After many years of complaining about how department stores and other clothing companies don’t cater to tall women, I decided to give sewing a try. January 14, 2017 marked my 3 year sewiversary! Yes, 3 years that I have been making clothing tailored to my lengthy body type and style.
I want to share with you a few benefits of being a tall seamstress:
- You save lots of money by mending your own clothing.
- Being able to patch a hole or fix a hem is so satisfying.
- You can transform old favorites into new favorites.
- Sleeves too short? You can add cuffs!
- No twinsies! You don’t have to worry about someone else wearing the exact same outfit that you’re wearing.
- Thrifting takes on a whole new meaning when you can buy pieces that have potential to become something wearable.
- I get to wear jumpsuits that come past my ankles. That’s pretty exciting!
Now you’re probably wondering “Where do I start?” Well, you’ll need a sewing machine of course. My first machine was very simple and easy to use. It was roughly $50. You can search several retailers and sewing stores for the machine of your choice. You can always upgrade your machine as you gain more skills. The machine should come with an instructional DVD or a booklet that will walk you through threading your machine and getting it ready to sew.
Most machines come equipped with a few needles to start with. The manual will tell you which needles are required for your machine. It is suggested that needles be replaced often so I buy several at a time.
You will need a seam ripper. “What in the world is a seam ripper?” Well, a seam ripper is a beginner seamstress’s best friend. It rips the threads in fabric pieces that have been improperly stitched together. As you become more skilled you’ll rely on it less.
Next, you’ll need fabric. I purchased my first couple of yards of material from Walmart. In my opinion, they do not have the greatest selection but their fabric is great for beginners. As I became more familiar with fabrics and notions I began to shop at Hancock Fabrics, Joann’s, and several other online fabric retailers. You’ll also need an assortment of threads in different colors. You can never have too much black or white thread. I generally wait until I get my fabric to match my threads for different projects.
Pins, pins, pins! You will need plenty of pins. I recommend both long and short pins. Once pattern pieces have been cut out they have to be pinned together before being place on your machine. The pins prevent the fabric from shifting as it is being fed through the machine. Pins should be removed as you sew. I do not suggest sewing over them. They could cause needle breaks and machine jams.
Tape measures and marking chalk are also tools needed to sew. Tape measures help to find your measurements. Knowing your measurements prevents you from making items that are too large or small. It also cuts cost on having to replace fabric. Marking chalk is washable and is used to transfer pattern markings onto your fabric. You will also need an iron. Ironing out your pieces as you go gives them a professional look.
I know that this may all seem a little overwhelming. With time and patience it will very easily become your favorite hobby. Be sure to get connected. I joined several sewing groups on Facebook, and Instagram. I also began following people who love to sew. I learn so much from them and what I know, I share with them. I also rely heavily on YouTube for videos and tutorials on sewing and how to troubleshoot my machine.