Dressmaking Debut

linen dress

I finally made my first dress for me. I've ventured into garment sewing for the kids numerous times (like here, here, and here), but have always been a bit intimated about making clothes for myself. And of course I chose the most complicated process once I finally worked up the courage. 

I came across the book Design-It-Yourself Clothesa while ago, but was turned off that it didn't include any patterns (duh, Amy). Patterns are great, but sewing clothes made just to fit you are even better. 

So, in just a little over a million hours, I was able to whip up my first dress. I chose a dark gray pinstriped linen, created a yoke with a gathered neckline, three-quarter sleeves, and--my favorite--pockets. This mama loves a dress with pockets. I was worried about it looking a little potato-sacky, but I'm pleased with the overall look.

linen dress 

The book itself guides you through a series of garments, building on the previous skills of each project. It starts off with a basic tee and builds up to making pants and dresses, going in a sequence from simplest to most difficult. Drafting the pattern from scratch was definitely my biggest challenge, especially since I modeled it after the last garment in the book, the Kathy Dress. 

I started off by taking my measurements, then kind of working backwards through the book--I had to draft the basic tee, the fitted shirt, the body from two dresses, and the sleeves from another, before I could build up to drafting my final dress. I know. I'm insane. I'm sure there was a less involved way to draft this dress, but I've never sewn anything for myself, so it was a great education on how clothes are made. 

I drew my pattern out on freezer paper and then moved on to making my muslin (I wasn't about to cut into my pricey linen without knowing how it would turn out). And a good thing I did, because I had to make a ton of changes and rework parts that I wasn't doing correctly at first.

And now I have a new dress to wear! It's perfect for early fall here in San Antonio (which we're still seeing temperatures in the nineties), and it would work great with a belt and boots when it starts to eventually get chilly out. And I also have all those other patterns to go back and make myself some more clothes. Eventually. 

How about you? Have you ever sewn anything for yourself?

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