Six Month Dressmaking Review

Okay, so I started sewing in January after acquiring my sister’s sewing machine at Christmas. Six months on and what have I made? Here’s my six month review:

The Nun Skirt

img_7146-1My first attempt at following a pattern was this yoke skirt from The Great British Sewing Bee’s book. It turned out ugly but it fit! It had a working zip (although not exactly ‘concealed’) and was fairly symmetrical. I made an error in putting interfacing in the hem (I know better now!) which, of course, doesn’t work – it only makes the skirt look very stiff!

Never worn it out and about and I don’t have any intention to. However, when I looked at it again the other day I did feel pleased to see how tidy it is on the inside and how symmetrical the seams are.


Keyhole Blouse

My first experience of setting in sleeves, framing necklines (and a pretty tricky one at that!), making bias binding… the list of ‘firsts’ goes on! This pattern would have been better in a lighter fabric with some stretch rather than 100% cotton but I live and learn!

I have worn it out a couple of times but the sleeves are a little snug so I’ve worn it less than intended. Very good top for ‘food baby’ days!


The First Kate Dress


Apologies – it could have done with a good iron before I photographed it!

This pattern was challenging at times but also a great learning curve. Unfortunately, I decided part way through that I didn’t like the texture of the fabric so it’s not something I’ve worn out of the house. The excessive amount of material in the back was also an issue (which I was able to rectify for attempt #2).

It was pleasing to make a dress though as I do love skirts and dresses, despite spending most of my time in jeans!


The Second Kate Dress

img_7152I set about sewing the second Kate dress fairly promptly after finishing the first as I knew if I didn’t do it then I wouldn’t do it at all!

This time I used a patterned fabric but sensibly chose one which doesn’t really have an ‘up’ or ‘down’ design so it didn’t matter if I cut the pieces out in different directions! This fabric is much thinner and does stretch a bit around certain seams, such as the bust. I adjusted the back so the fit would be better and lengthened the waist ties. I went for sleeves ending just above the elbow and use a bit of contrast stitching.

I would have happily worn this dress out and about but I made a rookie error… Whilst trying to snip some loose threads I accidentally cut the fabric right at the front of the neckline! A more prominent place I could not have chosen if I’d tried. 😦

As such, I have tried to fashion a collar of sorts to cover the mistake but it hasn’t worked. Another item destined for the ‘never worn’ heap.


Chiffon Butterfly Top

Needing a break from jersey knits, form fitting and bust adjustments, I opted to make a floaty chiffon top to wear over vest tops this summer.

I am happy to report I have worn this top on many occasions! Yay! 🙂

It’s loose fitting but not as loose as it was intended by the pattern designer as I gathered some of the fabric in the back and made it into a ‘feature’ so I didn’t look like I was carrying quadruplets. I lengthened it a bit so that it ends on the hips rather than the waist. French seams throughout mean it’s hardy and neat.


Strawberry Blouse


This is the make I am proudest of. It is soooooo neat and tidy and symmetrical that I am amazed I made it!!

It’s cute and fun with it’s strawberry print and I love the collar. However, I’ve yet to wear it out and about because I haven’t found the right occasion yet.

My only gripe is with the sleeves, which should have been a little less voluminous.



Maxi Skirt (Work in Progress)

img_7160Not an easy item to photograph! Apologies for the rather crap image.

This is a ‘freestyle’ project so it’s taking a bit of time to finish as I’m just making it up as I go along! The aim is for a full, voluminous skirt (with front godet), high waisted with a detailed waistband and side ties and side zip. The back of the waistband is also detailed in its design. Lovely soft, cool fabric in navy with little pink feathers (or leaves) scattered about it.


Pink Linen Tank Dress (Work in Progress)

This is my most ambitious make so far. Although it might look like it has less structure than the blouse, the bodice comprises of several parts so there’s plenty of room for error. Also, the fabric easily frays and is see-through in bright light so it’s fully lined throughout. The back of the dress (right) is better than the front because I’m having problems with the panels that join together at the front. The fit it a little too snug and makes one look like one is modelling a Wonderbra…! The lining is also visible in places. Too ambitious a project for a beginner like me? Yes but that’s how I learn – by challenging myself.


The Next Six Months…

Who knows what I’ll have attempted, failed and succeeded at by the New Year. I’ve got tonnes of patterns to inspire me and certainly a good stash of fabric! By this time next year, I hope to have made a beautiful, fully-lined summer dress for my friend’s wedding with a colour co-ordinated blazer. So all the mistakes I’ve made over this first half of the year have been excellent tuition for the end goal.

I’d like to make a couple of shirts/t-shirts for Karl and some children’s clothes for my many nieces.  I have yet to attempt making trousers or working with denim fabric (though I did make a kick skirt for a doll in ridged denim aged about 13!) so these are exciting projects I can look forward to. 🙂


4 thoughts on “Six Month Dressmaking Review

  1. I just love this post, not only because I’ve made some of those mistakes too but the sense of optimism for future makes….the next one will always be perfect…..which I also have. I love seeing not because I necessarily need any clothes, it’s the challenge. Happy seeing ! The lined dress and jacket WILL be great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It helps to keep things in perspective for me – yes, none of my makes are without mistakes but ‘practice makes progress’! 🙂


  2. This is a great post! I think I’ll start planning my 2016 round up now – I love seeing how much more ambitious I’ve become without realising. any update on the dress? I’m in the process of cutting and pinning a dress for my graduation so we’ll have to see how that goes!


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