30 Before 30: Sew a dress from a pattern

#10 from my 30 Before 30 list: Sew a dress from a pattern

The last thing I sewed from a pattern was a pair of pajama pants in 8th grade home economics. The patterns were laminated, cut to the largest size, so that all the students could share. While others picked flannels and fleeces, I chose a khaki-colored linen fabric. I planned to make a pair of capri pants that I could wear outside of the house. The finished product wasn’t perfect or very pretty, but it worked. I wore it for a while until I became too embarrassed by the elastic waistband and poor craftsmanship.

In the 13 years since then, I have played around with various alterations and modifications. I received a sewing machine and the book One-Yard Wonders for Christmas a few years ago, which allowed me to create a few fun projects like a hanging organizer and obi wrap heating pad. The book also had a pattern for a dress or two, but none of the styles appealed to me. Picking out my own pattern would require more fabric than a one-yard wonder, but it would also allow me to select a look that is more my style.

The pattern I used, available for less than $5.

The pattern I used, available for less than $5.

I purchased the pattern at Joann’s last July while in the middle of my last big sewing project: reupholstering my dining room chairs. The pattern sat in my closet for almost a year before I even purchased the fabric and gathered the motivation to begin the project. With my next birthday quickly approaching, I decided to take a trip to PA Fabric Outlet, buy some fabric, and spend my birthday weekend crossing this item off the list. I ended up buying four different patterns of fabric. I figured that if my first attempt went well enough, I could make three more dresses. And if it didn’t go well… I guess I could always try another one-yard wonder project.

This was definitely a learning experience. I had to Google a bunch of sewing terminology to figure out exactly what I was supposed to do. Fortunately the project overall was very simple, even though this was my first time making a dress or sewing anything with sleeves or a zipper. I learned the importance of having an iron and pressing the fabric throughout the sewing process, and for the next three dresses, I will probably buy a new iron for myself instead of borrowing one from a friend. I learned that the finished product may not fit exactly like a store-bought item. The dress was a little snug on my hips and waist, so for the next dress, I will probably use the pattern for the next size up and then take it in to customize the fit. And I learned that people really liked this dress! I received a lot of compliments on it, and most people didn’t even know that I had made it. I’m looking forward to trying this again, and I’ll be teaming up with my friends over at Pinning Summer to help them make this dress, too!

The finished product!

The finished product!

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