I've been sewing for six months now, so I figured it was time to learn how to follow a real pattern. I've used simple patterns from some lovely blogs like the one from lbg studio whose blog taught me how to make my daughter's pillowcase dress and can follow instructions on how to make skirts like my ruffle skirt from Sew Mama Sew. However, I had yet to brave actually purchasing and following a pattern until I found this one: Simplicity 2019. It was titled "SewSimple" and stated "one easy project" on it, so that sounded like a good one for a beginner like me. Plus, it was cute, only cost $0.98 at Wal-Mart, and had no zippers or buttons. Bonus! I found some inexpensive material at the same time, figuring if I ruined it, I would only be out about ten bucks. The pattern called for 1 5/8 yard of fabric and a package of 1/4 inch elastic, so that was easy enough.
Well, cutting out the pattern was simple, and being the
Then came the time to start matching up the pieces and actually sewing them together. I guess my first problem was using my kitchen table instead of my dining room table when I began this project. Since I couldn't finish the dress in one day, I had to pick up all my cut fabric and pattern pieces so my family could eat dinner. Some of my cut pieces got disorganized and were no longer stacked next to their pattern pieces, so I had to sort them out all over again.
Another problem I discovered was in sizing. When I had my daughter try on the top portion to make sure I had the elastic at the correct length, I realized the dress was going to fit a bit snug right off the bat. I had followed the sizing chart on the pattern carefully and didn't make my seams larger than the instructions, so I was really bummed about this. Working hours on a dress only to have it fit for a short time was very frustrating for me.
I'm also bummed for using such inexpensive fabric. It is a cute brown and blue fabric, but after two washes (one for pre-shrinking before making the dress), it already looks a bit faded. I really need to start shopping online for fabrics. If any of you do this and have some suggestions for great sites with good quality fabrics at budget-friendly prices, please let me know!
When doing the elastic, I hadn't read the instructions carefully or remembered those two strips I cut out a couple weeks ago that were meant to help me measure the elastic. I also had trouble pulling it through on spots where the sides seams were meeting up and had to cut my stitching in two places to get the safety pin through and restitch. Next time I will make sure I fold the seems all in one direction and consider that direction when I push my safety pin through.
Okay, so after finishing the hardest part: the top, I felt confident I could do the bottom half with no problem. As I read over the instructions, I realized it was just like those from the candy corn dress I had just made a few weeks ago, so I actually packed up the instructions and went from memory. Honestly, had I never made that dress or any like it, I would not have understood the instructions very clearly. Making projects from other blogger's instructions seems easier than patterns. Part of the benefit is obvious: the helpful photographs.
Overall, I'm very proud of myself for teaching myself to sew and follow patterns now. My daughter loves, loves, loves the dress. In fact, she insisted on sleeping in it tonight instead of pajamas. Of course, I caved and let her since I am so happy she loves the clothes I make for her. (Geez, I might be creating a monster.) I'm thinking my next project should be some winter pajamas or night shirts. What do you think?
What have I learned from this experience?
- Make sure the size is correct before cutting. Don't just rely on the sizing chart and your measurements; actually hold the pattern up to the person you are sewing for, and if you are sewing for a child, it's better to go bigger.
- Create a separate station in your house to work on the project so you aren't constantly moving it and possibly forgetting where you left off.
- Don't try to work on the project in short increments. Start it on a day you have plenty of time to get through at least a designated spot. For instance, maybe next time I'll do all my cuttings on one day and all my sewing the next.
- Be patient when mistakes happen, and be willing to learn from those mistakes.
- Use quality fabrics for clothing you want to wear for a while.