Today I am sharing my favorite summer pattern in a review on Cailamade! I was so excited to be asked to participate in Caila’s “Best of Summer” series! It is the first time I’ve been able to join in on the fun in a series and the group of ladies who are featured last week and this week on Caila’s blog are amazingly talented, I am so honored to be a part of it all.
As I was sewing, I was thinking about how many people tell me that they would love to learn to sew but don’t think they could ever do something like this. But you CAN! I promise. The best thing about sewing is that you can make a super easy piece look like something from Anthropologie just by adding your own little details here and there.
- Choose an easy pattern. The pattern that I used for the dress above is from Simplicity’s New Look 6205. It has simple lines which meant the skill level wasn’t very high at all. I simplified it even more for myself by changing the pleated skirt to a gathered skirt.
- Don’t be fooled by the design on the pattern packaging. If you look at the packaging of the pattern I used (see HERE) it is vastly different from the look I created. When I look for a pattern, I only look at the lines of the piece. I fell in love with this dress because of the neckline – it looks so vintage to me.
- Begin with solid fabric. When you are a beginning sewer, choose fabric without a print. A piece can go from simple to complicated very quickly if you are having to worry about matching up a print when seaming fabric pieces together. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started sewing pieces together, only to realize that on one side the flowers were pointed up and on the other side the flowers were pointed down. Arg.
- Begin with cotton, or some other fabric that doesn’t have a lot of stretch and give. It’s way easier to sew a nice solid piece of fabric. I used a linen-look fabric for my dress. Once you get basics mastered, you can move onto more complicated fabric, but stay simple to begin with.
- Ask questions of those nice, fabric store employees. I bought my Linen Look fabric from Joanns’ and before I had my fabric cut, I asked the employee what the laundry directions were for the fabric. Personally, I don’t buy fabric that can’t be washed in a machine for my kids. It’s not practical. You might be ok with handwash, either way you should know before you buy what the care requirements are for the fabric.
- Wash your fabric BEFORE you cut and sew! Fabrics are made to look good on the shelves which means they can have starches and other things on them. Also, it’s better to let the fabric do most of it’s shrinking before you put it together as a clothing item. Another reason I washed my linen was that I wanted to Dip Dye the skirt of this dress with Rit Dye Powder (Evening Blue color also from Joanns’) and washing any starches out prior to dying made sure that the dye would go onto the fabric evenly
- Read the WHOLE pattern before you do anything. There is so much information and it can look overwhelming but read it all before you cut and you will be glad you did! It’s not rocket science reading, just plug on through it and you will have a better plan of how to go about starting the project.
- Own a Seam Ripper. This little guy will be your best friend! You can rip out a seam without damaging the fabric and start over! The BEST. Any of the ladies participating in “Best of Summer Sewing” will tell you they keep theirs close at hand!
- Be adventurous. Give yourself time to finish a project. I can’t tell you how many times I go back and forth as I’m sewing a project. After one step, I’ll love it and be so excited and after the next step I’ll think – “ugh, this isn’t going to turn out at all”….just keep going! Give yourself time so that you don’t feel pressure but finish it! It’s totally worth not giving up :)
I hope you feel inspired to try sewing if you’ve never tried it before! The schedule for Caila’s series is below and every day has featured a review of a great pattern that you can try for yourself. Browse through the posts and you will find something you would love to try! These ladies are WONDERFUL resources for all levels of sewers!