Saturday, 9 July 2011

Making a dress 1

 I have always wanted to try my hand at making clothes. I have had a few attempts at modifying but I never had the courage to make something myself. By a turn of luck, I have recently come to own a lovely amount of fabric (unwanted curtains and sheets) and have resolved to make something this summer. I found a few books in the library on historic clothing but that one I am currently finding most useful is The Costumer's Handbook from which I am learning how to make patterns and clothes that fit. I haven't finished reading it but I will do soon.
Yesterday, mother and I were doing some sewing, modifying a pair of huge curtains and making two pairs out of them so that they could fit our windows and trimming the bottom so that now it touches the floor instead of gathering in a huge heap. Anyway, I had my sewing machine out and I found it a lot of fun. I had forgotten how satisfying it is. At some point, mum found a brown sheet she wanted to use to make a carpet thing out of (don't ask me what cos I just don't know) and as I saw it, I also saw a dress in it, so I stole it, with her permission, and rushed into trying to make my very first dress.
These are my sketches with the relevant measurements and everything. I also used one of my nice dresses as a guide which helped at the top, and more specifically, at the arm holes. because the fabric had been a sheet, it didn't need pre-washing, which is what I did to the rest of my fabric. We don't want it to shrink or go funny in the wash now.
 I didn't really sit and think much, I just cut it out. I had enough fabric that if I made/make a mistake, I can go back and get some more. I allowed for 2cm seam allowance and sewed loosely what it would be like. I found that it fit over my head a little difficult but enough for me to make any modifications at this stage. I had left a little more fabric in the front so that I could gather it, which turned out to be a little problematic because it moved the straps further out and they were slipping off my shoulders. They were fine before I did the gathering.
Below you can see that I managed to gather the top and the skirt and sewed them together. The white thread that you see is what I used to create the gathers on top of which I sewed the seam into place. I also lowered the neckline and readjusted the straps, which took several attempts and a lot of trying on the garment, making adjustments, then trying it on again and so on.  I also used a dress for getting the right curve in the arm holes. After that, I went over my loose seams and did them properly, adjusting them slightly and trying even more to get them straight.
I was originally going to place a matching belt around the dress but then remembered this little one for which I hadn't yet found a purpose. I quite like it on the dress.
This is a far as I got, I will try to do more today, I sewed the belt on but it went a little funny at where the fabric is gathered, most prominently at the top on the front where the gathering is a little lopsided. Later today, I need to finish the straps and the neck line. Because I rushed into the making of the dress, I didn't think in advance about a zip or buttons, the first of which I don't even have. I did find some buttons that seem to go well with the dress that I bought at the car boot sale when I was last there.

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