Monday, June 04, 2007

first attempt

how about this smile mom?

Here's Margot in my first attempt at sewing clothing with a pattern (or sewing clothing without a pattern). I was inspired by Amy; she's made two outfits and a skirt from this pattern. After finding out it was a Sewing Patterns for Dummies pattern, I decided it might be a good place to start since I would definitely fall into the sewing dummy category. The pattern is Simplicity 4206. It was fairly easy, but I did feel like the directions left out a few important details. Here are some things I learned or would suggest:

- Definitely make the shirt longer; probably 1-1.5 inches longer. Amy mentioned this too, but I didn't feel comfortable just making it longer since I'd never sewn from a pattern before. This would be a fairly simple change that I will make if I try this pattern again. I will probably also take an inch or two off each side of the shirt as it seems pretty wide to me. This might be a little more difficult as I'm not sure how taking in the shirt would affect attaching the sleeves.

- I thought the most difficult part was the pockets, which I would not have guessed when I began. Pockets seem easy enough -- it's just a square you sew on, right? Well, it's not that simple. With all that folding over of fabric to get the finished look, the fabric starts to get thick at the corners, which then makes it difficult to sew on without looking all wonky. After attaching the first one, I looked up how to attach pockets in this trusty companion (a book I picked up because so many different craft bloggers recommended it) and it talked about the need to miter corners to reduce bulk. Funny that the Sewing Patterns for Dummies directions didn't mention anything about the need to reduce bulk or mitering corners. I think they decided to conveniently skip that stuff because mitering doesn't sound like something that falls into the dummy category. They don't tell you though that by following their over-simplified directions, it will be close to impossible to make your finished pocket look good.

- My next least favorite part was the casings for the elastic for the neckline, sleeves and waistline. All that folding over, and ironing, and pinning (sometimes) of 1/4" of fabric. Man, that stuff is for the birds. I can't believe I don't have more burn marks on my fingers.

- Linen is harder to work with than cotton. It doesn't iron up as easily (which makes all those casings and hemming that much harder) and it's more stretchy (which can mean problems if you pull your fabric too taught b/c it gets all out-of-shape).

- Making this outfit gave me a much greater appreciation for clothes in general and how much work goes into sewing something together. I realize the folks that sew clothing in factories have amazing machinery and can sew a lot faster than I can, but I still couldn't help but wonder at the details on most of my clothing that is much more difficult than the casings for elastic that were giving me fits at times.

All in all, I'm very pleased with the finished product (especially at the fact that I finished this in 1 week!). I love the fabric -- an Amy Butler print from her newest line and some linen that I thought matched perfectly. I would definitely recommend this pattern to even the most novice sewer. Up next: the super-simple smock dress (says Hannah). We'll see.


toby said...

Looks great, Kristen! I love Margot's expression in the photo.

hannah said...

it looks FANTASTIC kristen! way to go! and remember, you are your worst critic. i think lengthening would be a snap, as far as slimming... mmmm... one solution would be to add some elastic at the bottom. which would equal more casing, which is a pain in the ass. and it warrants the use of the word fully. but i love love love this!! putting that pattern on the list.

jmac said...

what expression is that?

ke said...

wow kristen! this is so great! i can't believe you have graduated to making clothes! and margot with the daylily is so cute. i love it!

julie said...

very impressive kristen. i love the fabric and margot's sweet face.

arthur said...

I often find those looking for
patterns like yours via my website. Let me know if you want to have me link to your page.