Sewing: Custom-Make Clothes Simplistically. Design Patterns. Sew Easy. | Krissy Wright | Skillshare

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Sewing: Custom-Make Clothes Simplistically. Design Patterns. Sew Easy.

teacher avatar Krissy Wright, Intuitive Seamstress

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Planning the Design


    • 4.

      Fabric Selection


    • 5.

      Making the Pattern


    • 6.



    • 7.

      Sewing Techniques Part 1


    • 8.

      Sewing Techniques Part 2


    • 9.



    • 10.



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About This Class

Make your clothing design ideas come alive through learning the process of how to create any garment type in this course. You will be guided through creating a simple paper pattern for your beautiful design and then sewing it all together. The pattern making technique uses garments you already own to make a template that can then be modified into your personal design. 

You will learn: 

  • How to create clothing patterns
  • How to sew a garment
  • Sewing techniques to help create your clothes
  • Tips on avoiding sewing mistakes
  • How to fix common problems

You should take this course if you want to:

  • Wear your art
  • Start creating your own personally designed clothes
  • Learn how to make any garment type
  • Have a creative outlet from shopping for clothes 

This course is for beginners to advanced who at the least know the very basics on how to operate their sewing machine. 

You will need a sewing machine and supplies. You are provided with a flowchart to help guide you through the process of making your own clothing project with ease.

Meet Your Teacher

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Krissy Wright

Intuitive Seamstress


An enthusiastic self-taught creator that loves to explore all types of media.

You can find more of me here:

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Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: Do you ever have ideas for clothes you want to create but feel lost or overwhelmed? And how to start the process worries no more. In this course, I will teach you how to make your own clothes simplistically, I break down how to transform the pattern designs of clothes you already own into your own custom design. Hi, my name is Christina and I'm a self-taught seamstress who did not go to fashion school to learn how to make clothes. And neither do. I take you through the idea stage, tips for fabric selection, how to make a pattern, and through the sewing process, as well as mini tutorials on various sewing techniques to make your creation come to life. For this course, you will need basic knowledge in how to operate a sewing machine. And of course, sewing supplies. See you in the first lesson. 2. Project: The course project is to create your own clothing item. Try to add your own flavor and spice to really make the creation your own. But the simpler it is, the easier it'll be. In order to complete the project. At a minimum, you will need a sewing machine. Fabric, thread, paper scissors, fabric scissors, paper, and a pen. You may also need pins, needle, a seam Ripper, or any extras in your design like elastic buttons or zipper. I've provided a flowchart to help guide you through the process of making your project. You can find it attached as a PDF next to the project description. When you're done, you're beautiful creation. Remember to take a picture of it and upload it to the project gallery. 3. Planning the Design: So the first step in making your garment is to plan out the design. How do you want it to look like? Do you want it to be a top or a bottom? Or you want it to have straight edges, are curved edges full of ruffles. Whatever you like, whatever your creative mind desires. Dry it down on a piece of paper, and it can be as simple or as complex of a drawing as you want. Just draw rough sketch of what you want your garment to look like. This is a drawing I did for an overall dress. And this is the shear I will be making along with you in this course. Once you're done, you're drawing, find a piece of clothing that's most similar to what you want to make. This piece of clothing will act as a template for you to use to make a pattern that will be temporary, that you can change and modify into your ideas design that you actually want to make. For example, here's an overall dress I already owned that I use as a template to make this one. Here is another example where I took these straight leg elastic wasted pants as my template and modify them into these tiered flowy ones. I then took the pattern for these three tiered pants and further modify them to make these two tiered pants that also have pockets. The inside half of the pants still have the original straight leg. However, the outside half flare out from the ruffles. I want to make this rap top. And the closest item I have to it is this button down. Next, make note of any differences between your idea design and your template garment. This shirt is a bit loose, so I want to make the body of the shirt slimmer, which I've shown in black in the picture on the left. I'm tucking the colorant to create the V neck. I want that stops at about the third button down. The front panels will then extend past their intersection and curve down until about the fourth button. I also want the length of the shirt shorter, as well as the sleeves. Now that I know what kind of changes I want to make a measuring them with a ruler exactly. Clothes pins are also helpful to hold the fabric in place while you measure. So it's important to also think about how you will get the garment on. For example, say you want to make a T-shirt and you want to make it out of non stretchy fabric. But the design you're using is using a stretch fabric. So when you make this out of non stretch is a very good chance that you're not going to view with a get it through your head because it's not able to stretch over it. So what you can do is make Nicole bigger for this example, or slice it down the front or the back and then add some buttons, pupil, pupil or at a zipper and that's detachable that you can put it back on or even have ties to tie it back on and off. Something else that I like to think about when designing is whether or not I will actually where the item, because I used to make a bunch of items and pieces of clothing that I never wore or never wore on a daily basis. And then I'd spent all this time making these items and then never actually end up very looms. So then I'd always think what's the point? So now I ask myself, is this item comfortable? Is it versatile? Is it functional? Now it has a lot more longevity in my wardrobe, and I have way more enjoyment of making it, knowing that I'm actually going to be wearing it lots. 4. Fabric Selection: You can get your fabric from the fabric store. I like to go the discount section first and then have a loop around the whole store. Just so I have an idea of what's the cheaper fabrics because it can get quite expensive. I, if you're looking for a cheaper alternative, you can also go to the thrift store and usually they'll have a section just for fabrics. Or you can also look at blankets as well, or using other garments and upcycling them into new ones. To give you an idea of the possibilities of upcycling. I'm going to share with you a few projects that I've done. This is my old jacket that I converted into this overall dress that I showed you before. I turn the bottom of the jacket into the skirt and use the sleeves as straps and the hood as the front panel. I chopped up this green blouse that I sewed together to make one big piece of fabric, to make this vessel. Here I took my childhood skirt and this blouse with these interesting rings in it and turned it into this creature dress. If you're a beginner, I would avoid any stretch delicate are slippery feeling fabrics just because they're harder to work with. Remember to make note of what type of fabric that you bought at, like what the material is, what is it made of? Because that can give you a guide into how to actually wash the fabric. Who don't forget to buy thread that matches the fabric color that you have or any other materials that you might need. Maybe it's sewing needles for your sewing machine for that specific fabric type or buttons. If you're going to use buttons, even interfacing if you want, the callers are cuffs to be. I decided to create my shirt with this teal fabric. It's a blend of 70% viscose, 30% linen. This coast is a semi-synthetic fiber that comes from wood pulp. Well, linen is made from the flax plant. Because both are derived from natural sources, the fabric will be breathable and more comfortable than say, polyester, which is plastic. I personally disliked synthetic fabrics because it makes me feel like I'm suffocating in plastic wrap. And because your skin can't breathe through it, it actually makes the clothes smell a lot faster, but not this one. This one has a beautiful drape and it's fairly wrinkle resistant. Once you have your fabric, I would recommend washing it. I would also are in the fabric if it's all wrinkly and it doesn't lay flat. Because then when you cut it, It's all Genki. 5. Making the Pattern: So now you're ready to make a pattern, which you can make using paper and drawing out your design and then cutting it out. So you can go to the fabric store and buy paper specifically to make patterns. But I've actually never used that. I exclusively use Christmas wrapping paper just because it's so long and I already have it at home. I have also use newspaper before and taped it together. Whatever you want. You'll need paper, marker or pencil, scissors and paper weights. So what's going to happen next is you're going to lay down your paper and then put your template garment on top that you're going to draw out each of the fabric panels of. And then take that and modify it and draw on any changes you're gonna make to turn it into your idea design. So we're going to follow the same three steps for each of the panels on your template garment. First is trace, second is modify, and third is redraw. Trace modify, redraw. I have traced half of the back panel. I'm modifying the back panels so that it's slimmer and shorter according to my notes. Now I'm redrawing the final pattern and a darker color. I only drew out half because I'm going to fold and cut out the rest later. When you do make sure you save space. The front panels are mirrored. So I only need to make a pattern for one. And make sure all the seams are lined up on both sides so that I don't draw it out crooked. I'm using a highlighter so that you can better see what I'm doing. But I recommend using a pencil so that you don't get ink on what you're tracing. I do all of the easy side first and then lift the sleeves to trace the seam underneath and fold the back panel sticking out in so I can trace the color. I'm modifying the front panel so let it slimmer and shorter. And creating a VNet that curves and extends out past the original front panel shape. Here it is redrawn. I trace out the template sleeve, folding it back to draw the seam underneath of where the sleeve attaches to the shirt. Since the sleeve I want has ruffles, I'll need to add extra fabric along this edge. The sleeve is one piece of folded fabric. So I'm going to fold and cut out the rest mirrored along the top edge. Next we're going to add in seam allowance, meaning the extra fabric required two, so two pieces of fabric together, or the extra fabric to churn in the fabric to create a ham. And it basically just means you're going to add extra fabric room on every edge of your pattern. I normally add seam allowance as I'm cutting my fabric. I always write down whether or not I included it so that I don't forget. Next, take your paper scissors and cut out the finalized pattern. Fold the back down the middle, and cut both layers so that you have a symmetrical back piece. Use the same method for the sleeve. I realized my sleeve was too pointy at the top, so I cut it off and then decided I didn't want wider sleeves and shorten them. I also have a cuff I decided I didn't want to use. So you're gonna see that in the next several clips. Next, layer fabric folded in half and place your pattern on top to see how the best place it. And make sure the fabric is in the direction I want to see on the finished garment. This was the only way I could find that could fit them all on wall including ties that I didn't make a paper pattern for. I placed the back panel on the folds of the fabric so that when I cut it out and get one big piece, the rest I need mirrored duplicates of. Next I take my sharp fabric scissors and cut out my fabric, making sure to include seam allowance. I do this by cutting half an inch away from my pattern and any bottom hymns, I added one inch extra in case I want it a little bit longer. Before I cut, I make sure there's two layers of fabric. Here. I'm making long strips of fabric rectangles to create ties by ripping the fabric along the grain. This doesn't work on all fabric slow. So I would test it on a scrap first. And here it is all cut out. 6. Sewing: All right, Now you're ready to buy some general safety to go over. When you're sewing. Do not put your hand near the needle. Even when you're not sewing and you're fiddling with the needle, I would keep your foot off from hovering the pedal, even though it's so tempting to just in case Your to slip or accidentally pushed down and then it just goes right through your head. When you're sewing, some general guidelines are to always keep the goods sides together, meaning the side with the nice pattern that you want on the outside. Put those together and then so and stitch the seams. Another one is to pin down the two pieces of fabric. If you're unsure of whether they should go together, because then you can check and see if it's actually right without actually showing the whole seam, realizing that you messed up and then having to get through the stitches and then redo it again versus just pinning it. And then tricky. I also recommend trying your garment on every so often just to see if the fit is okay or not or if it looks like it needs to be adjusted in certain areas before you move on to other sections. The last thing is that it's not arrays, even though it feels like it is sometimes with the battle. Because you're the only one who's decides when you're going to finish. Even if you make a mistake, you're closer to the finish line, which gives you a valuable lesson. You become more skilled. Generally the order that you're going to. So the seams on the garment doesn't really matter as long as you're going from more structured larger pieces to smaller details. So smaller details like adding sleeves or buttons or straps except the hem is the very last scene you should do. In case when you're wearing the garment, it changes position and you now need to adjust the length. I'm making the first wearable part of my shirt, which is the vest. I'm doing just a straight stitch along the shoulders and sides to get the front and back panels together. I stitch a half inch in that was reserved for the C. Now I'm trying it on to see how I like the fit of the clothes pegs are handy if you need an extra hand holding the fabric together. It was too loose along the shoulders. So I marked with a clothes peg how far down I wanted it to sit. If you don't have close pays, you can also use pins. I switched the clothes pegs to pins so it's easier to sew around. The back stuck out. So I brought the shoulders and again, only closest to the neck. I did one last shrine to make sure everything fit right. Before I move on to the next step, I cut the extra fabric off of the shoulders and around the back of the neck. We're no longer lined up. Every seem I do with a straight stitch zigzag along its edge to keep the fabric from frame. I like the look and feel of top stitching my scene. So I always add it. In the next video, I'll show you how to do this technique along with many others, such as the ties that I'm making here. Since the ties were so goofy, I decide to iron them so they would stay flat while I sewed. I wanted an angled and my ties. So I cut a diagonal line and the very tip off because it can get bulky. Well sewing, I folded the edges inside the tube and pinned it before I went on the sewing machine because it's so finicky. To keep my tube ties flat. I sewed straight stitches along its links. I'm doing a zig zag stitch along the color to keep it from fraying and unraveling. Since I'm gonna be doing. A ham is a way of finishing an edge by folding the fabric in on itself and stitching over it to keep it in place. I'm trying it on to see how far I want the front panels to go back and then marking my decision with a clothes peg. Now I'm cutting off the extra fabric, making sure to leave room for another him. I took the piece, I cut off from one side and I'm placing it on the other to measure how far to care for the second side, since I'm having it, I'm doing a zigzag stitch first and then folding it in and doing a straight stitch on top. I'm not sure how long I want the ties, so I'm pinning them to the shirt and trying it on first. Now that I'm sure I'm sewing them on, I did three rows of stitches to really make sure they're secure because I know there'll be a lot of tension on them. I wanted to make a hole for the Thai underneath to pass through. So I'm undoing part of the scene on the side of the shirt and then stitching my new hold down to add sleeves. You have to so they're inside seem first. I used a pin to indicate how far down the top of the shoulder I want the ruffles to go. And then realized I had way too much fabric to fit in that space. So I changed the angle of the shirt to the sleeve and cut a new edge for width, sleeve would attach the shirt that was shorter. Hand sewing to create my ruffles, which I talk about in detail in my next video. Now I take the side that faces the outside on the finished garment called the good side. So that the good side on the sleeve, the shirt or smushed together facing each other. I pin the armpit first to make sure that the two seams line up and continue painting everywhere except the ruffles. I pin the ruffles last because their length can be changed accordingly. I transform my sewing machine into sleep mode. And so this leaves starting from the armpit. I check out my work and the legs good until I try it on and see that the armpit is super loose. Look at that, look at that flat. So in the armpit further in. Now the fit is, alright. Here's my stitching. It actually took a few times. Now I'm cutting off the excess fabric. The front was still too floppy and there is no way I was going to undo all that work I just did. So I decided to take in that extra neck fabric down the middle of the back. I measured how much to take in along the neck and made sure my phone was actually in the center of the back. I pinned where I wanted to so in a diagonal line going down because I did not want to change the width of the bottom. Here it is looking good. I cut off the extra fabric and then zigzag along all of my raw edges. I top stitch all of those seams down. But I him the very bottom of my shirt sleeves. And this is what it looks like done. 7. Sewing Techniques Part 1: Here are many tutorials on sewing techniques I commonly use that you may want to use in your project. Here's the list of techniques I will be going over. In this video. I'll only be doing the first column. Pinning is useful if you don't want the fabric pieces to move around as you're sewing, or to make sure that the fabric lines up the way you want it before you start sewing. You can pin horizontally or vertically. I like a vertically so that you can flip the fabric around and see how it would actually look like if it was sown. Alternatively, you can also use bobby pins if you don't want to put holes in your fabric to keep your scenes and fabric from ripping apart. Over time. Do a zigzag stitch along all the edges of the fabric. Backstitch a couple times tonight your ends on the sewing machine. To stick two pieces of fabric together, put them good sides facing each other. And so half an inch in on the edge you want them to connect. Then do a zigzag stitch along the very edge to keep the fabric from fraying and your seam from ripping apart over time. You can stop here with this plain seam or level up to a top stitch seam. Move the Flappy underneath part to one side. And so it down along the top about a quarter inch from the scene where it's still able to catch the layers underneath. To add even more possess you could do a double stitch seam and add another row of stitching even closer to the scene. If you're using stretch fabric, you'll need a stretchy stitch such as the zigzag. Do the exact same you did for the plain seam except replace the straight stitch with a zigzag. To make skinny ties, take long rectangles of fabric and then zigzag all the way around them. Fold the top edge down and the left and right edges to the center. Fold one last time down the middle to sandwich it all together and then straight stitch to secure. I use my hand at the back to help guide the Thai fold, the nn, the same you did at the start. To make wider ties. I'll make a tube tie. Take a wider rectangle of fabric and fold it lengthwise, create a seam along the open long edge. Now flip your tube inside out to do this, take a ruler with a safety pin through it and pass it through the tube. Once the ruler and is on the other side, safety pin it to the fabric. Pull the tube over the safety pin and to flip it the other way around. You can also do this with just a safety pin and wiggle the safety pin through the tube to make it right side out. To make ruffles, you'll need two different size fabrics. One longer than the other. Take the longer one and hand stitch along its length. Pull both ends of the thread tighter to create the ruffles. You can pin the ruffles to the other piece of fabric if you like, or go straight to sewing them together. Move the ruffles around so that they're evenly distributed along the seam. Make sure you don't so over your needle. Lastly, pulled out the needle and thread. To create curved ruffles, you'll need a moon or a doughnut shape, where one edge has a shorter length than the other edge of the fabric. In this case, the inner part of the moon is shorter than the outer part of the Moon. Create a seam on the shorter length to your other piece of fabric. To create tie ruffles. I took a narrow strip or fabric and so down the middle onto my bigger piece of fabric. Normally, I would have zigzag along all the edges of the narrow strip of fabric. But I did here. Next, I looped my tie around that center stitch, sandwiched between the narrow and the bigger piece of fabric. I folded the narrow strip length in and straight stitch on top of it. Doing the same for both sides. Make sure not to solve your tie though. Now you can pull on the ties to create as many ruffles as you want. 8. Sewing Techniques Part 2: Welcome to part two of sewing techniques. In this video, I'll be going over those listed in the second column. This is the same idea as the Thai ruffles, except creating a ham with the tie on the inside. This tube of fabric that looks like a micro mini skirt with the good side facing in and the wrong side facing out. Fold the top edge down enough to fit the width of the elastic. Plus a little extra room because some of that space is going to be taken by the stitch. So along the bottom folded edge, like it's one big mega him but don't so all the way around. Stop when you're about four or five inches from where you started seeking safety pin on one end of the elastic and put it through the opening or all the way around to the other side. Connect the two ends with a safety pin, making sure they're in the same direction. And try it on to see if it fits. You write, lock it in place with a zigzag. I did a square shaped zigzag. Sometimes they make a giant X. Lastly, so that opening, closed. First line up where you want your buttons and then hand sell them on. I do a not on the ends and my thread. And then stick my needle through the underside of the button back down through the hole and loop it through the opening of the ends of my thread. Pull tight and continue sewing front-to-back until I need an audit by sticking my needle through where I stitched previously, and then looping the thread over the needle. Pull tight and repeat again. Repeat for the rest of your button. Decide if you want your button holes horizontal or vertical. I want my button holes vertical. So I'm folding the fabric horizontally. Then make a small hole with your fabric scissors, unfold and expand the whole according to your button size. Try sticking your button through to see if it fits. Switch your sewing machine to narrow zigzag with your stitches very close together. So the stitch length is small. So it looks like a smushed zigzag. Then zigzag around the opening without sewing it shut. So a detachable zipper zigzag along the edges where it will attach. Since the footer of the sewing machine will not be able to sit close enough to the zipper. You will need to switch the footer for the narrow one on the side where the needle will be closest to the zipper tracks. If you're using a thin needle switch to a thicker ones so that it doesn't break. Fold the fabric edge and place it next to the zipper and straight stitch down the length of it. Switched the footer to the other side so that the needle is closest to the zipper. Tracks. Do the same on the other side. Roll the top and bottom edges in to hide the zipper ends and to keep the zipper from coming off its tracks from the top. So a straight stitch to secure it. Zig zag along the edges will connect to the zipper. Place the good side of your fabric facing the zipper with the zigzag edge aligned on top of the zipper edge with the zipper foot to the side so that the needle is closest to where the zipper tracks are. Stopped about an inch before the end of the zipper tracks. Switch your footer to the other side and repeat the process for the other side of fabric. Line up the two pieces of fabric from the bottom with good sides facing each other. So a straight stitch seam up until where you stopped sewing the fabric to the zipper. This will hide the bottom of the zipper. If you cut the top of the zipper to shorten it, make sure you don't pull the tab off of it. Otherwise you may not be able to get it back on, roll the top of the fabric and to hide the top of the zipper and keep the polar tab from coming off secure with a straight stitch. Use darts to create 3D shapes and take away excess fabric where your body may be curved. Hence, the top edge of the fabric by folding it in on itself and sewing a straight stitch on top of it. Stick your pocket on and fold the remaining edges in. Sewing straight stitch on top to secure it on. So the inside length and bottom of the two layers of fabric that will make up your pocket. But when sewing the bottom, stop about half an inch from the end, zigzag where you stitch to keep it from frame. Align your pocket where you want it with good sides facing each other, where it will attach to the one side of your project. And now stitch them together. Do the same on the other side, making sure it all aligns together. Fold the panels to sandwich your pocket in and stitch where you want your pocket hole to end, making sure you can still fit your hand in the hole once complete. Then so the top of your panels together, the top of the pocket will be stitched down depending on how you want to finish your project. Stitch the two layers of your color together on all sides, except those opposite of the pointy corners. Cut off the points next to your stitching. This will make the corners less puffy once it's turned right-side-up, zigzag along all edges where you stitched. Now flip it right side out. You can use scissors to help you get the points, but be careful not to poke it through the fabric. Top stitch all those edges down to keep them in place. And now you have your color that you can attach to the neck of your Garmin. Another option to finish an edge is to use bias tape. Unfold the bias tape and align the edge next to the edge of the fabric. You want to add the trim to stitch along the crease closest to the edge. Fold the bias tape back in on itself, but around the edge of your fabric. Now stitch all of the layers together. If you're running low on fabric, you can also take the scraps and sew them together to make one big piece of fabric. Again, this one is especially handy if you're upcycling and have limited fabric. I recommend using a top stitch over all your seams so that they don't stick out since there'll be a lot. 9. Troubleshooting: Oh, you made a mistake. Here are some mini tutorials on some common mistakes and how to fix them. If you're using a stretch fabric with a straight stitch, the straight stitch offers no stretch to it. So when the fabric stretches, it will break once enough force is applied. To avoid this and a project breakdown, use a zigzag stitch. The wider the zigzag, the more stretch it will offer. If you're having issues with your stitching, it may be because you're using the wrong sewing machine needle type for the fabric. For example, here's a stretch fabric sewn with a denim sharp and stretched needle. The stretch needle picked up all the stitches while the sharp missed quite a few. The smaller the stitch length and closer to their stitches are together, the more secure it will be, but the harder it will lead to seem real. To take apart a seam, you can use a scene repre, however, you can also use scissors, but be careful to not cut your fabric. If you place your thread in front of the footer, there's a good chance it will get stuck once you start selling. To prevent this from happening, keep the top thread in the footer hole and both of them towards the back behind the footer. If the fabric is too thick to start, you might get stuck. If this happens, you can so manually using the handle on the side of your sewing machine and then lifting up the fabric and moving it back after each stitch yourself. You can also pull the threads at the start of the scene to get over the hump. If the thread tension is too loose, you'll get a bunch of bubbly stitches. If this happens, adjust the tension knob on your sewing machine. Sometimes my stitching isn't always straight and I don't want to do a whole seam rip. So actually so over top of it to make another straight line to hide it. Sometimes when you make a project, it doesn't turn out how you thought it would in your head. What I've learned over time is that these flaws were actually opportunities to add character. When I added this leaves onto the shirt, it made the same pucker. So I added even more of it by adding a bunch of ruffles on the front. And now it looks like it's supposed to be there. When I added the stretchy straps on the back of the shirt, it caused the fabric to bubble and curve. I made the shirt more curvy by adding a wavy bottom PEM. 10. Conclusion: When you're done, make sure you log any changes you made to your pattern in case you want to reuse it in the future. I cut the paper pattern and the areas I took in and where I couldn't, I marked with a pen the changes that I made. I organize all of my patterns into envelopes and write any extra notes about it on the outside. When you're done your project, remember to snap a photo and post it to the project gallery because I would love to see it by.