Sewing Don’t’s

My wonderful sixth grade daughter decided that she wanted to sew a dress for her sixth grade promotion. Bless her heart, she chose one of the most difficult sewing patterns that I have ever seen. Mind you, I am not a seamstress by any stretch of the imagination. I have sewn blankets, pillow cases, simple skirts, and even a grilling apron for my husband (which I think turned out pretty nice), but anything beyond these projects is really out of my realm. When I asked my daughter why she chose a complicated dress instead of a simple skirt her reply was, “Mom, have you ever known me to be simple??” I guess not…like mother like daughter.

I kept telling my daughter that I couldn’t promise that this dress would work out and really look like a dress primarily because it had pleats, an elegant neckline, and pockets. She did the cutting and most of the sewing, and I think it turned out quite nice. We didn’t do the pockets because I just knew that if we attempted that it would end in a  horrible disaster.

All in all, we spent about 20 hours (or so) on this dress and she is happy with the final product, so I am too. Below are some definite don’t’s for novice beginners. Not all of these pertained to this specific project, but a few did…

  1. If you are new to sewing (at least complicated things), work your way up in complication…don’t start with the most elaborate project you can think of, like pleats, complicated necklines, pockets, and zippers.
  2. Don’t forget to oil your sewing machine. An un-oiled machine can cause the thread to break and the machine to not work properly.
  3. Don’t begin with projects that have tight deadlines. If the project doesn’t work the first time you try then you’re out of luck. Allow yourself plenty of time to complete the project (as my daughter and I did)…and for re-dos if necessary.
  4. If you are a novice to sewing, don’t begin with using plaid material or material with designs on it. Getting designs to match up can be next to impossible, unless you are a seasoned veteran.
  5. Don’t purchase fabric that is expensive for your first few projects. If you cut incorrectly or if you sew the wrong pieces together then you will have to replace that material…if it is expensive then you’ll be paying that much to replace it.
  6. Don’t purchase a pattern that has a lot of words in it that you have no idea what they mean because you’ll be spending all of your time researching the meaning of the words vs. actually sewing.
The dress……

Are you a novice or a seasoned vet at sewing, or somewhere in between? What types of things do you like to sew?

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  1. Your dress is very pretty…and the color looks marvelous on you!

    I have two favorite things to sew; doll clothes and costumes. I like to give the doll clothes away to children and the costumes are just plain fun to make.

    I much prefer to sew for 18" – 22" dolls. I don't really like too fancy of patterns, I prefer the simpler doll clothes patterns so I can make more and use less fabric. Also, the simpler the pattern, the easier the clothes are for the children to change.

    I had an aunt who could make the most beautiful Barbie clothes. I tried, and found those to be the most frustrating, tiny pieces to work with. She was an amazing seamstress. I am not.

    Hancock Fabrics frequently has patterns for 99cents so I stock up on my patterns when they go on sale.

    I don't like to work with plaids…I hate to match the pattern and it drives me insane to see something for sale when the lines do not match.

    Currently I am working on a jean quilt. I cut up some of hubby's old jeans into squares and got some pretty red fabric and am sewing them together as a patch quilt. The backing is a flannel sheet that is cheaper than fabric by the yard.

    I look forward to seeing your next project.

    1. Thank you for the compliment. Sewing, I have found, can be a lot of fun…if the project isn’t so complicated that you get frustrated with it (I have done this before). My mom can make the most beautiful quilts! I don’t think she uses a pattern she purchases; she just thinks of how she wants it to look like and she makes it. She gave my husband and me a beautiful quilt with a hidden pocket in it for Christmas this last year ~ it stays on my bed year-round. She has also made some beautiful jean quilts. I make the easy quilts / blankets that don’t take too much to make. One time I tried using a pattern, but alas, I am still a novice and it didn’t work out so well. My kids will receive some beautiful handmade items from me for Christmas; although, I can’t reveal what those are yet…they like to read my posts ;-).

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