My first attempt at dressmaking…


I have made clothes for myself before. Two skirts to be exact. One with an elastic waste and one with a zippered waist. Working with a quarter of the body is actually pretty easy. And skirts are pretty easy to make anyway. A dressmaker I am not…at least not yet. In a recent post I wrote that I was jonesing to make something for myself: “I’m getting really antsy to sew something for myself. And I’m feeling that it needs to be something big, like a dress or skirt or top or something…” to quote myself.

I have gone and done just that. My very first attempt at an adult-sized dress (if you’re going to make fun then go ahead and leave it in a comment, I want to laugh too):

dress01The front

dress02The back.

dress03 (Photo by Reagan) Where did my waist go?

I found this fabric for $1 a yard and a pattern for $3.50. So, overall this dress cost me about $8 to construct. It’s a good thing because this dress stinks. It doesn’t smell bad. It’s crappy. But, as my husband keeps reminding me, it’s my first attempt. I think Project Runway has me thinking I should be able to construct haute couture right from the start.

The fabric is as thin as Bible paper and very slinky. I was worried about it being see through and so I layered two layers of the fabric and then a layer of lining. So my waist is hiding under all that fabric. It’s so thick around the middle. Doesn’t help that God didn’t proportion me like a Barbie doll (my proportions are more like Ken’s). The dress is a little big too.

I was really proud of myself with the sleeves. I’ve never made sleeves before, even on kid clothes. However, I see in the photo above that they’re not even. Oh well, I’ve always got a kid on my hip, so no one will notice. The hem actually turned out pretty even. I did spend a long time on that, comparatively. But with that kid on my hip it won’t look even. This is also the first time I’ve ever done darts. There were six total on this dress. I’ll just tell you now, and maybe you already know this: trying to make darts in slinky fabric is, well, let’s just say it’s difficult.

I really liked the fabric when it was rolled up on the bolt. Not too sure about it now. It does hide sewing imperfections. Small imperfections. The big ones stand out even more–I didn’t even try to match up the pattern when piecing the dress together. One of the pieces is even upside down (you don’t have to look that hard to see it).

So, even though it stinks, it’s my stinky dress that I made and I’m going to wear it. If I only wear it once I got my money’s worth out of it.


I am not done with the home-sewn look though. I’m moving on to bigger and better things (let’s hope, right). Here’s what’s next:

1)This skirt


newskirtfabricin this fabric (it’s plaid with velvet flowers)

2) This outfit


The top will be


and the pants will be

newoutfitpantsfabric it’s a white twill

3) This jacket

newjacket The sleeves will have a straight cuff, not ruffled. The yoke will be the low neck (like in the inset) and will have a collar. The length will be longer than in the picture. It will be in this fabric

newjacketfabricIt’s a shiny goldy-silvery concoction.

Total investment in these four new pieces: $19 (great use of a Christmas gift card and sales.)

Ambitious? I’d say so. But who got anywhere by sitting still? I’m learning that I have to be willing to try–and mess up along the way. That’s the only way to get better. Since nobody’s all that good when they first begin. Right?

Published by NotSoSAHM

I'm a photographer and homeschooler Dream = travel blogger. We move around every couple of years. That's fine, I love seeing different parts of our great country and the world. Great things: Jesus, traveling, photography, eating, sewing, scrapbooking, reading, shopping...not necessarily in that order.

9 thoughts on “My first attempt at dressmaking…

  1. I mean, seriously…sewing is truly a lost art, so I’m thankful for you brave souls who work hard to create beautiful items. And the only thing I laughed at were the pictures–taking a self-portrait from behind, using a mirror, exhibits major talent…and chutzpah!

    p.s. What’s with the “where did my waist go?” comment? HELLO! You are model-thin…maybe that’s why you think you’re unable to see it in this dress, whereas if I attempted to don this particular pattern, sheer disaster would result. I’m reminded of a quote at the end of “Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion,” spoken by Janeane Garofalo…”This dress exacerbates the genetic betrayal that is my legacy.” I’ve repeated this several times to myself over the past 10 years. You, however, need never to quote this!

  2. Aren’t the self-photos hilarious!

    I liken myself to Molly Ringwald at the beginning of Sixteen Candles. I have no curves whatsoever and the comment that my figure looks amazingly like Ken’s (without the boy appendage) is nothing if it’s not the honest to goodness truth. teehee

  3. You are too hard on your self. The problem I see is the pattern in the fabric….horizontal and hard to match with an A line shape. I think it would be a great dress in another fabric. This could be your test run. Ruth

  4. John won’t even let me fix his blanket when the seem rips out. I finally forced him to watch me sew up a hole in his shirt one day. Now he lets me do his buttons, so maybe we will graduate to seems.

    I can’t believe you sewed an entire dress. That is amazing. My Mom made my Easter dress when I was in sixth grade. I still remember what it looked like. There is something special in a mom knowing how to sew. I put on the dress and felt instantly pretty.

    Waist or no waist, you are instantly pretty when you sew. Actually, you’ve always been instantly pretty, but it shines a little more in your hand sewn stylin and profilin self.

  5. Girl, wear that dress with pride! I am amazed. Sewing is on my list of things I want to do before I die. Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened yet. I can’t even sew a button. Andrew does all the sewing around here (or the person at the dry cleaner).

  6. I think it looks great!! Everyone is always their own worst critique…honestly, I never would’ve seen the upside down piece of fabric – but you mentioned it and I then had to find it 🙂 And what a bargain on the fabric! Heck, for $19 if you make all the other stuff you’ll be a pro just through trial and error, and you probably couldn’t pay for lessons at that price!

    You go girl!!

    Can’t wait to see the jacket… I’ve been wanting one like that! Maybe I can just send you fabric… when will you start taking orders?

  7. hi… did you know that posts off of your blog are being copied and posted word for word, picture for picture, one someone else’s blog?

    They are copying posts off of my sewing blog, too, so I started checking all the other posts on their blog, and they’ve plagiarized every single post on their blog, by stealing posts and pictures off of other people’s blogs!

    Here is the link to the post on their blog, that they are claiming they wrote, but it is this exact same post here that you wrote! They even stole all of your pictures!

    I don’t know how to stop them. I’ve been trying to find a way to notify their blog host, but so far have not had any luck. If you know of a way to stop them from stealing the posts off of our blogs, please let me know, cause I don’t like them claiming that they wrote the articles I wrote. They are even displaying my drawings on their blog and claiming they drew them!

    Sorry for the rant, but I thought you’d want to know that they’ve been stealing your posts too, and passing them off as theirs. 😦

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