I started sewing again a couple of months ago and have actually finished three garments. If you’re not interested in sewing, now is your chance to escape!
My mom sewed pretty much all of our clothes until I was a teenager and she returned to work. This was pretty common in the 1960s, and for our family it was a necessity because there wasn’t extra money for clothes. My mom was a great seamstress. She found really fun fabrics and cute patterns, and I always felt very proud to wear the things she made.
We were required to take sewing in grade 7 from teacher Miss Niedermeyer (funny how I remember that!). Our first project was a smock top in Holly Hobby fabric. Yep … pretty stylish. And not exactly something I would wear very often.
In my 20s I attempted sewing again because I couldn’t afford to shop. I was impatient and always tried to cut and sew in a mad rush so nothing fit right, looked right, or made it past more than one run through the clothes washer.
After I married I made countless sets of draperies, roman shades, pillows, and plenty of handbags. But garments seemed too complicated.
But then I found the blogosphere and all of the wonderful sewing bloggers out there. Bloggers like L F*KING SEWING, Nice Dress! Thanks, I Made It!!, and Did You Make That? plus countless others have me completely inspired!
Project 1: A Simple Dress
I have always likes dresses, but find that most ready to wear are too short for me, so my first project was a dress that I could wear to work. I liked this Vogue pattern because it was simple, had pockets, and did not have a zipper.
I chose this satin fabric. The “right” side is the shiny, lighter coloured side. The wrong side is the more vibrant print. I decided to use the more vibrant matte side, even though this was the ‘wrong’ side.
The project was quite easy. I made a couple of small alterations (brought in the sides a bit above the waist, and made a slight change to the arm holes so the shoulder was a bit narrower). The dress still swims on me, but as it pulls over, I don’t think I could bring it in much more.
Given that this was the first garment sewing project in a long time, I did make some mistakes.
- I neglected to measure the depth of the front neckline opening before interfacing the facing and sewing it in. It was much too low for me, especially because I want to wear this dress to work. So I just sewed up the front seam about 4 inches. I then did 3 rows of topstitching about 1/4 inch apart so the facing would lie flat. It turned out well, and I think another time I would plan to topstitch and use contrasting thread.
- I did not lay out the pattern correctly so the fabric pattern doesn’t align along the front seam. Drives me nuts! Must be patient when laying out patterns!
- I should have made a more conscious decision in my seam finishes. The satin frayed almost as soon as the seams were complete. I did an old-faithful overlock stitch, but if I work with this type of fabric again I will probably use a French seam.
The inside-out satin turned out to be brilliance. It’s hot and humid here and that means things stick … but with the slippery satiny side against my skin the dress moves beautifully and there is no need for a slip. Perfect for hot days!
I’ve worn the dress now 3 times, to a concert, dinner and to work, and each time someone has told me that they love my dress. Maybe they’re being polite, but I sure like hearing that 🙂
Would I make this pattern again? Yes, absolutely!
Maybe more experienced sewers could chime it here – I’ve thought that I’d like to make a more fitted version with a zipper up the front. What do you think? I could always do a zipper up the back, too.