Sew it again


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.

The Staple Dress - PDF Download

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.


2 responses »

  1. This is going to look so cute on you, Susan and the colour is just perfect. You should definitely take your inspiration from Kristin because she is the queen of perseverance when it comes to getting the right fit. When I read bog posts that talk about a garment fitting perfectly the first time it’s made, I’m always suspicious. Sewing is easy, but getting the right fit is hard work and it takes a while to figure out what changes need to happen in order to make the garment fit you the way you want it. Keep at it: I have the feeling this one will be a winner.

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