I promised a dear friend I would make her baby her first little designer dress. You may know Mary K. Burnside as the owner of Clash Dayton an awesome little store in the heart of the Historical Oregon District. I know Mary for her great style that I absolutely love.
Size guessing! This is really tough because little ones grow so fast. My friend will have her baby in April so I chose a 6 month pattern because that will give her summer and fall. Or, you know, family heirloom… anyone?
Choosing fabric is important, I found a satin backed lace that was very soft. You wouldn’t want anything itching on any body.
I like my first tip the best! Break your prep to a day when you are not sewing. Do the cutting, layout, marking, reviewing and getting the machines ready on a separate day. Then, do the sewing on another day when your mind is fresh and you feel energized and motivated to create.
Before cutting, check twice to make sure you have all of the pieces you need. This is very important. It sucks sitting down to sew only to find you forgot the back of the dress. See prep day tip.
You must carefully press the tissue pieces with a hot dry iron.
I use the stacking method to get started. So many times a little piece has floated away and went missing. I press larger pieces first and then press the smaller pieces right on top of those larger ones. This gives them a static charge and they all stick together.
Again study each piece for info, symbols, seam allowance and how many to cut out.
Cutting time! Make sure you have all the right pieces one more time. Lay them on the fabric with all the grain lines in the correct direction. It is not always possible to do the same layouts as the vintage patterns directions. Most fabrics are wider nowadays. As long as you are cutting the correct pieces, correct number of pieces and keeping those grain lines in check you are fine.
I pin my pattern down while reviewing the pieces again. I cut just on the outside of all the cutting lines to be certain that if I make this again I can see those lines. Some people like to not cut the original pattern and they trace it out on tracing paper. Everyone does things differently and my way does not always mean it’s the best way. As long as you are learning and having fun do what best suits you.
While cutting get a good look at these symbols. Vintage patterns have crosses for gathering, etc. You will be transferring those marks next.
Mine had double notches in the front sleeves and single in the back. Most patterns today are the very opposite. I found this little nugget of history interesting. I wonder when and why that changed.
I like to mark all of my pieces on the wrong side with tracing paper and a tracing wheel. There is a wide range of marking tools out there. Please only mark in the seam allowance or test that your marking tool doesn’t stain. There is nothing like ruining a handmade garment because the marks did not come out or came back later in cold weather. This has happened to me more than once.
I know most cutting times total for my patterns are about 2 hours with doing all of the above.
Keep tissues pieces with the fabric until they are sewn together. This makes it quick to retrieve valuable information and save you sewing time. When I have to search for info, a notion or anything else I call it “going fishing.”
Last I bundle it all together to come back to on another day and sew it up.
Extra free tip for if your garment has any embellishments or buttons. At first buy only what you really need. I like to wait until I have completed a project to pick these things out because I often change my mind on a finished design.
Consider giving the gift of handmade!
Behind the scenes~
I had another successful sewing basics class at Rosewood. To see a full list of classes check out my calendar.
Check out my Rosewood Sewing Studio, I got a new wall!
Thank you for reading,
Dream it, Sew it!