Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Garment Sewing.

I stink at sewing garments.

But I've decided that I want to tackle this.  I really want to sew something I'd actually wear in public that is not a halloween costume (and if you've been a reader for a while, you know that sewing those has been a challenge!  Click here or here.

But I need some serious help.  Can you recommend something to try?  Maybe a blouse or a dress?
I like working with knits, but I'm cool with non-stretch too.   Please please leave me a link to a pattern you have tried that worked for you, or a blog post about a pattern, or any sort of suggestion you can offer.

I realize that most of you have never seen me in person.  Here's a post that actually includes a picture of me.  This might help in making suggestions for what I should sew to wear.

And I promise to chronicle it here so you all can enjoy my follies.

And I promise to wear whatever I make.  In public.  With pictures. {yikes}


  1. Try the Jamie Dress by Sis Boom. I just finished mine and I love it. It's a PDF pattern available from many places. I bought mine from Pink Chalk Fabrics -- after you pay it's an instant download. Why this pattern is great:
    - Many people have made it so there are a lot of tips out there in blogland. There was even a sew-along at one point (start here to read about that.)
    - Because you print the pattern you don't have to work with the fussy tissue paper of many sewing patterns (you print it out at full size and then tape the sections together.)
    - There aren't a lot of pieces.
    - You get to practice sewing in a zipper and the method she gives is super easy.
    - It's a pretty forgiving pattern. I could have made mine a size smaller but it still looks great on me.
    - The pattern is very, very well written. There are a lot of photos (no mysterious line drawings like in regular tissue patterns.)
    - Easy to customize once you have made one (some people have turned it into a tunic shirt, others have changed the waist band, etc...)
    - Easy to finish in a week-end (I did mine in two evenings.)

  2. I would start with a skirt. They are fairly forgiving and don't have many pieces. I don't have a specific recommendation.

    I haven't sewn anything for myself except pajama pants - also very forgiving, although I don't know that I would wear them in public. :)

    My problem with sewing for myself is that I have curves and "wobbly bits" that make ready make fitting/looking good in it challenging. I think you should be just fine. It was fun to see a whole picture of you.

    I would love a good blouse/shirt recommendation. Anyone?

  3. I think that the Schoolhouse Tunic would be a great place to start. I'm not really a garment sewer, but I have made two of them...they're not too crazy or anything. I know that sew mama sew did a pattern review, too, and I'm sure there are other reviews out there.

  4. If you want to try a dress and knits, and since you have a slim figure, I would suggest a sleeveless wrap dress in a colorful double-knit, sort of retro 1970s Diane vonFurstenburg wrap dress. I think they are back in style now. Easy to fit because the stretch of the knit and the flexibility of the wrap ties do all the "fitting" for you. You could also use some darker batiks and they would make a beautiful wrap dress (which could become a "jumper" with the addition of a turtleneck sweater underneath when that blue norther arrives in Amarillo!)(Lord, make it soon!)

    In the 70s I made lots of double knit slacks; once you get your measurements and a pattern, they're easy (but usually involve a zipper). But yoga pants are popular now and probably just involve an elastic waistband, so would be super easy. (If you have existing yoga pants you like, be bold and use that seam ripper and take them apart and voila, you have your pattern!)

    If you want to go with a skirt, then a reversivel wraparound skirt is really simple - no zippers, and the technique is very quilt like (sandwich 2 fabrics, etc.) Actually sort of like a Christmas tree skirt, except more tapered.

    Or why not buy an existing denim vest and then make a neat pieced insert for the back and fronts, and either sew or applique it directly onto the vest (and then cut out the denim below it to remove the bulk).

  5. Wendy- I am sure you are going to be great at garment sewing, you just need more practice! I LOVE this blog that I found
    She does alot of sewing for her little girl (which i think is a great way to get practice on big girl garment sewing). But she also does some stuff for her self. She has a way of showing the pattern but also how to "wing" it. she does alot of "refashioning" too, which I think is also a great way to practice garment sewing. check it out and good luck!

  6. I would suggest Grosgrains Frock By Fridays dress sew alongs she did a while back. Great step by step instructions for some beginner dresses.