5 Ways Sewing Improves Your Fashion I.Q.

By Candace Bryan

Lately, I've been learning how to sew, and it's somehow both easier and harder than I thought it would be. I am not, as it turns out, Maria von Trapp, and although I haven't come too far in my studies, I've already wasted a lot of thread making dumbass mistakes. However, I assure you it's already been worth the agony and humilation, and that learning even some basic skills is already making me smarter about fashion.

There are probably a million reasons to learn to sew, but the five below are not only the best, but the first ways your fashion I.Q. will be enhanced by taking a ride on a sewing machine.

1. Quality assurance: I used to think that the only difference between quality clothing and crap was the fabric used. But while the fabric definitely plays a huge part in determining a garment's worth, the cut and stitching are also integral. When you learn how to fit a garment and how to properly sew a button, you'll understand that that Forever21 dress is on the clearance rack for a reason, and spend your money elsewhere.

2. Altering and hemming: I haven't shared a roof with my mom in six years. That means I haven't had my pants hemmed in six years. But now that I can sew, when a garment is too long, it doesn't have to be a dealbreaker: I can buy it and make it shorter. This especially comes in handy when thrifting, when size options are limited.

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3. Appreciation: The patterns used to construct a garment are frequently confusing and counterintuitive. When you see a crazy/beautiful dress at Fashion Week, you'll appreciate that the designer didn't just draw a picture and have it come to life. Someone had to figure out how to cut the cloth to make that silhouette a reality.

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4. Save money: Finely crafted clothes made with fancy cloth are usually worth their heft price tags. But have you ever paid too much for a simple cotton circle skirt? Knowing how much fabrics generally cost and how much time went into a garment can help you understand that certain items are overpriced and easily made at home for cheaper.

5. Feel better than everyone else: Few things feel better that receiving a compliment on something you're wearing and saying "Thanks, I made this." This will also come in handy for homemade Halloween costumes.