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    • Gwendolyn
    • By Gwendolyn 24th Sep 16, 9:41 AM
    • 71Posts
    • 644Thanks
    Beginners dress sewing
    • #1
    • 24th Sep 16, 9:41 AM
    Beginners dress sewing 24th Sep 16 at 9:41 AM
    Hello, not sure if this is the place to put this post.

    I inherited a sewing machine which I can basically use - I've made bunting, cushion covers and the like. And, about 12 years ago I made a skirt and dress but had a nightmare with zips and gave up.

    I would like another go at sewing and want to make a simple dress. I know sleeves are hard but I like sleeves. But I'm struggling to find any patterns - there are too many out there and I find choosing so daunting that it's put me off.

    Has anyone got any hints and tips of where to start. I've worked with jersey and satin backed crepe in the past , but I just want to make an unlined basic dress.
Page 2
    • purpleivy
    • By purpleivy 1st Oct 16, 3:05 PM
    • 3,378 Posts
    • 20,682 Thanks
    I am probably at a similar place as you, howeve,r I have been on a six week sewing course where I made a dress, I still have zip fear! I have been using any pattern that tells me its easy and would agree that they do tend to be pretty shapeless but are quite good for helping you learn the processes and building confidence. Personally I have come to the conclusion that I need to learn how to do a full bust adjustment, a task I keep putting off.
    Originally posted by Handbag59 is a great place to get help with sewing themes. If you don't want to tackle a full bust adjustment, there are several patterns out there that have them ready done for you. I'm loving the Cashmerette patterns at the moment, which come with C/D E/F and G/H patterns You dont' have to guess which size, as advice is given on how to choose, also full sizing charts for each fitting are given on the pattern.
    "Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad"
    Trying not to waste food!
    • purpleivy
    • By purpleivy 1st Oct 16, 3:06 PM
    • 3,378 Posts
    • 20,682 Thanks
    Thank you all for your replies. You have all made some very good points.

    I have now narrowed it down to two patterns with very few pieces and seams - the pictures on the "back" are very useful for this. I have also found patterns with no need for zips at this stage.

    There is a lady in my village who is a dressmaker by trade who offers classes. They are not at a time I have been able to make. But she will do a 1-to-1 for me on zips. I may ask OH for a couple of lessons with her for my Christmas present.

    I know by the time you have the fabric etc - it's not necessarily a money saving idea. After all, you can buy lovely dresses from charity shops for less than 5. However, it's more about the skill for me and having a bit of fun being able to make a dress in a fabric I like. I have lots of old pieces to use for a dummy run.
    Originally posted by Gwendolyn

    For me it's more about having something that fits correctly.
    "Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad"
    Trying not to waste food!
    • fiddlesticks
    • By fiddlesticks 1st Oct 16, 5:30 PM
    • 100 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    I have been sewing for years. Not sure I have actually learned anything and I don't follow the rules as I'm too lazy:-)
    Every pattern I use requires hours of maths to fit me and it usually ends up too big- anything fitted will never happen.
    I don't press as it ruins things when I try, I use the cheapest fabric I can find and the one time I made a toile it fitted perfectly but the final garment didn't.
    All that being said, I can't buy clothes in Tesco so if I buy 3meters of fabric for 6-10 quid and manage toget a shirt I can wear to work its cheaper (and quicker) than the 40 quid and 2 weeks wait than one would cost online.
    I don't sew for the destination but the journey, hope over experince.etc
    • ScotinLondon
    • By ScotinLondon 3rd Oct 16, 2:15 PM
    • 321 Posts
    • 3,746 Thanks
    If the link works - simplicity are doing a sew saturday on 15/10/2016 with Might be interest to anyone.

    D17/J18 75.27; J/F18 64.79; F/M 124.01; M/A 40.05/130.00
    CCC - 26.00
    Lunch2work 14/20 J18; 10/19 F18; 3/17 A18
    GNSD 18/31 J18; 15/28 F18; 7/31 M18; 7/30A18
    • Grumpmum
    • By Grumpmum 3rd Oct 16, 5:33 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 69 Thanks

    Has anyone seen the DK book A Little Course in Dressmaking? (Think its called that.) the Dk books are usually really straightforward and informative. Think I have a copy somewhere and must look it out. I have used my machine for quilting, but want to learn how to make my own clothes too.
    • VfM4meplse
    • By VfM4meplse 3rd Oct 16, 9:22 PM
    • 25,438 Posts
    • 54,123 Thanks
    I'd love to be an able seamstress, I just think it's very difficult to avoid the "homemade" look

    "No man is worth, crawling on the earth"- adapted from Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

    Hope is not a strategy ...A child is for life, not just 18 years....Don't get me started on the NHS, because you won't win...If in doubt, don't pull out... I love chaz-ing!
    • ScotinLondon
    • By ScotinLondon 4th Oct 16, 5:38 PM
    • 321 Posts
    • 3,746 Thanks
    The Thrifty Stitcher online tutorials
    The lady behind sewing bee is now doing some free online tuitions - link below

    I did do sewing classes last year the in middle of exams, but have I done any pattern sewing since then - have i heck! RL gets in the way! Hemmed up trousers and the like but that is it. Think all will have to wait until all my exams have finished and then re-learn it.

    I have one of the large DK dressmaking book and another little one, between them and some sewing magazines - i have got my head around on how to do things. I have a very literal/straightforward brain - so when i have read the instructions on a sewing packet - they have confused me. I definitely need to read it twice before i understand what i need to do.

    Have a good rest of the evening all!

    Last edited by ScotinLondon; 04-10-2016 at 5:42 PM.
    D17/J18 75.27; J/F18 64.79; F/M 124.01; M/A 40.05/130.00
    CCC - 26.00
    Lunch2work 14/20 J18; 10/19 F18; 3/17 A18
    GNSD 18/31 J18; 15/28 F18; 7/31 M18; 7/30A18
    • PlaysNicely
    • By PlaysNicely 18th Oct 16, 8:20 AM
    • 82 Posts
    • 535 Thanks

    Just a quick check in to see how it's going Gwendolyn ... did you find a pattern to get started with?

    I did manage to get signed up for lessons & have been fitted in for Tuesdays (a non-work day for me) ... my first lesson is today and I'm really looking forward to it!

    Hope everything's going well for everyone else and winter wardrobes are underway!

    • Blether
    • By Blether 18th Oct 16, 2:45 PM
    • 271 Posts
    • 214 Thanks
    Butterick See and Sew patterns are reasonably priced and most are fairly simple. Try and find something that is not too fitted. You can pick up sewing books in many charity shops. My advice would be to buy any sewing items that you see in a charity shop and start a folder with sewing tasks before you go to a full garment. Get some old scrap material and practise putting a zip in, darts, sewing buttons etc. That way you are not wasting a garment if you mess up. Start sewing with low cost material. There is a sewing forum and they are a helpful lot. There is a wide range of experience from beginners to very knowledgeable. There is also threads about where to get material that won't break the bank.
    • DigForVictory
    • By DigForVictory 18th Oct 16, 3:29 PM
    • 7,580 Posts
    • 21,634 Thanks
    My Aunt used to make various summer frocks & was vehement, it was only worth doing if you bought the really nice fabric. That way you had a unique & lovely garment that could with care keep going for years, plus the quality of the fabric mildly distracted the eye from any minor faults in the construction. She'd buy end of bolt lengths from Liberty's & looked glorious.
    I follow her advice but stick to wool and smocks rather than frocks as I worry about sparks etc from fires. She'd approve of my sewing but blink at my taste in garments, being very much of the Edith Head & Grace Kelly school of clothing.
    • maryb
    • By maryb 19th Oct 16, 9:30 AM
    • 3,643 Posts
    • 44,467 Thanks
    I can really recommend Craftsy. All their courses go on sale quite regularly so no need to pay full price. Alison Smith (who wrote the big DK book and runs a sewing school in Ashby de la Zouche) is brilliant, though I think her Craftsy classes are a bit more advanced. But there are lots for beginners - I got one for my daughter when she started sewing. or this one would be quite good

    And if you want to learn how to fit, the Palmer and Pletsch method is very good. They also have a couple of Craftsy classes on that as well as other fitting classes
    It doesn't matter if you are a glass half full or half empty sort of person. Keep it topped up! Cheers!
    • jackyann
    • By jackyann 19th Oct 16, 5:22 PM
    • 3,331 Posts
    • 7,894 Thanks
    Oh, Dig for Victory, I haven't heard mention of Edith Head in years! I wish I had her style!
    I have done one of Michelle Pye's courses (English Couture Company) and thought it so good, I'm going back to do another.
    • mummypops
    • By mummypops 19th Oct 16, 11:53 PM
    • 58 Posts
    • 223 Thanks
    Please could I suggest a Tilly and the Buttons pattern for a simple dress. The pattern is called Coco.
    Its suitable for knit fabrics, no zips, no darts and the sleeves are inserted before the seams are sewn.
    A sewing friend recommended this to me with a couple of tips. Both the front and back are cut on the fold, she advised me to create a 1.5cm seam allowance on the back and cut the back in half. Sewing it back up makes it hang beautifully. Also, if your tall you will need to add some length to the pattern.

    I haven't quite got round to making it for myself yet as both my daughters are keen to have dresses, so much so, DD2 is sewing hers up herself!

    Good luck I hope you find the right pattern for you.
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