Sewing Clothing: Sewing for fashion with Alexandra

Sewing clothing is something that I have recently started to dabble in at my “beginner” level (after 20+ years of sewing). I have learned so much in the past year in doing so.  But, I am also confident in saying that it is not in my knowledge base to help other beginners with providing advice in this sewing segment. This is why when Alexandra from the Digital Pattern Library reached out to me I was excited about the new partnership. Her knowledge and background will be an excellent resource for you if you are interested in learning to sew your own clothing or just in fashion design. Below you will find her introduction which was featured in the Winter 2021 issue of Beg!nner Sewing magazine,  and what she has lined up in 2021 to help you along the way. Also, stay tuned for other partnership plans that Alexandra and I are working out for some sewing fun!


I’m Alexandra (she/her) and I wear many hats: Fashion Entrepreneur, Designer, Pattern Cutter, Creative Consultant and teller of bad jokes. I am the founder of Digital Pattern Library, an online platform transforming unsure, unconfident sewists into self-aware, liberated creatives able to design and produce their own creations that fit like a glove and encourage body confidence. I’m collaborating with Joan at Beginner Sewing to bring you an insight into my Create, Cut & Construct™ framework which will teach you the entire creative 
process so you’re able to transform a 2D design into a 3D garment in a simple but powerful way.

To offer some backstory, I graduated with a BA (Hons) degree in fashion before being plunged into the dark depths of the industry and I saw and experienced things I. Did. Not. Like. It was hard, emotionally draining, and really had me questioning if I was doing the right thing with my life.

So I left.

Since doing so I’ve carved my own path into the fashion industry with morals, ethics and sustainability at the forefront of my endeavors. Let me tell you, it’s been a crazy journey…

  • I’ve launched my own sustainable streetwear brand.
  • I’ve been nominated for various awards including Sustainability Champion and Female Business Leader.
  • I’ve been featured in national press including Psychologies Magazine and The Telegraph.
  • I’ve also been invited to speak at the UK’s largest fashion and textiles trade show about How to Fast Track Your Fashion Brand with Sustainable Credentials.

In 2016 I moved back home to Wales and (annoyingly) fell in love with a rather delicious farmer who I now live with on his Welsh hillside farm. We built an atelier adjacent to a cow shed. Glamorous.

It was some time into my streetwear brand that in an effort to reconnect my customer to their clothing, I decided to flip my

luxury business model on its head. I started charging fast-fashion prices for the same high-end streetwear, but there was one catch… my customer had to make it themselves.

This is how Digital Pattern Library was born.

I invited you to become the designer through the ability to choose your own fabrics, colors and interpret my designs with your personality sewn into the seams. Since making the decision to go completely digital with PDF patterns, I haven’t looked back once. I realized the best thing I could do to serve my creative community, is to teach the skills that essentially render me useless!

I invite you to join me over the upcoming four-part series where we’ll pare back to basics and get you started on your own unique sewing journey. I’ll be walking you through various seams and construction techniques that elevate your wardrobe and sharpen your skills in an easy-to-follow way.

The first installment will see us explore a basic open seam with tips on sewing more than just a straight line! Understand what clipping and notching your seam entails, how to do both and when to apply this in your sewing projects. If you’re struggling on where to begin, feeling overwhelmed about the prospect of making your own clothes or simply want to take things step by step in order to achieve high-quality garments then I encourage you to follow along.

Perhaps you could create your own fashion file in advance?

A fashion file is an arch lever folder intended to document your sewing journey, techniques and methods. I started mine nearly 9 years ago and it’s followed me through my career where I stored every technique, tip and trick across sewing and pattern cutting methods for future reference and to catalog my knowledge. I always encourage my sewists to make their own and the ones that do love it! You can store samples, write notes and truly document your learning in your own way to dip into throughout your creative lifespan whenever you need to refer to a particular technique. The upcoming seams series would be a great place for you to start. Practice your sewing, build your fashion file and I’ll see you in the next issue where we’ll get started on your dream wardrobe!

Stay safe and keep creative.

Joan Mantini

About Joan Mantini

After several years of being the Facebook page owner at Beginner Sewing, I noticed there was a desperate need to have a single go-to spot for members to be able to find answers to their common questions, get some useful tips & tricks, as well as find reputable places to purchase sewing products online. Taking my role as a trade publication editor by day, and combining it with my knowledge of frequently requested beginner sewing advice, I created www.beginner-sewing.com. An outlet that gives new sewists a free digital magazine geared for entry level sewing as an extra bonus!

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