Some of my most frequently asked questions!
Why do you make your own clothes?
Mostly because I am a tall person and I like having pants that fit.
But also because: it’s fun, it takes up my time in the evenings, I’ve made some friends doing it, it gives me a chance to shout into the void on the internet, it is cheaper than buying clothes depending on how you figure it (I base off fabric cost, since I like sewing and never do it for anyone else, so don’t feel the need to mentally charge for my time), it’s fun to see people’s faces when you say you made something they’ve complimented you on, and because it reduces my fast-fashion guilt.
What machine do you use?
I have used a Singer Talent 3323, a very reasonable entry level machine, since May 2015. I learned to sew on a Huskvarna Viking Emerald 118 in college, and used my mother’s Sears Kenmore machine from the 1970s or 80s when I was home on breaks. My only requirement when buying a machine is that it has a drop-in bobbin, an automatic button hole, and an arm thin enough for me to do a wrist hem on — three things that were lacking on that Sears machine.
So… that’s it?
Yep. I don’t have a serger or a coverstitch machine. I’d love a serger, but it’s not in the cards right now space-wise.
What’s your iron/ironing board situation?
I have a Sunbeam iron and a dorm-sized ironing board. I would love a larger ironing board (and so would my back), but again — not a ton of space.
What fit adjustments do you make?
I’d like to do a larger post on this someday, but for right now — I add length to basically everything I make, and do some crotch adjustments on pants as well. I am 5′ 10″ or 11″ and all my length is in my arms and legs.
My crotch adjustments adjust for a flat pubic bone and a low butt. I don’t find I need to adjust the rise on pants I make, but I do also really like high waisted pants on my body shape.
I’m a sewing beginner! What should I make?
First, I recommend a pattern from an independent designer over a pattern you pick up at a chain fabric store. Indie designers tend to have much better directions and more support than what we call Big 4 patterns (Simplicity, McCalls, Vogue, and Burda (is it Burda? Or is it Butterick? Regardless.)).
There are some people who will tell you to start with projects that call for knits, since they’re more forgiving (read: stretchy). I disagree, as I find that knits are more likely to require a few extra tools or a stronger knowledge of your machine and its settings. I recommend you start with a woven pattern in a stable fabric like cotton or chambray. My recommendation for a beginner woven pattern is the Lou Box Top by SewDIY.
If you are dead-set on making a knit garment, try the Moneta dress.
I’m a blogging beginner! Please help!
Try reading through my Sewing Blogger 101 series.
I’m visiting Chicago/St. Louis! What should I do?
Both Chicago and St. Louis have very few independent fabric stores. In Chicago, I can recommend Oak Fabrics and Evanston Stitch Works fully. You can try Chicago Fabrics, Fishman’s, and New Rainbow in the South Loop, but they don’t have the same type of fabric as the first two do. I currently have no St. Louis recommendations (due to lack of choice, not bad experiences).
I’m working on some pages of activities to do in both cities. Until they’re done, I recommend looking at Yelp lists of things to do — unfortunately, I just don’t have the time to respond to activity suggestions in the depth that I’d like to right now.
You’re a librarian! What should I read next?
If you’re interested in what I’m reading, I add each book I’ve read to a story highlight on Instagram with a brief (very brief) synopsis. I include content/trigger warnings when I feel they are appropriate, but I do not police things like sex or swears. Sometimes I post more in-depth reviews on Goodreads. You can also follow/friend me there if that’s your jam — just add something like “found you on your blog!” or whatever so I know you’re not a bot.
If you’re looking for a personalized recommendation based on things you’ve loved in the past, I fully recommend your local librarian! In-depth reader’s advisory (there’s some library lingo for you) is another thing I just don’t have the time to do the way I’d want to for you.
Have another burning question that didn’t get answered here? Comment or email me at hello [at] maddiemadethis [dot] com.