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Maz Makes… Her Holiday Dress (At Last!)

Maz Makes… Her Holiday Dress (At Last!)

At last, dear reader, the decks were cleared, all obligations sorted, and I could shut myself away and begin making my holiday dress! It was not without a little apprehension that I got all my dressmaking kit together — it has been quite some time since I made any sort of garment for myself.

Note: Read Maz’s previous post to get an idea of how this blog post came about! You can find it here.

Perhaps it would also be a good idea to make a confession at this point. While I was always reasonably confident making clothes for my daughters while they were growing up (and now for my beautiful granddaughter), when I sew for myself there is always a measure of doubt that ‘things might go wrong’. I can think of various items made for myself that never got worn that much due to me not feeling all that good in them. They either didn’t fit all that well or the finish had a ‘hint of homemade’ about it.

On the other hand, so often I go shopping with something in mind and I either just can’t find what I’m looking for, or if I do, it doesn’t fit the way I thought it would. Somehow my shape isn’t as standard as it once was (sadly)! Making it myself increasingly seems a better option. Time to get this ‘sewing for myself’ thing sorted!

For my upcoming trip, I need something to wear when shorts or jeans won’t do. Something a bit more dressy but still light and comfortable in the South African heat.

Youngest daughter has discovered an amazing fabric shop in York with a wide variety of fabric at reasonable prices (so sad these have become such a rarity these days). I found two fabrics that were perfect and snapped them up.

A firm believer in not reinventing the wheel, I always follow the pattern instructions closely. I invested a bit of time over a cup of coffee reading the layout and cutting instructions before starting.

Don’t let the instruction pages put you off — just follow the sections for the style you’ve chosen and ignore the rest!

I then suffered my FIRST EVER dressmaking injury. The fabric, while wonderfully light, was also surprisingly slippery; it slipped right off the table as I was laying it out. Grabbing for it, I pulled a muscle in my back!!

A cold compress, painkillers, and some anti-inflammatories later, I was back; only to discover that the interfacing I had bought was too heavy for this fabric. NOT an auspicious start!

At this point, the other piece of fabric I had bought caught my eye. Definitely less slippery, the interfacing would work with it — suddenly it looked SO much more ‘holiday’…

Fabric No. 2′ stayed on the table when folded which was a great start. It was also easy to cut out and before I knew it, I was starting to put it together following the pattern instructions step-by-step.

Just as I was about to slip it on for the first fitting, I noticed that the fabric pattern on the two back panels did not match and, on closer inspection, I could see that the fabric had moved out of alignment as I had stitched it. Nothing for it but to reach for my trusty ‘quick unpick‘, unpick the offending pieces, press the fabric, and start again!

To get a good finish, it’s a price I needed to pay. If I’m to get back into dressmaking, I need to stock up with some dressmaking staples including a variety of interfacings. If I’d had some of that ‘disappearing’ type to use with this fabric, that seam would not have moved. I will definitely get some before I attempt working with ‘Fabric No. 1′ again!

Next time round went better (much slower and more pins). At this point, I was ready for my first fitting. As this was a pattern I had used before, I was fairly confident the dress would fit.

Sadly, this was NOT the case. My figure reminds me of a desert; my outline seems to change with the wind. I needed to take a bit in under the arms and let a bit out over the hips. Just goes to show how important it is to check your measurements before you begin! As I squirmed about trying to pin the necessary alterations, I also wished for the umpteenth time that I had that dressmakers’ mannequin I had been hinting to Husband about.

These alterations took as long to get right as running up the dress did! The trusty ‘quick unpick‘ was in use more than once as it took quite a few attempts to get it right!

Once that was done, all that was needed was to check the length and finish off the hem. (Another occasion to dream of that mannequin again — it has such a nifty gadget for measuring hems!) Then it was time for the REVEAL!

All in all, I’m happy with my dress. Despite the false start, it came together quite well; it fits better than many of my shop bought dresses and is exactly what I wanted. It certainly has given me the taste for dressmaking again! Stand by for more dressmaking adventures! ‘Til next time — Maz.

Editor’s Note: Maz could have saved herself some time and heartache if she’d shopped with us! We have recently featured packs of interfacing of varying weights, including that disappearing one she referred to. We also stock fabric and pattern packs, as well as those dressmakers’ mannequins that take away all that squirming and struggling!

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1 thought on “Maz Makes… Her Holiday Dress (At Last!)”

  • A beautiful dress and gorgeous figure. I have done dressmaking since I was ‘single’ figures and now in-later 60’s and now suffer with arthritis in most joints but still love to sew. I just wish I had the lovely figure I had 15 years ago (like yours) so be grateful for the little bit of taking-in and letting-out but yes a Dressmaking dolly would help so much – never mind nagging husband – just treat yourself and remind him of the money you save making your own clothes.Plus I’m sure lots of your friends will be putting in orders off you.
    I’m also sure lots of people will be encouraged by your ‘blog’ to give it a go and make a start at sewing.

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