As you may know, my husband bought me a sewing machine for Christmas. (So it’s kind of been a year.) I’ve made some small pillows, pillow covers, and a shoddy dress and t shirt dress. I also created an apron from a pattern that my MIL and SIL got me as a combination gift. I’ve also made pants. That bring said, I am such a beginner, I realized that I don’t really know finishing techniques, and how to effectively use a pattern.
This led me to look for online tutorials on how to make a dress/skirt. That’s how I found Craftsy. I found a basic class for fundamentals, where Brett Bara walks you through a simple pattern from start to finish, called Sew Ready Garment Basics.
Finished skirt flat
In the class, I made a straight/pencil skirt. It has no lining. It taught me how to properly put in pattern darts and install a zipper. I really learned some great fundamentals, such as pressing all my seams as I went and finishing my seams. I also used fusible interfacing for the first time to reinforce the waistband. I’m really pleased at how it came out.
Here’s a little quick recap.
Cutting the pattern
The class came with a basic straight skirt pattern from Butterick B5466 Misses Skirt and Belt. It includes 6 different variations on the basic skirt. In the tutorial, she offers a view into version A and C. I created the basic version A.
The tutorial walks you through how to read the pattern, which may be very basic, but was something I was missing. I totally didn’t know any of the short hand for going along the grain/cutting the pattern so the garment lays correctly. If you never had anyone teach you how to read patterns, this is a really helpful tutorial to get you set up with all the basics.
It takes you through putting in a dart and how to press the fabric to make it look really professional. The zipper installment was pretty straight forward, too, although I kind of fudged the seam there.
A little snafu, putting in the zipper.
The thing I liked the best is that I normally skimp on a lot of steps that would make a garment more professional looking, such as finishing seams, pressing, and adding interfacing to the waistband. All of these things, really helped the end result. She also had nice tips for adding the curvature to the garment.
Adding the fused interfacing/facing waistband
And for the record, I totally missed that the sizing on these things are not based on traditional sizes and you had to take actual measurements. I actually had to fudge the pattern a bit, since I didn’t think the larger cut out would fit me. In the end, it was pretty big, and I was able to take the pattern in. I also messed up on the slope of my hips, but I easily fixed that in one of the early steps (where she has us try the skirt on – when you assemble the larger pieces). I’m pretty happy with the end result, although it’s still a little looser than I how I buy commercial garments. (I didn’t want to end up with something too snug, though.)
Not too bad for my first garment without elastic, right?
Voila! Do you guys have any patterns that are good for beginners?
I wanted to use cotton to begin with, but I might go over my steps to create a skirt that is a little shorter out of a warmer fabric for winter. Maybe something in twill, so that I can wear it to work in the coming months?