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Thread: How hard is it to sew clothes compared with making quilts?

  1. #1
    Super Member Rachelcb80's Avatar
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    For awhile now I've been really, really wanting to make myself a vintage 50's style dress. I found a couple patterns on eBay for a good price and bought them. The only thing I've made besides quilts is an apron. That was easy enough but it was just two panels and some pockets. Oh, I made all our Christmas stockings last year too. :) I'm assuming it's much more difficult to make clothing, but it can't be impossible, can it? Everything I've done thus far is self taught so I know how to learn, I'm just wondering if I'm totally jumping in over my head.

    Anyone have any advice or direction for me, other than to tell me I ought to save myself the trouble and just go buy a dress. :)

  2. #2
    Super Member 0tis's Avatar
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    I applaud your efforts - I have the same problem - when I read the patterns -its like a foreign language - but why not try - you will be proud of your accomplishment and get a new dress too. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.

  3. #3
    Super Member SherriB's Avatar
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    I would go ahead and give it a try. I have been sewing since I was in Jr. High school. I make clothes, mostly dresses for my grandaughter. Most patterns are not to hard to figure out. If you get stuck, go to www.sewforum.com . The people there are awesome sewers and will help you.

    And besides, if you don't like how the dress turned out, you have some scrap fabric to add to your stash! :D

  4. #4
    Super Member Grama Lehr's Avatar
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    Clothes are harder than quilts. Clothing patterns are made for models, perfect body parts, so you will need to adjust the pattern. Quilts are precise, I think that is why I like them!
    ONE SIZE FITS ALL!! ;-)

  5. #5
    Moderator sharon b's Avatar
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    Funny you should bring this up :lol: I just finished making 2 Jr Bridesmaid dresses for my sons wedding :roll: LOL The wedding was fine the patterns were a different matter :hunf: LOL

    It truly all depends on the pattern , the difficulty level and the details of the item you are making. Some patterns are labeled as simple and quick and I would start out with those until you get your feet wet and then move up. A BIG change for me was that with quilting you work with a 1/4" seam, in sewing clothes it is a 5/8" I think :oops: It is marked on my machine , but the pattern also tells you. Another thing is pattern sizes run big, so you need to make adjustments for that . Measure, Measure, Measure

    I would be glad to help you out as much as possible, as others on the board will also , I'm sure

  6. #6
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    I would recommend starting with something like pajama bottoms where the fit isn't particularly important.

    Clothing making is kind of like making quilts - it can be extremely simple/easy to very complex.

    Believe the measurements on the pattern - pattern sizing and ready-to-wear sizes are frequently different - and the pattern industry did some resizing - maybe in the 60s or 70s - don't remember for sure when.

  7. #7
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    I think the "bigness" of patterns varies from line to line.

  8. #8
    Power Poster CarrieAnne's Avatar
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    I dont have a hard time sewing them, just getting them to fit! I always used to make the garment first with an old sheet or something, then you can adjust BEFORE using your good fabric.

  9. #9
    Super Member sewcrafty's Avatar
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    Sewing clothes is the way I started out. Just make sure when you cut out the pattern that you put the notches in and you're pretty much good to go!!!! Zippers can be a little tricky, but I'm sure you have a zipper foot for your machine and just follow the directions. You'll do fine!!!

    Good Luck!!!

  10. #10
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I sewed clothing for years before quilting. I say go for it!

  11. #11
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    Go for it ....everyday is a new challenge. If you need patterns PM me...my attic runneth over...

  12. #12
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    If there is an area in ready-to-wear clothing that "never fits right" - that will probably be something that will be needed to adjust on the pattern, too

    Examples: Larger than average bust, uneven shoulders, really heavy thighs, droopy butt, etc,

    If clothes pretty much fit you okay right off the hanger, then find a size that is close to your measurements and go.

  13. #13
    Super Member pollyjvan9's Avatar
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    For many years I made garments for everyone in my family. I think garments are harder overall. You have so many things to think about, such as size. If you start with something simple like elastic bank shorts for kids or PJ bottoms it helps. If you start with one of the vintage Vogue patterns you may never one to look at another pattern!

  14. #14
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    My advice--measure, measure, measure! And go by the measurements on the pattern. Pattern sizes are different from what you buy at the store. I once sewed a skirt for a lady who wore a size 8 in street clothes but measured in a size 14 on the pattern.

  15. #15
    Pam
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    TAKE you measurements!!! The sizes on the patterns are not translatable to ready to wear! Make you clothing to match your measurements, not the size you buy in the store.

    I taught myself to sew. The first "big" project I tackled was a swing overcoat, that was about 18 years ago and I still wear it and I am complimented on it everytime. I find it odd that strangers will comment on it everytime.

    Any way.... back to topic, if you can piece together a quilt, why not a dress? Most of us started sewing clothing, go for it!

  16. #16
    Super Member pollyjvan9's Avatar
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    Just thought of something else. I'm sorry to disagree but I think patterns run small. When I buy clothes I get size 12 to 14. By my bust measurement it is a MUCH larger pattern size.

  17. #17
    JLD
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    I sewed clothes before I took up quilting. It is different in that the patterns can be hard to read sometimes. I find that if I start getting frustrated I put it aside for a while and when I come back I can normally figure it out. As others have said the pattern sizes do not correlate to clothes size so make sure that you fit the pattern to yourself. I find that I am often three different sizes on the patterns with a dress. Like I said it is different but I don't think harder - if you can quilt I am sure you can make a dress. Have fun with it and if you start to get frustrated just stop for a while!

  18. #18
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    This is another of those questions where the answer is "it depends"

  19. #19
    Super Member carrieg's Avatar
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    I haven't sewn garments since 7th grade home ec, in the early 70s! It requires fitting, not just size fitting. But sewing a sleeve to a armhole and there's that neckline curvy sewing. Scares the bejeebers out of me! LOL

    But good luck! Start with something simple.

  20. #20
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    I think clothes are much easier than quilts. More room to fudge. Start with a simple pattern and cheapie material. The fewer pieces the easier.

    You make beautiful quilting projects, so I'm sure you can make clothes.

    Polly's comment about Vogue patterns is right on target. Vogue patterns are difficult. You may need to work up to them.

    If your Wal-mart still has fabric, check out the cheapie patterns. They have many for less than $3.

  21. #21
    thismomquilts's Avatar
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    Clothing is harder, but very much do-able! Have fun - I'd love to do this for myself - a '50's dress... but... maybe one day.

  22. #22
    Super Member Rachelcb80's Avatar
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    Two of the patterns I bought are McCall's, one is a Vogue. All three are from 1950-something. Do patterns from then differ much from nowadays patterns?

    I took my measurements and bought the patterns based on what the measurements said on it for bust/waist/hip. Of course all three didn't match up perfectly but hopefully I can figure this all out enough to make it work. I saw another poster suggest the same thing my mom just did, and that was to use an old bed sheet first. More time involved but I won't waste my good fabric. And speaking of which, do patterns suggest a fabric type? I'm totally lost outside of cotton quilting fabric.

    I'm a fairly intelligent person though, so gosh darn it I should be able to get this all figured out. :)

  23. #23
    Super Member Chasing Hawk's Avatar
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    A dart here, a seam there. You will do good. :)

    Every pattern I have come across allows for alterations before sewing.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rachelcb80
    Two of the patterns I bought are McCall's, one is a Vogue. All three are from 1950-something. Do patterns from then differ much from nowadays patterns?

    I took my measurements and bought the patterns based on what the measurements said on it for bust/waist/hip. Of course all three didn't match up perfectly but hopefully I can figure this all out enough to make it work. I saw another poster suggest the same thing my mom just did, and that was to use an old bed sheet first. More time involved but I won't waste my good fabric. And speaking of which, do patterns suggest a fabric type? I'm totally lost outside of cotton quilting fabric.

    I'm a fairly intelligent person though, so gosh darn it I should be able to get this all figured out. :)
    Most printed patterns do have suggested fabrics listed on the back of the envelope.

  25. #25
    Super Member happynana's Avatar
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    If you pick a pattern with good directions you should be ok. Everybody is right don't try to start with a voque pattern they are more difficult even for regular sewers. Yes, on the back of the pattern somewhere it should list material suitable for the pattern you are making. Making the pattern out of a sheet is a very good idea, you will feel alot more comfortable then when you go to make it with "real" material. And of course the second time you make anything it does go alot smoother and quicker. Try it you will probably enjoy it.

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