"There are a number of 'secrets' to successful dressmaking, the main of these is 'buy the best you can afford'.
The main component of any dressmaking project is the fabric you will use to make your garment, always choose the best quality fabric you can for your project and you will get better results every time. You need to choose your fabric according to the design being made of course but after that choose a good quality, it's not neccessary to always choose a natural fibre, indeed a synthetic mix will generally be better wearing and will last longer, but a natural fibre will always have a better feel leading to a more luxurious garment.
My latest project is to make a copy of a linen mix shift dress for a customer, she wanted a natural fibre for her new dress which is to be worn to an evening do so I showed her the Beckford Silk website where a multitude of silks made in Beckford near Tewkesbury can be ordered straight from the factory. I love working in gorgeous fabrics so lucky for me she went to Beckford and bought some very beautiful 100% silk dupion and toning habotai silk lining.
I now have the joy of working in this lovely silk and get to make something for myself from the leftovers. Years of dressmaking have taught me to be very economical in cutting out and how to make garments or parts of garments out of the odd shaped pieces that are invariably left over from cutting out a pattern. Perhaps this is why I have rather a lot of odd bits and pieces of fabric stashed away??
On the theme of buying the best, always buy good quality thread, I prefer Gutterman, it will be easier to work with and won't make the sewing machine jam or skip stitches; buy good interfacing, the heat activated glue will stick better and not be noticable and buy quality zips, they will last longer.
Lastly as with any other craft always buy the best tools you can afford and this applies to pins and needles as much as to fabric shears. This is especially important when working with fine silks as good sharp pins and needles won't mark the fabric.
Caroline, Fashion Revived.
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