DIY Fashion: How to Get Started and When to Call it Quits

Sometimes, just buying an outfit at the store isn’t enough. Maybe they don’t have the styles you want, or the looks you like only come in totally bizarre colors. Maybe you can’t find sizes that fit at all, or just want ones that fit a little better. This is where DIY fashion comes in, giving you a few more options for your wardrobe through various sewing and repurposing projects. However, getting into DIY for the first time can be daunting. Here are a few tips to help you along the way.

How Should I Begin?

  • Pick a project that is slightly outside of your current skill set. If you are a beginner, choose a DIY fashion project like making a turban or cute new bag, not just a cutoff tee or scarf. You want to start simple, but not too simple, or you will get bored and won’t learn anything new.
  • Before starting a project that involves sewing, figure out whether you want to use a pattern or not. If you’re an imaginative person with good visualization skills, you may have an easier time doing your own drafting. Read up on both techniques to get familiar with the basics.
  • Anticipate mistakes and buy more materials than your DIY fashion project calls for. There is nothing so frustrating as accidentally making a wrong cut in your fabric and not having enough to keep working.
  • Look up all details before starting. If you need pictures of the process, find pictures. If you need definitions of terms, write them down. If you don’t understand pattern symbols, get yourself a guide to keep on hand.
  • Make a game plan or follow someone else’s how-to guide. Sometimes, it helps to have multiple guides, just in case your original is confusing or flat-out wrong in parts.

Sometimes, a project just won’t go right, no matter how well you prepared for it. Some DIY fashion disasters you can backtrack on or power your way through to get done, but not all. There is no shame in starting over from scratch if you need to.

How Do I Know When to Stop?

  • If you are in over your head. Struggling over a DIY fashion project that is way beyond your skill level, as opposed to one that is just a little challenging, will quickly become frustrating.
  • When your project is unsalvageable. It’s difficult to know exactly when to throw in the towel here, but it is a safe bet to quit if you have damaged any of your materials beyond repair, have been struggling for a long time on a single stage of the project, or are already unsatisfied with the quality of your work, even though it is not finished. Use your best judgment so that you do not end up spending a lot of time on a DIY fashion project you won’t like.
  • When you aren’t enjoying yourself at all. DIY should be fun as well as useful.

Photo credit: Heidi Isaksen-Loxton


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