Sew your own way: tips for getting started at home

***Rachel Khoo would like to thank all the inspiring people who helped make the Khoollect studio a hive of creativity. Although the Khoollect studio’s doors have now closed, you can keep up with Rachel’s newest adventures on and on Rachel’s Instagram and Facebook pages – and, continue to enjoy the Khoollect website’s stories and recipes, which will remain available.***

Sometimes, our enthusiasm for new hobbies doesn’t necessarily translate to great results. For those who’ve ever seen a creative project on Pinterest, or an item in a store, and thought, ‘I could make that,’ only to become disappointed with your finished product, you’re certainly not alone. Sewing is a nifty skill to have, and one that Thread Den’s leading lady, Danielle Bamford, is rather good at. Luckily for us, she’s let us in on some tricks of her trade.

Danielle’s simple tips for would-be sewers:

Be kind to yourself
When you start out sewing, be kind to yourself and choose patterns that have been designed for beginners. The big, well-known brands assume so much knowledge. Their instructions are often in bullet points and rarely have a glossary.  There are wonderful independent sewing pattern producers that write in full sentences, with detailed instructions and pictures, and provide loads of complimentary resources. Find them at your local stores.

Consider your fabric options
Stick to woven cotton fabrics of a medium weight at first. Sewing with stretch/knit fabrics requires different needles, tools and techniques. The silkier and shearer fabrics are more challenging too – work up to them over a few projects.

Fake it, ’til you make it
Make wearable toiles (a mock-up)! While it is frustrating not to launch straight into your final garment with the fabric you just picked up, it is so worth it to make up a toile first. Choose a cheaper fabric similar to the final one.  You’ll be able to sort out the fit, fumble with anything tricky, make changes to things you may not like and you haven’t wasted your perfect fabric!


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Sonya Gellert

Sonya Gellert is a contributing writer and associate editor for Khoollect. She lives in Sydney....

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Want to know more about Danielle's sewing adventures?

Check out our conversation with the Thread Den owner and clever creative. You can also head to our forum to talk vintage-inspried creative projects with the Khoollect community, and tell us about your sewing efforts.