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How to Sew Your Own Clothes

Want to try to sew your own outfit? Here are some basic instructions and patterns to help you garb yourself. These instructions were designed for the new sewer.

Remember - measure twice - cut once!

Good luck.




Working with Trim

Sewing tips


Fabric is usually purchased in 45 or 60 inch width. Approximate yardage is given for each pattern, and it assumes that there are no patterns on the fabric. If you have patterns you need more fabric and you need to make sure you cut it right, and its probably best to start with fabric without patterns.

You can get fabric from many places, including fabric stores, department stores (e.g Walmart), fabric districts, garage sales, thrift stores, and online (e.g.

Fabrics are made from blends of 'natural' fibers (cotton/linen/wool) and synthetic fibers (polyester). Natural fibers are better for recreation clothing, however 100% of anything is difficult and expensive to find. Your best bet is to start with a poly/cotton blend, making sure its not 100% polyester. Most fabrics are a 30/70 blend.

Ask about washing instructions for the fabric. Don't buy dry clean only fabric if you are the type of person who doesn't dry clean thier mundane clothes. Most of our costumes are machine washable and dryable 'cause we like to come home from wars and throw everything in the wash.

You should wash and dry the fabric before you sew. Wash all trim too.


Sewing by machine is not hard, but you will need instructions and help threading the machine.

Sewing by hand has the advantage of being more period, but it does take a bit longer.


Good thread is worth the investment. Splurge an extra dollar on the more expensive kind, you will save in aggrevation when the cheap thread breaks and you have to rethread the machine.

When sewing by hand, use thread for 'buttons' or 'carpet' or 'craft'. The very thick stuff the is unbreakable by hand.


Good fabric scissors are very useful for cutting out. Sharpen a pair if you can (fabric store, hardware store). Don't cut anything but fabric with them, even paper will dull the blade and make it more difficult to cut.

You can use any type of scissors to clip the threads when sewing with a machine or by hand.

Patterns/Sewing Instructions

Patterns can be difficult and confusing to follow - the ones sold in fabric stores can not be followed by a novice and could easily scare one away from sewing. It is possible however, to modify modern patterns and create period designs.

Our patterns and sewing instructions are easier to follow. To get your shape we advise to cut around a t-shirt that fits you well.

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