You may be asking, "Why would I want to make the clothes I sewed myself look like they were bought from the store?" Well here's my answer (which may be totally against what you're thinking)... All of your sewing work will make you even more pleased and be even more admired if you take some simple steps to make it look like you bought it from the store--but even better. People will look at your garments and wonder where you bought them but to their surprise, you'll be able to say, "I made this!" It'll be your dirty little secret! It's the difference between your clothes looking homemade vs. handmade. So here's part 1 of the list!
1. Finish and press your seams!
I can't stress this one enough!! When you press your seams while you sew, the result will be a clean looking, high quality piece of clothing. And if you serge or use your overlock stitch on the seams, it will look even more professional. Or you could make your garment look like it was from an expensive boutique and use a french seam. Just a simple iron with steam will do, but if you want to get fancy, you could get yourself a tailor's ham for the shoulders and other curves. Before you crank that iron up to the highest setting, make sure you take into account what the fiber content of your garment is. Wouldn't it be the worst if you spent all that time sewing, then burned a hole in your beautiful work!?
2. Use trims... the right way
Some of my favorite ready to wear garments have trims on them because I love things like lace and special touches to the garment making it unique and pretty. I always keep some lace trim and piping on hand so I can add them to shirts and dresses. The best way to add lace onto a shirt or dress is to baste the lace on the hem of your unfinished garment, then use your zigzag stitch in a thread that matches the lace to follow the natural design of the lace. Some laces have pretty scallops, so in that case, you would slowly zigzag along the scallop line. Then take some duckbill or embroidery scissors and trim the bottom edge off the hem. The result will be a pretty cut out on your garment featuring the lace. You can also add crocheted lace appliques on the neckline using the same method. A simple search of lace applique on etsy produces over 30K results!
One of my favorite places to get lace on etsy is Mary's Supplies!
3. Use a matching thread color
I know, I know! It's a pain to keep switching your thread colors but it makes such a difference when you have a matching thread! The eye will go to the design features on your garment instead of the stark difference between your fabric and the white thread you topstitched with. The exception to this is when you're sewing jeans... Using gold thread to topstitch the seams makes for a professionally made looking pair!
4. Learn the right way to insert a zipper
Zippers can be a pain to insert... but once you master the methods, adding them to your garments will make them look more professional! To learn how to insert zippers a couple different ways, check out this craftsy class!