Monnie the Mini Mannequin and Sample Sewing!
I wanted to catch up with you and reflect on what I’ve been up to with my sewing of late as I know I’ve been a little quiet on the blog front. I’ve recently completed a course that covered many sewing techniques and ‘secrets’ of the sewing industry. This involved sewing a lot of samples. Whilst sample sewing has a tendency to be thought of as boring, for me, I realised the benefits were more than worth it in the end. As a very visual and kinaesthetic learner I am surprised at myself that I hadn't realised this before now, but there you go, I'm there now!
Sample sewing isn’t always necessary. We all have our go to patterns which we know well and covers techniques we feel completely confident in. However, every now and then we meet a technique that we haven’t completed before, or for a while. Whipping up a quick sample before cutting up the good stuff can help mitigate mistakes. Even better if you can do it in the same or similar fabric so you get an accurate feel for how it will look on the finished product.
Nothing is more frustrating than working with your most favourite/expensive/prettiest fabric - seeing it come to life, feeling excited about wearing it and then inserting the zipper badly or the neckline looking odd. This will bring tears = definitely no joy. Been there, done that. This in turn brings me on to fitting and making toiles, but perhaps that is a post for another day!
The perfectionist comes out in most of us in the end. There is nothing worse than feeling like you messed something up on a garment that was supposed to be awesome, right?! Naturally, as with everything, there is a balance to be had, you could become too fanatical and then you'd never sew. Just go and have a look at some of your ready to wear clothing - you will feel instantly better.
I'm sure there are many of you out there who already complete samples - to test how certain hems or finishings work on tricky fabrics or to see which method you like best for completing a task. Whilst it might slow things down quite a bit, #slowsewing, the idea is that the result makes it all worthwhile when you look at your finished creation. The photo below is Monnie the Mini Mannequin, who often showcases some of my more elaborate samples:)
It's a great scrap buster too.
For those of you who are keen to give sample sewing a try to up your sewing game I can thoroughly recommend the following book, Sewing for the Apparel Industry, By Claire B. Shaeffer. I am not affiliated with these guys at all - I just rate the book.
There is also a set of patterns that can be used alongside the book to practise all the techniques. Whilst it is definitely not cheap I have found it to be a very useful textbook. Another bonus is once you finish a sample you can keep it, with notes, ready to refer to at any time.
I realised sample sewing isn’t for everybody. Some don’t need to complete samples and others just don’t want to - time is often short to do the things that we love so utilising that time should be in a way that makes YOU happy. If the 'practise makes perfect' / 'go slow' approach brings you joy, then why not give it a try?