I am really proud of the fact that I made my own dress and that I think I was careful and patient to ensure good quality whilst I was making the dress. However, the fact is, the pattern I used is quite a shapeless dress.
One problem that I have has with making this dress and buying subsequent patterns is that my bust size in not in proportion to my hips and waist. In normal clothes I am a size 14/16 (Aus). However, anything that is quite fitted at the bust is impossible to wear. This was one of the reasons I decided to learn how to sew. It actually became depressing to try on dresses in stores that would fit around my hips and waist but not around my bust. If I ever needed a dress for an event, I would usually have to try on about 10 dresses before I would find one that would fit around my bust. I know I am not a skinny girl, but I have come to terms with the fact that even if I do lose weight, I am always going to have a larger bust so getting dresses in a certain fitted style will always be quite difficult for me, regardless if I am a size 10 or the size I currently am. I am not trying to have a pity party for myself. I go to the gym 4-5 times a week and am reasonably fit and healthy. There is always room for improvement but my point of view is that whatever size I am, I will always be a busty girl.
So the problem that is associated with this is that my sewing teacher insisted I sew a size 24 in the McCall pattern because of my bust. Nevermind the fact that in the waist I was about 3 sizes smaller. Given this was my first sewing experience I had no reason to question her. I knew that I would always have the opportunity to take the dress in but by the time I finished it and knew that I would not wear it, I honestly could not be bothered taking the dress in! Here are some photos of me modelling the dress (I hate photos of myself, so can't actually believe I am putting these up but I figure not many people will read this. I would never advertise this blog on Facebook!)
McCalls 5659 Pattern - View C (orange dress with pockets)
Wearing a cardigan to clinch in the waist. Still not loving the dress
Dress on the hanger
One detail I actually like - the front pockets
So that is my first finished project. Some details about the dress:
Pattern: McCalls 5659
Size: 24 based on the measurements. After trying it on I think I could have done an 18. I was told that dressmaking sizes don't correspond with sizes you do buy in stores - thank goodness.
Cost: Fabric - 2.10m @$4 per meter (total: $8.40)
Black Cotton - approx 70 cm used (total: about $4.20)
Interfacing: approx 40cm used (total: about $4.40)
Thread: Gutterman - $2.79
Pattern: $20 (I brought this before I realised how many pattern sales there actually are - STUPID!!)
Total cost: $39.80
Time: 7 Classes x 2 hours and an additional 2 hours at home - 16 hours (as I was also learning to use my machine, this time has been factored in)
Would I use this pattern again: No. The dress is quite shapeless and is not flattering. I know this when I started the dress but I just didn't expect it to be SO baggy and shapeless on me.
a) Patterns can be purchased cheaply. I will never purchase a pattern full price again. I feel stupid that I spent $20 on this pattern. I guess as I was so new to sewing I had no idea how often patterns do really go on sale.
b) I have learnt to use my sewing machine confidently and hopefully will continue to build on these skills with future projects.
Dressmaking sizes do not correspond with actual sizes. I felt terrible about my dressmaking size but this is because my bust is a couple of sizes different to waist/hips.
I completed my first term of classes at Spotlight, however they have this pretty shitty system in place whereby you can only complete one term of classes. They seem to have people on a waiting list but basically they screw over their currently enrolled students. I was told I could do one more term but I would have to do it on Saturday (which didn't suit me), and I couldn't move into another class as those spaces were to be given to new students. Whilst my tutor was good at Spotlight, the class size was too big (some weeks 10 people), and I felt I didn't get much attention or would be waiting for 20 minutes to ask a question. There was also a girl in my class that always complained how slow she was going and tried to make everyone feel sorry for her. She got on my nerves because we were all just beginners so what does she expect, to finish a dress in her first class!!
I was very lucky that I heard about the council sewing classes from Nee (Sew me Love) and a catalogue in my mailbox. So I am now happily attending a sewing class on Wednesday nights (suits me much better) and don't think I will be kicked out anytime soon! I also love the fact the my tutor, Liz, understood my issue with finding dresses to fit my bust and showed me some tips on how to alter the pattern to fit my bust. I spent most of my first class getting the pattern right for my bust size but going forward this will help me with other patterns I intend to use.
Goodnight, hope you enjoyed my adventure with my first dress pattern!
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