I've been wanting to sew clothes for myself for some time now. When I first started sewing, that's what I made – a-line skirts, dresses, jumpers. I wasn't afraid of cutting fabric one bit. I was also a teenager with a very different body than I have now, if you catch my drift. In the past few years, I've tried a few items with so-so results and, as such, have been hesitant to jump back in. I get so frustrated when I spend oodles of time and money on lovely fabric and not have it work out. So, I stick with quilts and accessories because in my mind they are fool proof most of the time.
Last week, while the house was upside down, I sewed Jane's costume and some other skirts for the school play. I don't have any photos to share yet – I finished *just* before we had to walk out the door for the first dress rehearsal. The costumes were simple pieces – elastic waist skirt, peasant blouse, belt – but I found myself immensely satisfied putting clothing together instead of a pillow or such. It made me rethink my adversion to sewing clothing for myself. What I am waiting for? It's just fabric and thread, both of which are plentiful around here. Why am I so scared to make mistakes? I'm often telling the girls to just try something, that they will learn from their errors. Sheesh, I bet I would, too.
Hello, Erin? Would you listen to yourself? Gather some courage and get sewing.
I've had the Evening Empire Dress pattern for a long time now. I wanted to make it last summer and chickened out because of all I said above and because I realized once it arrived here, that it's not going to be the most flattering dress on me. Yesterday it dawned on me….one of the best parts about sewing for yourself is that you can take something and make it work for you. I thought about the dresses in my closet that fit me well and that I like to wear. I knew that I would have to lengthen the bodice on this dress to flatter me. My torso is longer than average and also the thinnest part of my body – I had to emphasize it in some way while keeping the fullness in the skirt to accommodate my hips.
Melissa convinced me to make a muslin. So I did. (And this is the part where I become brave and actually post a picture of it on me.)
I took some quick measurements with my strapless bra on and went with the size large. I took the pattern pieces and drafted a band under the bust to lengthen the bodice. I sewed it all up, including the seam where the zipper will go in order to save time. And then I tried it on. I think it will work. I'm going to add an extra 5/8" to the pattern piece so that the seam line will be where the raw edge of the band is now. I may have to adjust the bust seams and/or let out the sides a tiny bit – there's plenty of room to do that with a 5/8" seam allowance. I will add straps to the dress, too, although I may make them thinner than the pattern calls for.
The fabric is going in the wash today and, with any luck, I'll be sewing this up over the weekend. I will show and tell, regardless of the outcome. I want to sew for myself and figuring out what works and what doesn't is the only way I am going to get better at this. If I really screw up, I figure the girls will get some lovely voile skirts during Kids Clothing Week Challenge. And if I manage to make this work, well then I have a dress.
Either way it's going to be just fine.