a storm in no time!

What have you tried to sew lately? Did you use a pattern or just wing it? Have you ever made your own pattern?

This is part of my 31 Days of Home Economics series. You can find the whole series by clicking on the tab above labeled {Home Economics}.

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  1. Great info! Love the girls on the pattern. lol

  2. Yes, sweet post! Pinned to my sew cool board:) Following you on Pinterest now. I posted Boo-tiful Ikea pillowcase this week. Stop by

    1. I'll check it out! Thanks for following and stopping by! I love IKEA.

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  4. Saw this on pinterest. Its a bit deceiving. It's titled "How to sew without a pattern" yet you recommend googling "free sewing patterns" as well as Simplicity patterns. I'm confused. I sew and it really can be a recipe for disaster to just lay a garment down and cut around.


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