Sewing Style Smarts and The 3 Most Important B’s


Sewing Style Smarts | JillAlexa.com

There are so many ways to make money with your sewing but you will need to be well clued up with sewing style smarts. These are things that will make your sewing go well and help to avoid hitches. It might take extra time planning your project but in the long run, if carefully thought out, time will be saved and frustration alleviated.

The tips I will be giving you will help make for a more professional finish to the garments you make. You will be sewing with precision and pleasure. To my mind, sewing should always be fun, whether you are sewing for yourself or sewing for profit.

There are so many ways to make you are not enjoying what you are doing change tack (excuse the pun), and try something else.

Sewing for clients can be extremely stressful, if you are feeling this stress, think of other ways to use your sewing skills. There are many.

Sewing Style Smarts

Sewing should be a joy with sewing style smarts.

Sewing Style Smarts and the Three Key B’s

Now! The three old B’s, are not clients of mine but represent the most important measurements you need to take. Boobs, Bulge (belly) and Bum. (My mother would be horrified at my use of language).

It is very important to take very careful measurements to adapt the pattern to fit the measurements taken. Now that there are patterns featuring a number of sizes on one pattern available, this makes making the adjustments so much easier and one doesn’t need to buy a couple of the same pattern when the bust is much larger than the hips, or vice versa.

Always measure a couple of times and be completely sure of the adaptations you have made to the pattern before even thinking of cutting the fabric, especially if it belongs to a client.

Related:  Sewing Tips and Techniques

A Question of Pressure

Sewing Style Smarts - Pressing Pattern Pieces

To my mind, one of the most important things to have available is a really good iron. Press the pattern pieces without using steam so that you will be working with perfectly even pieces of paper. Be careful as this paper is very fragile and you don’t want it to tear or stretch, hence no steam.

If the fabric has been stored for a while and has creases, give it a good press (You may now use the steam while pressing). And set aside to cool (as you would a yummy cake, before icing).

You now have the measurements and can adapt the pattern before actually cutting the pieces out. Cut around each piece, leaving a generous amount of paper on the pieces you will need to add on to.

Make sure you know where to add on or take off before cutting these out. This does take time and patience but it is crucial you get this right before you cut the fabric.

Now take a deep breath in, count to five and slowly let it out. Doesn’t that feel better?

Sit quietly with a cup of tea or coffee and read through the instructions which you found with the pattern pieces.

Believe me when I say that the person who designed this pattern knows best how it should be put together. So, follow the instructions to the letter.

Mistakes can be Costly

When your client arrives with her pattern, fabric, thread etc. Before she leaves check that the fabric she has bought is suitable for the pattern she has chosen and also that she has bought enough fabric. She would have seen on the packet exactly what she would need but when people don’t sew, they can and do make costly mistakes.

This is exactly what is meant by having #sewingstylesmarts.

Don’t be tempted to think you can make it right by using the fabric with the pattern, I can assure you that you will both be unhappy with the results. Rather, choose another pattern which is more suited to the fabric.

Rushin Equals Mussin

There is absolutely no point in rushing a job, so take your time and do it well. Now, being the wise person you are, you will have read through each step you need to take to get this garment perfect.

I recall making a huge error in judgment with a dress I was making for myself. This was soon after I married and money was short so really couldn’t afford to waste it. I fell in love with a piece of fabric, as one does. Bought what I deemed to be enough, then bought the pattern. All well and good? Now, I had bought the fabric first then the pattern.

This is not a good idea but I thought with a fiddle here and there I could get it to work. I made the dress by turning the one pattern piece upside down but wasn’t careful enough with measuring the straight line to the sides as is right and good to do

My dress was a disaster when I wore it, and I had to warrant spending all that money on the fabric. I had to keep tugging the skirt as it swung to one side.

It was eventually binned. Fortunately, it was made for me so I hadn’t destroyed someone else’s fabric. An expensive lesson, but boy, did it teach me, never to cut corners.

Getting your Noggin around Notions

Sewing Style Smarts - Notions

Perhaps it is because of my age that I know that these things are called Notions. When speaking with a number of younger people they hadn’t a clue what notions were. They are all the gadgets pertaining to sewing that make your task so much easier and much for fun.

I don’t know of a dressmaker who doesn’t just love looking through all the new notions in a sewing shop.

Here are some you will most likely find in most sewing rooms.

  • Quick unpick (very useful when having made a mistake
  • Variety of sized scissors (keep away from the children as they will use them for cutting paper which blunts)
  • numerous tape measures (find it useful to keep one in my handbag – very handy)
  • pins and needles
  • weights to hold the fabric in place while cutting (these are not essential but do come in handy with slippery fabric)
  • Iron (essential)
  • Rotary Cutter (be very careful when using this it can be dangerous)

My hope is that you have found this post helpful and it’s left you feeling encouraged to sew.   Good luck and happy sewing. If you want to ask any questions, feel free to ask.

Jill Alexa

Jill of all Trades. Master of Many. Too busy to die.


  1. I believe that this is a good gift to have to be able to sew. It is just so amazing to see how a person can take pieces of cloth and turn it into  a work of art. This is really truly amazing. The only thing I can sew is buttons on my shirt  and small holes in my cloths. But I am sure that those who are  in this line of work will find your post to be most helpful.

    • HI Norman, Thank you so much for reading my post and commenting.

      Kind Regards,


  2. I don’t know why but I get quite nervous when I get the sewing machine out. Normally this will be for a job that has to be done, such as a curtain hem that’s unravelling. I know it’s probably because I am not proficient at sewing, but my late Mum was, so why didn’t I pick it up from her i wonder.

    Anyway, I found this article very easy to read and helpful for me. Your list of what is usually found in a sewing room, leaves my sewing station rather sparce. The added extras you’ve indicated as being vital, will be bought the next time I pass my haberdashers shop, which will be next week. Thank you for the information.

    • Hi Ches, Thank you for reading and commenting on my post. 

      Having everything you need at hand in the sewing room makes life so much easier and takes away the frustration when beginning a project.

      You will be amazed as you look around the Haberdashery Shop at the new things available.

      Happy sewing,

      Best wishes,


  3. Funny this – I recalled having lost numerous pins and needles when I was young. My mom used to sew a lot so I was exposed to her sewing room often so I would always go bother her. Sometimes to get attention, I would steal needles so that she couldn’t sew. Haha, not my proudest moment but my mom still loved me so all good. Appreciate this though, I’ll share it with my mom.

    • Hi Parmi, Thanks for reading my post and the comments. Mothers are very forgiving creatures. I am sure even though you did this, she still loves you.

      A big no,no, I my house was anyone touching my sewing scissors and to this day the children and grandchildren know that they may not use them for anything.

      All the best,


  4. I laughed at the bum art – my grandmother would be horrified. Every time we said bum she would say “don’t say bum say bottom”. The problem I have with store bought clothing is that my figure is nothing like the standard women’s figure. I’ve got no bum or hips but I do have boobs and when i buy clothing to fit my chest it never fits anywhere else! I should start sewing and make things that fit me well! 

    • Hi Lynne,

      I could picture my poor Mother, turning in her grave when I wrote that. We were also not allowed to use that B(um) work but also had to say bottom.

      I am built with larger hips and BOTTOM, than chest so also prefer to sew for myself. Not much time since joining WA though.

      Hope you are better.

      All the best,


  5. Obviously you are a professional, I envy you, your talents.

    Mum sewed for me , herself and my sister, all our clothes were home made and we should have appreciated them more than what we did!

    She made our ball gowns, our debutant gowns. I was so lucky, but as all teenagers growing up, well I was just,  ungrateful.

    As I grew in age and particularly,  wisdom! I made it up to my Mum, such a beautiful person.

    I have  two boys, so no ball gowns required!!!

    Still I love to sew, more just crafty stuff these days and soft  furnishings.

    Thank you

    Great post


    • Hi Michele, It is wonderful to sew crafty things for your home. It gives such a feeling of satisfaction. There are so many wonderful fabrics available today.

      I thought I would use up my stash by making something each month, that was in January this year but then I began my Wealthy Affiliate journey in February, so you know what happened to that idea.

      Perhaps next year.

      All the best,


  6. This is an opportunity to have to be able to sew. It is just consequently incredible to see how a person can taking anew pieces of cloth and viewpoint it into  a do its stuff of art. This is in slope toward of fact in reality amazing. The deserted situation I can sew is buttons upon my shirt  and little holes in my cloths. I am intensely certain that those who are upon the same origin of this doing will unexpected select this p.s. and create it as a refrence to apply consequently as to solve their millstone upon the subject concern.

    • Hello Adebayo, Sewing is a skill like any other, the more you practice, the better you get. I hope I have encouraged you to give it a try.

      Best wishes,


  7. Hi Jill,

    These are great tips to know for anyone who loves to sew, whether they do it for business or not.

    Sewing is a hobby many love to do on their free time, but something that began as a hobby can turn later into a good business.

    In many cases it can come up into a family business and I have seen it, the sewing business in many times can make enough money to support a family.

    I’m sure people who wants to start a sewing business will love to read the tips you’re sharing today in your article, I already took some notes so I can have them in my mind. 


    • Hi Alejandra,

      Thank you so much for these wonderful comments. I thought of so many other tips I could or should have put in my post but will have to do some more.

      There is so much to sewing that when you do it day in and day out it feels so natural and you think that everyone knows how to do it.

      There are so many ways to have a great business if you can sew.

      All the best,


  8. My mom loves sewing too. But she do not have all the tools and machine like yours. She did it all by her hand. Where did you get all that tools and machine? I think I should get some for her as a gift. No machine is still fine. As long have the complete set of tools.

    • Hi Kit, Thank you for reading my post and for the comments. I also did a lot of hand sewing but was so fortunate to get a sewing machine for my 21st birthday from my parents. I have made so many varied garments and made a lot of money over the years with my sewing.

      It is amazing that you can often buy a second-hand sewing machine in good working order in many shops or markets.

      Wishing you well in finding one for your Mom.


  9. I’m so glad I came across this informative sewing guide today! You have a lot of knowledge on the subject and a delightful way with words – I’m excited to learn more from you. I haven’t sewn in years though always think about picking it back up. I used to do it just for the love of it, and made little stuffed animals and pajamas for myself and my friends. 🙂  Maybe with the help of your blog and guidance I will once again learn to enjoy this craft. Thank you so much for sharing! 

    • Oh Rachael, I do hope you begin to sew again. It is such fun and there are so many things to make. One gets o much satisfaction being able to wear a garment you have made from start to finish. Even choosing the fabric is fun.

      Wishing you all the best,


  10. Thank you Jill for such professional tips. While I read this article I remember that my mom like to sew and she do that for money. She is not a professional but she know what she is doing. I will show her this topic because I think that it can be helpful but not only her but also to many people who are doing this.

  11. I remember when I was younger my mum would teach me how to sew. At first it was really hard but after you do it for so long, you get the hang of it. Seeing the photos of all the bits and bobs bought back so many memories for me because I remember being so excited about the colour thread I would use. Pretty cool you can create a piece of art with just some thread and needle!

    • Hi Gabbey, You are so right, it is pretty cool to make something beautiful by sewing. 

      Thank you so much for reading my post and commenting.

      All the best.


  12. Jill what wonderful artistry and fun you present here.  I loved your story when you made one of your early dresses and rushed through making a costly mistake.  I’ve made mistake like this in many areas of my life where I can envision the final result in my head and race through the early steps carelessly.  Many things you cannot “un-do”.  Like you can’t “un-cut” fabric.

    You mentioned that sewing for profit for others can be stressful…to me that would be very stressful and unpleasant.  What are a few other ways to use your sewing skills to make money outside of sewing for customers?

    • Hi Tim, Thank you for reading and commenting on my post. One of the things I really enjoyed making were reg dolls which were sold through a store. They were really fun to make. No pressure, just creativity. Also loved sewing for the Church Bazaars as I could make anything which was great fun. Loved putting my embroidery machine to use.

      Kind Regards,


  13. I love sewing, but am nowhere good enough to start charging people for my services. I stick to easy patterns that I make for my daughter and myself.

    Apart from your list of must have notions (quick unpick is my favorite), a good sewing machine is a must as it avoids much frustration. I used to own a cheap machine, and the thread kept on snapping. I wasted hours fiddling with the tension, and I eventually sold the machine as I ran out of patience with it. I didn’t sew for years, but three years ago forked out and bought a Nina (part of the Bernina range) and what a pleasure to work on it. I find I am enjoying sewing again and have since made simple clothing and a quilt for my bed.

    Knowing how to do the basics of sewing is a great skill for anyone to have, as it allows you to shorten your own pants, fix buttons, and alter clothing for yourself. Unfortunately, not as many people know how to sew now as they did about 50 years ago.

    Thanks for a great article.

    • Hi Michel, It is a great pleasure. I absolutely was hooked on sewing since I had my first little kiddies Singer and made dolls clothes.

      It really makes life a lot easier when running a household to have a good machine.

      Enjoy your Nina.

      Kind Regards,


  14. My mother taught me how to sew when I was in my pre-teens.  As I grew older I eventually stopped sewing all together because I didn’t have time for it.  After reading your article you’ve really inspired me. I never really thought of using my skill to make money on the side. I enjoyed your tip on always ensuring that your client has brought enough fabric, cotton etc… It’s something to keep in mind.  If I wanted to start a sewing business on the side what is your advice on getting my first client? And what would be the minimum equipment I would need without spending too much money in the beginning? 

    • Hi Celeste,

      Thank you for the lovely comments. My advice would be to hone your skills learned from your mother. When you feel confident you could put up a notice on a community board or in the smalls in the newspaper, advertising that you are willing to sew for others.

      A good idea would be to find out from other dressmakers what they are charging so that you could have an idea what to charge.

      Must have a sewing machine in good working order. A serger/overlocker for the seam edges. Other than those which are expensive items the other things would be tape measure, scissors, pins etc. Wishing you all the best.


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