Where do you begin to learn to work with fabric/stitching?

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New Member
Interested in learning to make a few punk/cyberpunk style bits of clothing but no idea where to even start...
Most of what I'm interested in is more the Vaclav Koller style stuff than the glaring neon stuff but a bit of the whole Wrench style stuff (with the LED display eyes) is also totally my style.

Ideally wanna start with something like Vaclav's lab coat but I don't know my way around sewing or anything (hell if I even know how to find what fabrics would work) so figured it might be worth asking.

Sorry if this has been asked a million times.

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JW Foust

Active Member
Where do you begin to learn about anything? Read, Google, there's tons of You Tube videos? Either that or make enough money to pay someone else who knows how to do something to do the thing?
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New Member
Lots of local YMCA's and community college have evening sewing/needlework classes. You'd have the added bonus of having an instructor who would probably help you with the tough bits of your costume.

JW Foust

Active Member
I think in the current situation, online or books are gonna be your best bet as I can't see too many in person classes being held.

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Sr Member
Awhile back, Humble Bundle offered a Cosplay bundle of eBooks. Some of the sewing related items were:
  • Sewing for Dummies
  • The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting
  • First Time Garment Fitting: The Absolute Beginner's Guide
  • Guide to: Basic Garment Assembly for the Fashion Industry
  • Hand Dyed: A Modern Guide to Dyeing in Brilliant Color for You and Your Home
  • Mending Matters: Stitch, Patch, and Repair Your Favorite Denim and More
  • Sewing Knits from Fit to Finish
  • The New Sewing Essentials
  • Steampunk & Cosplay: Fashion Design & Illustration
  • Successful Serging: From Setup to Simple and Speciality Stitches
  • Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket
  • The Book of Cosplay Sewing
  • The Hero's Closet: Sewing for Cosplay and Costuming
  • The Mood Guide to Fabric and Fashion
  • The Spoonflower Quick-Sew Project Book


Well-Known Member
I think it helps that you have a clear goal (lab coat) in mind. But to help you, what is your motivation? Do you want to learn how to fabric-ate this and future clothing objects or just have the coat?

For just the coat - You can find ready-made lab coats at a medical uniform shop. You can find these locally, almost everywhere, or at a last resort on-line. Then all you need to do is add “decorations”. Patches and especially LEDs are best added with hand-stitching which is a different skill than machine sewing. This requires very little investment as you can avoid things like a sewing machine, pressing iron, marking tools, cutting tools, patterns, fabric selection, etc. And by adding just the decoration you will start to learn how garments are constructed, where you can and cannot easily run wires, hide battery packs, place the patches, etc. You can also focus on related skills like dyeing or “weathering” fabric.

To learn sewing is a more useful, broader and flexible skill - You will need to practice this physical skill. Although it might seem counter-intuitive I would start with finding and studying a lab coat pattern. Most pattern companies have a simple lab coat pattern. Simplicity is one example. Just studying the pattern you will give suggestions for the kind of fabric and extras “notions” you will need for the job. It will also show you how garments are constructed, provide some of the terminology and techniques you need to understand, and even the kinds of machine sewing you need to master – straight-line, curve-left, curve-right, pivoting, stay-stitching, top-stitching, etc.

It is also good to understand how you best learn new skills. To master the skills you will need to practice but some people learn best by reading and some best by watching. Today many people rely on videos but I find a bad video can be a disservice if it does not help me understand what and why I need to do things in a specific fashion.

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