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Topic: Am I ambitious, or just plain crazy?  (Read 1078 times)
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Mrs. Awesome_Pants
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« on: September 04, 2010 09:04:44 PM »

So...my best friend is getting married October 30.  I am one of her bridesmaids, and I need a dress.  I won't have enough money to buy a ready-to-wear dress until at least October 15th.  Eeeeeeeek, to say the least.

I just got a full sized sewing machine.  I had a Toyota mini before on which I sewed comfort packs and quilt blocks and made minor repairs/alterations.

I got it into my head tonight that I want to make my bridesmaid's dress.  I can picture myself buying a few yards of red fabric, cutting out a simple design, and sewing it together in a week or two.  It doesn't have to be an elaborate dress -- ankle-length, probably an empire waist with spaghetti straps and a zip back. 

Here's my question: Having never made a piece of clothing before, am I jumping the gun or am I just being too antsy?
Cats really don't like to ride bicycles, no matter how much duck tape you use.
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« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2010 10:29:43 PM »

I don't think you're crazy... everyone starts somewhere, and there's nothing wrong with starting with a dress.  You may want to pick a fairly easy pattern (in general, look for patterns that have fewer pieces), do a test run (muslin) using an old sheet or fabric from the clearance bin, and then make your dress.  You'll be fine!  Smiley

There's also a bunch of tutorials and videos available on the internet... I like the videos on the Threads Magazine, I think they're pretty useful if you're tackling your first pattern.

« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2010 10:33:35 PM »

Not crazy. You happen to have nearly two months to do this, and DON'T put it off! Choose a design you like and make as many muslins as it takes to get it to fit right. Disassemble the muslins to make your "new" pattern pieces. You can read all about the process of using a muslin just by Googling key words/phrases like muslin, dress mock-up, how to fit a dress, etc. Even a simple and elegant design can be a birch to fit, and you don't want to look at the photos from your best friend's wedding and say to yourself "EEECH, I can't believe I was in public wearing that!"

You CAN do it. You know how to sew a straight line, you know how to cut accurately (like, come on, you quilt Tongue), and all the rest of the necessary info can be found through the magic of the internet Cheesy I found some patterns that more or less match your description:


I would like to recommend that if you use satin, THE quintessential formal-wear fabric, invest in a walking foot, aka an even-feed foot. It pulls the fabric along from the top at the same rate as the feed dogs, so you get WAAAAAY less puckering. And PIN PIN PIN! That crap slides around like an otter. I'd also go with a crepe-back satin, because the thinner satins are usually meant to be used as linings. Most of the above patterns also recommend taffeta or brocade, which can also be veeeeery nice. Basically, find the pattern first, then ask the staff at the fabric store to show you which fabrics are the best for that design ("Over here we have the taffetas, and that shelf is the satin, etc..."). The "right" fabric usually leaps into your arms given a large enough selection.

A quick note on pattern sizing for dresses: go by your bust measurement, or if you have a C-cup or greater, by your upper bust measurement (in which case you'd need to do a Full Bust Adjustment/Alteration, usually abbreviated FBA). That way the upper torso portion will fit right. The waist and hips can be made larger or smaller relatively easily. Oh, and depending on the pattern company, you may have to go down 1 or 2 sizes. Yeah... Vogue is really spot on, though, from my limited experience with their patterns. One last bit! Trace the pattern pieces you intend to use in "your" size onto wax paper, packing paper, posterboard, whatever, just so you preserve the original for future fun.

I need not overload your brain further Tongue Best of luck, you can do it!

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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2010 10:51:45 PM »

It's totally doable!  Like cricket416 said, though, definitely do a muslin, either out of a sheet, or cheap fabric.  Test out the zipper process, too, if you've never done one before.  And be sure to read all the directions on the pattern before you start cutting.  The important thing is to just go slowly, and stay relaxed.

Sewers are for ninja turtles--seamstresses are for sewing Wink

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