my first dress

The Laurel dress by Colette Patterns. Wrangled into existence by raw enthusiasm.

I rushed into making this dress after making a bag, a few pillowcases, and a skirt. I made all those things in quick succession. I was just learning how to gauge seam allowances while sewing. Sewing curves was still very challenging. I made a muslin — of the blouse version, which was slightly different from the top, but I wasn’t able to assess the muslin at that point anyway. I was clearly not well qualified but I was incredibly motivated. I bought fabric that I really liked and dove right in.

It took tears, unpicking, pinching out fabric excess, resewing wonky seams, but the dress I got at the end of that long rocky ride was worth it. I wear the dress despite its problems — yes, the sleeves fit funny because I didn’t know how to set them in properly; yes, I snipped into the bias-bound neckline in a moment of clumsiness and now there’s visible mending on that spot.

And I really love looking at it. It’s a document of what I didn’t know and tried to find out. It’s a record of improvised fixes but of patience, too. I took my time with the zipper (after all it was my first one) and it paid off. Careful pressing gave a nice shape to the darts. There’s a lot to like despite undeniable imperfections.

Do you have a favorite early project? Do you have a project that represents a record of your learning process? Please share if you do. I’d love to hear from you.



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I write about sewing, knitting, and may sometimes be tempted to talk about books.

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