TL; DR: Learn your machine, pay attention to seam allowances, stretch fabric can be a pain, band neckline finishes are amazing, and don’t throw out “scrap” fabric when you’re mad.
My favorite dress is the Geneva Dress, by Universal Standard. A friend who sews drafted a pattern for it for me. I bought my first fabric, a red jersey, a white jersey, and blue sweatshirt fabric (which, I still don’t know what I’m supposed to call – fleece, I guess?). I dug out my daughter’s Singer Simple sewing machine that she got for Christmas a five or six years back when she decided she wanted to be a fashion designer. She made a circle skirt, was too embarrassed at first to wear it because it wasn’t perfect. I told her if her friends made fun of her or the skirt, to ask them if they were able to make any of their own clothes. Also, that no one would care. She wore it proudly, no one noticed or cared, everyone was duly impressed, and we never sewed again.
But we were five months into the pandemic, and I tried bread, but it’s too hot to make bread over the summer, and while it wasn’t hard, and the bread was delicious, it lasted 10 minutes before the family devoured it. I wanted something that I could savor. I don’t know why sewing caught my fancy, but it did, and I just decided to go for it, the way you only can when you have ADHD.
I promise that this is the only post that will start with the meandering, rather than going straight into the review/stumbles. This is an ADHD sewing blog. Y’all gonna have to bear with me. I figure, well, since this isn’t a pattern you could purchase, a review wouldn’t really be relevant. Want to know what my writing is like right off the bat? Yeah, you’re getting the full experience.
I had to get the machine tuned up, and then go back because I didn’t bother to learn how to thread it properly (and, still didn’t right up to last weekend). We no longer had the guidebook for it, and it was an older model that had been replaced by a newer model, and I couldn’t find any about my specific machine, so I was flying blind, which is fine with me, because who reads the instructions anyway?
Spoiler Alert: always read the instructions.
Thankfully, my friend was gracious enough to help me figure out what I needed to do, and the machine did in fact have a stretch stitch, so I was off to the races. Having a stretch stitch is important, because if not, the stitches won’t stretch with the fabric. No stretch stitch? Go with a zig-zag. For some reason, I didn’t need to learn this lesson the hard way. There were other “hard way” lessons to learn, so no worries.
Why, I asked, could I not just cut the pattern on the fold, save myself the trouble of sewing one extra straight seam? But then I forgot about seam allowances and was confused why the dress came out too big. Not a big issues, but one that I hadn’t anticipated and one that I was going to have to learn and relearn.
Note to self: follow the seam allowances. It matters.
The hem wasn’t a problem, but I started to lose my mind with the neckline. Stretch fabric will. not. sit. flat. I was so frustrated that reader, I THREW OUT AT LEAST A YARD OF USABLE WHITE JERSEY FABRIC. So when I calmed down and came back to the project, I didn’t have anything to finish the neckline with. So I went with red. Because I had red. It looks good, actually. But I learned how to make a banded collar. I have never been so grateful for anything in my life.
I repeated the process for the red dress and the blue dress. I’m still not happy with the collars, as I need to learn to do stay stitches and that’s ok. In other words, I have to sew the bits on the inside down so that the stuff that shows looks good. But I changed the thread on the machine, and moved on to the next dresses, so I just haven’t gotten around to fixing them, but I will when the thread is right.
It’s also really cold now, so I don’t wear them right now, and it’ll probably get fixed when the weather warms up.