Hey all! So today is a celebration for me, I made my first dress!
Backtracking a moment, all the way back to Black Friday 2014, when I bought three dress patterns from Colette. My favourite of these was the lovely Moneta dress. I was all geared up to try it, before I did however, I had a go at the free Sorbetto shirt pattern and needless to say, it didn’t turn out great. At the time I was happy that I’d made my first shirt, but not happy with the shirt. I’d made so many little errors – mainly lazy, non-researched errors – and looking back, it’s a bit of a mess.
I had the underlying feeling that I just wasn’t ready to be making clothes and so safely retreated back into lovely little accessories instead and my Moneta dress pattern remained in the back of my mind, untouched for over a year.
Cut to now – I bought some lovely stretchy fabric from a local market to make an infinity scarf and ended up with way more than I needed. Suddenly I thought of my Moneta. I couldn’t use the leftover fabric to finally try out my dress, could I? Was I ready this time?
Turns out I could, and I was.
It’s not perfect by any means but I’m super happy with it! Firstly – it’s wearable (ha!). I went out in public in something that I made, which is a novelty for me!
I love the fabric. I tend to live in black leggings, so it’s nice to have a dress with a bit of a crazy pattern to set against the plain black.
So let’s talk about the main bits eh?
The dress pattern:
I love this pattern. I liked this version the best – the sleeveless version with the adorable collar – at first because I was worried about having to deal with sleeves on my first dress. I was also nervous about the fully lined bodice but it was pretty simple (Colette have a great little video to show you how to get it right!) and I really like that it’s lined and the armholes are all finished nicely. I did start to get a little confused as to which bodice pieces were which, (outer and lining) so I sewed a little “label” inside the back bodice to tell them apart, which has the added bonus of being pretty cute!
I wasn’t too sure about the pockets – so I got rid of them. Looking back, I probably could have managed them fine and should have given them a go, but I wouldn’t use them and I’m not too taken with the idea of pockets in my dresses. I also skipped the shirring of the skirt because my fabric was super stretchy and I didn’t think it was needed (also too scary). I don’t think it misses it at all. I’m happy that I had the confidence to just remove those bits of the pattern and divert (even just a tiny bit!). It made the pattern simpler and worked better for me and the fabric.
Aside from having no sleeves to deal with, I also chose this version because of the collar. The rounded bit on the front is really cute, but the crossed over wings on the back are lovely too!
My only thought is that I wish I’d done them in a different fabric so they stood out more. With the bold pattern they blend in too much. Same goes for the lining, I think it would be nice to have a different fabric for the inside!
The dress itself was also a little too long for me when constructed:
Like I said, dresses and leggings are my uniform. I tend to like them shorter so I’m not drowning in too much clothing. I found it relatively easy to shorten, and by that I mean it’s definitely wonky as all get-out, but it’s floaty and wavy so you can’t tell, ha!
The Sewing of it:
I actually found the dress pretty simple to sew. I was nervous about trying another piece of clothing and using so much fabric but sometimes you have to just go for it. Plus this fabric was practically free, seeing as I got loads extra after making my scarf.
I’m thinking that not using a zig-zag stitch on my Sorbetto is just first on the long list of thing I did wrong when sewing it. Putting this dress together I noticed how much of a difference it made – the fabric wasn’t stretching or distorting nearly as much as it did for the shirt. I’m also thinking I probably made many other mistakes back then, but it was over a year and I can’t remember.
Hemming the dress was the first time I got to use two new things! Wundaweb (where has this been all my life?) and a twin needle!
My machine came with a twin needle but I wasn’t sure about using it with the stretch fabric so I went out and got one I thought might be better.
Why have I not looked into using my twin needle before? I love this, I love that it was easy to thread and I loved that the stitches looked so nice and aligned after! I’m definitely going to be trying it out on anything and everything…
Notes for Next Time:
- On a mental note: don’t be scared of trying something and don’t wait another year to make something else! What’s really going to happen if I eff it up? I waste a bit of fabric and some money. The house won’t burn down, my life won’t implode, monsters won’t rise from the oceans and attack us all. I’ll just have to throw away some fabric and learn from it. That’s really not so bad, and I just might end up with a pretty new dress.
- I see a lot of people talking about finishing their things with French seams and now I want to try it. Next time?
- I really enjoyed using my twin needle for the first time. I had to check the manual for how to thread it, but I hadn’t realised it was so easy. Definitely want to use this again soon.
- Stop sewing over my pins. Seriously. This is a horribly bad habit of mine that I have to try and break. I’m too busy concentrating on getting the seam right that I just sew right over my pins. This is not good, because sometimes the needle hits them. Sometimes the needle bends or breaks them, or sometimes – like this time – the needle breaks itself. As well as snapping and scaring the absolute hell out of me, I could damage my machine and that would suck. Plus it’s a real waste of needles and pins. This time, the needle snapped and I lost the end of it tangled in whole lot of fabric and thread under the needle plate.I had to unscrew the plate and remove it to pull the mess out. So yes, stop sewing over pins!
Overall, I’m really happy with it. I’m excited to finally be wearing something that I made for myself! Now maybe I can tackle that pile of ideas I have for different clothes. I have a feeling it won’t be another year before I try dressmaking again!