I've made a summer dress! And bought fabric to make another one... I feel a sewing binge coming on!
The sewing pattern was Lisette for Butterick B6168, and I was booked to do a dressmaking workshop at Millie Moon on Monday evenings through January and February (a great Christmas present! Thanks family!). One of the lovely owners, Becky helped me to choose both the fabric and the pattern - she knows me too well!
I knew that I was planning to make this more than once if it was successful, so I carefully traced the pattern out before starting the first evening session. It was fiddly and time-consuming, but totally worthwhile as the tracing paper was much thicker than pattern paper, so it stood up to being thrown into and out of my bag over the 6 weeks of the course. And if I ever want to make it again in another size, I shall be all set!
The great thing about doing evening workshops rather than just deciding to make this at home, was that I was committed. I needed to go out each Monday no matter what, and I found that really helpful. I have too many plans and not enough time generally, so it was brilliant to have dedicated time for sewing each week. Anna Vickery who taught the class was full of helpful tips and tricks. I've not sewn a dress since I was 18, so I was very rusty on techniques, but this dress felt well within my abilities.
At Anna's suggestion, I've used bias binding to finish as many of the seams as was practical. I want to be able to wear the dress without worrying about seams fraying, and it needs to go through the was without too much bother either. Fingers crossed the extra effort will be well worth it.
As I worked through the pattern instructions, I did find a couple of things that were missing (ever the editor I'm afraid!)... There wasn't anything to trip me up as I had Anna on hand to ask for help, but if you were new to sewing and working at home the following bit might come in handy:
In step 10, you're instructed to baste the centre front where the bodice pieces cross. There's no later instruction to remove that basting, so don't forget to do that at the end!
Step 28 shows the side seams of the front and back bodices to be sewn, but there's no instruction to do so. I sewed those side seams between steps 27 and 28.
There wasn't much suggestion of which raw edges on the inside of the dress needed finishing. Perhaps this is considered general knowledge one should have before starting a project at this level, but it wouldn't have been much extra information to add, and very helpful for less-experienced sewers.
It's not yet quite warm enough to wear my lovely finished dress, but fingers crossed the sun will be out before too long, and I can potter in the garden in style!
I'm thrilled with how it's turned out. And I'm looking forward to making time to sew up the fabric I've bought to make the shorter version, which I hope will look great over leggings.
I particularly like the bodice detail, and the fit in the upper body is great for my curves! I'm definitely inspired to sew more.