Dressmaking week 2

I’ve made progress, although i can only describe it as ‘painstakingly slow’ after spending two hours just sorting out the pattern, measurements and material and getting the bits cut out for my dress.

Here’s a glimpse of the groovy patterned wool I bought, and evidence that I can cut out along a black line:


I found it easy to measure my hips, waist and bust and it was simple enough to use those measurements to see which pattern size i should be cutting out, although I admit I’m still a bit fuzzy on that. The measurements on the dress pattern show the finished garment size which includes 9cm on top of your body measurements, so that you can actually move! The dress I’ve chosen also has darts so if it is too big (which I suspect it might be – rather too big than too small) I can adjust it once the sections are all sewn together.

Cutting out the pattern seemed to take forever and then I had to iron the pieces, plus all 1.5 metres of fabric AND the 0.5 metres of lining fabric. I hate ironing.

When I had that all done I was ready to pin and cut, but first of all I learned about how to line up the pattern pieces against the selvages (the fabric edges) to make sure the direction of the pattern or nap wouldn’t end up wonky. I’ve chosen a fairly fine houndstooth so it wouldn’t be TOO obvious but it’s good to pay attention to detail. I’m notoriously bad for ‘winging it’ so I’d like to apply some self discipline and be really proud of the final dress knowing I did my best.

So I pinned the pattern pieces to the fabric. For this I used some of the pearl-topped pins that have been recycled after forming part of our wedding table plan. I had used the pins to secure the names to their respective places on our fabric board at the wedding:


It’s lovely to use them again, especially as they’re so pretty. The pinning went smoothly enough and the cutting was tense but successful! I now have 7 pieces of fabric. I still need to re-pin the pattern to the lining and cut that too, but will wait until next week and get Abi’s advice on that – the pattern calls for just a partial lining but I think with a wool fabric a full lining might work better, and help the dress to hold its shape.

I’m not sure in that case if I should use interfacing to effectively stick the lining to the wool – does anyone have any advice for me? Please leave me a wee comment if you have any suggestions.

That’s four hours spent so far (well, two of them were spent choosing a pattern and chatting about the best type of fabric) and I’ve not sewn a single stitch! The course is 20 hours altogether – a total bargain at under £55 – so hopefully I’ve plenty of time to get it right.

Next week I’ll post another pic, although I’m not optimistic it’ll be any more exciting than this week’s. In other news, I’ve just chased the biggest spider I’ve ever seen (and I’ve been to Asia) out the front door of my flat – I got it to run towards the front door and opened it, and it legged it out into the stair. I bet it’s lurking inside Jamie’s football boots.


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