Sewing your own clothes

There is something very satisfying about sewing your own clothes. Not only is it cheaper then buying clothes from the shops, it is also a lot easier than you think and quick too. The best thing about making your own clothes is you get exactly what you want. I am no sewer, and I don’t use patterns because I find them too hard to understand most of the time. I just wing it. Some would say my methods are crazy, but I will show you how you can make a pattern from an existing item in your wardrobe and sew it in an afternoon.

sewing machine

I went to the local fabric shop the other day and picked up a couple of fat quarters and some fabric to make a dress and a top. I am lucky to live close to the best fabric shop on the coast. The fabric designs are exquisite, its very easy to spend an hour in there browsing the shelves full of gorgeousness. The fabrics are not cheap, but good quality cotton so I don’t mind paying a bit extra for it.


I have a halter neck top that is well loved and worn, and is beginning to fade ever so slightly. I wanted to make a top in the same style in my chosen fabric. I grabbed a roll of baking paper from the kitchen, laid out my top and traced a front and back piece for my pattern.

tracing a pattern from clothing

I cut out the fabric, creating one front piece and two back pieces, as in my original top. I sewed it all together, and here it is.

halterneck top

Luckily the original top was a simple pattern to copy. I wouldn’t be brave enough to choose anything more fancy. This top also has no zip, so its super easy to make. Just cut and sew.

halterneck top

Can you believe this style of top costs $69.95 in the shops (about 37 pounds)! This one cost me $20 to make and took 2.5 hours from start to finish, including tracing and cutting the pattern and fabric. Not bad for an afternoon’s work. Maybe you can have a go at making something from your wardrobe. If you are nervous, use a cheap fabric from a bargain bin at your local store to try it out first. Good luck!
T x


A handmade halterneck top

I decided on the spur of the moment to make a dress! Then I thought it might be a little ambitious for me, as I am not a sewer and barely know how to work a sewing machine. It could also be disastrous if I bought material for said dress and then stuffed it up, so thought a top would be a safer and cheaper option. I ventured off to the local fabric shop and found this cute cotton print.

cotton fabric tiny red print

Cotton is great for this climate and I loved the tiny print. The ladies in the shop were really helpful as I had no idea how much fabric to buy (note to self, measure oneself first before going shopping). They did a quick measure, and suggested 70cm would be plenty for me as the width was ample to work with. It cost me 16 dollars and I was a happy bunny.

baking paper pattern

I got home and had to make a pattern for a halterneck top with a simple drawstring tie fastening. I used the basic principles found here on bored and crafty, showing how to make a halterneck dress. I would just make the top half. I measured myself and traced out a pattern onto baking paper then stuck it onto my fabric with sticky tape ready to cut. I found this way easier than pinning.

cut out halter neck top pattern

I cut, pinned and sewed, really just making it up as I went along. I even sewed darts for the boob allowance! I don’t think I got them in the right place in the end but the finished top fits me nicely.

drawstring halterneck top

Photos taken by my littlest one who had to stand on a chair to get the tie fastening on my shoulder in shot.

cotton drawstring halterneck top

Now, I have a question for you sewers out there. How do you deal with darts when you have to sew the front darted piece onto the back piece? I cut both front and back fabric pieces symmetrically so they were the same size and shape but when I came to sew them together the back was longer than the front and the shapes wouldn’t match up. I had to add darts to the back peice too so it would fit. Any explanations very welcome for future projects 🙂

I am very happy with my top. It only took me half a day to make from start to finish! I might just make another trip to the fabric shop. Hubby is away again next week so while the cat’s away…