Tools

Mainly links to sewing, fitting, and pattern making tools, also some links to choosing your own best styles and to sewing entertainment channels.

SEWING

Machines
A basic sewing machine
How a sewing machine works

Get to know your machine : 1. learn to control speed and direction, by stitching on paper.
Get to know your machine : 2. thread the machine, stitch on fabric.

Metric and Imperial stitch lengths

Stitching problems, video from Sew Essential, content starts 1.45.
Guide to utility stitches on a domestic sewing machine, from The Sewing Corner.

Moving on to a machine with special facilities.
Using a serger/ overlocker.
Using an industrial sewing machine, video course from Trish Newberry (not free).
Choosing a basic embroidery machine.

Marking
Marking tools and methods
Tracing wheel, tracing paper

Needles, Threads, Pins, Bobbins
Needles, threads, pins
Needle and looper threaders
And you need to use the right bobbins for your machine, this is a post about why from Sewing Mastery.

Patterns
Using patterns :
Sewing pattern – choose size, understand markings.
How to pin down a pattern, from Sew Me Something patterns.
Using pdf download patterns
Personal croquis (Sewingplums) – to find flattering styles.
Altering patterns – see below.

Pressing tools
Pressing ham
Make your own pressing tools – from fabric
Make your own pressing tools – from wood
DIY tool for pressing seams in velvet – video from Threads magazine.

Undoing mistakes
Seam ripper

PATTERN MAKING AND FIT

Fitting aids

Dress forms – these are only useful for fitting if they’re the same shape as you are.
Here’s an extensive post about padding a bought one to match yourself, from custom dressmaker Brooks Ann Camper. She has now issued that as an e-book Figure It Out.

Pattern for making your own physical form from Bootstrap Fashion.

Although this piece is about buying or making dress forms for plus sizes, there is much useful information and comment which applies to everyone.

Or for some entertainment, read The Dummy from Hell (this doesn’t happen to most people who try a dress form !)

For links to some people who teach fitting technique, see post on Fitting.

Body shape
A note against using simple labels for body shapes – many useful tips on how to think about your personal shape.
A note from the same site on dressing to emphasise your ‘best features’ rather than dressing for your body type.

Personal pattern block drafting, see some tools and courses in the post on Fitting.
Personal fitting sloper – pdf from Sewingplums on the many ways of getting one of these. Written in 2013, links now rather out of date. My views have changed somewhat, here’s a recent post on Blocks and slopers.

Altering patterns to make different styles – see Pattern ‘hacking’

WHICH CLOTHES ?

Wardrobe planning
pdf from Sewingplums on many approaches to this.
The Vivienne Files – many ways of planning a capsule wardrobe.

Expressing your personality in your clothes
I have so much to say on this, and it’s mostly opinion, so that is at Sewingplums :
1. using style categories.
2. on-line style advisors.
3. exploring styles.
4. trying on clothes.
There’s quite a selection of other posts at Sewingplums on identifying your personal style.

ENTERTAINMENT (free)

Linda MacPhee of MacPhee Workshop, TV shows on YouTube.
Peggy Sagers of Silhouette Patterns, webcasts and sew-alongs.
Sewing Street, a UK shopping channel on YouTube – expert demos, mainly quilting and soft toys, with occasional bags and dressmaking, and a cheery soul talking about the products used.  

Many indie pattern companies now have free open-access sew-alongs for their patterns.

links checked November 2021

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