I started sewing this dress 2 years ago.
It’s taken me 2 whole years to finish sewing a dress. I know it sounds bad but there is a story behind why it took me so long.
I found the pattern for this dress 1958 Ladies’ Party Dress on the Sense & Sensibility website. My friend who sews told me about this pattern all those years ago and I decided that this was the dress that I would start my sewing journey with.
The pattern was bought online, downloaded as a PDF, printed into a million (well it felt like that) pages and then I had this huge jigsaw pattern to stick together. All of that I did with no real hassles. The next thing I did was trace the pattern onto tracing toile so that I didn’t have to cut up my giant jigsaw puzzle, plus the thought of sticking paper onto fabric and then trying to pin it & cut…yeah…no thanks.
So tracing the pattern was easy. Then I realised half way through tracing that I was copying my shop bought clothing size – not my true size. SHITE…start tracing again. I wasn’t happy about it but at the time I was thinking it would be better than cutting the fabric and it’s too small.
Then I had darts….darts at the back and front of the bodice and I just froze. I had no idea how to copy those darts from the pattern to the fabric. No idea at all.
So everything was folded up and put into the bottom of a box and I decided that perhaps I needed to go and do some sewing lessons. One of the first things I learnt to do in those first few weeks of my sewing lessons was transferring the dart from the pattern paper/toile to the fabric. I had a burst of enthusiasm and I pulled the fabric out of storage and transferred my darts, pinned them down ready for stitching aaaaaand then put everything back into storage.
Fast forward almost two years and I needed to finish that dress off. However…I learned a few things over the years.
1. Wash your fabric – yup…I didn’t wash my fabric before cutting it.
2. Make a toile – yup…I didn’t make a toile and I discovered that my torso is short so quite often I have to adjust the bodice of any dresses / tops that I make so that they fit.
3. I cut rather large notches on my fabric – a simple straight short cut is all that is needed…not my giant year 7 sewing class triangle notch (I was doing what I was taught all those years ago!).
4. Lining – didn’t even think for a minute that I would need to add lining to my bodice. I ended up having enough fabric so I self lined it and it turned out perfectly.
I start sewing, matching my giant notches and trying on my toile/real bodice and it was a tight fit. I was seriously wondering if this dress would fit once I put the zip in.
Meh…just keep going.
It’s cool, so what if it doesn’t fit me, at least it’s practice. I sometimes stress so much that what I am making won’t work or fit or look any good but I have to remind myself that even if I fail at least I tried and at least I am getting practice and using the skills I have learnt.
Sure enough it all came together and with my brand new overlocker I was even able to finish off all my raw edges.
I took a deep breath in and zipped her up and what do you know…it fit!
If I had to make any changes I would actually lower the bodice a little – maybe half an inch to an inch and I would make the skirt a bit longer. Otherwise this dress is awesome and will be worn this coming Spring/Summer.
I have already received a compliment wearing this dress (it was a mild day so I HAD to wear it out!). I went to Spotlight where I bought the ‘Deck Chair’ fabric from originally and one of the ladies working behind the cutting counter said my dress was beautiful and when I told her that I bought the fabric here she said “I know”.
The deck chairs are navy & white and goes perfectly with my navy shoes and cute vintage navy purse I picked up at The Vintage Emporium in Tyabb this past weekend.