So there I was, in my Intro to Sewing class, dreaming of what I'd make first. I had initially thought I'd make a pair of jeans but couldn't find a pattern I liked so I wandered over to the Sew Easy carousel next to all the real patterns and thought, hey, if it says easy on the package, it'll go super-fast and I could make a few patterns over the next few weeks. I didn't realized that the PACKAGE LIES!! I would never have picked this as my first project, but luckily I was naive enough not to know any better and all the things I learned making this dress has served me well in the future. At least I didn't have to deal with buttonholes right out of the gate.
Here is the pattern I chose:
I made dress B in a silky polyester fabric. I haven't worn this in at least a year since I work at home but I have to admit that once I dug this out of my closet, I was quite impressed with myself! Mostly impressed that I actually followed the directions but then I started getting the PTS flashbacks (post-traumatic stress) about how long this dress took and if I were getting paid to make it at my day job rate, I think this dress would have cost about $600. So it took a long time. A looooong time. Here is the finished product:
Even though you can't tell with the belt, it is actually a top and skirt sewn together instead of the normal one large piece that you see in wrap dresses. I used a hook and eye to close the dress but they come open when you move sometimes so now I use those little plastic snaps. I also use a little snap to keep the top from gaping open from my noticable lack of a chest. Here are some of the little details:
Braided string belt loops to hold the thin belt in place. These are really easy to make and I think they make the dress look a little less homemade.
Hand sewn hem. I don't think I've sewn a hem by hand since this dress but looking at it now, I might start again because it looks so nice.
This is the inside of the back collar. I put this in because I think it's a pretty cool trick that you cut the bottom of the collar, fold it under, and then hand sew it down over all the other seams you have there so it looks nice and neat. I guess those pattern people know what they're doing sometimes.
This is one of the back darts (the dress is inside out at this point). There were 2 small darts in the back and then 2 more in the front. They are really easy and make the dress nice and tailored.
I wanted to show you the front facings for the dress (still inside out). You use iron-on fusible webbing to make them a little stiffer so the dress keeps it's shape and these go all the way down the length of the dress. Some people don't like facings or linings but I think they are WAY easier than trying to do a hemmed edge. These just fold over, you tack it down in a few spots, and bam! Your edge is finished.
Another thing I learned from making this pattern was how to follow the grain lines. That basically means that if your material has a pattern (like this is kind of stripey), then all your stripes will end up going in the same direction instead of every piece going in a different direction. Also, learning how to do an ease-stitch at the top of the sleeves showed me how to make ruffles later. It allows you to gather the fabric so you end up with nice girly looking sleeves with a little gather at the top. It was something I had never really noticed before.
After I finished this dress, I figured I'd better strike while the iron was hot so I made 2 more dresses for myself.
This is a sleeveless version made from cotton (ALWAYS pre-wash and dry your fabric). It had a belt but it must have gotten lost in my closet.
This dress was made from fabric that was actually for home furnishings but I loved it so much I had to make something out of it. The collar and belt is made from embroidered silk with a paisley pattern. I have to admit that this is probably the most shoddy of all the dresses because I was in a rush to finish and the brown fabric kept fraying and I had to keep redoing the belt. I wore it to a show that night though and I remember I got a compliment from a woman in the elevator but I didn't tell her I made it because I didn't want her to look too closely at the details (like the collar seam kind of turns up around the edges, things like that). Here's a picture of me wearing it before we left that night:
And just to give everyone a good laugh, here's the dog coat I made for Applesauce with the leftover fabric. It was quilted and everything so when we went to Tennessee in November she'd be nice and warm. She wore it exactly zero times. She'd walk a few feet then stand there and wait for me to take it off. How's that for gratitude?!
She looks like I was going to try to trim her nails or something. Geesh.
So that's my first project and where I went from there. I know that I would not have been able to make these dresses without the sewing class because there are too many terms that I didn't know. I wish we had classes near where I live now (besides Jo-Ann's, where everyone does the same project) because there are some more advanced patterns I'd like to take on but I'm afraid without a sewing Nazi right there making sure I did every step correctly I might miss something. Thanks for reading and look for my next post in a few days- it's going to be a good one you'll want to see!