place holder

Jun 16, 2014

How to sew a dress for newbies






As some of you may have noticed, I've been bitten by the sewing bug and now have my very first project under my belt.
 
Mr. Newbie and I spent the better part of a Saturday trolling Joann Fabrics and Hobby Lobby in search of a newbie-friendly pattern and some fabric.  I decided to pick up the New Look 6020 dress pattern and give it a go.  It is labeled as "easy" right on the front so should be good for a complete newbie, right? I found some lovely seersucker fabric on sale as well so was super happy.  The lovely lady at Joann's walked me through all the required notions (zipper, thread, pins etc.) and dutifully explained to me what single-fold bias tape was and how and why I would use it in this pattern.  Color me confused...
 
Anyway, having no real sewing experience to speak of I approached this project with a little trepidation and a surplus of caution.  I stalked various sewing blogs and sites (check out Tilly and the Buttons for some great learn to sew tutorials) and noted that a lot of people recommend making up a "muslin" so I thought I'd do that too.  Why ruin my beautiful fabric even if it's on sale trying to figure this thing out... so back to Joann's we went for some cheapo muslin.  Did I ever mention how wonderfully understanding my husband is... he really is the best! 


preparing the pattern & muslin
With all the ingredients accounted for I was now ready to begin but with work and such in between I had to wait for the weekend to roll around again (don't you just despise waiting when you're all ramped up and ready to sew?)  Friday night I finally got down to brass tacks and traced my pattern.  I didn't want to cut up my original so using some more sewing blog knowledge I dug out my tissue paper gift wrap that I had in my Christmas stash and found I had enough white and light yellow paper to make it work.  I then dutifully placed the gift wrap tissue paper over the original tissue paper pattern and traced my pattern size - making sure to mark all the notches, and seam lines from the original.

Once that was done I cut out the gift wrap pattern leaving a small edge outside the trace lines so that I could cut it down with the fabric when I got to that step.  This took me about an hour and a half because I was being super careful to make sure I had all the markings from the original on my traced pattern as well as labeling all the traced pattern pieces with the pattern information from the original as well as the size I had traced.







finished muslin bodice
The next day I got down to sewing... I unboxed my machine and set it up for the very first time!  Reading the instructions on how to wind the bobbin, thread the machine etc I had it ready to go in no time at all.  The dining room table and alcove was soon converted into my very own sewing studio.  I ironed the tissue paper pattern pieces a bit to help them lie flat, pinned them to the muslin and got down to the business of cutting out each piece.  The pieces came together quite easily.  The pattern directions seemed a bit vague and confusing to me at first but as soon as I sat down to put them together they began to make sense.  Sometimes doing really is the best option.  The muslin came together beautifully in about 8 hours and gave me the confidence to go ahead with the real dress construction. 

The next day I repeated the process with the dress fabric although I admit I worked much more slowly and carefully this time around.  I did learn how to finish seam edges, sew in bias tape around the armscye and put in my very first zipper!  Having finished this dress I am very pleased with the result.  I didn't make any alterations to the pattern I just cut and sewed a straight size 12 with the recommended seam allowances on the pattern and it turned out beautifully - at least I think so.  I did get several compliments on the dress from various strangers when I wore it to work so that's something I think. 

So here it is, the finished dress. I'm really quite proud of it... what do you think?



Anyway, I hope this post has encouraged those of you who have not given dressmaking a try. I know from experience that this can be very intimidating but once done feels very rewarding. I now am slightly addicted to dressmaking!

How about you, do you remember your first project? Are you still hesitating? I'd love to hear about your experiences.

 


this post has been shared at one (or all) of these wonderful blog hops!

14 comments:

  1. My my, your dress looks fabulous, especially for a first sewing project. Seersucker fabric is a great choice for light summery clothing. I heartily commend your initiative for learning to sew all by yourself. Isn't the internet a blessing! My first project was, also a dress, many years and projects ago.
    I'd like to invite you to link this post at my blogger friend's blog party, The Art of Home-Making Mondays. Here's the link for today's post if you'd like to share this lovely post: http://strangersandpilgrimsonearth.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-art-of-home-making-mondays-please_16.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and for the invite to your blog party! I'd be happy to join you.

      Delete
  2. My first dress was similar in style, just a bit longer. I wish I would have kept it for my daughter (I was 18 when I sewed it) since she likes sentimental things like that. Very nicely done though! I am impressed you were able to do it on your own as I had dear grandmother to teach me. Good job! :) And thanks for linking up your industrious post to the Art of Home-Making Mondays!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for the encouragment and for hosting the Art of Home-Making Mondays.

      Delete
  3. Love the dress!
    Great job :)
    Stopping over from the HomeAcre Hop.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow! I'm impressed. I sew, but it has been a while since I have made clothing. Thanks for sharing this with us at the HomeAcre Hop!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for the lovely encouragement and for hosting the HomeAcre Hop!

      Delete
  5. You did an awesome job! Fantastic! Thanks for sharing...via homesteaders hop!

    ReplyDelete
  6. AnonymousJuly 14, 2014

    Just found your site - live it. And, congratulations - you did a beautiful job. I've sewn a little here and there for myself and my little nieces - yours looks very pro! Well done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your lovely comment!

      Delete
  7. Wow!!! Just wow. I am so inspired right now! Ok, I need to follow this blog. And hit up JoAnn's with my 40% off coupon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks again Heather! I really do like JoAnn's and those coupons make things SO much better don't they? Good luck with your sewing and I hope you stop by again soon.

      Delete

I love hearing from you and reading comments is one of my favorite things so please feel free to comment, share or just say "hi" but please remember to be courteous to others while doing so. Thanks!