Before you tackle your next sewing project, consider these 4 tips for transforming your home sewn patterns into a professional looking and dare I say "ready to wear" garment.
1. Increase Your Hem Widths
The first difference I noticed between domestic sewing patterns and those in the "industry" is the small hem widths. A good rule of thumb on pants, slim skirts, coats and jackets is to increase your hems to 5cm. A wider hem, hand stitched, will give your garment weight. A pant, skirt, coat, jacket, with a wide hem will always hang better. Your garment will look grounded and stable.
2. Rethink Your Closures
A funny thing happens the higher the price point of a garment: embellishment all but disappears . If there are buttons and zippers they are discreet and minimal. Why? Because even though a great embellishment like a button can "make" a garment, it can also very quickly "break it" by aging it. This is why the designer coats and dresses with four figure price tags more often than not avoid obvious embellishment. If you practice restraint, even on a few of your garments, I promise you they will rise above trends and will become staples in your closet that you'll reach for over and over again.
Don't overlook the importance of a good press; ideally on the wrong side of the garment and through a press cloth. Every seam, hem and neckline should get a firm hot press. When I was in school we were taught that if you spent less than 20 minutes pressing your finished garment, it wasn't pressed! Our instructors also rolled their eyes at us if we "wiggled" the iron on the garment. In their heavy Italian accents you'd hear "your iron is not here to dance!". Heat, steam, pressure, repeat.
Think beyond the fabric recommendations on your favourite sewing pattern. Let your imagination play. Bias tape outside seams, combine different fabrics (so long as they are the same weight) and have fun! This is a great way to to have your garment be uniquely yours.
Have fun sewing!