November 13, 2019

Quilters Can Learn to Sew Clothes!

Back near the beginning of the year, Michelle of From Bolt to Beauty wrote a post explaining all the reasons why she's certain quilters can learn to sew bags, too. She started off by mentioning that she has noticed that many quilters avoid making anything 3D, even if they are accomplished quilters.

Like Michelle, I have heard/read quilters saying they they're scared of 3D sewing. And as much as I wanted to learn garment sewing, I was terrified because clothes have to not only look well made, they also have to FIT. Add in the fact that knit fabrics stretch and I was stuck for years, wanting to sew clothes, but scared to try.

Well, I know for sure that quilters can learn to sew garments, too, even garments made from knit fabric. How do I know? Because I've done it! I've sewn quite a few garments now and I love wearing my me-mades. I started out by using woven fabrics, like quilting cotton, denim and poplin (no stretch!), but I've since made the leap into using knit fabrics.
Quilters can learn to sew clothes |
Are my garments perfect? Not at all, but I can still wear them in public and I see improvement with each garment I finish 😊 To be honest, I've been surprised by just how much I've enjoyed being a beginner again.
Everyday Skirt |
An Everyday Skirt made in Island Batik rayon
Are you interested in learning to sew garments, too? You can do it! As a quilter, you've already mastered using your sewing machine, so that's one big hurdle taken care of. You don't need to invest in a serger. I have one that I was given years ago, and I have used it for some things, but not everything. I didn't use it for the Summer Basics dresses at all.  As long as you have a regular sewing machine that can sew a zig zag stitch, you're good to go.

Some of your quilting skills will transfer nicely to garment sewing, too. The one that surprised me the most was how similar attaching a sleeve is to sewing a curved block like drunkard's path. Now you just need to expand your skills!

Learn the Basics

Start by finding a good resource that explains terms and techniques. I started out with the book, Love at First Stitch, which is a beginner's guide to making clothes with woven fabrics. It walks you through a series of projects that build your skills as you go. There's now also a companion book for sewing with knit fabrics, but I haven't actually looked through that one. Your local library may have a good book or two, so check there as well.
Summer Basics dress |

Buying Fabric

Buying knit fabric online can be tough when you're starting out because it's so hard to tell what the quality of the fabric will be like. Plus, if you're anything like me, you don't want to spend a ton of money on the best quality fabric, only to make a hash of sewing the garment. On the other hand, though, using good quality fabric makes for a better experience all around. So, look for fabric that's on sale! I also find that solid fabrics tend to be cheaper than prints, so when I was making my Summer Basics dresses I started with a solid fabric to test the fit and then used the more expensive fabric for the second dress (shown above). If you're lucky enough to live near a fabric shop where you can actually touch the fabric and talk to people, use that resource! I can't do that unless we're in a city 7 hours away, so it doesn't happen often. Online is my go-to. So far I've been very happy with what I've bought from L'Oiseaux Fabrics and Black Rabbit Fabrics.

What to Make?

There are loads of independent designers who sell PDF patterns, so you should have no problem finding something you like. I highly recommend Love Notions patterns. They have a lot of different patterns, in different styles, for women, men and children and some of their patterns include up to 5X sizes. The patterns are clearly written and make it easy to sew each step even if you don't know what you're doing (yet!). They also have a big facebook group where the members are helpful and supportive and I've always had answers to my questions very quickly. I'm an affiliate for Love Notions and a very happy customer, with a growing wardrobe of LN garments 😊 So far I've made the Constellation, three Summer Basics dresses, a Laundry Day Tee dress and a Terra Tunic. I have several other patterns I just haven't had time to make yet.

I've also made two Slim Fit Raglans from Patterns for Pirates and I have plans to make more. I'm wearing one of them as I finish up this post 😊 Patterns for Pirates has patterns for the whole family, too. They even have some free patterns for sewing for baby. I've printed out the Wee Lap Tee to make for some babies that are due in the next few months.

Give it a Try!

Are you convinced to try sewing clothes yet? Give it a try and I'm sure you'll agree that quilters can learn to sew clothes, too!

Pin this so other quilters will see it and maybe be inspired to try, too 😊
Quilters can learn to sew clothes, too |


  1. I'm a garment sewer from way back. I haven't made something for myself in a long time except for some aprons. Kids clothes are fun to make though.

  2. I want to sew clothes. I should take a class so I'm more comfortable.

  3. Thank you so much for your daily devotionals and for showing us your fabulous outfits. You are a inspiration to us all. :)

  4. Mastering your sewing machine is a big plus. Then master the straight seam. Learn to sew a curve.
    Learn to "fit" a garment & learn the appropriate alterations is the next big step.
    The web is a great resource.
    You have done well!

  5. Great post Leanne! I have braved sewing little clothes for little people but not dared to attempt dressmaking for adults yet :)


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