One of my goals for the month was to sew a dress. Yes, I have weird goals. And last weekend I finally got to mark that one off the list! For all you super experienced seamstresses out there, this likely doesn't impress you much. But, I'm pretty new to using my sewing machine (it was a wedding gift two years ago), and I've been making 2015 my year to try and learn and grow in my sewing skills.
I'm actually a little intimidated to show you all my latest project if I'm being honest. I feel confident in the kitchen and happy to share whatever I'm up to in that department, but sewing is a whole different thing.
But hey, we're all friends here. So here you have it—I made a dress. And I want to share a little more about how I did it with you all, but this isn't really a full-on DIY tutorial. It's just something I did last weekend that I want to share. I like to make things and I like to share them, which I guess is how I came to be a blogger in the first place. :)
I actually used a lesson from our e-course, Sew With Us, on using an existing garment to make your own pattern. So if you want to see a more in-depth look at this type of project, check there. Katie is a little more experienced at sewing than me, and I think she and Rachel did a great job teaching that course.
For this dress I used my very favorite green Mexican embroidered dress as my template to figure out what size I wanted. I LOVE this dress and wear it all the time (see me wearing it last year in Costa Rica and in Hawaii three years ago). I thought this would be a good dress to use because it doesn't have a zipper but can easily fit over my head and shoulders. I'm still working on mastering zippers, so I wanted to make a dress that I could easily take on and off without one.
You can kind of see in this photo that I have scissors at home labeled "fabric" with black Sharpie, which totally reminds me of that old Ryan Gosling meme that said, "Hey, girl, don't worry. I know which scissors you use for fabric and which scissors you use for paper." I always thought that one was the best one of those. It's funny AND a real issue. 🙂
For me, when I'm making a garment or tailoring something I already own (which I do more often since ALL my jeans tend to need hemming), I put the garment on inside out, over and over as I work to make sure things are fitting and falling in a way I like. If something isn't, I can usually just undo my last stitching and try again. I never cut off extra fabric until I'm sure it fits how I want.
You can kind of tell from this photo that I used the opposite side of a denim fabric because I liked the color better (sort of chambray). Just a tip in case you're fabric shopping and just don't see a denim you like…check the other side. 🙂
And now you know me a little bit better.
I wanted to add some kind of weaving piece to the front of my dress. I saw something kind of like this (but much more intricate) at a store in Kansas City a few weekends ago when I was there with some friends. (I wish I had written down the brand name!)
I used Fray Check to seal the edges of the rope so it won't fray (too much) over time.
I'm not sure if you can tell from any of the photos, but the weaving piece attaches by removing the last two rope strands and looping through what are essentially two button holes on the dress. I wanted the piece to be easy to remove so I can wash the dress as needed.
The weaving piece makes it just a little different, which I love. I can't wait to wear this out on a date night soon. Anyway, thanks for letting me share my latest exploits in learning to sew. And if you're looking to up your sewing game, I cannot recommend Sew With Us enough. xx. Emma
Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.