I think it’s important to note my only previous sewing experience was in year 8 design & tech class: sewing a cotton, five-pointed star onto a piece of linen… two girls sewed through their fingers that semester so my real experience was one of hesitation and unease.
Yesterday I sewed my own dress.
The first stop was the fabric store. As soon as I stepped in I was already confused. Reams of colourful fabrics were piled on top of each other and somehow I was supposed to pick one.
A million things rushed through my mind. What colour should I choose..that pile of fluoro prints would date me back to the nineties..oh wait that floral one’s nice, but there are 6 metres of it??? how on earth do I get the length I want… was I meant to bring scissors to cut off what I wanted?
Before I began ripping a piece off the fabric I noticed a tottering about with a 20m roll of fabric. I followed her lead.
She tottered around to a counter where people in Lincraft uniforms were cutting fabric. I went to one of the counters and had the lady estimate how much I would need for a dress that fitted me. $17.50 later and I was on my way home.
I decided to sketch the dress to look like on a model, so that I could figure out what shapes of fabric I needed to cut out (and because it made me feel professional). After drawing a basic-halter-neck-mid-length-dress I drew shapes and took measurements of my body.
When taking measurements I added 2cm on to each edge, to allow for sewing hems etc. Turns out I’m a terrible measurer because when I first put the finished dress on, it was gaping in every direction and nearly slid off (lots of tailoring was required to get a custom fit).
After taking measurements I used a ruler to draw up the shapes and cut them out.
Before I sewed, I copied what I once saw my mum do, and pinned down each bit I had to sew, so that it was less wonky.
And there you go, my very first, custom-fit dress (designed by me):