Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Sewing a Dress

Hello Lovelies, 
here is another of my VERY occasional dressmaking posts . In fact it's only the second such post. 
Last year I tried dressmaking after a looooog gap ( about twenty years! ) I set out to make a dress, but the pattern was rather tricky and instead I made a skirt. I was pleased with how it turned out and blogged about it HERE

This time I wanted to finally make a dress.  I made sure the pattern was simple and used some fabric from my stash in case of disasters. The fabric is a bit thick for a summer dress, but has a nice drape so I hoped it would be O.K...............


Dress pattern sizes are different from ready made clothes, so do be aware of this and check the size guide on your pattern.
According to the size guide my top half  is a size 12 and bottom half a size 14...........



I pondered what to do about this for a while and decided to cut the top out along the size 12 lines, then gradually cross over to the size 14 below the waist............


I find it's worth ironing the crumpled tissue paper pattern pieces ( on the lowest setting ) .........



I was very glad there were no cameras watching me as I worked. I like to take my time and my sewing skills are so rusty I wouldn't get very far in the amount the Sewing Bee contestants get.........


When I was younger I was always in such a rush to complete a garment, I would skip stages like the tacking. But I did end up with some rather mixed results. I expect that's why I only got a CSE grade 2 in Needlework at school :0)

I did enjoy the process of sewing this dress, gradually working through all the various stages and following Jo's great advice to "Just take your time".....yes there's no rush, you are doing this for pleasure Jacquie.

Here I'm tacking the sleeves into the armhole before machine sewing.


And here is my finished dress..........Ta-Dah..........




The neck is the bit I'm most proud of. Actually it was quite easy to do and I love the finished effect.......


This dress has no zip ( hurray ) Its a simple "pull it over your head" style....the sort of dress I like to wear.

I chose a pretty white flower button from my stash to close the back of neck opening........


Here is how the neckline looks on, It's actually a little large but I still love it..........

Please excuse the odd selfie pictures, there was nobody else at home to act as photographer.

The back of neck was rather gappy so I took the time to unpick the back seam and remove some fabric. I didn't enjoy that bit, but in the end I think it was worth the effort.......

The back is great, with its clever gathering that was really easy to do. I simply stitched along some stretched elastic. When you release the stretch you get great gathers.

But this is the front........Ummmm........it does remind me of a maternity frock.........


I'm sure this is because of the thickish fabric. I kind of guessed this might be a  problem so I made a simple belt just in-case...........

That's better :0)

If I make another dress using this pattern I'll choose a thinner fabric and add more flare to the skirt, but otherwise I was really happy with this pattern. It was easy to follow with no difficult  techniques and I ended up with a dress that I'll be happy to wear.

Jacquie x

p.s. Don't forget The Great British Sewing Bee is on telly at
 8pm BBC 2 tonight.

p.p.s My crochet hanger was made using THIS pattern, in case you were wondering.

40 comments:

  1. Aha.... thats 'ab fab' the belt fits and makes the dress look even better, top it with a little cardi and off you go...the work around the neck is lovely, not so rusty then eh???
    Daisy j xxx

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  2. It's really lovely, well done! I'm starting to learn to sew, which is great fun : ) Working on April Rhodes' Date Night Dess at the mo - also easy. Enjoy wearing! Jen

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  3. It looks great on you! I have never made a dress, only a top and a few things for the boys. I am inspired!

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  4. I looks lovely, perfect for spring. I'm looking forward to begin able to wear bare legs and sandals, loose fitting dresses and leggings instead of being trussed up in tight jeans and boots!

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  5. Well done - you should be really proud, it looks great!
    http://asaucystitch.blogspot.co.uk/

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  6. Congrats! It looks great, and so smart to try it out in stash fabric first and learn what alterations are needed to personalize it for you, the next one I'm betting will be even better to your liking. When I find a garment I love, and nearly wear it out with that love, I'll take it apart for a pattern and make many more, so the love continues. lol If it's a simple design you can just lay it out on the (fold of) fabric and trace around each section, add seam allowance and make it that way as well. I've done loads this way, especially for my girls as they were growing leaps and bounds, for their favorite pieces, I'd just allow extra (side seams, length, neck, etc.) when tracing to size it up. Happy sewing!

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  7. That's a lovely dress, and it looks wonderful on you... great job, congrats! : )

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  8. It's beautiful and it looks very nice on you. I think the belt is a very nice touch. I actually saw that same pattern in the fabric store a few weeks ago so I'm glad to see what it looks like made.

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  9. Your sewing looks very fine to my eye. The fabric is so springlike, and your button choice makes a clever accent. I haven't sewn any clothes in many years, but used to make just about all my clothes, and remember how interesting it was to sort of "learn" a pattern, so that I would want to re-use it and re-adapt it over and over.

    Thank you for reminding me of those days! xo

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  10. I think you are very clever to make this Jacquie (and so nicely too).
    The words "no zip" are magic to my ears. I must see if I can hunt down this pattern here in Aus, I would really like to try it - I am not much of a sewer but keen to learn.
    Nice to 'meet' you, Kylie

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  11. Very nice Jacquie! I was like you at school as well. I have since learned to take my time and not skip steps.
    One thing I have learned, is that modern body shapes and current patterns can be very different. For instance, the bust is predicated on a particular cup size as well - and it ain't D, DD, E or even F. As a consequence, often ladies will cut the pattern based on their measurement across the chest but find the finished dress or top is baggy at the neckline. Often the underarm needs to be cut a size or even more smaller. I make a calico sample to ensure my bodice is good and that the length is right for my frame. It makes such a difference and then there is then either no grief or need to make alterations post construction.
    I do hope you continue on with it. Your work is very neat and I love the fabric from your stash.
    Cheers

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  12. Great job the dress looks fine, I might have that pattern some were. My little bit of advice was I traced the pattern for my dress onto dress paper, it just ment if I went wrong I still had the original pattern to work off. You are right you can't rush making clothes, all the prep befor makes a better garment. Looking forward to watching GBSB to night.
    Amanda xx

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  13. really lovely ! Nice with a heel or thick tights and boots...or sandals...............I think you`ll get lots of wear out of it and even better you made it yourself !

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  14. Your dress looks great. Now you know the fit, so next time you use the pattern it should be easier. Know what you mean about pattern sizing! Maybe the fabric will be a bit more pliable after a few washes and a drop of fabric softener. My dress is still in the cupboard under the stairs... waiting to be finished! Can't put down the knitting though....ha ha.

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  15. Beautiful dress! I've found a pattern I adore and have made several dresses from it. Each dress looks different though with different fabrics. Thanks for sharing with us.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  16. Lovely dress, Jacquie!! I´d wear it! :) You must be very proud of this!

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  17. Brilliant.....you are further ahead than I as I am still procrastinating and wondering if I can remember the 20+ year old sewing skills. You will be cool and chic and most imporatantly comfy this summer, and a great idea to add the belt. 2 3/4 hours until Sewing Bee time, better crack on with dinner!!

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  18. I love your dress - it would also look good teamed up with a long sleeve top chunky tights and boots too...... I think you may have started me off on my sewing journey again, love the fabric x

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  19. I love that fabric and dress shape, I would make 5 of those for every day of the week! Jo x

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  20. Gorgeous Jacquie! I love it. It really suits you. The OH has just told me he is watching the footie tonight so I will be banished to the bedroom to watch GBSB in bed. Bliss! X

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  21. Summer sweet!! Can you share the hanger pattern??

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  22. Lovely dress, very bodenesque. I have this pattern and I am plucking up courage to start it as I have a bit of an anti sewing thing which I am determined to conquer.

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  23. Beautiful dress - you did a fabulous job - thank you for the link to the crochet hanger, it is very sweet. I have the Sewing Bee recorded can't wait to watch it all.

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  24. I love it, well done. I also love watching the sewing bee on bbc2 and indeed: SO glad they never see me work! ;-)

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  25. love it, with or without the belt!

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  26. I just love this little dress of yours! Going to try and get hold of the pattern, or similar.

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  27. it's lovely Jacquie, very clever. I would love to make a dress. very inspiring. Heather x

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  28. Great job Jacquie, so satisfying to make something that you can wear.....it looks great.

    Claire Xx

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  29. looks great! I think I have this pattern in the back of a cupboard somewhere, you may have inspired me :-)

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  30. Hi Jacquie. Cant believe it! I have just bought this very same pattern! Im usually a size 10 so made that size but it was much too small! :( I think its the cutest little shift dress so Im going to have another go. It looks gorgeous on you. Love Julie in Western Australia

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  31. You know Jacquie, according to my skirt pattern size chart, my hips are the size 14 and my waist is off the scale - size 22 maybe? I don't know where to start! I love your dress, very pretty with the belt on. Sam xx

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  32. I love your dress! With or without the belt it is great. I've been looking for summer dresses and haven't found a one I liked. Thanks for the idea of making my own.

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  33. The dress is lovely and the colour suits you so well!

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  34. Lovely dress! I think if you take your bust measurement around your upper chest -- just under the arms -- rather than your full breast, you will get a truer size. I also think the hips are too big. Often the patterns, especially if you're between sizes, will be on the larger size. Now that you know how nice this pattern can turn out may I suggest buying some really cheap muslin and making the dress, using the upper chest measurement and a 12 hip, as a sample to use for future fittings. You can make changes on the muslin and get the perfect fit by transferring the changes to pattern paper. Here's a link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sewable-Swedish-Tracing-Paper-73cm/dp/B00C649MLG There will be no need for hemming or any other finishing details, just the seaming. You can even use long stitches on the sewing machine so it will be easier to unpick, and if you use the Swedish TP you can sew it and try it on for fit. Can't wait to see your next version. There are so many different views that every dress will look very different.

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  35. Well done, your dress is lovely. Home sewing is enjoyable but can be frustrating too trying to adjust the sizes as you have done. Looking forward to seeing more sewing projects.
    Anne xx

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  36. With or without the belt, that dress looks smashing on you. Well done and keep up the good work.
    I like the fact that there is no zip.

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  37. I think this is beautiful! XOX

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