One of my goals for 2013 was to improve my sewing skills. We’re now well into 2014 and I can honestly say that I haven’t made much, if any progress, in this area. My one serious foray into sewing, ended in futility and frustration, when I took a class to make the Colette Crepe dress. Despite making 3 muslins under the direction of a sewing instructor, I couldn’t get the top of the dress to fit. I later discovered that Colette patterns tend to be generous in the bust area. Since I’m barely a 32B, it may not have been a good choice for me. I didn’t even get as far as cutting into the fabric.
Needless to say, the experience put a bit of a damper on my enthusiasm for sewing. Since then, I’ve had my sewing machine out a few times, but I haven’t finished anything. I even stopped visiting fabric stores.
The fact that I was so easily discouraged by one pattern mishap may be a sign that sewing is not for me. However, I’n not ready to give up quite yet. I’ve decided to give sewing lessons another chance. Another dress, but a much simpler pattern – the Staples dress by April Rhodes.
According to reviews on Pattern Review, the Staples dress is a good pattern for beginners. It has no darts (the Crepe dress has 6) or zippers. It’s loose-fitting, with a shirred waist. Thanks to ShannonSews, I already know that since I’m long-waisted, I’ll need to lower the waist line. Relatively easy to do with a shirred waist – just a matter of moving the sewing line for the elastic down a couple of inches.
The dress takes about 2-1/2 metres of fabric. Before buying new fabric, I decided to check my stash. Voile seems to be a popular choice for the Staples dress. I knew I didn’t have a piece of voile that was big enough – for reasons I haven’t figured out, it’s a hard fabric to find in my local fabric shops. After consulting with a friend who’s an experienced sewer, I choose a light-weight cotton with a funky print.
I have no idea where the fabric came from – it’s probably a fabric flea market find. I doubt I paid more than $10 for the entire piece (there’s about 3 metres). That would be on the high side, as I tend to be quite cheap when it comes to flea market purchases, fabric or otherwise. Even though it’s woven, the fabric has a nice drape. I like the geometric print – it’s vaguely reminiscent of the late sixties/early seventies.
Sewing the dress will take place over 3 classes, starting next week. I’m optimistic that this time, I’ll actually cut into the fabric and sew the dress. In the meantime, I’m taking my inspiration from Kristen, who wrote a great blog post about sticking with a sewing project. She’s made 6 muslins for her current project and she hasn’t chucked it in the garbage bin. Sewing, it seems, doesn’t always come easy.