3 Rules to Break when Sewing (especially clothes)

Happy Wednesday!

So for this week I wanted to talk about some “rules” I think are meant to be broken. Of course, there are some aspects of sewing that you should probably follow pretty closely unless you don’t mind having wonky results. I’ll post about those later. For today though I wanted to share 3 ‘rules’ I hear often and why I think they are essentially crap. I’ve heard about these rules mostly online, some were told to me directly and some I read about from various sources. I follow one blog where the poor girl gets nasty emails about how her ‘techniques’ are ‘all wrong.’ Terrible stuff really. So while ‘they’ in this case are elusive and anonymous, these are rules I’ve seen often enough that I want to write about why I dislike them. Tell me about rules you dislike (or break often) and why in the comments.

Even Hermione does it!

Even Hermione does it!

1) Don’t Use Quilting Cottons for Clothing

I’ve heard this rule quite often. I’ve been told that quilting cotton isn’t ever good to use for clothing and that is isn’t ‘good enough.’ I break this rule a lot for several reasons.

One is that quilting cotton is comfortable. If you wash it before working with it and get the treatment off that they use to make it ‘shiny’ you’ll notice it can be very soft against your skin.

Two, it comes in a lot of cute novelty prints. I’m not going to avoid using it when it’s just so darn cute.

This is a great example of a novelty print I adore and if I want to make a dress out of it you can be very well assured that it will happen.

This is a great example of a novelty print I adore and if I want to make a dress out of it you can be very well assured that it will happen.

Three, cotton fabric is hard to find in the apparel section that isn’t also made with synthetic fibers. I don’t want my entire wardrobe made with polyester, nylon or spandex and I like having more options available to me.

Four, clothes work out quite well in quilting cotton. Of course, like any piece of clothing you make, you want to choose the best fabric/print for the pattern but that doesn’t mean that quilting cotton would never work well.

Finally, despite being told otherwise, no I don’t think people can tell when I use quilting cotton and no I don’t think they care. Really? People know and/or care that I use quilting cotton to make clothes? Honey, no.

Case in point: this shirt is made from quilting cotton and I'll be damned if it didn't work out perfectly.

Case in point: this shirt is made from quilting cotton and I’ll be damned if it didn’t work out perfectly.

2) There are certain ways to create certain clothes

When making clothes, there are certain patterns or techniques we use to create certain shapes or effects. Pleats, darts, other similar techniques, are all used to fit tricky fabric to our body nicely. I’ve heard many times that I’m not supposed to deviate from these techniques and unless I’m an expert at creating patterns from scratch I shouldn’t attempt to do so.

This is crap. Total, utter, crap. Fitting clothes properly is such a tiresome area of sewing. It seems that getting the proper fit takes ages and that it’s almost impossible from a perfectionist standpoint. That being said, there are no ‘proper’ ways to do it. There are some techniques to use but how and when to use them is always up to the person sewing and no one else. This is something I’m trying to do more and more often, break away from the idea that if I don’t do things ‘by the book’ someone will care. Let’s be honest, no one does.

don't care

3) Certain Tools are Required to Properly Create

This is crap on multiple levels. Mostly because it is incredibly elitist. To think that certain tools are superior is unnecessary at best. For example, tracing patterns. Of course, you don’t have to trace your patterns but if you do there is no reason to use whatever paper you feel is best. Now I use Pellon tracing material and before that I used butcher paper. Both work great and I use the Pellon simply because I like it better. There is otherwise no difference between them or why I should use them. The same can be said for many other tools. Of course, sewing machines are different but even then you should find the tools that you are most comfortable with. If you like Gingher scissors, great, but you can also prefer Fiskars. I have both. Just experiment and do what you like best.

These might be really pretty...

These might be really pretty…

But these also work for pattern weights and are cheaper.

But these also work for pattern weights and are cheaper.

So what do you think? Are there any ‘rules’ you dislike or realized are not really necessary? Do you agree with my list so far? Let me know, and if you’d like updates every week sign up to get notifications straight to your email.

Until next time,

—Bethany Out


19 thoughts on “3 Rules to Break when Sewing (especially clothes)

  1. Thank you for this post Bethany! I tend not to be a rule breaker when sewing but very early this morning I was working on my second Refashion (which is not going according to plan!) and I suddenly realised that I could probably deviate from the ‘norm’ to sort it out! Let’s hope I’m right. That sewing machine fabric is lovely and should definitely be made into a dress/skirt/top.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally agree. Being creative means breaking whichever ‘rules’ you feel you need to break in order to accomplish your goal, try something new, or just find out what happens when you break them. I can’t believe there are people who would dis someone about their ‘techniques’ in the blog comments. The only proper techniques are the ones that produce your desired outcome (or even an unexpected outcome that is pleasantly surprising).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Whenever I see people act snooty like that I can’t believe it. I’ve seen comments saying that they shouldn’t try certain things unless they are more advanced first too. If they don’t try though, they’ll never learn. It’s sad really, we should be helping each other not bringing each other down.


  3. I love it! I have almost exclusively used quiliting cottons for the clothes I have made so far as they are always so much more fun! Also, I generally use coasters for pattern weights – especially as we have some granite ones lying around the house which are nice and heavy!
    I’m still struggling with number 2 though but I guess this will come as I learn more about garments and how they can be constructed but for now I have to stick rigidly to the instructions!!


    • I know what you mean! It’s scary breaking away from the pattern instructions. I struggle with it too. When I do manage it I’ve had mixed results. Often things go wrong simply because I didn’t think it through, so I just really take my time if I deviate from a pattern. I make extra mock-ups too just in case.


  4. So true about so called rules and never deviating from them. How boring! And you’re right about the novelty fabrics–they are WAY too cute to pass up! (That top is awesome by the way!)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Isn’t there a saying somewhere “rules were made to be broken”? Didn’t go over well with my parents when I was young, though. I have been using pins to layout/cut patterns, and think the weights are a good idea. And I happen to have the exact ones you show in the alternative picture! Nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I thought the name of your blog sounded familiar, but wasn’t sure if it was because I followed your or vice versa. I am trying to work on pictures and video of my own stuff, as well. I have the jewelry I made on the K3O page.

        I think one reason I don’t do videos much is that I can’t pause while recording and I don’t know how to edit what I want together. I don’t have that sort of program either. I do have some craft pages on Hubpages though. There’s links (or should be) in the sidebars of my blogs as well as should be in my about pages as well


      • So what I think is useful with content like this is that if it is coming from you (you created it) then it should only be featured on your blog. Having people get constantly redirected can be frustrating for them. Instead of having their own pages though, have them as blog posts and feature them on your sidebar. Something like ‘most popular,’ or do it based on category. For things like your jewelry making, that can have its own tab on your blog because it doesn’t deserve an individual post. It also seems like you have more than one blog, is that correct? Do you have a goal, or reason for having multiple blogs? That sometimes wears bloggers down and is difficult to upkeep.


      • The thing is, those were set up before I had the blog. I have the blog because I was originally writing on Squidoo which closed and so our stuff transferred over to hubpages. The stuff that didn’t work well on Hubpages I added as pages to the blogs (or vamped them up better) or so I hope) I don’t know if I want to take down those pages off of hubpages. I have differnet blogs for different topics. The Craft, Writing, Beauty and entertainment. Anything that does not fit otherwise goes on the main ‘ZodiacImmortal’ one (tho I do repost some posts from my other blogs to that one)


      • It just seems like you have a lot going on, which can make it difficult to market yourself/your blog. Is there a reason you have separate blogs for the topics? Do they each represent a separate business? If they are all promoting you there’s no reason why they can’t occupy the same space. How about emailing me, bethanybarrettcreations@gmail.com and we can talk from there.


      • Not separate businesses, just thought it would be smarter to separate especially if I need to look for something. (As sometimes I can’t always remember what it’s titled or what’s in it) so It makes it easier for me to go through the titles for one. 2 Have you seen the amount of Pages I have on each site/blog? I do mix in what I can. The hubpages I don’t work as much on as writing my blogs. (which right now i am working on updating a post in my writing blog. I’m mostly only doing this as a hobby but I have gotten some freebies out of it!


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