For me, the most surprising part of sewing my own clothes has been fit. I really did not think that I could sew anything that would fit me properly. At all. But the great part about sewing your own clothes is using your exact measurements to sew the size you need! I now know why it’s so challenging to find clothes that fit properly at the store.
I was so frightened that this dress would not fit me that I sewed up a quick bare bones muslin in about an hour during the week. I was satisfied with it, and decided to cut into the beautiful and precious linen/cotton fabric I bought from Blackbird Fabrics.
New stuff I learned with this pattern: lining, pockets, invisible zipper.
I ended up using the muslin as a lining, since this linen is ever so slightly see through. Since this pattern doesn’t include a lining, I googled around and found two articles about sewing lining into a bodice and a skirt. I have to say, the internet has been a huge help to me while learning how to sew. The lining was time consuming but totally worth it. I had to baste each piece of lining to my linen fabric, and ultimately sewed everything as if it were one piece of fabric, and not two. I also purchased bias tape for this dress. Normally I would make my own but since the overall theme of the linen was white, I figured I could try using a store bought bias tape. It works well, BUT I’m not super thrilled that it’s partially polyester.
For the pockets I stuck to the white muslin, not realizing that it would be partially visible from the front of the dress. Oops! Since the muslin is white - no big deal! But now I know for next time. I found this pocket to be pretty straight forward - sewing the pocket in and then together with the other side. And who doesn’t love pockets in a dress?
The invisible zipper. Sigh. Okay, I ripped this out many times. I actually got it in on the first try! BUT getting it in the right position so it zipped up to the very top of the dress was tough. And then of course in doing that I ended up sewing it in twisted more than once. Sigh. In the end I ended up sewing in a small clasp at the very top. But given this is my first invisible zipper I’m pretty happy with it. I found an awesome youtube video on how to sew an invisible zipper WITHOUT the invisible zipper foot. SCORE! I really did not want to buy another foot for my machine, and turns out you can use a regular zipper foot just fine. Video here.
Overall, this dress probably took me around 12 hours to make. 10 in construction and probably an additional 2ish for assembling the pdf pattern, cutting and small fixes at the end. There are some things I wish were better - such as the pattern of the fabric matching up in the back of the dress, the top of the zipper and top of the bias tape on the neckline (as seen in this pic below). But I don’t think anything is very noticeable. :)
I love this dress, and it fits perfectly! One of the many things I like about Deer and Doe’s patterns is their pdf patterns allow you to select the size you want to print, and it will ONLY print that size. So I could cut out the pattern directly without worrying about cutting off other sizes. I also really love the variations that come with each pattern. The back of this dress is one variation - the other is a solid piece like the front. Perhaps next time I will make the solid back version - because I will definitely be making this dress again!