I Want to Learn More About…

Hello, everyone! I thought I’d post something different today instead of more outfit posts, and ask a question!

With sewing, you’re always learning. Even I’m learning new things, and I’ve been sewing for twenty years, maybe more! That’s the wonderful part about hobbies – you’re always exploring, testing new ideas, and improving your skills. (Speaking of learning new things, did you hear Julia Roberts is learning to sew? Love to see sewing making a comeback – even celebrities are doing it!)

So my question is: when it comes to sewing, what do you want to learn more about?

Here’s what I want to know more about:

  • Sewing with Knits – I dislike sewing knits, and I’d like to find a way to like sewing knit fabrics
  • Sewing Trousers – that David Page Coffin book in the photo is such a great read, I’d love to try out his suggestions
  • Tailoring – especially when it gets closer to Fall
  • Sewing Lingerie – both the tricky, slippery fabrics and the more constructed pieces like bras (!)
  • Planning and Sewing a Wardrobe, instead of just fun single pieces. Too many pretty orphans in my closet!

I’d like to explore and experiment sewing with knits, making pants, and sewing lingerie in the future – and of course share what I learn on the blog! I thought this would be a good time to see what you’re interested in as well. And see if any of you are secretly experts on knits, tailoring or lingerie! (Guest post, perhaps?)

What do you want to know more about? Are you interested in these things too, or is there something else sewing-related that you want to learn about? I’d love to know what you think!

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76 Responses to I Want to Learn More About…

  1. Jodi Bonjour July 6, 2011 at 6:06 am #

    I’m right there with you about learning to plan and assemble a wardrobe! Sewing most of it would also give me practice with things like trousers, and tailoring. fun stuff! I love that there is so much to learn with sewing. It will never get boring.

  2. Rachel July 6, 2011 at 6:11 am #

    I’d like to learn more about pattern drafting/altering. Casey(from elegant musings) often has the cutest pattern drafting tutorials and I’d like to make them but I’m just so confused on where to start and what tools I need so I never try.

  3. Janlynn July 6, 2011 at 6:12 am #

    I don’t pretend to be an expert, but knits are not as scary as everyone makes them out to be. I know you make patterns but try a Kwik Sew pattern for knits and lingerie. They understand negative ease better than the big 4. Their designs are basic but easily embellished.
    I want to learn more couture techniques, tailoring, and bra-making. I just completed a pant drafting course and I would LOVE to learn draping.

  4. Ashley July 6, 2011 at 6:12 am #

    I’d like to know more about all of those things. Especially the wardrobe building. I’ve no direction with what I sew. I don’t really feel I have a ‘style’ and I’d like to find it! Once I’ve found it, it should make sewing a wardrobe that I’ll actually wear much easier!
    I’m short waisted and big busted so would also like to learn what suits me and what doesn’t and how to make the best of what I have. My OH is helpful with this as I trust his judgement but its finding the right styles in the first place that I find difficult.
    Ashley x

  5. Vicki Kate July 6, 2011 at 6:15 am #

    I’m still learning about fitting and use the Fit for Real people book a LOT. I’m also learning about vintage construction methods – more out of interest than wanting to be method perfect on items made from vintage patterns!

    Still learning a huge amount about fabric and the qualities different mixes bring to it. Working out what’s in a vintage fabric is also interesting. The burn test still scares me!

    Like you I’d also like to learn more about tailoring. I’d love to make a Lady Grey at some point. I’d be interested in your lingerie experiments too – slips are going to be as far as I go though I think, although knickers might be fun!

    And I can offer no advice what so ever about knits – I’ve only just got my serger and have yet to progress to doing anything like a knit garment on it. Although I think the Pendrell could be lovely in a knit? I have heard though that a small zig-zag on a regular machine is good when sewing knits as the seam has to have some stretch, like the fabric.

  6. Andrea July 6, 2011 at 6:16 am #

    I’m pretty new at sewing clothes and while I feel comfortable with simple skirts and shirts, I haven‚Äôt ventured into pants because quite frankly, it scares the living daylights out of me! RTW pants are a pain to fit and the thought of going through the effort of sewing pants and end up with a total mess is what turns me off. However, the idea of having a perfect pants pattern that fit me just so is also a bit dreamy. In short, I want to get over my fear and learn how to make perfectly tailored pants.

  7. AnaJan July 6, 2011 at 6:19 am #

    Would love to know (much) more about sewing knits! Though, I would have to buy a new sewing machine first (mine refuses to work with knits and stretchy fabrics).
    Also, I would love to learn more about bias cut garments.

  8. Shawn Jackson July 6, 2011 at 6:36 am #

    As someone just learning to sew the list of ‚ÄòI want to learn…‚Äô is too long for one post. If I had to boil it down to one subject it would be a book of stitches [machine techniques] and the fabric they can be applied to. Oh, and a nice sew-a-long for each stitch type. : )

  9. Michelle @ If Toys Could Talk July 6, 2011 at 6:40 am #

    My list is very similar to yours, Tasia, though I’m far less experienced than you. I’d definitely like to learn more about pattern alteration and drafting. I, too, read Casey’s blog and have enjoyed reading her tutorials and sew-alongs, but thus far have been far to intimidated (due to my lack of skills) to try anything myself.

  10. Caroline July 6, 2011 at 6:42 am #

    I’d love to learn to make swimwear. I’ve made my son some swim trunks but want to be able to sew something fabulous for myself.

    I’d love to be able to make a winter coat, and a great fitting tailored jacket / blazer.

    Ah yes, and pants. Wouldn’t that be fabulous, being able to fit pants.

    I know next to nothing about adjusting and fitting patterns, and drafting them from scratch. Would love to learn that.

    I enjoy sewing with knits though am no expert by any means … I think you will enjoy that one.

  11. Stephanie July 6, 2011 at 7:18 am #

    I’m taking a foray into historical costuming right now! (Including making a corset!) I’d love to learn pattern drafting and make a coat too!

  12. Bellieshaker July 6, 2011 at 7:24 am #

    I fully agree with all of the above, as someone still relatively new to the game my Number 1 is pattern drafting!
    I am sick of ill fitting clothes from making a standard commercial pattern, like Ashley, Im short waisted, big busted and I have the biggest arm hole / shoulder fitting issues!! I need to master the art of the FBA! Thats the first thing on my list apart from learning to draft?
    I want to learn and work on fitting, making clothes to suit my style, buidling a self made wardrobe.

  13. Reader July 6, 2011 at 7:28 am #


    These posts may be interesting. I’d like to analyze my form at some point. At some point, a serious sewer needs to get beyond basic body shape advice.



  14. Reader July 6, 2011 at 7:29 am #

    I have interest in all the techniques listed above, but my primary interest is in fitting and tailoring.

  15. Christine July 6, 2011 at 7:29 am #

    Hi! I’m interested in wardrobe planning, too. Especially to decrease the amount of clothes I have…I’ve been reading Edith Head’s republished book on How to Dress for Success, and Nothing to Wear: a 5-Step cure for the Common Closet. Both give strategies for having a functional but not overstuffed closet. And, both give direction in terms of understanding your personal style and how that fits into your lifestyle. It’s been clarifying for me, but I still have a long ways to go before I am happy with my wardrobe. After that, I’m interested in knits (I’m learning now, too), and pants (haven’t tackled this yet but will soon!). Thanks for your awesome blog!!! And patterns!!!

  16. Corinne July 6, 2011 at 7:39 am #

    There is one thing common to all sewers, we all want to learn more. Fit is always a issue as well as finicky fabrics. Choosing a subject per month might be an interesting way to address this. With your knowledge, background and superb tutorials I think it would be a fantastic way to approach sewers needs. Would you consider a poll? Then perhaps pick the top two or three and feature them monthly or bi-monthly? I have been sewing for a very long time, but I always learn from others blogs, good books and professional tutorials and teachers. Great idea to promote National Sewing Month witch is in September, by the way. Does Canada recognize this the same way we do in the US? Here is the link if you are interested:


  17. Corinne July 6, 2011 at 7:40 am #

    @Corinne: please excuse the “witch” I have Halloween on the brain right now(((smile)))

  18. Lauren M July 6, 2011 at 7:53 am #

    SWAP- Sewing With a Plan! I would love to learn how to plan and sew that elusive “capsule wardrobe” so I can look smart and stylish despite my teeny tiny closet!

  19. Amy (quixoticpixels) July 6, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    For readers interested in learning about dressing different body types, I’d recommend http://www.insideoutstyleblog.com/.

    I’m constantly working on building my wardrobe, so advice there is always appreciated. I sew a lot of basics and want to spice things up with fun prints and styles. I’m interested in fitting and tailoring too.

  20. Darci July 6, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    @Andrea: Ooooh! Me too! Me too! I’ve had nothing but abject failure in the pants department. Three wadders and no luck.

    I’d also dig sewing my own corset. Sexy! (I *just now* reserved your corset book from my library.)

  21. Jenna July 6, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    I LOVE sewing with knits!! Almost all the garments I’ve made for myself are knit tops. And my wadders–all wovens.

    It is one of my goals to make myself a coat some day. I might not be able to make one this winter, but I think I’ll be able to do a lightweight jacket this fall.

    I’m with you on sewing lingerie (I have tricot to make a slip, it just keeps getting bumped down the “to sew” list) and I’m working on planning & sewing a wardrobe, but in the past, I found that my inspiration starts to lag about mid-plan. I have learned that if I’m going to sew a top & matching skirt, I need to view those as one item on my list. That way I don’t get the skirt done, but not the top or vice versa. I don’t know why it’s more difficult in sewing; I know that I don’t buy a RTW skirt if I have nothing to wear with it. But if a fabric calls to me, I buy it. I don’t even consider what I’ll wear it with.

    Pattern drafting is a big one, too. I’m taking a class at Pattern Review on fitting skirts, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to develop a basic skirt block that I can make design changes to.

  22. Beth (SunnyGal Studio) July 6, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    I would like to improve my knowledge of knits, figure out how to get better results. I love tailoring, and would like to be able to make a perfect pair of pants to match some of the jackets I have done.

  23. Louise July 6, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    I would love to learn more about making my own patterns for myself…..I have tried and it never seems to work. :(
    Thank you.

  24. Becky July 6, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    Your list overlaps mine in so many ways, Tasia! A pair of trousers is actually my current big project, and I recently finished up a pair of shorts from the same pattern to prepare myself for the fitting. (Jeans are a long-term goal of mine too.) I’d also like to learn how to do some basic pattern alterations– I’ve been working on the FBA so far, with mixed results–so I can just make the majority of the adjustments that I need before I cut a pattern out.

    Tailoring is something I’m quite interested in, and am hoping to make a jacket or two this fall to work on that. And I probably do need some help in the wardrobe planning department, since my love for crazy prints means I don’t always have things that go together well. I need to find a way to tie some of these things together into outfits.

    I’d possibly be interested in lingerie, but mainly learning how to make bras with the foam cups instead of that seam down the front of the cup that most patterns seem to have. I get cold so easily, that padding is a must! And the seamed ones don’t seem to work well with knit tops.

    I will say that knits are a LOT more fun since I got a serger!

  25. Zilredloh July 6, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    What a wonderful post for today. I think it’s fun when bloggers open up the floodgates to hear what everyone else is up to and wanting to learn.

    Currently I’m intrigued by the under-construction on dresses and couture garments. I’d really like to know how to beef up my sewing skills and make some understructure to a dress, skirt, etc.

    I’ve been only sewing a year, but I’m still completely confused on how to fit my armcyce and sleeve. I never know if I have drag lines or pull lines and if it means that my armcyce is too small or large vs. the ease in my sleeve cap.

  26. Reader July 6, 2011 at 9:07 am #


    For whatever it’s worth, it’s not that easy. I used to look at tutorials on the web or skim books and the photos never made complete sense. Once I took some sewing classes and audited an intensive pattern making class, it made more sense.

    I would get a tutor or take a class.

  27. Reader July 6, 2011 at 9:14 am #


    Basic pattern drafting tools include:

    A French Curve (Dietzgen #17)
    A Hip Curve
    An L Square
    Thin lead pencils in different colors (black, a red/blue pencil, etc.)
    A “white” eraser
    Tailor’s Chalk and/or a Dressmaker’s Pencil
    Pattern or craft paper
    Dressmaker’s Tracing Paper
    Tracing Wheels,and Clover makes a good tracing tool that looks like a pen that has no ink.

  28. Jacey July 6, 2011 at 9:19 am #

    I would love to learn draping! I’m taking a tailoring course in the fall and am really looking forward to it (I can’t believe I’m talking about fall already!). I want to be able to make my own winter jacket.

  29. Reader July 6, 2011 at 9:21 am #


    Even simple pattern alterations are not intuitive for a beginner. It’s also incredibly difficult to fit oneself without a dressform. I know professionals who have other professionals make their blocks.

    You might want to get a tutor. Some people have “fitting buddies,” but unless both of you have a fair amount of experience, that could be the blind leading the blind. It’s a complex skill; especially once you realize how much individual bodies vary. You also will probably be amazed that commercially made clothes fit as many people as they do.

    As much as I love the web, you can’t learn everything off the Internet. At least not efficiently. :-)

  30. JillyBe July 6, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    I think about this a lot, since I’m continually stretching myself with skills & techniques in sewing ~ one of the things I love so much about it! There is always something new to
    learn, and the creative fun will always be there too – win win!

    I want to focus on learning tailoring this fall, and lingerie is on my Do-Soon list. So far this year, learning different welt pocket techniques, fitting a pair of jeans, and focusing on wardrobe building were all on my list – check, check, and check! Did them all!

    I really have to give a shout out to Pattern Review for learning about developing an eye for wardrobe building. I entered the mini-wardrobe contest this spring, and it forever changed my fabric-buying habits – I really look at what will work with what in everything I sew now, & it’s working!

  31. SA July 6, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    I have an addiction to sewing knits.! I really need to start working on other fabrics.I”ve already made 12 knit dresses this summer.They are so quick and easy !

  32. learningnewtricks July 6, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    It looks as though we all could use some technical help with constructing our garments. I agree that knits are somewhat of a challenge for me at the present time. Although, with excellent direction, I am sure they aren’t so difficult to master. My goals are to learn more techniques, including drafting a pattern, fitting and altering patterns, tailoring, couture techniques, and learning how to make nice fitting pants. It’s nice that you ask us for our input.

  33. Tara July 6, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    @Shawn Jackson:

    I am totally with Shawn.
    As a new sewer I am sometimes mystified at the types of stitches.
    I am also petrified of button holes for some reason…..I want to try one but keep avoiding it.
    And I am the same way with zippers!….
    I have soooo many great dress patterns at home, I just need to get up the courage to make one of them!
    So all in all, I want to make a bunch of things! I LOVE my new sewing hobby and want to make your beautiful Crescent Skirt, a ginormous load of dresses (since I seem to have all the material in the world because I can’t stop buying material….) and mostly, have the stones to make a fall coat!
    I have to say, that eventually learning how to make a pattern from an existing piece is also high on my sewing bucket list! I have a go-to dress that I LOVE and would like to be able to re-create it as well as a FAB coat that is in it’s dying days….
    Oh, so many things….
    Sorry for the ramble! Sewing just makes me sew (ha ha) happy!


  34. Musetica July 6, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    The dream garment, and the reason i started to learn how to sew, is to make a tailored jacket. I think they are my signature wardrobe pieces, i love them to death (quite literally in some cases). That’s what i would love to learn! not to mention that they are one of the items where the RTW prices are high and i think they could be much cheaper and better quality if we would sew then ourselves. :) Thank you for all the sewalongs, they are AWESOME and I learned a lot!

  35. Ella July 6, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    I’m interested in a lot of the same things as you, Tasia! The top 2 things on my list, which both intimidate me, are learning to alter patterns (beyond the basic lengthen or shorten), and learning to sew pants. I’m curvy on the bottom, and also quite tall, so lots of store-bought pants will gape at the waist, and often long lengths are still not enough for me. I’d love to be able to refine 1 basic dress pant pattern that I could make fit perfectly, and then use as a template to build my work wardrobe. Right now, I wear a lot of skirts which are easier to find/ make to fit. In the winter though, that’s a lot tougher!

  36. Casey July 6, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    Sewing with knits is really tops on my list of things to learn right now! I just did an inventory/reorganization of my closet and realized I have zero white tshirts. How did that happen?! Partially because my torso is shaped oddly (at least in regards to most rtw fit models. lol.), but I do need to be a bit less intimidated and start replenishing that particular section of my wardrobe.

    I also want to continue to learn as much as I can about fitting. I know the basics, but have just started personalizing those techniques for my projects the past couple years. I feel like I learn something new with each new project in regards to what I need to refine fit-wise for me! Fit for Real People has become my go-to book. ;)

  37. Glenda July 6, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    You really should try knits-I love sewing with them but still haven’t mastered the perfect coverstitch hem. There are some pretty good videos on YouTube to get you started.

  38. Jess July 6, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    I want to learn pattern drafting and draping. I have a lot of ideas that don’t line up with commercial patterns. I also want to learn tailoring so I can tackle a coat.

  39. katrina July 6, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    1. Sewing knits with a regular sewing machine, not a serger
    2. I’m totally intimidated to sew pants or a jacket. A sew-along would be great.
    3. This probably just comes from experience, but basic tips for pairing fabric designs with patterns – for example, 1 dress pattern would look totally different with stripes, a large printed pattern, small printed pattern, a pattern with an easily identifiable repeat, or just a solid color. How do you confidently choose the fabric that will most complement the pattern design?

  40. Susan - Knitters Delight July 6, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    Funny – I have 6 out of those 9 books!

  41. Reader July 6, 2011 at 12:34 pm #


    I try to do this by eye, but keep thinking that one day I’ll try to do it on computer by making a silhouette of myself onto which fabric images can be imposed.

  42. Val July 6, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    Someday I want to have the time to make MYSELF clothes that fit! My wardrobe basically consists of jeans, jean shorts, tees and then skirts for Sundays.
    Oh and if you have a serger, knits are a snap!

  43. Robin July 6, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    It makes me feel so good to hear that others have sewing issues and phobias. I am back after about a 20 year hiatus and am having so much fun. I need a lot of help with fit. i am afraid of knits, zippers, buttonholes, pants, etc.
    I need to relearn everything.

  44. alice July 6, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    *i really want to learn and advance my skills in fitting. i fit the hell out of colette negroni for my sweetie, and am thrilled with the results – now i just want to take my time and fit everything!

    *and i want to learn more about sewing with different fabrics. especially the difficult, slippery slidey ones!

    *and enough pattern drafting… or draping?… to do casual menswear. would love to make my sweetheart some hoodies.

    and as for pants… vogue 1051 (alice + olivia). seriously fabulous pants. I saw a kwiksew flared pant favourable reviewed in threads too.

  45. sallyann July 6, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    I would just die to know how to make perfectly fitted pants having tried over the years only to end up with wasted time and muslin – bolts of it by now. It is difficult to be so pear-shaped.

  46. Nethwen July 6, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    I’ll add my voice to the those saying they want to learn to sew fitted trousers, learn pattern drafting, and fit clothing. But mostly, I just want trousers that fit. I started learning pattern drafting to this end. It’s slow going, but I am learning a bit.

  47. Casandra July 6, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    I would love to learn drafting and fitting. I just don’t even know where to start. I see it done in blogs, but I would love a really in depth tutorial..

  48. Visitor July 6, 2011 at 2:57 pm #


    I’m pear-shaped, too. I personally don’t think pants are the most flattering garment for me, no matter how well (I’d love to be proved wrong, but I’m not blind). As a result, I’ve started out with shapes that are more flattering, such a A-line dresses and skirts.

    Pants are notoriously hard for anyone. Look into hiring an experienced professional. In addition, professionals who sew have told me that they can’t fit themselves. All the twisting and turning, even in front a of three-way mirror, distorts the results, and it’s impossible to be objective.

    I don’t know where you live, but a sewing author and teacher named Kenneth King occasionally teaches a class on drafting trousers for oneself at a store called Sew Right way out in Queens.


  49. Tee July 6, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    I love to learn more about wardrobe building and choosing the right clothing for my shape. I’d also like to learn how to mix and match patterns, colors, etc when putting an outfit together==I’m trying to get away from the matchy matchy outfits.

  50. Lucy July 6, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

    I’ve tried my hand at pattern drafting (for only my second garment! Ambitious or what?!) and it was super basic, just a knock-off of Tasia’s Picnic/Twin Spruce dress, which is very like the basic blocks. Three muslins later, I’m putting it together, and that’s what I need to learn – how to assemble an item without instructions! What order do you do things in? Do you do the facings before or after you sew the shoulder seams? Which facings go first? At what point do you attach the skirt? When do you finish the edges? I’m basing it off a vaguely similar pattern I already own but it’s still hard to work out.

    It didn’t help that I managed to sew the wrong sides of the back bodice to the front, (no wonder it didn’t fit) but it seems I’ve learned to laugh at my mistakes, rather than beat my head on the table and call myself stupid. It’s the small successes!

  51. Gail July 6, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    Tailoring (see my blog for the perfect self-taught tailoring book), decorative couture finishes (just purchased Decorative Dressmaking by Sue Thompson and The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Collette Woolf). I highly recommend each of these books.

  52. Reader July 6, 2011 at 4:46 pm #


    I’m not trying to discourage ambition, but ideally, you should be sewing other things in addition to altering patterns, or getting some supervision. Actual sewing is the main way to learn the order in which to construct garments. There usually are at least a couple of choices.

    Usually the new facing on an altered pattern would be drawn after the main garment is tested for proper fit and usually a facing is applied after the shoulder seams. As for “edges” do you mean “seam finishes” or finishing the raw edge of the garment itself? That’s usually done either with a facing or bias strips.

    The pattern should provide some instructions and many books provide a basic order of engagement.

    If you’re having fun, do it your way. But trial and error alone can be very time-consuming.

  53. Lizz July 6, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    I’m currently on the quest to learn how to sew and assemble a wardrobe. I have a plan to sew 30 pieces by the end of September that will serve as my fall wardrobe. We’ll see if I succeed.
    In addition, I’d love to become more proficient at fit – I’d like to be able to recognize good/bad fit and learn how to fix it.
    Third, I’d love to learn more about sewing and pattern drafting for men.

    That’s certainly not everything that I’m on a quest to learn but these are definitely at the top of my list of things to pursue.

  54. K-Line July 6, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    I’d love to learn how to draft. I tried to buy a (really expensive) big book, but the Indigo advised me (weeks later, after finding it on the Indigo site) that it is not available through that chain.

  55. Alessa July 6, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    I *like* sewing with knits (even though I’m only so-so at it – but they’re easy to fit!). I’d really like to learn more about fitting patterns, and about adding details to make different garments from one pattern…

    BTW, I’ve preordered the Lonsdale dress, will I get a confirmation email from you?

  56. Amy July 6, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    I would love to learn more about couture sewing. And, like many above, how to make patterns fit and flatter. I don’t have many books on sewing techniques… I should check out some of your reads.

  57. Mary July 6, 2011 at 8:24 pm #

    I have started sewing garments again. I sewed a lot with knits, and all kinds of clothes but stopped doing everything to do quilts. Now however I have been enjoying heirloom sewing, lacy baby clothes, pretty little dresses. But Tasia sewing with knits is easy and fun. Don’t use the big three patterns, Use kwik sew, or other specialty patterns. They have the ease issue figured out. I would like to learn to do more heirloom sewing, and would like to learn pattern drafting. I learned to sew knits from my mom who taught Stretch and Sew classes in the 60’s. She made bathing suits, tops, pants, sweaters, just about any garment. I inherited her pattern collection of early Stretch & Sew, now my daughter has been using them to sew for herself and her kids.

  58. Sophia July 6, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

    Ooohh. I’d love to learn swimwear, lingerie, trousers, and tailoring! There’s just so much to learn!!

  59. daiyami July 7, 2011 at 5:13 am #

    So much to know—-Swimwear is at the top of my list right now. I think I may need to buy a book.

    Re pants, I took a class from this woman: http://www.surefitdesigns.com/
    and now have a basic pattern that really works. The class was good because she made some very small tweaks in person after I did the muslin, but even the original muslin made off my measurements and her written instructions and charts was very close to perfect and fit better than any RTW pants. I’ve made one pair of straight-legged pants off it and they are great, I’ll be making more. And I’m EXTREMELY pear-shaped. In 2005, I completely stopped wearing dress pants because I could never find a flattering pair, but now that I have a pattern made to fit me, they do look pretty good, and I got spontaneous compliments.

  60. Lucy July 7, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    @Reader: Thanks, that was actually helpful – shoulder seams sewn together, first facing applied and actually fits :-) I have a couple of very good books, one on professional sewing techniques, one on pattern drafting, which are actually used as textbooks for fashion design students, but sometimes it feels like they assume you can just ask your tutor, y’know?

    Edges: I think I meant seam finishes. I just zigzag over them (for lack of an overlocker/serger) then add a line of straight stitching under the zigzag, but I’ve been known to leave it too late and find that I’ve completed a step which has rendered finishing an earlier seam impossible. Getting there though, and yes, having lots of fun!

  61. BearsPaw55 July 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    Tasia: My comment from yesterday seems to have been lost in cyberspace. My feeling was that many people want to learn things which are more comprehensive than you should be trying to provide. You need to be designing and marketing new patterns!

    It would be nice, though, if you could provide some techniques to work with your patterns (as you do already). For example: How to make a lined Crescent Skirt in lightweight wool, for Fall (do you have a matching jacket with similar yoke in the works?); how to make a long-sleeved Pendrell Blouse; how to make the Lonsdale Dress with a side zip and a back bow that stays put; how to alter other patterns to work with pear-shaped figures (half-sizing, in some cases).

    Your tutorials are awesome, and inspire the viewer to try new techniques. Thank you! Carol

  62. Reader July 8, 2011 at 8:50 am #


    Yes, I’m familiar with the assumption that you have someone to call on. Actually, they often take the attitude that this is all extremely straightforward, which is even worse.

    You are way braver than I am, which is great. You also are probably a lot younger, too. I came to sewing really late, and I figure I have less time to make mistakes, especially since I need my clothes to fit (you can get away with more when you’re a kid) and I’d like to go on to making more demanding tailored garments. I also try to do use decent fabric.

    As for the seam finish, using a sewing machine zigzag stitch is fine in lieu of a serger. I’m not an expert, but the additional line of straight stitching may not be necessary, and may also add thickness to the garment. It’s also possible to hand overcast, although that’s probably more work than you want to do, especially for the types of garments you’re making.

    You also might want to try using French seams for seams that aren’t overly curvy that’s a type of “enclosed seam.”

    Yet another seam finish you might want to try is a “Hong Kong” finish. Bias strips are sewn to the edges of the seams. It adds thickness, so it’s only used with certain types of unlined garments.

    I recommend Claire Shaeffer’s Couture Sewing Workshop DVD (in addition to sophisticated techniques, she discusses basic hand sewing) and her book, Couture Sewing.

  63. Reader July 8, 2011 at 10:13 am #


    I thought Tasia was simply curious about people’s interests.

  64. Tasia July 8, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    @Reader: Yup, that’s exactly it! I’m mostly curious to see what is on everyone’s list to learn more about. Also, I’d like to see how many people are interested in the same things as me! If no one was particularly interested in tailoring, then I wouldn’t post as much about it when I get into my own tailoring projects. Plus, in case I come across useful articles on fitting, draping, sewing pants – I know if anyone is interested! I totally wish I could write and research articles on all of these topics – but bit by bit, if there’s things I can apply to projects and sew-alongs, I know if it’s worth doing or not. I have plans to put out a trouser pattern eventually – so it’s great to see lots of people interesting in learning more about pants. (Even if they are one of the hardest things to fit, especially on curvier bodies!)
    Thanks for jumping in with your links and comments and tips!

  65. Tasia July 8, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    One other thought – I wanted to let people know sewing a constant learning process, especially the beginners! It’s intimidating when someone appears to know it all – but there are always new things to learn no matter how experienced you are! :)

    Thanks everyone for leaving your thoughts on what you want to learn more about!

  66. Tasia July 8, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    Ooops.. sewing IS a constant learning process.

  67. jadestar July 8, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    Your list is exactly the same as mine, unless you include puttign into practice things I understand the theory of. I’m bad at that as I’m something of a perfectionist.

  68. Reader July 8, 2011 at 11:39 am #


    I for one have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments.

  69. Stephanie July 9, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    Hi! I’m just starting to sew again after many years, and I’m at a loss as to how to create a wardrobe, rather than just a closet full of randomness! I don’t sew with knits at all as they scare me (I just bought a serger at a garage sale and had it serviced but I haven’t worked with it yet) but I would lobe to learn. I also want to learn to fit patterns, since I’m a larger size than many patterns allow for in one area or another.

  70. JessieRoo July 9, 2011 at 8:57 pm #

    I’d like to learn more about any of those aspects of sewing,but i think i’m most interested in lingerie.I mean,how exactly does one fit or alter a bra pattern?! Or draft one from scratch for that matter!?

  71. Shawn Jackson July 10, 2011 at 8:22 am #

    For those of us just starting out, and maybe a few others besides, I would recommend a book I just picked up. It is The Dressmaker’s Technique Bible by Lorna Knight. I wound it answered many of my questions from stitches to speciality techniques. It is a good primer for picking up and working with Tasia’s patterns and makes the sew-a-longs a fun insight into
    the designers own techniques.

  72. Reader July 10, 2011 at 11:29 am #


    I’ve never tried the instructions, but I’ve read good things about this site:


  73. Reader July 10, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    @Shawn Jackson:

    I own that book. There are many excellent sewing books, but I like that one because it’s small and so easily portable. It has a very sturdy spiral binding that makes it easy to lay open on a table.

    Other books I’d recommend:

    The Reader’s Digest Guides to Sewing. All of the editions I’ve seen are very comprehensive. The latest version I flipped through in a bookstore had the same basic information but also presented projects.

    The Dorling Kindersley (DK Publishing) Sewing books have great photos and very good information.


    Couture Sewing


    Couture Techniques Workshop


  74. Stef Douthwaite July 12, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    Hi there, love your list Tasia & as many others have said, it overlaps mine. I have actually made a couple of underwired lace and padded bras after going on a bra making course. They are completely achievable actually (I was very apprehensive about the whole thing) and they fit! I’m more than happy to share what I’ve learnt and attach photos. I’m going on a pattern drafting course for trousers in October and that is my next thing creating patterns from scratch. I’m very much into vintage couture fashion and the traditional tailoring techniques that really make a piece extra special and would like to know more about these hints and tips.

  75. RobinDenning July 14, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    Wow, what a lot of comments! (I was flattered to see that one of the commenters mentioned my posts on body proportions :)
    I have a lot of the same interests you have – love tailoring, working on loving knits, delved into bra-making a couple years ago.

    I agree, there is so much to learn about sewing and that makes it fun!

  76. RobinDenning July 14, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    Tasia, contact me via email at alittlesewing at gmail dot com if you want to discuss a guest post. A couple topics come to mind.