Do you also sew clothes??

Karen_slJune 29, 2006

I was a clothes sewer before a quilter.

Do any of you sew clothes.

Lately I just stick to summer blouses and fun dresses for our little neighbor girl. I had 2 boys so really missed out on the dress thing!

Karen L

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I used to be a clothes sewer years and years ago. I also made lots of clothes for my kids when they were little. I also have made clothes for grands and all their nursery sets. Now I just make an occasional T-shirt for the youngest grandson and I also make American Girl doll clothes and Bear Clothes when the mood hits me or at their request. It's cheaper to buy clothes on sale then it is to make them and has been for quilte a few years now. It really is fun to make clothes for little girls though.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 6:46PM
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I started quilting when I quit smoking. Did TRY to sew a skirt in home-ec a long time ago and didn't catch on to any of the instructions. Have found over the years that I am one of those people that just can't read instructions - or as I call them destructions!

My grandmother gave me tons of vintage silk that I would LOVE to make into either skirts or a simple dress but I haven't taken the plunge yet.

The quilting group that I belong to has a few gals that have sewn clothing before and when I was with them last year, one of them helped me pick out what is supposed to be a very easy pattern. So far that pattern has done nothing but collect dust in my craft room. Next time we get together for a 'whatever weekend' I'm going to bring it along so I have people that can help. Once I do one, I'll be fine - I don't know that I can do it on my own.

Marie in Michigan

    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 7:22PM
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About the only thing I can follow is a pattern--without them I'd be lost. It's interesting that you started quilting when you stopped smoking. I started knitting when I gave up smoking many years ago. At that time I knitted lots of little mittens for my kids and that was the end of my knitting career--just went back to sewing but not to smoking. Guess I just needed something to do with my hands for a while.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 7:37PM
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I also sewed clothes first - since I was about 10. I haven't sewn many lately since I've been bitten hard by the quilting bug! Plus clothes in general are really ugly right now, and the patterns are the same. I HATE all those pants and skirts that don't come up to your waist. They are uncomfortable and unflattering on a plump 40+ person like myself. With that said, last weekend I made 3 pairs of shorts and plan this weekend to make a short & top set and a skirt & blouse set.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 7:46PM
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I made a lot when I was a working office gal. but now just use the S Machine for utility purposes and the occasional quilt blocks I make

    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 7:47PM
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I started sewing clothes when I was 13. Made lots of my clothes for years and I think I would make more now if working full time didn't get in the way of sewing/quilting fun!

My closet is full of about a dozen summer dresses that I have made in the last 5 years or so. I chose easy patterns that I could cut out and make in a weekend. I love linen and cotton/linen blends for these dresses - so much cooler and comfortable than pants. Unfortunately, some of the dresses are now very worn and need to be tossed - except, I'm saving that nice linen for a patchwork jacket - ha!

The last piece of fabric I bought was some Brussels Washer when it was on sale. It's a lovely soft lavender color. Now if I could just find the time to make a dress....sigh.....


    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 7:51PM
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My mother taught me to sew when I was very young. I made clothes for myself and my sisters for many years. When my kids were little I made alot of their clothes until it became "uncool". I made my DDs eighth grade graduation dress out of tafetta but when it came time for her prom dress, we went shopping. Funny, her prom dress was royal blue tafetta too! Right now the only clothes that go near my machine are those that need mending.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 8:52PM
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Gosh, yes, I first started sewing my maternity clothes, did some little kiddie clothes, halloween costumes, and graduated to a suit for my husband. I got quite a ways done on that suit before I gave it up and tossed it in the trash with an expletive deleted good riddance comment.

My favorite thing I made was for my then 7 year old twins, revolutionary costumes, which turned out spectacular -- they headed the halloween parade at school, they were so cute. Afterward, I took the boys to a professional photographer, and he fixed them up with a really nice setting, the picture of which is still framed and hanging in one of their homes (the one born 20 minutes before the other one wrestled for it and won).

I stopped making my clothes a long time ago, it's just so easy to go buy something really nice on sale. I also stopped knitting sweaters -- you put so much work into them....for what -- to go to a Macy's or the like and be able to buy the nicest sweaters at a reasonable price (on sale, that is).

But I still do regular sewing, things that strike my fancy.

Interestingly, I belong to the American Sewing Guild, and our local chapter is starting up a new group for Couture sewing. It's a special breed of seamstress who wants to make perfect clothing! Lots of the gals are very excited about this group. Nice to see sewers are still interested in making clothes.

PS, it's nice to have the "conversation" option, don't feel so bad about rambling!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 8:57PM
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I used to sew clothes for myself and my kids when they were little. When my DD was a teenager, she didn't want me to sew for her any longer. When we went shopping for prom dresses, she didn't want me to say I could make it. The third year she went to prom, I told her she had to pay for her dress. She tried on a dress that she really liked but it didn't fit well. She turned to me and said, "Would you make my dress?" I made her say it twice!lol When I finished the dress, she said she liked it better than the previously purchased dresses.
I don't sew my clothes anymore. I would rather quilt!
Linda OH

    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 10:08PM
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I started sewing my clothes in Jr High. In high school I made most of them (even my prom dress) but don't enjoy it as much now. I do indulge from time to time for my youngest daughter but mostly just costuming(sp?) for ballet, church, and school programs (don't look too closely at the inside).


    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 10:14PM
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I still sew clothing -- or intend to sew clothing! It's easy to buy clothing, but I don't like most of the garments I see in the store, or, more often, they don't fit well. And I can choose the fabrics that *I* like. I usually like whatever I sewed for myself better than anything I buy.

In the last few years, I started experimenting with altering commercial patterns to get them to fit ME or my friends. I prefer simple garments, but I like them to actually fit my bust line, for instance. I am not flat, like the patterns! For as many years as I've been sewing, the idea of just changing a pattern seemed to be too "advanced" but it's not as hard as I thought; I just read a few books and searched for info on the internet. I make "samples" from clearance table cottons to refine the fit, and then I just make the same pattern several times in different fabrics.

My next planned clothing experiment is copying an existing garment, using the masking tape copy method in Threads magazine, Aug/Sept 2005 (#120).

Costumes are my other favorite things to sew. Halloween costumes, but I also had a daughter in Children's Theater and had to make all her costumes. I've made theater costumes for friends' kids. I once made 10 or 12 raggedy muslin nightgowns, with machine-appliquéd patches, for a musical number from "Annie!" where the orphans all sing "Hard Knock Life" - my daughter graciously volunteered my services for the entire cast of orphans!

I've made 8 or 9 Renaissance Faire costumes for myself and other people, generally lower class peasant costumes; I've done lace-up bodices, sized to fit the individual, with light boning, but no boned corsets or royalty costumes - yet. Those are very detailed and involved -- and very hot to wear. The Renaissance Faire is usually in the heat of summer, and Merry Old England was cold and damp.

There are people into obsessively correct reproductions; I've heard "I only hand sew my Faire clothing because that's how they did it then." My reasoning is that the only reason they didn't use sewing machines or sergers is because they hadn't been invented yet. I've got nothing against this type of accuracy; it's just not where I want to spend my time.

I once bought an entire bolt of 36" wide natural muslin (50 yards) on sale, which I used in various costumes and projects. It's long gone now. I keep my eyes open for a good sale on muslin, and then I'll get another bolt. Now I'd use it for foundation piecing for quilts, too. I used this for so many projects; it was handy to have muslin ready whenever I needed it.

One thing I will say for quilting: a quilt is supposed to be flat, has no darts, and has no rounded body parts to fit! It has its own challenges, of course.


Here is a link that might be useful: Threads magazine - make pattern from a garment.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 10:17PM
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I also started out sewing clothing.I majored in dressmaking and design in high school,and had hopes of going to the fashion institute in N.Y.C. But coming from a very large family and a very small town,that didn't happen.So i still continued to sew all my own clothes ,then when i had my kids i sewed for them as well.(3 boys ,1 girl).As the years progressed and my kids got older i took a mens sewing course and a lingerie course.I also took free motion embroidery classes,quilting classes and anything else that came along that interested me.

I still sew clothes for myself,not a lot anymore as i'm retired and no where to wear them.I also sew for my GGK's.I made 2 outfits last weekend for my GGD who is 15 mos,and i have one more to make before mailing it off.I also made scrubs for my GD who was working for a vet this summer.

Of course i do more quilting now than sewing clothes,but i like to do it all,just not enough hours in my days.

I also need to make a new ironing board cover this weekend.I should be able to get it all done,as we plan on just staying around the house for this long weekend,and none of my kids will be around.My oldest son and his family will be going camping,and my youngest son spends every waking moment that he's not working out on the ocean fishing.My other 2 kids live out of state.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 12:38AM
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Mom taught me how to sew when I was 8 or 10 years old. I remember participating in the 5th grade 'talent' show by doing a runway deal with all the clothes I'd made. Uggh, makes me cringe when I think of it now! LOL

My first quilt was when I was about 10 or so. I had a set of rainbow striped sheets and wanted the matching comforter. Mom wouldn't agree to pay for it, but would buy me fabric. So I made it. Wonder where that is these days?

I made clothes for me for a while, even made 3 prom dresses (1 for me, 1 for my best friend, 1 on 'commission' copied from a mag picture).

Every year now I make matching fleece jackets for me and the 2 kids. We also have some sort of matching outfits for the holidays. When it was just DD we had matching jumpers. This last year with DS added, I made matching vests for me & DS and DD had a dress. It definitely becomes more challenging when you have a DS & a DD!!

I also make summer outfits for DD...we have a really cute pattern that looks like a jeannie outfit! I also just finished matching dresses and suitable pants for us for this wedding we just went to!

But just not enough time in the day to do everything!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 7:38AM
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Not anymore. Last times were the few maternity clothes I made for myself 15 years ago and then Halloween costumes that followed that event. I have a little drawer with patterns in it that I am 'saving'...and some fabric I bought to use with them but I find that I don't have the patience and determination to follow through. I am a short, rather chunky person and I have found that Liz Claiborne really knows how to fit my body and since she nicely has a outlet store in the next town, I feel it's my duty to check in from time to time to see what she has for me!
But I do remember the watermelon blouse and mint green maternity jumper I made with fondness. (And I wasn't even thinking of the idea of wearing watermelons while pregnant when I made the top. The watermelon slices were quite small and I just loved the fabric!).
PS I do still knit.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 9:05AM
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Wow! What an interesting group of seamstresses we have here! I, too, sewed from age 8 through high school, making my clothes and for friends too. Back then it was to save money, but we all know that really doesn't happen much these days. Made prom dresses, formals in college, and all of the bridesmaids and my wedding dress. Used the scraps from my wedding dress to make christening outfits for my babies, and kept right on going through the Halloween costume stage and clothes until it became, as we've noted, "uncool". Have done tons of Home Dec throughout the years, but there's still something special to me about wearing something I have created. Have a patchwork (sort of) denim jacket on the sewing table right now. Thanks ladies, for sharing all your sewing histories! And jennifer_in_va, I have DS & DD and used to do the matching holiday outfits too--used the same plaid tafeta in her dress to line his jacket and make a tie--different, but coordinating--they are some of my favorite holiday photos! (they're 13 and 17 now and wouldn't dream of such a thing!)LOL, the things we moms do! Jill

    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 9:34AM
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Here are the kids last August. She turned 4, he was just shy of 1. This is the 'jeannie' outfit that I need to make more of this year...way too cute, and cool too! These were same colors, different size plaids.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 2:04PM
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They are adorable children. What cute outfits. Reminds me when I used to make my kids matching outfits. Two boys and a girl. One year I made the boys red/white and blue plaid jackets and my daughter the same plaid jacket with a matching skirt. The boys just wore Navy Blue slacks with their jackets. Still have the picture. They laugh about it.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 2:38PM
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This is a nice thread, and nice to have this conversations space. I've done alot of garment sewing over the years, really tapered off lately, as it is just easier to buy some things. I can't seem to get pants to fit nice if I make them, and knit tops and shirts I just buy readymade. But, I had a mother who was a HomeEc teacher, and therefore, my first sewing teacher - I was making alot of my clothes in Jr. Hi. - made my prom dress, my wedding dress, my daughter's wedding dress, made coats, period costumes when we were in Black Powder club (that was alot of fun!) and had two daughters to sew for. Also went through a knitting phase, crossstitch phase, needlework phase - still have all the knitting needles, floss, etc. etc. from those hobbies, but quilting has pretty much taken over now. The clothes I make now, are simple blouses, shirts, jumpers and dresses. Because my husband and I are in classic car clubs, I've made us shirts and vests in "car" fabric - always snatch up about 2-3 yards of anything with vintage cars on it for that. Those men's shirts made from "car" or "Route 66" fabrics cost about $40.00 at some of those car shows!! I make one for about $15.00 and DH's shirts always get noticed.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 3:10PM
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Been sewing since I was 10 but just starting to quilt. Made my prom dresses, sister's wedding dress, GD's prom dress last year. Am still sewing clothing much more than quilting as I have a severely handicapped Mom who can't wear purchased clothing (can't get it on her). Presently making 4 dresses for Sis's b'day next week. Simple shifts in all cotton to wear 'around the house' - she is retired, sews, has 2 machines, but never has 'time to sew'! Like I do! I still work full time.

Am slowly building a 'stash' for quilting when I retire the end of next year. I rarely make clothing to wear to work as it is more economical to purchase things from Chadwick's, particularly when it is on sale and I have a coupon.

Am looking forward to having lots of time to sew in '08 and plan on making quilts for everyone then.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 9:54AM
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This has been wonderful!!
I love hearing what you do.
My favorite times were sewing with my grandma...she was a most wonderful seamstress. And now as an adult I am SOOO impressed how much time she spent with me on weekends teaching me to sew.
I hope to have a daughter in law or granddaughter to sew with one day...
although both boys can use the machines.
Karen L

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 9:39PM
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I got to 7th grade home ec and have been going strong ever since with a lot of encouragement from many people. Helps when mom the non-sewer buys you a Lady Kenmore sewing machine.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2006 at 7:45AM
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When I was in high school I wanted to make man-tailored bermudas as they were the "in" style at the time. This involved a front placket zipper and welt pockets in the back. My mom (who made us lovely dresses as little girls) took one look at the pattern and told me "you are on your own with this one." I learned how to do the zipper and welt pockets and I felt sooooo proud!

In college I made a prom dress of white pique that had row after row of wide cotton lace from the raised waist down. I loved that dress - wish I had all that cotton lace back, too.

A few years ago I made some costumes for our local musical theatre: a turn of the century skirt for "Music Man" - altered sundresses for "Carousel" - and made the lead a sailor's uniform *without a pattern* for "South Pacific." These costumes were fun for me to do.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2006 at 8:53AM
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I started sewing before Jr High. the neighbor ladies taught me. The stuff we made in HomeEc was boring.

I sewed my own clothes for a long time but stopped when I started to work in the stained glass store with DH. I wore good clothes one time. The slacks were ripped within 30 minutes and that was the end of that. Jeans & t-shirts became my uniform.

I took a class in pattern making at the local Jr College. I learned how to go from body measurments to dress pattern. The clothes I make from these patterns fit me much better than the store bought patterns. I never could figure out how to make adjustments.

Quilting satisfies my need to sew for now.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2006 at 6:39PM
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First, I want to thank the people who welcomed me to the group. I will try to check daily to see what's what... Is there some sort of order on the list of topics? It doesn't seem to be the latest message first the dates look to be mixed up...

I did poorly in home ec sewing but found when my children were young I couldn't afford to buy much clothing for them. So, I felt forced to learn to sew better. Little did I know what a passion it would become for me. I am in my sewing room 8+ hours daily. Now, I am not always sewing or machine embroidering... lots of time spent on the ol' computer, I'm afraid.

BUT, I have learned so much about and from the computer because of forums like this. It has been a Godsend for me and I can't imagine my life without a computer any more.

My filing cabinet (old industrial 5 drawer)holds innumerable patterns for clothing. I still want to sew for myself making fun accessories and tops mostly since I live in jeans. I just purchased several patterns from individual designers that are unique but tasteful--IMHO, that is. I also wear aprons when in the kitchen and have recently ordered several retro-type apron patterns. I like the look and also the grease-spatter safety of my clothing underneath.

I currently finished 4 tote bags made from nylon window screen. They were adorable and a garden center owner even offered to sell them if I'd make her some. No way... sewing is for pleasure now. Today I am hoping to finish a quilted table topper. All of these items are for my daughter and grans. I have pictures of the screen items on my desktop and am following the thread for downloading now. Hope to post pix but should it be under this topic if I do?


    Bookmark   July 29, 2006 at 1:36PM
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I will welcome you to the forum here since I can also answer some of your questions. We're glad to have your input!

The threads are listed chronological by most recent post...not by the date/time they originated. It's very easy for a topic to get knocked down to the bottom of the page quickly if it's not replied to often.

We'd love to see pictures of your projects. To do this, got to the top of the screen page and you'll see a 'post new topic'. Click on this and fill in the blanks. HTH

glad to have you with us.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2006 at 6:19PM
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Should have also told you that we have 3 'screens' of messages. The Gallery which is where you can post pictures of projects, etc. The Conversations area which is fairly new and can be used for topics not directly related to quilting/sewing. (There is some discussion whether this area is truly necessary since our personal lives as quilters are linked to our quilting in most ways. Some choose to use this, some don't) And the main Discussion area which is the general location for quilting related nonsense...I mean topics! !LOL You can move between the 3 areas by clicking on the links at the top of the listings.


    Bookmark   July 29, 2006 at 6:26PM
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I have made most of my own clothes ever since moving to Japan at age 21. At first, I just couldn't find blouses with long enough sleeves, nor could I find clothes in colors and patterns that I liked, and as I "grew" and became a different size on the top and on the bottom, it became even more necessary to sew my own things. Japanese patterns used not to have anything printed on them and no seam allowances. Even before the advent of regular patterns, women's magazines printed small patterns that forced the user to enlarge them and do a lot of measuring and drawing on whatever kind of paper she chose. I only made two things using that sort of pattern--jackets for my two sisters-in-law, who were in their early teens at the time. Never again!
I would stock up on patterns and fabrics when I visited the States each summer. Japan had nice fabrics, but you couldn't find the bargains you could here. Since moving back to the States 9&1/2 years ago, I have continued to make most of my own clothes, hating the prices in the stores; but now, in my late 60's, I don't make new things often, and I use and reuse the few patterns that I like best. Not a fashion plate!!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2006 at 11:36AM
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