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Natural Progression of Difficulty
Or, what order to tackle types of garments
demoiselle
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demoiselle
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Date: 6/22/13 8:30 AM

Like many a newish sewer, I've started with skirts. Now I'm working on a simple top. I'd like to do a mini-wardrobe (as I posted below), so I'm trying to figure out what the natural progression in terms of "difficulty" of projects is. I'm guessing something like this:

Skirt
Top (sleeveless, with simple darts)
Dress (sleeveless)
Tops with sleeves.

Then I start to guess . . .
Pants? *
Vests (more structured)
Jackets . . .

And then generally garments that are more complex/fitted, have a lot of pieces. Anyway, any advice about what direction to go after "sleeveless dress" would be welcome.

* I don't wear a lot of dresses, so some pants would be good to have. I have a nice 80s pattern for culottes. I also have Simplicity 2700.

** Unfortunately, I don't look good in loose-fitting clothes (especially around the top), so I have to have some structure in whatever I make. Boxy patterns don't work--so much for simplicity.

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Marie367
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In reply to demoiselle <<


Date: 6/22/13 8:44 AM

That is a good order. I would probably say a simple Jacket before pants. A jacket is easier to fit and similar to a woven top to construct. Pants can be the simple to sew but difficult to fit. I like Burda pants pattern. There are several Craftsy classes about making pants and fitting pants.

demoiselle
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demoiselle
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In reply to Marie367 <<


Date: 6/22/13 8:51 AM

Quote: Marie367
That is a good order. I would probably say a simple Jacket before pants. A jacket is easier to fit and similar to a woven top to construct. Pants can be the simple to sew but difficult to fit. I like Burda pants pattern. There are several Craftsy classes about making pants and fitting pants.

Thank you!

Do you mean a jacket like a simple bolero? Because I'd assumed a more fitted type of jacket (I'm tiny up top and need a defined waistline and bust to not vanish)/lining. Is there a jacket you particularly recommend as simple?

ETA: I do have one pattern for knit tops, but at this point I'm working entirely with woven fabrics.
-- Edited on 6/22/13 8:52 AM --

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LauraTS
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Date: 6/22/13 10:11 PM

If you don't have to worry about fit, I think pants are easier than a jacket, personally. A lot of people struggle with pants fit and that's the reason why they don't make pants much, not because they're that tricky technique-wise. I think adding one new technique or feature at a time is a good approach - simple shell, add a zipper, add a collar, add a button placket, that sort of thing.

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Speech girl
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Date: 6/22/13 10:34 PM

I like the add a technique approach too. I did something like that when I was a beginner, after some initial missteps.

And some pants are easier than others... Elastic waist and drawstring pants andvshorts are easiest. The culottes pattern you have will be easier to fit than a pant with a slimmer pant leg. I am teaching my 8, 11, and 14 year olds to sew PJ shorts right now-- it's their first garment ever (granted, two are boys so a skirt wasn't the best option..)

Jackets, at least fitted and lined ones, are time consuming to make and have a lot of fitting issues and tailoring techniques you have to learn to make them look great. It is worthwhile to make one but it may be good to tackle some fitted blouses and dresses with sleeves and buttons and pockets first.

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MrsCharisma
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Date: 6/22/13 11:05 PM

As a beginner myself (sewing for about 6 months now), I think that part of it depends on your nature/personality.

Are you the type that gives up in frustration?
Do you expect "perfection"?

I thankfully jumped right in to sewing without knowing what I "should" or "shouldn't" sew...I just cut and sewed :)

Now, I'm able to do a better job researching patterns first, making some (SOME) fit adjustments, perfecting techniques, etc.

I'm finishing up S2700 tomorrow - it seems to be a love/hate pattern :)

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Singer Talent 3321 | Brother 1034D

My Big 4 Sizing: Medium | Tops 14/16 | Pants 18 | Skirts 16/18.

My Measurements: 36 HB | 38.5 FB | 34 W | 44 Hip

SquishSews
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In reply to MrsCharisma <<
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Date: 6/22/13 11:13 PM

Just an aside from the thread - I love your enthusiasm and you clearly come by your username honestly... from a stranger!

betsyl
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Date: 6/23/13 0:02 AM

I think part of it, too, is the level of difficulty in each garment within a clothing classification. A lined top will be harder than others, you know? It depends on what's new about each garment, so that you're teaching yourself a new technique, regardless of whether the item is in a more difficult garment classification or not.

Kwaaked
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Date: 6/23/13 6:52 AM

I started with advanced patterns, and the more I sew, the easier many of my patterns become.

I never make sleeveless, so I never went that route. I started with PJs and shorts, and then moved to princess seamed button shirts, then on to more advanced dresses.

I think a lot of it is how you view sewing and what you want to make. Many garments will add a technique without having to keep to a strict a to z type of schedule. A top can go from a basic dolman sleeve type to a peasant blouse (elastic/raglan) to darts, to buttons, to princess seams, to binding and so on.

nancy2001
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Date: 6/23/13 11:46 AM

I agree with Kwaaked that you should sew the garments you want to wear. I started with tee shirts with sleeves because I don't wear sleeveless and then jumped into pants because I don't wear skirts or dresses. After a few months, I tried my first jacket.

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