When applying for a sewing job, alteration or repair work, I highly recommend you know the following key skills and especially those that could be related to the projects:
1. How to open a regular and serged seam with a seam ripper, without damaging the fabric. Practice on thrift store garments and only cut the sewing threads and not the fabric.
2. Zipper skills! Replace a zipper, install a zipper, know the difference between a Single Lap, Double Lap, Exposed and Invisible zipper.
Know how to sew a zipper into a stretch Fabric.
Any thrift store garment will do for practicing this skill.
3. Sewing snaps. You’d be surprised how many people don’t do this correctly. On costumes, you should use a four thread thickness and stitches that go around the outside of the snap. Neatness, puckering, lose threads not evenly pulled and what it looks like on the other side does matter! You should know how to sew a snap that goes through and through all the multiple layers of fabric and one that stays on a single layer of fabric and doesn’t show through the front.
When I see a stitch that goes from hole to hole it’s a problem. It interferes with a good firm snap connection and isn’t as long lasting or secure. You’d be surprised how many people sew the female side on upside down, if you’re not sure which side faces out, snap it to check. You should also always put the flat or male side of the snap against the body.
4. Hand and machine sewing a button. 2 hole, 4 hole and (by hand) shank.
5. Cut Fabric on the bias
6. Cut out a pattern on the fold and one with a grain line. How to cut velvet, fur and nap fabrics with a one direction design.
7. Sew a regular darts and a French dart.
8. Install a sleeve properly (baste curve) especially when they are not a mirrored sleeve pattern.
9. Hand stitch and machine stitch a hem
10. Know how to install elastic into a hem and sewn in elastic.
11. Sewing Pleats
12. Gathering Properly
13. Threading an industrial sewing machine and serger
14. Changing threads and bobbins
15. Changing needles
16. How to do a French seam and felled seam.
17. Making a rolled hem with and without a hem foot
18. Sewing stretch fabrics and woven fabrics
19. Making Button Holes with and without a button hole setting
20. Pressing seams and darts with an industrial iron
If you are proficient at all of the above skills you should be a confident contender where a sewing test is being given.
Gina Vincenza Van Epps
Costume Fabrication Specialist at
Universal Theme Parks
Orlando Fashion District
aka Psycho Seamstress