Break the rules, that is.
–no to printed fabrics
— yes to solid color fabrics
–press, press, press
–no to quilting cottons
–sew what you’d buy in the store
–know your body
–follow RTW clothes (construction, fabric choice, fit)
Now, given that I learned to sew by jumping in, I learned many lessons the hard way. And I can say from my experience that some of these tips are golden. Pressing? Absolutely. So necessary. Heck, even RTW clothes can use a good pressing before you wear them out of the house. Ironed clothes simply look better.
Knowing your body is important, too, though *really* knowing your body takes effort over a period of years, even if you only wear RTW clothes. And bodies change, so your work here is never really done.
Finally, looking at RTW clothes is quite instructive, but only after you’ve made a few things. It definitely doesn’t hurt to look at RTW before learning to sew, but I found that using RTW garments during or after construction was most helpful. Trying to remember details in a vacuum is challenging, and I’ve got the benefit of a photographic memory!
But the other tips? Hogwash. By all means, if you’re a conservative person who doesn’t want people to look, then yes: stick with solids, make clothes you might find in your local Target, and call it a day. But if you’re bohemian, or a wild child, do not for one second think that your clothes look less ‘professional’! All my kooky garments look great because I choose (more or less) appropriate fabrics, I am meticulous about fit, and my seam finishing is lovely. Sewers and non alike are always surprised when I tell them I made the garment they just complimented me on. So to all you rebellious, own-drummer sewers, I say — rock out with your professional selves*!
(*One caveat: most home sewers are not nearly as skilled as actual professional sewers, so if you’re a custom clothier or tailor, do not think I’m upgrading us home sewers to your level just because we press and finish our seams! :) )