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Sunday, June 13, 2010

My FIRST Homemade Dress "Tutorial" - Simplicity 2591

Here is the inspiration for the homemade dress....
This is from J.C. Penny's. I loved the vintage style/look about it.
The problem is the very MODERN PRICE of $60.00! Sheesh....
It was on sale or I would have been taking a picture of it at the store....
I had a light bulb go off....and on...and off...and on...yah, I have those
glitches. I decided to head to the local sewing store to browse some patterns...
I found this pattern which of course was NOT on sale....
I picked out some material...the notions...yah, not even sure what notions are at this point. When it came to the fusible interfacing, I grabbed the nearest clerk and asked for help...she got me what I needed and was even nice
enough to tell me that I only needed ONE spool of thread...she wouldn't let me buy two! I liked this lady!!
I almost quit liking the lady when she said that someone just might try to call me Daisy Duke in the dress....hmmph.
I just smiled and said, "I have a father-in-law who isn't happy unless he is poking fun at me, so I think I can handle the Daisy Duke comment."

Now, I picked this particular pattern not only because it looked a lot like my yellow dress, but also that it says...and I quote, "Step by step sewing success!"

Yah, it neglected to say "Step by step instructions for the gal who has NEVER sewn a thing using a pattern." Well, I take that back. In 9th grade, I did sew a really cool, groovy, hip pair of baby blue walking shorts. I even made a 99/100 on them. That was Home Economics class....my teacher apparently didn't seem to care that they wouldn't go over MY THIGHS! Seriously, they fit TERRI...yah, TERRI who was a size ZERO at the time!
Terri thanked me though and it made it worth it!

Here I am getting all excited and posing with my inspiration dress...see, I am smiling!

This is what I was doing when I pulled that pattern out and saw there were no "step by step" directions for ME!
It took me FOUR, yep, FOUR....trying not to cuss, whining on facebook hours to iron the 5' x 3' tissue pattern.....
I had to IRON it BEFORE I could even attempt to roughly cut it out!

After I cut out my first piece...I had to remember to take a picture.
This is 3 yards of material...yes, I am fat. I know I am fat.
I other things to worry about than being fat....like MAKING THIS DRESS!!
Since I have more material, it is easier to work with....yep, that's my
story and I'm stickin' to it!

So, after taking these two pictures I gagged and ran and got the sweeper out and
quickly swept my disgusting floor.
No seriously....I sewed ALL DAY with a disgusting floor.
I was home alone and the dogs sure didn't seem to be too stressed about the floor.
The "step by step to sewing success was on TWO pieces of paper...for FOUR dresses. Need I say more????
Look! Here is the interfacing that the nice lady helped me get at the sewing store!

Here is my hand me down sewing machine....don't whine, I know it is a FANCY embroidery machine! Yes! I can EMBROIDERY the snot out of clothing....I just can't sew the CLOTHING. I have this machine because my mother has the mother of embroidery machines at her house....but it can NOT sew a dress! Neener, neener!

After reading the "How to make a dart" instructions....I really started sweating.
I whined some more on facebook.
I prayed.
I ate some chips.
I attempted my first boobie darts.
SUCCESS!!! I can't say enough about youtube....there are some very blessed people out there that actually make videos of making darts!

Then, I had to stitch something along the neckline....I have no idea why, I just did it.

Wow! It looked like a top!!

Then came the GATHER??? The "step by step" directions said use a LOOSE stitch...yah, THAT REALLY HELPED ME!
I pleaded on Facebook again!
I stressed.
I cried.
I prayed.
I youtubed....

I made a GATHER!! I normally have a 2.5mm stitch....I know this because that is what my very nice sewing machine said so....
I just doubled it to 5mm and that worked out fine.
Just know that if you have a very nice sewing machine, you must resist the urge to use the AUTOMATIC scissors when you need to do a gather....'cause you need that
extra string to PULL! Don't ask me how I know this....

At this point, I want you to scroll back up and look at the pattern picture.
Do you notice any POCKETS???
Me either.
Guess what?
There are pockets on this dress.
These are not your normal kind of pockets.
They are part of the BODICE AND THE SKIRT pockets.

This was the most stressful part of the whole thing.
There are NO YOUTUBE videos either...so don't bother looking.
If I had a video camera, there WOULD be Youtube videos...because I am sure it will take me just as long the next time to remember what I did to get it to come out right.
Anyhow....I managed to get it done correctly!
"patting on back"
"doing the happy dance"
"bragging to Facebook friends"
Ok...there, now let's get back to business.

I got the front of the dress done!! At this point, it has been about 10 hours.
Now, please understand that it took FOUR hours to get the thing cut out!
I also took Facebook/Youtube breaks.
Here is a picture of the Youtube video for putting in a ZIPPER!

Most all of the "sewers" I talked to tried to warn me about the dreaded zipper!!!
Believe me when I tell you this. The zipper was a piece of cake BEFORE I tried
to use the zipper foot. Yah, according to the youtube, I needed a zipper foot....
The basting w/ the regular foot was WAY EASIER and I will sew it with a regular foot when I make my next dress.
The zipper foot, just make it "ugly".
Still, the pockets things were the hardest part....not the zipper!

Here is the back...still not sewn to the front yet.

See the way the pockets were part of the top and skirt?

Here it is inside out so you can see the pockets and the lovely facing.....the lace is a petticoat that is NOT attached to the dress.

The finished dress!
15 hours for my first dress.
I love the fit...which I am very glad because I have NO IDEA how to adjust as I go.
My sewing dummy is measured to fit me...so, I guess that was a plus..size...plus size? Get it??

I will certainly make another dress from this pattern!
I am hoping that since I already have the pattern cut out, I can shave off at least 3 hours!! I spied some really cute turquoise gingham w/ little cherries on it....
I almost forgot to tell you that the ENTIRE dress cost was $30.00...and that was buying the FULL PRICED pattern! I can certainly do it cheaper and quicker!!


What's Cookin Stacey?? said...

Traci, I love it!!! I never iron my pattern first. I cut out my size which is HUGE and the niron those pieces. Might be easier. Sign up for Hancock's sale papers. They are great. Also online!!!

Julie said...

Very cute. I can't wait to see it in person.

Eli loved your music. He sang and danced while I looked at your blog.

Territory Mom said...

What a great dress!!! You did a wonderful job and look so cute in it. Love, love it.

Dana and Daisy said...

Traci!! You did a fabulous job girl! And it looks so cute on you too! And I love your house! Why do you not show more pics of your house? I will say, I have never ironed the tissue paper though. It is a time hog. Okay, maybe if it was really crumpled up.

those pockets do look a little tricky to me, you did fabulous! fabulous dahling!

p.s. we get to the cabin about once a month, but lately, not that often. we need to use it more!

Anonymous said...


I got to your blog from the sew weekly blog... I have had this pattern in my cupboard for about a year. I'm too afraid to cut it out because I so badly want it to turn out and not be ruined (like every.thing.else I've Ever attempted to make). So I just wanted to comment to say Fantastic! Job! (and I never comment...)

So thanks for the post.
I LOVE those pockets.


Traci @ The Bakery said...

Thanks Cat, I hope you try the dress...you need a blog so I can see the pictures! I've now made two of the same style and just LOVE THEM!

Sassy Lassies Vintage Life said...

Great dress...sounds like my experience lately learning to sew. It is an amazing thing when it works out and you have no idea what you actually did. Hoorah for you!

quilting Bibliophagist said...

Love this pattern and how it looked on you. I'm definitely going to buy a copy the next time Simplicity patterns go on sale at Jo-Ann's. (Patterns are so over-priced; I always wait for a sale so that I only have to pay $1.99 or sometimes even 99 cents.

Jana @ Weekend Vintage said...

Stellar job on the dress! I love it.

Unknown said...

Wow! Great job on your first dress! Please promise to never ever pay full price for a pattern again - Hancocks or Joannes always has one brand or another on sale for .99 - 1.99!!

Anonymous said...

You are one cool lady. I just bought this pattern, and the instructions make no sense to me at all. However after I typed in Simplicity 2591 in to Google I found your blog!! Thank you, I even be able to attempt it now :) (and I never comment either) ox Jen

Traci @ The Bakery said...

Jen, Thanks so much!! I've made it 3 times and can't make anymore until I finish my office/studio...hmmph. I'm trying not to get too many irons in the fire....I can't wait to try some other dresses too!! Thanks for stopping by!!

angie.a said...

Thank you for the funny review and all the photos! So happy to have found your blog. Following. :)

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