Sewing Techniques

How to Overcome Your Fear of Cutting and Ruining Fabrics.

You are not alone in this. I used to almost get a panic attack when I had to cut my leather hides, yeah, you read it correctly. I was a leather design student, therefore I made leather garments. When it comes to garment manufacturing, leather is one of the most costly materials. If you’re afraid of cutting cloth, consider what it’s like to cut a valuable piece of hide on which you’ve spent your entire months budget.


Here are few tips and tricks that can help you over come those fears 🙂


1. Convince yourself that you can accomplish it.

You’ve seen a stunning style that appears to be absolutely out of this world; look at it and convince yourself you can accomplish it. Remove the notion that makes you feel inadequate.

Yes, you are just beginning out as a dress maker, and you may not be familiar with fabric, but tell yourself you can do it. You’re already on your way to successfully cutting and sewing a garment without fear if you keep a good attitude.


2. Visualize

Sewing is similar to photocopying. The way you see it is how it was probably drafted. Keeping the end result in mind can help you keep going and identify any mistakes you are making. If you don’t get it right the first time, try again. You will ultimately achieve the appropriate outcome through stitching by trial and error. When you consider how an item was cut and you have learned the fundamentals of sewing, project gets easier and easier day by day. And if you wish to ‘up’ your sewing game, pick up a good online pattern making course.


3. Practice is progress

After you’ve analysed a design and imagined how it might be cut and assembled, the following step is to practise. Instead of practising on textiles, practise on newspapers, brown papers, pattern papers, and so on.

Practice as often as possible, and begin with tiny quantities rather than huge portions. Practice makes perfect and helps you overcome any fears you may have.

When you are certain that you have mastered the art of cutting, you may progress to working with textiles. Always begin with a low-cost cloth.


4. Use pattern with seam allowance to cut your fabric.

Try to avoid the temptation of marking the measurements directly on the fabric. Use patterns, your own or ready made, that have seam allowance marked already. This will give you extra boost of confidence.


5. Smooth out your fabric and check that it is even on all sides.

When it comes to basic bodice design and cutting, your fabric is generally folded into four. Make certain that your cloth is smoothed out at each step of the folding process. Iron it if it is rumpled since little imperfections on the cloth impair your cutting .

Also, ensure that the fabric hems are even on all sides. If you’re dealing with a meter wide cloth, make sure each side is a meter long before cutting. If it is not , you can trim the extra with scissors ( perhaps mark first !)


6. Cut and Sew.

Go ahead and cut once you’ve double-checked that everything is in order. When you set your mind to it, cutting and stitching are really straightforward.

When you’ve cut everything on your inexpensive fabric, stitch it up and figure out where you went wrong and what you need to fix. Continue doing it, and you will undoubtedly improve.


Just start! It’s not as hard as it seems. Mistakes are ok, it’s just material 🙂

Sewing Techniques

How-to-sew-girls-dresses-Waist Cut frock

To learn pattern making basics join our ONLINE PATTERN MAKING COURSE



– Printed cotton fabric, approx 3.5m


a. Chest

b. Lengthr

c. Waist

d. Across shoulder


1. From point O mark A i.e. shoulder to waist length.

2. From point O mark B which is 1/2 of across shoulder

3. From point O mark C i.e. 1/4 th of chest.

4. From point C mark point E which is 1/4th of chest +


5. From point B mark F i.e. 1/36th of chest

6. Mark point H from point A i.e. 1/4 th of waist + 1″

and join HA with straight line

7. Join FO with straight line. Join HE with straight line.

8. From F mark point Y i.e. 1.5” on line FO.

9. Mark point X from point O i.e. 1/12th of chest + 1”.

10. Mark point W on centre front from point X i.e. 1.5”.

11. Mark diagonal line from point E to O.

12. Now we get point R, from point R to E make a slight

curve for arm hole and give shape as shown in

the figure.


1. Draw a rectangle WXZY as shown in the figure.

2. WY= 12” and WX=20”.

3. Draw 2” rectangle inside WXZY as shown.

4. Place CD on AB and EF on GH and MN on KL and OP

on QR and make pleats .

5. Similarly repeat the steps for back.


1. Stitch the side seams with French seam

2. Finish the hem with blind hem.

3. Concealed zipper will be attached at back .


1. Decorative laces and trims can be added at the


2. Colorful buttons can be used as show buttons.

3. Colorful threads can also be used for stitching.

4. Different fabrics in the same color tone (one solid

and one printed ) can be used


Sewing Techniques

How to Sew Saree blouse How to cut your fabric using the pattern

In this blog I’m explaining how to use the pdf saree blouse patterns. 

Pay attention to the instructions given on the pattern and cut accordingly. Front or back pattern will be either cut on fold or cut in 2. If it is ‘cut on fold’ you will keep the pattern at the fold of the fabric without providing any seam allowance. If it is to be ‘cut X 2′ then you will keep it away from the fold. Seam allowance for the these patterns is not provided hence you can mark your preferred SA. 3/8 inch or 1 cm allowance usually works well. At the side seams you can give 1 inch allowance in case you need to adjust the size later on.

At the sleeve hem you can give 1 inch seam allowance for folding in.

Some patterns have belts under the bust to give support. those patterns will require fusing (stiff sticky fabric) The fusing is cut in a similar way as the belt.

Some patterns have neck facing. See the blog on ‘how to sew Neckline’ for guidance.


Sewing Techniques

Gathered neck summer dress tutorial. summer dresses for women summer dresses 2021 sundress

Part 1 – Create the pattern using the basic block.

Summer dress , draw string dress
Summer dress

Summer is approaching and if you are anything like me you probably have started pinning summer dress pics on your Pinterest board labelled dream summer wardrobe. This year I decided to upgrade my wardrobe not based on trend and fashion but based on questions like do I need this style ? How does it make me feel when I wear it ? Does it have any emotional attachment? While answering these questions I ended up getting rid of few clothes, upcycling my old favourites and sewed some fresh clothes that were comfortable, practical and made from fabric I loved and cherished.

This dress is my latest addition to my wardrobe made from much loved crinkled cotton fabric. Very simple to make and even simpler to sew.

Step 1.

Pattern Making.

Use your basic block to create this pattern. Close the waist dart (not completely as this design is quite loose at the waist) and open it at the shoulder.

Don’t have a basic block yet ? Watch this tutorial and learn how to make one.

Mark a point 1 inch below the neckline and connect it to the shoulder tip. follow the armhole curve and connect a short straight line upward.

The front pattern will be cut on fold. Follow the seam allowance marked and cut the fabric accordingly.

For the back pattern use the same pattern but cut away from the fold. Bring in the Center back slight to give a gap for tying the string.


For the skirt you will need to cut your fabric in a rectangle with length as you desire and width as waist multiply by 2, this would give you just enough gathers but if you wish to have more gathers you will need to increase the width more.


Your patterns are now ready! sundress summer dresses for women summer dresses 2021

Sewing Techniques

Tools to get you started. sewing tools hand sewing machine seam ripper

In order to use ready made patterns, or making patterns from the scratch you will require a few tools and equipments. I have listed below bare minimal tools for you to get started.

Sewing machine.

Any basic model will do. I use a very inexpensive machine, and it works just fine.

Tracing paper.

Large sheets if possible for tracing the patterns.


Used to attach tracing paper together when drafting or altering patterns.


This machine is helpful if you plan to sew with knits. There are a couple of dresses in the book sewn from ponte, a double-knit fabric that, unlike most knits, has enough body that it can be used for fitted dresses. If you don’t have a serger, you can substitute a woven fabric that has a bit of spandex in it and use your regular machine. Or use your regular machine to sew knits using a small zigzag stitch and a ballpoint needle. Sewing machine needles. You’ 11 need universal, or basic all-purpose needles, plus a ballpoint needle for sewing knits and a variety of machine needles for light/delicate, medium-, and heavy-weight fabrics.

Invisible-zipper presser foot.

Though you can actually sew an invisible zipper effectively using a

regular zipper foot (truth be told, I often do), an invisible-zipper foot is helpful for inserting invisible zippers as it allows you to get very close to the zipper teeth. Though most machines come with a regular zipper foot, they don’t usually come with an invisible-zipper foot. You can usually buy a plastic one that works with most machines wherever invisible zippers are sold, though plastic feet are . not nearly as sturdy as metal ones. You can find a metal foot that is compatible with your particular

sewing machine online or by contacting your machine’ s manufacturer.

Hand-sewing needles.

Various sizes will allow you to baste fabrics and hand-hem skirts.


Choose thread that matches the dominant color in your fabric. All-purpose polyester thread is the best choice for sewing dresses as it’ s strong and has a bit of flexibility in other words, it won’t break when stretched a bit.

Pins and pincushion.

I find pearl-tipped pins easier to work with, but regular pins workjust fine. Silk ‘ ‘ pins are very thin and are used for silk and other delicate fabrics.

Safety pins.

For turning small pieces, such as straps, inside out.

Good fabric shears. It is really worth spending the money for a good pair of shears and having them professionally sharpened when needed. They make cutting so much easier and more accurate. Don’t use your good shears to cut anything else! Especially paper.

Regular scissors.

Use these for cutting paper patterns.

Seam ripper.

Remove temporary basting stitches or sewing mistakes with this tool.

Yardstick Keep one on hand for measuring fabric yardage and drafting patterns.

L square or T square. Any ruler that will allow you to check right angles will also work In a pinch, you can use a piece of paper instead.

Soft tape measure.

This tool is essential for taking accurate persona! or dress-form measurements.

Armhole curve ruler, or French curve ( optional). This measures and marks armholes in bodice patterns.

Hip curve ruler

Use this to measure and mark curves for skirts.

Clear ruler

If you are altering patterns or creating a variati on of a pattern, the instructions

may call for a ruler or straightedge.

Tailor’ s chalk or chalk pencils. Transfer nonpermanent markings from the patterns to the fabric with either tool.

Dressmaker’ s pencil.

You can get a sharper, more accurate line than with chalk using these pencils.

The markings can be brushed off or removed with a damp cloth.

Steam iron.

You will frequently need an iron to press open seams.

Tailor’ s ham ( optional). This is very handy for pressing curved areas of a garment such as darts, princess seams, and the shoulders of sleeves, but a roll ed hand towel can also be used in place of this professional tool. sewing tools sewing tools hand sewing machine

Sewing Humour

Tailoring Baju Kurung, Cheongsam and Sari Blouse

When I started sewing at the age of 11, without my even realizing I was actually using the draping method to sew my own clothes. For those who are new to pattern drafting terms, Fashion draping is an important part of fashion design. Draping for fashion design is the process of positioning and pinning fabric on a dress form (in my case it was my own body using safety pins) to develop the structure of a garment design. After draping, the fabric is removed from the dress form and used to create the sewing pattern for the garment.

Until I joined a proper fashion degree college I was quite happy and pleased by the results and had actually started considering myself a self –taught- genius- fashion designer! To my surprise and dismay all my beliefs were shaken to the core when I was introduced to the world of systematic and calculative pattern drafting. That’s when I realized that pattern drafting of any product is no joke. It’s a combination of science, math and loads of logics. I soon was humbled enough to adapt this new method and since then I have never taken my patterns lightly no matter how simple the design was.

Now that I’m a professional dressmaker and a teacher more often than less I am confronted with this question – “how do Tailors make clothes with only few measurements and why does a particular tradition garment (sari blouse, cheongsam, Baju kurungs etc) are cut directly on fabric without having to make patterns!?”

To my understanding a dress maker should be able to make any design irrespective of their cultural background or expertise in a garment belonging to that particular culture. I believe the basics and fundamentals should and will remain the same no matter what. Your method can be different from mine but as long as it gives the same end result it shouldn’t matter.

To answer this question I selected a sari blouse design and cut the pattern using my professional dress making basics the end result was fantastic but it took me twice as time as any local Tailor would take. So here’s my answer – yes it’s a fact that local Tailors take way too less measurements and often don’t require to draft their patterns on paper before cutting the fabric but it is also a fact that besides their own traditional garments seldom they can sew any other designs. Try giving your local sari blouse or Punjabi suit tailor a western evening gown or boot cut pants! You’ll know what I mean. No offense to them they are by all means very skilled individuals with years of precious experience but the fact remains the same – their method of learning and practice is restricted to a particular design and is often learnt from a senior master tailor who passes on their own short cuts that they figured out during their own sewing journeys. These methods and tricks are learnt and absorbed without asking the “whys” behind them and hence although they give great results they often fail to display creativity and innovation in designs.

As a dress maker you yourself will develop many tricks and short cuts of your own but when you teach someone your skill make sure you hand them down the full extensive methods and let them make their own mistakes and find their own tricks 🙂

Happy Sewing !


Sewing Humour

Sewing is my super power.. is it though ..

Little fact – Edna Mode’s character is based on real-life costume designer Edith Head, a renowned costume designer of Hollywood’s golden age, with 8 Oscars (and over 30 nominations) in her lifetime.

As a part of my job, I come across many kinds of customers. If I were to categorize them, I would put all of them into two categories. The first type would be those who completely trust me as a designer and give me the creative freedom to design and sew their outfits. Their design brief includes a few things like the occasion where the dress will be worn, color preferences and whether the occasion demands any theme or specific color to be followed. These days, almost everything has a theme, be it baby showers, birthday parties or weddings. But I must confess, I have not yet come across a funeral with a theme. Thankfully, these have not become a trend yet, and hopefully, will never become one.

The second type would be the ones who trust their own design instinct and abilities more than anyone else. They often come with an air brushed picture of the design worn by a 5 ft 8 inch tall model, and they want me to sew “that” design “exactly” as it appears in the picture. While that may sound like a perfectly reasonable ask, it does sound like a stretch when they demand that the dress should make them look exactly like the 5 ft 8 inch tall model!

For asks like this, I humbly present my point of view. A couple of issues with these type of requests:

Firstly, the physical characteristics of the model in question could possibly be different from the client. Height, complexion and body measurements of the model, who looks fabulous in that dress is also likely to be different. Every design needs to be seen in context. What looks good on one body type need not necessarily look good on another. I do not subscribe to the concept of mass producing some designs for people of different physical characteristics to buy, just because it looks good on a fashion model. A classic example of this would be “Anarkalis” (a long, frock-styled Indian outfit that is usually paired with a slim fitted bottom). How I have prayed for this fad to pass and common sense become more common. There was a point of time when I wanted to put a banner in front of my shop saying – “If you want to get an Anarkali stitched, the seamstress is on vacation.”

Secondly, even if I succeed in convincing the customer about the design of the dress and offer to change the design to suit their body type, in some semi stitched or precut garments there isn’t much scope for modifying the dress. The design is already predetermined.

My point here is that whether you tailor makes your outfit or you buy off the rack not every design should or can be worn by everyone. Just because it’s in vogue doesn’t mean everyone should have it. When we are young and exploring our style by experimenting with different type of garments, if some days our style doesn’t hit the key it’s still understandable but after a certain age one should know what looks good on them and there is no excuse to look disastrous.

My view is that it is always ok to stick to classics and minimalistic designs that can’t go wrong, irrespective of who wears them. But if you want to look fashionable then it is advisable that you know which fashion and style works for you. The other option of course is to let your designer do their job. While designing a dress, one should keep the body type, complexion and height in context before deciding on the design. That’s where the visualisation plays an important role. Spending some time visualizing yourself wearing a dress may help you make the right decision.

Sewing Techniques


A hem in sewing is a garment finishing method, where the edge of a piece of cloth is folded narrowly and sewn to prevent unraveling of the fabric.
During my teaching sessions I often see students (beginner level) struggling to keep the hem folded while they can sew it and for obvious reasons they do get stressed. So here are few tips and techniques that can help you hem comfortably making the whole process enjoyable and relaxing.


1. Pinning: fold the edges based on the seam allowance you are working on using the pins and then hem.


2. Tacking: fold the edges and do a long distant running stitch on it with a single thread. Once you are done with the hem simply remove the running stitch by pulling the end thread.

3. Ironing: you can fold the edges based on your seam allowance and iron on it. But this technique is more useful if you are dealing with stiffer fabric such as linen or cotton.


4. Fabric glue: there are lots of brands in the market like Sewing box, Quick sew etc. that would easily get hem folded while you sew them. However using the glue can get messy and make your fabric slightly stiff. Make sure to thin spread the glue.


Here is a simple recipe to make fabric glue right in your kitchen. All u need is some white flour and warm water. Just mix 1/2 teaspoon of flour in 4 tea spoon of warm or hot water. Mix it nicely and thoroughly to avoid any lumps . Once the paste is smooth apply it on the edges with a thin brush and press fold the hem.


Hope you found the information useful!

Happy sewing!

Kalpana Singh

Sewing Techniques

Visualizing your Design – The very start

More often than not, dress making is perceived as a complicated form of art that has too many technical aspects to it. Newbies, whether you are a first semester fashion design student or a self-learner, often get intimidated by these technicalities. If you are first semester Fashion student, you wouldn’t have much choice, however others conveniently resort to their friendly neighborhood tailors for their sewing needs.

But honestly dress making is a simple process as long as we keep the end result in perspective.
To make things simple I would like to divide the whole process of dress making in four parts —
Pattern making , pdf patterns, sewing patterns , saree blouse patterns

Your ability to imagine an outfit on completion, in it’s full glory. And thereon your ability to work backwards and translate that three dimensional visual onto a two dimensional paper or fabric. This transition from concept to product gets better with every well executed project.

I started making my clothes early on in life. It was more an act of survival. Being a middle child with an elder sister and a younger brother most of my clothes were hand me down. Now that I have two daughters, I understand the joy and pride the younger one feels in owing her sisters clothes. I felt the same joy when I received my sisters’ clothes. The only problem here was they were over sized, and I literally swam in them. So, I would say my experience with clothes had more to do with alterations than making them from the scratch. I would put on those over sized clothes on my petite body and start putting the safety pins around the waist to create the darts, pull in the shoulders to settle the cloth on it and even fold up the hem to reduce the length to match my height. My motivation was simple – I was getting something new to wear. It’s not that I did not have my share of new clothes, but I understood early in life that for a girl there’s never too many dresses. Hence the moment my sister got her new dresses I would start imagining them on me, if I did not like the design or the style I would imagine how I could rip open the seams and redesign it to my liking. That imagination is the key.

Before you even start taking the measurements for yourself or for someone you want to sew you have to imagine and visualize that garment on the body. For which its also important to understand the body, its shape and curves. Body is the platform where your dress will develop. Your measurement will help you understand the body but your visual will make you understand how the design will drape and fall on that surface. Of course it would help if you belong to the same gender as the clothes you plan to make. for example women would find it easier to visualize women clothing than men but with time and after taking many measurements one starts to understand the body well.

Another important aspect to visualization is the communication of that visual. Its not just enough to be able to see the design in your mind, unless you are the one who is sewing that design one should be able to translate that design visual first on the paper and then on the fabric.

I firmly believe pattern drafting is the back bone of dress making and a good pattern leads to good fabric cutting. Sewing is just a matter of attaching pieces of fabric together that can be mastered by consistent practice. With the accurate body measurements and the instructions you can achieve the basic fit and design and with time can incorporate more creative and innovative patterns in your dress making.

If you interested in Culturally inclusive sewing patterns and you wish to try them here is the link –

Wanna try them for free ? Download the free patterns here

Do consider joining the support group to know how to use these patterns here

Sewing Techniques

Seam Allowance – why not !

Seam allowance (sometimes called inlays) as Wikipedia defines it is the area between the edge and the stitching line on two (or more) pieces of material being stitched together. Seam allowances can range from 1⁄4inch (6.4 mm) wide to as much as several inches.

Sewing, pattern making, pdf patterns, sewing classes malaysia,


Now it is but obvious that creating a seam allowance is a bit of a lengthy work especially when you are trying to create a uniform seam allowance i.e. Making extra effort by measuring the seam and marking accurately. We do sometime get tempted to skip this step and directly go ahead with cutting the fabric by assuming the allowance ( I myself have been guilty of doing the same! ) But if you can actually do an eye measurement and gauge the allowance just by assuming ( which obviously mean you have been sewing for quite some time and can tell the measurement by just merely looking at it ) I would say go ahead and cut the damn fabric!! But if by any chance you are a beginner , which means either this is your first garment or you have sewn 2-3 garments already then please do take the pains of measuring the seam allowance , mark accurately and then only cut the fabric. Here is the reason why – as a beginner your sewing on the machine becomes much easier if you have your lines drawn clearly on your fabric. But as you get experience you might not spend so much time and effort drawing your lines on each and every piece of the fabric cut hence your straight stitches can only be ensured if you align your edge of the fabric to the lines marked next to the machine foot.

If the seam allowance itself is not uniform your sewing on the machine too will not be straight. The logic I often give for spending a little extra time and effort on uniform seam allowance is – “the amount of time spent on removing your stitches is much more than the amount of time spent on marking uniform seam allowance !!” Hence do mark the seam accurately and equally.

Happy sewing !