Keeping Sewing Simple

One of my pet hates are instructions for making up garments which make things look too complicated. Nothing puts people off doing something than looking at really difficult instructions. I very rarely look at pattern instructions but have come across students who have started a project but have given up half- way through due to the instructions. Here is the way I look at making up garments.


Join a minimum number of seams before doing more complicated techniques. It is much easier to, for instance,  put  a jacket pocket into the front of a jacket before you join on any more panels.


Keep the garment as flat as possible, doing as many techniques as you can before making a three-dimensional shape. Once you make the three-dimensional shape to fit the human body, it gets trickier to work on.


To explain these rules further I’ve set out my way of making up a few garments.




Make darts, put in pockets, Zip Placement.


Make darts or yokes.


Join side seams

Join inside leg seams.

Join crotch seam.

Make waistband. Sew hems.



Make darts.

Join seam for zip placement.

Join the rest of the seams.

Lining if using.

Waistband and hem


Shirts, Blouses, Pyjama Tops.

Join yoke or shoulder seams.

Make placket front

Collar application.

Put placket into sleeve if using.

Put sleeves into shirt. Leaving 2” free at each end.

Join side seams on body and sleeves.

Sew remaining underarm sleeve seam.

Make and apply the cuff.

Finish hems.



My way of tailoring keeps the jacket completely flat until the facings are on, and all the lining is in position.


I teach these methods of construction on all my courses, in the hope that it will encourage lots of people to start sewing or come back to sewing after a break. I get a lot of enjoyment from making my own clothes and  I would love to pass that on to everyone.