Newsletter #6

Made To Measure

By Mavis Cox, author of the book
'Sewing 101 A Step by Step Guide
to Sewing Basics'

Mudgee, Australia


This week is where I'd like to discuss what you most want from sewing, that is, being able to make the type of clothing that best suits you. After all, we want to look and feel good in what we wear, and better still, have people compliment us at the same time! After all, it's all part and parcel of the fruits of our efforts!

So, this week I'd like to talk about patterns, and following on with fabrics next week. That's because patterns and the fabric go hand and hand with each other. And for starting out, there are some fabrics that are easier to work with than others, which is also going to affect your pattern selection.

Now when we start talking about patterns and fabrics, we could simply use the word fashion to describe them as one. Fashion is what makes us feel good about ourselves when we go to a party, socialize, and generally are out in public.

And if you didn't know it, Australia's biggest fashion statement takes place in our springtime during October-November, culminating with the running of our most famous horse race, The Melbourne Cup.

The Melbourne Cup

In America, you have the Kentucky Derby, and England it's the Grand National, but I'm sure that not even those great horseracing events literally stop the nation like the running of the Melbourne Cup does here in Australia. Not only that, but fashion comes alive as I'm going to show you with some of the links below.

The Melbourne Cup Fashion Stakes

Gallops, Glamour & Style

Fashion At Flemington


Melbourne Fashion      Sydney Fashion 

You can probably now see why patterns and fabrics are at the two vital components that go into making fashion what it is. Let's talk about patterns, and what you as a beginner should be looking for when choosing a pattern that best suits your skill level. I have dedicated a whole chapter to patterns in 'Sewing 101', so today's newsletter will only be an abbreviation of what I cover in the book.

Fortunately when selecting a pattern, the package will give a written description of the design, and importantly, the level of difficulty in order to do it.

Don't think that an advanced pattern means that it is better, as it may just mean that it is more straightforward to complete with perhaps fewer pieces. There are many elegant, yet simple garments that can be made using an easy pattern with the right fabric selection.

Because we all come in different shapes and sizes, you are going to need to know the body measurements of the person that you are sewing the pattern for. The pattern size that you select will be based on these measurements, so don't start looking at patterns without this information.

The measurements that you need to take will be:

1. Around the fullest part of the bust, high up under the arm and around the back;

2. Around the waistline, where a belt would naturally be placed;

3. Around the widest part of the hips;

4. Down the back, from shoulder level at the neck down to the waistline; and,

5. The height from head to foot with no shoes on.

Of course, no one person will fit one pattern exactly, which is why pattern sizes have some degree of flexibility for you to alter the fit accordingly. However, you may wish to consider select a pattern size by the bust or upper-bust on blouses, tops, jackets and coats. For garments like pants or a dress, for example, then of course the waist measurement will be more relevant.

Because you are connected to the Internet, this wonderful tool means that you can find so many patterns to browse online, and even purchase, without having to leave the comfort of your own home. Below is a link to such a website that I thought you may find helpful for you with your pattern selections.

  Click on the above banner to go to Modern Sewing, Inc.

That's all for this week! Next week I'll continue by discussing fabrics as a compliment to today's lesson.

Mavis Cox


Mavis Cox
Website Maintained By:
Instant Internet Identity Limited (UK)
Bentinck House, Bentinck Road, West Drayton, Middlesex UB7 7RQ
Email me