I decided to write this blog post to both share my latest sewing project with you all and to shed some light on how easy and fun it is to make your own clothing. I’ve included some helpful tips for beginners and sewing virgins. Yes, I hear you rolling your eyes and scoffing. But let me enlighten you a bit. Lets start from the beginning.
chose a black jersey knit with white stripes for the arms and bottom section of the dress. I actually already had an off white jersey knit with black stripes (one very similar to the inspo photo), but I decided to be adventurous and choose the darker. For the zipper I chose an upcycled zipper from a pair of old Levi jeans. It flaunts black zipper tape with bronzy metal teeth. Can you say edgy?
Once I had all of my materials, I began to cut the pieces of the dress. I followed the pattern lines exactly except for the bottom section of the dress (I mentioned this earlier about having the jersey knit pattern flow all the way to the bottom) and the sleeves. I elongated the sleeves several inches past where the pattern told me to cut, because I like the feeling and the look of having long, cozy sleeves. LAZY SEWING TIP #2* If you want to elongate the sleeves, or the bottom of a dress/pants, be generous, especially if you aren’t worried about wasting fabric. You can always cut extra off when it comes time to finish the seams, but you can’t add more.
Next came dealing with the zipper. This extra cool, edgy zipper had a problem. There were no zipper stops at the top! The zipper head would come flying off the top with very little force. Super frustrating when you’re trying to get dressed in the morning. LAZY SEWING TIP #3* If you need zipper stops but you don’t have time to get them (or if you’re like me and you don’t want to wait) just set your sewing machine to extreme zigzag and sew them in. Now eventually I want to put in real zipper stops, but this is a perfectly fine substitute in the meantime.
Once I had all my pieces cut and my zipper repaired, I was ready to begin sewing. When it comes to sewing non-stretch fabrics (like the chambray section of this dress) I always try and stick to the pattern. ESPECIALLY when it comes to neck and underarm sections. So the chambray section you see on my dress is an exact replica of the pattern I was given. You may be thinking “Dang. Stiff fabrics sound like zero fun.” Personally I really enjoy working with them. They may not be flexible and stretchy, but when you don’t have a serger and you need to finish your raw edges (sew the edges so they don’t fray) stiff fabrics are much easier to sew than stretchy fabrics.
Next came the flexible forgiving jersey knit fabric. One of my favourite things about jersey knit is that it doesn’t fray. I literally didn’t finish the seams on the jersey knit sections of this dress MUAHAHAHAHA. Don’t judge me. I’m lazy and remember I don’t have a serger. Once I had the body and sleeves attached to the chambray section, it was time to put in the zipper. Now I don’t know why, but when it comes time to put in the zipper, I always get nervous and the fun gets sucked out of the project. That may have something to do with me never actually learning how to sew in a zipper correctly or it could be that I always got my mum to do it for me when I lived at home. Either way, I’ve found the BEST TIP EVER when it comes to zippers. It will take out all the fear and anxiety surrounding the zipper. LAZY SEWING TIP #4* when you sew in a zipper but it keeps moving around on you and it’s too awkward to pin, use tape. Tape it down really well from the inside (wrong side) of the garment, and sew right overtop of it. After you sew once, carefully pull the tape off around your stitches and sew a second time to make sure it’s secure. Voila!
cautious if you are ever using the pen on the right side of the fabric, sometimes it can leave a white remnant, which is unsightly on dark fabric. These pens also come in white if you have dark fabric, but in my opinion they don’t work as well as the dark pens.
Once I took in the sleeves and the body of the dress I was finished! I know if you’ve never sewed before you’re probably thinking that it’s extremely difficult, but it’s not. As long as you buy a pattern, it will show you step-by-step what you need to cut, sew, iron, trim, and tack. It tells you exactly how much fabric you need to buy and what kind of fabric will work for the pattern. And if you don’t understand something in your pattern instructions, head to youtube—there’s a million sewing tutorials on there or if you live on the prairies, ask a grandma for help. They know all. I hope you’ve been inspired and encouraged by this blog post and I hope to see some of my friends pick up sewing in the near future.