Week 2 was all about sewing. Once I figured out how to wind the bobbin and thread the machine, (a Bernina), I started sewing the pockets onto the dress. I hadn’t been very careful about transferring the markings on the pattern piece onto the fabric, so I checked the paper pattern and stuck a pin to indicate the start and end to my stitching line. I was carefully tying off all my threads but Megan told me that if you back-stitch over your seam, you don’t to have to do this. Good tip.
Then the shoulder seams. The pattern calls french seams which I always thought were hard. Megan walked us through the steps and they were much easier than I expected. A french seam gives you a flat, finished edge and probably adds a bit of shaping to the shoulder.
The next step was to pin the dress together and sew the side seams together. Here’s my laissez-faire attitude towards transferring the pattern markings cam back to bite me: my pockets didn’t line up. Rather than ripping out the seams and re-sewing the pockets to the dress, I decided to make the pockets smaller. No big deal, but a good reminder that the pattern markings are there for a reason. Smaller pockets means I’ll only be able to keep a single kleenex is each pocket, instead of stuffing them full (a necessity for me, given allergy season is in full swing).
I discovered that even when you’re taking an instructor-led class, reading the pattern directions is a must. I was blithely following the verbal directions, only to discover I was supposed to sew the pockets together separately, rather than in a continuous seam from neck to hem. With the help of my stitch-ripper, I fixed the problem and the pockets look pretty good.
However, it a good thing the seams of the pockets are hidden inside the dress because the stitching is ugly.
Despite some minor challenges, I enjoyed the sewing. Some of this is likely attributable to the machines I was using; I have a very basic Kenmore, so sewing with the Bernina was like driving an Audi when you’re used to a Kia. I tried my best to focus on enjoying the process of making a dress on my own, rather that worrying about whether my seams were straight. I recognize perfection is my default setting, especially when I’m not 100% comfortable with what I’m doing. I did have to remind myself more than once that my goal was to learn to sew. All the better if my dress is wearable but that’s a secondary objective. I will say having an instructor coach me through the various stages of the construction of the dress helped enormously. Not just in terms of the technical aspects of sewing from a pattern but also in terms of keeping me from getting frustrated.
My Staples dress is taking shape.
One more class to go – I need to iron it out and finish the neckline and armholes, shirr the waist and finish the hem. Once more into the breach!