How to kick off your new sewing project the right way

How to sew the right way? there are many ways to do that unfortunately. Nevertheless, there are some things you should just keep in mind.

I like to plan every single seam and I think that´s not a bad way. Maybe there´s not much room for spontanity, but aren´t these spontaneous alterations a result of a lack of good planning? In this case I just hate spontanity, sewing without a pattern is just not possible for me.

By now, I have two ways to start a new project and I will show you everything you need to know for the perfect start.

Which fabric for my pattern?

Tulle, Jersey or preferably a cotton sateen?

The pattern is already there. You kept it in your stash for far too long and now is the time to finally make something out of it.

The only thing missing is the matching fabric.

The quality

Firstly, take a look at the sewing instructions of your pattern. Strictly speaking, to the material suggestions.

If it´s a pattern for stretchable fabrics then there will be suggestions for knit fabrics or similar stretch fabrics.

There are significant differences. A viscose jersey is much thinner and stretchable than a cozy wintersweat. That could go wrong...

A pattern which was made for non-stretchable fabrics will list wovens made of cotton, linen, hemp or the likes.

Certainly, the fabric choice depends heavily on the type of garment too. A pattern for a winterly wool coat lists wovens most of all, but you can´t do this with a voile. The characteristics of the fabric like volume and elasticity is calculated while the pattern is made. A boucle performs in other ways than mentioned voile or a hemp twill.

I mentioned before that it´s probably not a great idea to use patterns that are meant for a whole different range of fabrics.

But as for everything: try it out. If you have a pattern with ample fit and ease it may be possible to use wovens and knits. Maybe you need to down- or upsize.


On some pattern there´s a notice if you can use this one for fabrics with big patterns or not.

When you have large-scale patterns it isn´t very concious to choose a pattern with many pattern pieces. Unless you go for a collage effect.

Another example is a fabric with a border which is not suitable for circle skirts. As the name probably tells, a circle skirt is made of a circle so the border will be cut and is only visible in some areas. If you have a borderprint fabric please make us happy by using a ruffle skirt, which is basically a long rectangle of fabric.

On nearly every pattern available is also a note that the consumption will increase if you want to match the pattern repeat or rapport of your fabric. Please keep that in mind.

Care and suitability

Most of the garments that we wear directly on our bodies get washed after wearing them once or twice after all. Sometimes it´s just inevitable because of sweating or unwanted stains (thank you, kids...).

Some fabrics can do with a lot of washing, others don´t. On other garments it sometimes depends on the workmanships used that they´re not suitable for normal washing. When you look inside of jackets or coats you will find different kinds of interfacings and shoulder pads. This is the reason you should handle these garments with utmost care or bring them to dry cleaning.

But also extras like buttons or even prints influence the choice of the washing programme. A glitter print won´t necessarily survive 60 degrees celsius in a washing machine.

So, according to your fabric choice you should decide on how to take care of it before starting sewing.

A good example for this is silk. A blouse made of silk organza is just a thousand times more comfortable than one made of polyester organza a.k.a. plastic bag.

And here comes the problem, Silk can´t be washed as easily as a polyester fabric. Mostly you wash it by hand or give it to dry cleaning. Furthermore, silk is sensitive and doesn´t like some deodorants or sweat. It may get stains or become porose in these areas. So, this blouse won´t become an everyday basic thing.

Which pattern for my fabric?

Here, it´s the other way round. The fabric is in your stash for quite a while. But now the time came to effectively take oit out and sew something out of it.

Liek I described above, a pattern should be matching to the fabric. Ok, enough, we get it... But, a pattern should also be matching to you!

Level of Difficulty

Maybe you´d like to try something new or more difficult. Then, look for a new pattern that includes techniques you´d like to try or practice. Be it sewing a concealed zipper, working with facings or simply a pattern for wovens if you used preferably knit fabrics before.

Your personal style

The pattern should also suit yourself visually. Our eyes and personal taste handles it pretty well already.

Maybe think about which parts of your body you´d like to emphasize and which ones you maybe want to be conceal (this is even possoble by choosing the right fabric). And maybe you stumble upon a pattern which wasn´t your first choice at all.

By now, there are a gazillion patterns out there and some of them go viral. Who could have thought that something like this will happen one day? Suddenly, these patterns are everywhere you look on the internet and nearly every sewing blogger is on board sewing it.

And when time goes by, you think maybe you should try it too, just to keep up with them. And because the hashtag got pretty famous or I don´t know what else. But deep down you know that this pattern is just not meant for you...

Honestly, mostly it´s done with sleeping over it and after this I´m always happy I didn´t waste my time with things that aren´t even my style.

The only viral pattern that i couldn´t keep out of my head is this one by the way (it´s in german). Meanwhile, i made a small version for my daughter and a normal version for the cousin of my boyfriend.


Pro-tip: Look in your stash what´s already there. Thread, buttons, matching fabrics, the basics are at hand, most times...

Yay, the pattern and fabric choice is done. Maybe you even have some things you´ll need for your new project in your stash (I encourage this, please use up your stash first for environmental reasons!)

For everything else, there will be a list. Ok, you can just doing one in your mind, for everyone who is fed up with planning.

A good app for sewing related shopping lists is the Näh ich mir!-App (german). You can add the data of your new bought fabrics and other materials to your virtual stash, so possible leftovers won´t get lost.

A great app for sewing shopping lists is the Näh ich mir!-App (german) You can add the newly bought stuff to your virtual stash so remnants won´t be forgotten.


Ok, the first part of the preparations is underway. You will get your materials ready for processing.


Starting with the fabrics, it depends a bit on the qualities and even on believings. Maybe you already know what I´m up to: Pre-washing or no pre-washing, that´s the question!

Personally, I´m not a huge fan of pre-washing but sometimes I do it nonetheless. Mainly cottons, knit fabrics and everything that has a high percentage of shrinking or could go out of shape.

It´s just important that you treat the fabric as you will treat the finished garment. On fabrics that tend to fray at the edges you can finish the raw edges with a serger or zigzag stitching beforehand. Otherwise you will likely retrieve a bunch of threads from your washing machine.

Wool fabrics or fabrics for coats and jackets, fabrics that won´t get washed regularly or at all (you can air or dryclean them, don´t worry!) can be pressed with a lot of steam. if you use a teflon sole for your iron you can likely do so with maximum heat and continuous steam. Please let it dry afterwards!


I read some time ago that you should soak your interfacing for some time in warm water and dry it afterwards to get it to shrink. Didn´t try it out yet, but it makes sense. the only thing that would probably annoy me are thw wrinkles the interfacing will have after this treatment.

So, I´m using steam again. I "float" along the interfacing with continuous steam. This should be done with a healthy distance between iron and interfacing so it won´t be swirled up and may end up sticking to your iron...


the tape of zippers are made of webbing too. Mostly made of polyester, but it can also be made of cotton. In conclusion, a zipper can shrink! Sometimes you can see it after the first washin cycle. It gets all wavy.

To prevent this we use steam again! You simply press all along the zipper with a lot of steam if it´s a zipper with metal teeth.

If it´s a zipper with plastic teeth I place an old cloth between zipper and iron so nothing melts.

This is it? Hehe, not half of it! But that´s it for today at least. Maybe you´d like to follow me on Instagram to see what I´m up to riht now! I also won´t say no if you pin this Post to your Pinterest boards if you found it useful.

You can´t wait to dig into part 2? Here you go!

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