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Thread: adventures in dress making

  1. #1
    Kelly R's Avatar
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    After a few months of making quilts on my new sewing machine, with some success at small projects (baby quilts), I decided that I could probably sew some clothes, too. Joanne's had a sale on Vogue patterns last weekend, so I went and picked out a dress pattern that said "very easy" and bought some lovely periwinkle blue linen that I love (and I got it for only $4.99/yd). I've never sewed clothing before, but I thought, "what the hay--I have a PhD, so I should be able to read the instructions and figure out how to make a 'very easy' pattern."

    On Sunday afternoon, I cut out my dress and stitched up the bodice. Had to puzzle over some of the instructions but finally interpreted them correctly. Tried on the bodice and it seemed pretty loose, but of course it was still open in the back and didn't have the skirt attached.

    On Monday evening, I stitched up the skirt and attached it to the bodice. Then I had to sew in the zipper (gulp!). It took some thinking (and a little time spent with my seam ripper), but I finally got the zipper in beautifully! Yay! I was feeling so proud of myself. I still had some hand finishing work to do, but my dress was nearly done.

    THEN, I tried it on. :-(

    It fits like a feed sack. I adjusted the pattern for petite, but the shoulders are loose and the bodice hangs much too low. The V-neck comes down half way to my navel. The skirt is the right length but about a half-mile too wide. :-( I'm so disappointed. I think I'll stick to quilts from now on and buy my clothes where I can try them on first. Apparently, I'm better at two-dimensional patterns.

    Accomplished sewers out there, is there anything I can do to salvage my dress, or should I just cut it up and use the scraps for quilts? Tips and consolation gladly accepted. :oops:

  2. #2
    Super Member Tink's Mom's Avatar
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    Turn it inside out...the first fitting should be to pin the shoulders up, adjusting more near the neck. That should help alot.
    I have a feeling that you didn't buy the pattern according to your measurments but by dress size, so....
    you may need to adjust a dart, or make a dart to pull the fabric where it needs to be.
    something just popped into my mind....you did use 5/8" seams didn't you? It is something that I forget when I go back and forth between quilting and sewing.

  3. #3
    Super Member Tink's Mom's Avatar
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    You may need to make a little triangle to fit into the very low bodice...

  4. #4
    lbaillie's Avatar
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    Don't give up!,I find that most of the time the patterns are way off from real world sizes. You've gotten this far,go ahead and make the adjustment, what's the worse thing that will happen...an addition to your scrap pile! one of the issues may be that you used 1/4 seam allowance versed the 5/8 for sewing garments. I would just leave the seams that are in it now and just keeping going in a 1/2 inch at a time. I wish I could come help! Good luck

  5. #5
    Kelly R's Avatar
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    Thanks, Susie. I did remember to use 5/8" seams, or else it would be even huger! I *thought* I was using the correct measurements, but apparently was not. I guess I'll get busy taking apart the bodice lining and shoulders first. I think my next investment is going to be a better seam ripper!

  6. #6
    Super Member mary quite contrary's Avatar
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    Congratulations!! Good job!

    Very easy Vogue isn't very easy. You started on one of the hardest pattern makers. Next time try a Simplicity or McCalls. Their instructions are a little more user friendly. At least that has been my experience.

    Be sure you check the measurements on the envelope. Pattern sizes usually run a little bigger than clothes sizes. I'm not sure why.

    Don't give up if you enjoyed the process. You are pretty much assured you will not have the exact same dress as the person next to you.

  7. #7
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    i agree, not a good starter pattern co.
    i can make clothes fit anybody but me! that was my first passion.
    sounds like you did pretty darn good for the first time and all on your own :thumbup:

  8. #8
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    congrats on sewing a dress! everyone is right about Vogue vs. Simplicity. it takes practice. i'd say that if you got a zipper in on your very first garment, that is huge! :) if you want to have original garments, don't give up. try searching YouTube for Nancy Ziemann's Sewing with Nancy videos on fitting patterns... they're terrific.

  9. #9
    Super Member
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    Be sure you check the measurements on the envelope. Pattern sizes usually run a little bigger than clothes sizes. I'm not sure why.

    ----------------------------
    And I've found that lots of pattern makers have pretty strong ideas of what the perfect size should be, which may not be close to anyone not a starved model who is 120 pounds and 6 feet 2 inches tall.

    Personally, I find Burda to fit me better. It's a German pattern company, and Germans are not really famous for being fragile and delicate little people!!

  10. #10
    Mimito2's Avatar
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    Please don't give up! As long as it is to big it can be adjusted fairly easily. Turn the dress inside out and put it on. Get in front of a mirror with a box of pins and take it up. Most likely if you take the shoulder seams up it will adjust up the front. If you can give us the pattern # we would understand your delima more.

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