Sewing is a craft that has been around since the Ice Age. Over a 200,000 year period, humans have gone from using a bone needle to sew skin and fur to highly skilled machines that can sew buttons and pockets on garments. Though we have machines to help us, the art of knowing how to sew is a skillset that only 40% of people have.
Here are 3 reasons why knowing how to sew will benefit you as a growing designer:
1. Sewing Allows You to Get Hands On
Getting to know your materials will help you better design clothing. Learning to work with cotton, spandex, linen, cashmere, satin, etc. will expand your knowledge of the materials. You’ll learn which materials are light, have stretch, are more durable, and what suits each type of design the best. Learning the basics of fabric construction will also help you decide how you’d like your garment to be professionally produced.
2. You Can Create Your Own Sample Piece
If you know how to sew, you can make your own sample piece. When a factory creates a single sample piece, it can cost hundreds of dollars. Knowing your materials and design will help prevent you from needing more rounds of sampling to get to your desired version. This alone will save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. You can also use your self-made sample piece as a reference when creating a tech pack for your manufacturing partner.
3. It Teaches You to Value Handmade Clothing and Manufacturing
Clothing is a normal part of everyone's lives. We sometimes fail to realize that a lot of our clothing was handmade by someone else. To some, making clothing is how they make their living. When you learn how to sew, you realize how much effort goes into making something as deceptively simple as a basic tee-shirt.
As a designer you will pay a manufacturing company to make the clothing you sell to your customers, especially if you plan on selling tens or hundreds of products at a time. This allows you to make a profit from that ready-to-ship clothing. Valuing the practice of others' livelihood will help you better appreciate your opportunity to sell clothing under your own brand name.
Going into the design industry, you don't need to know how to draw. However, knowing how to sew will greatly expand your knowledge of clothing and its construction. While developing your sewing skill set, you’ll need to get familiar with the most used tools of the trade. Getting to know these tools will help you feel more in control of your craft and the clothes you ultimately produce from practicing it.
Materials and Tools Needed to Sew
There are 11 essential items that you will need to start sewing:
Hand Needles/Sewing Needles – Hand needles will help you sew on buttons and smaller tasks; the sewing needles will go onto the sewing machine.
Thread – Invest in a quality thread that won't break easily. Start with black and white in your kit, then choose which color is more suitable for your project.
Sewing Machine – You’ll use the machine to stitch together your pattern pieces, resulting in a finishing article of clothing.
Fabric Scissors – Scissors will help cut fabric and loose thread ends.
Measuring Tape – Making sure your pattern pieces fit together is essential to making a garment.
Push Pins – These pins will keep your fabric in place while you sew and help avoid any mistakes.
Seam Ripper – Mistakes do happen, so you’ll need a seam ripper to make it easy to take stitches out and try again.
Rotary Cutter – This easy to roll blade helps you cut your fabric faster and more precisely around curves.
A Cutting Board – When working with a blade, you want to make sure that you're protecting your work area.
Chalk or Washable Markers – These will help you safely mark your fabric measurements and plans.
Fabric – Make sure you pick a material that is suitable for your project. You’ll get better at picking this with practice.
You can find these supplies at your local arts-and-crafts store. Many stores even offer assorted sewing kits that have a variety of these items in them prepackaged and ready-to-go.
Designing and sewing clothes is a form of self expression. As a designer who understands how to sew, you can create one of a kind pieces, become a better and more pragmatic fashion designer, and learn to value the construction of clothing.