. . . . . . A place to contribute, exchange tips and ideas and find further info on the LDC group on Meetup.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

First Dress and all the other firsts.

Hi everyone,

I’m Juls and this is my first ever blog post on Blogland… Thank you to Giselle for trusting me to put my spiel out there.

Today I’d like to share with you my first dress and other sewing skill firsts. 

I was invited to a wedding and my friend had decided on a white theme with all the guests to be in white (or shades of). Sounds unusual but on the day it looked so beautiful, quite ethereal, the amazing sea views and beach club were a perfect match with all the white. Even the groom and all the male guests were in white.  It was gorgeous! Since the groom was Indian, many of the family and friends wore white saris and with all the intricate embroidery, such fabulous outfits were in abundance!

I usually have difficulty wearing dresses, the waistline never sits in the right place for my body shape and so I was dreading shopping; plus the fact that my friend preferred me to be in a full length gown, this compounded my woes. I didn’t hold out much hope in finding a white dress that didn’t look bridal.

I am very new to the world of sewing/dressmaking and at this point of deciding to make my own dress, my sewing endeavours to date are a blind, a pair of pj shorts and the infamous Sorbetto top.  I don't know what possessed me to think that I could sew a wearable first dress ..... and all for a special occasion, just a bit mad ambitious! 

I have previously shied away from dressmaking on the basis that my sewing ability would be well below the standard of what I want to wear. I’ve tinkered with a craft project or two and only decided to buy a sewing machine to attempt to sew some blinds (still incomplete).

My original planned dress pattern was chosen 4 months before the wedding (Butterick 4343) but I  constantly put off starting it. The pattern said it was fast and simple, but the prospect of fitting and sewing princess seams in 6 panels in total, plus lining, made that 12 seams into a tight fitting dress, plus an invisible zip GULP! I was intimidated.

Then late on a Sunday night, just 10 days before the wedding, (ok yes I procrastinate) I changed tack and fished out New Look 6119 pattern from my extensive pattern hoard.

I bought fabric on the Monday after work and by the weekend I had made the muslin. Never having sewn a commercial pattern, I wasn't sure how my size compared to their sizings so I chose one based on the finished garment size. This pattern has 5 inches of ease! FIVE!!!! I did chose correctly for the bust, but also took the waist in a tad more. 

Just to add to my “first dress challenge” (eye roll), I made some changes not in the pattern, I added a lining and also a central split up the centre front, just for a bit of added va va voom. I ditched the neckband and sash belt in favour of sewing a chiffon scarf and sash. I was going for the floaty dreamy look, (which is probably where my head was when I decided to do this dress….) So I attempted roll-hemming two lengths of two metre chiffon for the first time (at 3am in the morning – crazy chick!) But.... it all went fine! No tears or chewed up chiffon swallowed by the machine... 

My version was in a light crepe with a bemberg lining, chiffon neck band and belt sash. I took a big risk with no back up outfit, I had no idea if it would suit me, or if all the modifications would work etc. Literally blood went into this (stabbed myself with the needle securing the gathering at the neckline whilst wearing but thankfully it marked on the inside, phew) It was do or die (of outfit embarrassment)

I also pondered over ways to do the channel for the neck band and attachment for the lining for a while and just decided on doing it between the lining and outer fabric. The original pattern used wide bias tape and narrow tape around the armholes both of which were no longer appropriate because of the lining.

My deadline was running out fast and I sewed into the night until 4am because I had to fly out the next morning and had yet to pack… (Panic!) I flew out with the garment needing a lot finishing to do.  I had also bought some very pretty diamante trim from MacCulloch and Wallis as it was a simple dress I thought it would enhance it.

Whilst I was away I hand sewed the hem and split (on the flight), and the diamante detail on the neckline finishing on the morning of the wedding!

I was pretty pleased with the final result, much better than I thought it would be. I like the pattern and my dress, more so than I anticipated when I bought the pattern, it’s actually really versatile and can be reinterpreted in so many different fabrics. I would make it again if I need another special occasion dress. I can imagine this in an evening dress fabric. 

I learned a ton doing this dress pretty much everything was new to me and now I think I may really be able to take on sewing and dressmaking.  

It was Martina of LaDulsatina who finally inspired me to take on dressmaking, by my standards she bravely took on projects with great success when she first started and she has now progressed into drafting her own gorgeous garments. 

For now, on this dress the seams need tidying, learning the overlocker can wait and I didn’t like the suggested seam finishes (my fabric is quite see-through). The hemstitching kept snagging on crystals on my shoes even though I tried to keep them in the fold, but they were not as small I would do normally as they seemed to show on the front despite only catching a couple of threads so I will have to redo this.

Thank you for reading my first ramblings…sorry if I bored you with the background of it all. 
Now, I need to sew more and read less about it... a little more action and a lot less procrastination! 

Happy sewing everyone! 😊