How to Plan Your Sewing Projects For Success

You’ve gushed over a sewing pattern and took the time to pair it with a stunning fabric. You plop down at your sewing machine with your audiobook, latest Netflix binge show, or a glass of wine and you sew it up. #excitedaf

As you clip the loose threads from your last seam, it hits you. Hard.

Meh.

There’s nothing worse than spending time and money on creating a piece only for the ending result to be completely underwhelming. We’ve all been there.

So, today’s post is all about how to avoid the disappointment and frustration that often leads many makers to not get the most out of this wonderful craft.

But I’m here with great news – it’s absolutely within our power to have amazing results with our projects. Keep reading to see how!

1. Choosing a pattern that fills a gap

The last few times that you got dressed, did you have the thought of “I wish I had a ____, that’d be perfect for today.” Make that thing.

I’m all about maximizing your makes and the best way to do that is to make something that plugs a hole in your closet.

I’ve shared my experience with purging most of my makes. Yep, probably most of the pieces I’ve blogged here, (besides my makes from Style Sew Me Patterns) I no longer have.

So, my first recommendation is to shop your closet. What’s missing? Sew it.

I’m a bit of (ok, I’m obsessed) list lover. I keep a list in my iphone of pieces that I am missing from my wardrobe. And when I’m ready to pattern shop or shop ready-to-wear online, I shop from that list first.

2. Selecting fabrics that compliment your wardrobe

Choosing the fabric for your make is just as important as the right design. Actually, I’d argue with myself that it is probably more important! The right piece in the wrong fabric can still leave you with holes in your wardrobe and you’re right back at square one because it doesn’t pair well with anything you have – ugh!

To avoid all of that drama, choose a fabric color that fits the palette in your wardrobe. Are you the queen of bold prints? Then shop for more since you already know they work in your current wardrobe.

Are you a lover of all things neutrals (like me), begin your fabric shopping in neutral colors and prints.

The result is a beautiful piece that is a no-brainer to style. Remember, getting dressed should not be hard!

By the way, if you’re looking for great quality fabrics with a great variety on color and texture, my recommendations are Melanated Fabrics, Sewing Studio, and Stone Mountain and Daughter Fabrics.

3. Practice the techniques for that project on scraps

I’m definitely an advocate of stretching your skills through your sewing projects. It’s more of an incentive to get better at a particular skill because you can put those skills to use immediately.

Most importantly, I want you to be super excited to hang your make in your closet. I want you to hear fireworks and be filled with a private smugness that us makers know very well (lol). 

And that confidence comes from knowing that your zipper is in properly, your hem is straight, those darts are crisp, and your fit is on point.

So, if you’ve committed to a project that will challenge your skills (go you!), I encourage you to take an old pillowcase and practice the skills in that project, like welt pocket, invisible zipper, or pleating. That way, you’re not overwhelming your brain with a hodgepodge of skills that you may or may not use soon.

4. Don’t skip the fit

Yep, I said it. Take the time and make sure your fit is right. Remember the payoff as you adjust and possibly sew a muslin. Your goal is the certainty that you’ll look and feel your absolute best in your pieces.

5. Make your insides as pretty as the outsides

There are some patterns that are designed to have the underside of the fabric show, like my Madison Cardigan pattern. And for patterns like these, you’ll want to pay extra attention to details like you thread color, stitch type, pressing, and how you finish the seams.

But, even if the underside of your piece won’t be shown, there is still something to be said about putting as much effort into your finishings as you do the outside of your piece.

Proper construction techniques gives it a beautiful aesthetic – even if you’re the only person who sees it. But, the real benefits of using the right finishings for your chosen fabric is adding to the longevity of your piece. It reduces the wear and tear on the seams and can add years to the life of your garment. If you’ve gone this far, make sure you get the most out of it.

6. Style It

The final step of adopting your makes into your wardrobe is to actually create looks for that piece. Creating outfits helps get you excited about being dressed and adds more confidence. I know I have an extra pep in my step when I know I look especially put together.

Your style is about much more than what you’re wearing. It can be an expression of who you are and what you love.

I have a close friend who is into anime – hard. Almost every special moment of her life has a representation of anime in it. Her favorite shirts, halloween costumes, baby clothes for her little one…she makes it her business to engrain anything anime into her life and she shines while doing it!

If you’re a lover of Chanel or vintage fashion, then tweed and collarless jackets are likely your jam. Create looks that accentuate the gorgeous buttons that you spent 2 weeks shopping for. Or shop your closet to find the perfect sunglasses and faux pearls that brings justice to the hand sewing you created while binge watching Netflix.

Your time and creativity deserves a full look that you can wear with pride!


If you’ve found yourself on the struggle bus when it comes to feeling like you are getting the most out of your projects, I hope that you see that it is definitely within your reach.

If you’re looking for sewing patterns to enhance your wardrobe, I have to recommend Style Sew Me patterns!

Tell me…what other tips can you share in the comments that help make your projects a success?

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