Once you learn the basics, operating a sewing machine is actually pretty easy. But learning to translate your body’s 3D shape onto 2D panels of fabric, then cutting them out into counterintuitively-shaped pieces and sewing them all together in a way that fits your body, is fiendishly difficult. It’s why most folks don’t make their own clothing; the technical barrier to entry is just too high.
A startup called Pattern Project aims to make DIY clothing easier by providing the fashion equivalent of flatpack furniture. They send you precisely-cut panels of fabric that you stitch together.
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There’s no need to trace patterns onto fabric and cut it yourself. With the seams pre-marked, you’re basically pinning the garment together, then tracing the lines with your sewing machine needle.
The company writes that they “advocate making, rather than buying, clothes in a world where we are spending more time at home and are aware of the cons of fast fashion.” Their inaugural kit is called the P1.1, a boatneck canvas top that comes in your choice of blue or natural, if you want to customize it. “The natural canvas can be home-dyed, screen printed or painted at home.”
“P1.1’s minimalist design is full of indispensable sewing techniques designed to develop skills for beginner sewists – including sewing a double turned hem, making a box pleat and sewing in a simple neck facing. Each kit contains 4 x organic cotton-linen blend fabric panels, 1 x recycled thread. All panels are finished with a pinked edge to help prevent fraying.”
“Making clothes is a complex process, so each kit contains pre-cut and annotated fabrics with our patent-pending system of seam guides and helpful markings to make it easy for the modern-day home sewer.”
To cut down on both costs and potential waste, Pattern Project doesn’t keep inventory; the kits are produced on demand, and the initial run will be limited to 150 kits, selling for £45 (USD $62). You can learn more here.