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#SewTalk: How to avoid making “home made” looking clothing?

Updated: Nov 19, 2018

Hello Everyone!

These past few weeks have been flying by very fast, so it’s hard to believe it’s Monday again, meaning it’s time for our #SewTalk! If you have any sewing related question that you have – leave a comment below or write me an email at, and I will answer them in next weeks #SewTalk! Without further ado, let’s move to our this week’s topic:

How to avoid handmade clothing looking home-made?

Yikes, this question brings me some bad sewing memories! Let me tell you a short story: when I was just starting sewing almost a decade ago, I decided to make a coat. Now mind you, I always had a pear shaped figure, which makes such garment fitting difficult already. Plus, my skills were very limited at the time. Plus, I didn’t do my research on how to make such item. Plus, I did not know how to properly iron it or that I could use steam. You probably know where this story is heading: the coat was terrible. The fitting was awful, the ironing was incorrect, the lining was oh-so-poorly installed – all in all, the execution was bad, very bad. The coat definitely looked home-made, rather than looking “handmade in your own personal home atelier” (the second one sounds much better, doesn’t it?). I was never happy with that coat – I did wear it a few times, but I saw the looks my friends were having (“Should we tell her it looks bad or not?”) and quickly put that coat-disaster out of sight and out of mind, swearing to make higher-quality clothes, that I could wear with my head held high and be proud with the work I done.

Fast forward to nowadays and I have collected a few effective tips how to achieve “handmade in your own personal home atelier” instead of “home-made” looking garments:

  • Fitting can make or break any look: whether it’s store bought item, or something you made – fitting is very important. If the clothing does not fall on you nicely – trust me, it will not look good, even it the rest of the execution would be done to perfection. To improve your fitting, I suggest to do research online on how to adjust any commercial pattern to your exact figure (for example, because I have a longer torso, I always have to lower the waistline about 3-4cm in Burda patterns). Also, I would suggest learning how to make your own basic skirt or dress pattern, based on your measurements, to ensure great fitting with little effort (here is a detailed instruction how to make your own skirt block).

  • Ironing is very, very important. Well, I cannot emphasise more: ironing is VERY important. And yes, you have to press each seam, right after you made it, because it might be impossible to iron it properly once the garment is done (yes, there is a lot  running sewing machine-ironing board-sewing machineinvolved, but it’s worth it). Additionally, having a steam iron is a great option, as steam allows to achieve perfect pressing much faster and it does a much better job than a simple iron (and those steam irons don’t have to cost a lot as well – mine is this one, and I got it on sale for 70 Eur and couldn’t be happier with it).

  • Don’t fast-through the finishing touches. To me, this was probably the hardest steps of all: somehow, if I saw the finish is near, I would start rushing to it and make sloppy finishing (a not-very-straight hemline, not cutting thread ends and etc.). But those finishing touches count BIG TIME, so don’t rush through it and make sure to check if everything is okay once the garment is done!

  • Do your best with each project. Choose projects that are within your skill area or a little over it (because it’s where the growth is – just outside our current skill area); if you are not sure how make something – do your research online for it or consult with other sewing-people (or ask me in next #SewTalk!) and try your best with each project – a “handmade in your own personal home atelier” clothing is definitely worth the effort!

This is it for todays #SewTalk Monday – hope you liked it! Leave a comment below if you have a sewing question for my next week #SewTalk! Best regards, Julie


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