unselfish sewing: the great skirt experiment

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Fit was a huge part of why I wanted to learn to sew. (And polyester. God, the polyester.) I was tired of getting pissed off while shopping because entire genres of clothing were off limits.

Of all the reasons I’m proud of my handmade garments, the fact that they fit is probably the most important thing. But I began thinking: Wouldn’t it be an interesting exercise to try to fit a garment to someone else?

So I sent an email blast to some lady friends with a proposal: Give me some of your time — enough for me to take measurements and do fittings — and I’ll give you a free skirt.

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staple sewing: summery blouses

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Well, I’m still working on my vintage shirtdress, but as I got to the end, I realized I was out of snaps and ordered more. Then when the snaps came, I realized I’d lost my snap tool and had to order one of those.

So while I waited, I jumped into my next spring/summer project — lightweight, drapey, lovely blouses to wear to work. The kind that feels like you’re not wearing anything.

I cut out three tops at once and dove in.

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the one-time-only dress

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I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write about this project, for a few reasons:

  1. It’s not relevant to a lot of people who sew, because not everyone wants to make their wedding dress;
  2. I’m pretty sure if I tried again, I could make it better;
  3. I don’t have many pictures of the process;
  4. Don’t you get tired of people who talk about their weddings all the time? I don’t want to be that person.

But here’s the thing: When I was planning to make my dress for my wedding back in May, I obsessively searched the Internet for people who made theirs. I shook my fist, figuratively speaking, at people who made their own dresses, or made dresses for relatives, and didn’t put an explanation on BurdaStyle or Kollabora or whatever. People, I needed help, and I soaked up whatever I could find.

So maybe if I share my experience, that’ll help others.

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So! I made my wedding dress. It was fun and hard! You should do it too, maybe.

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the long-destined cambie

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I’ve been drawn to Sewaholic’s Cambie dress since I first started sewing about a year and a half ago. It’s the OG of indie dress patterns, it’s designed for pears like me, it’s versatile, I love cap sleeves, it looks great on pretty much everyone.

I bought the pattern, but something always held me back — was it too froufy? Too vintage? Too sweet? A few times I planned to sew it, but changed my mind at the last minute.

So what changed? I needed a bridesmaid dress, and I needed it quick. After a Frankenpattern muslin disaster, I turned to the sewing world’s collective TNT pattern instead.

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the ‘black tie requested’ dress

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Well, it’s been an adventure getting here.

A persistent streak of wadders led to everyone’s least favorite task — deadline sewing. Nothing to fuel the creativity like a ticking clock!

The deadline in this case was my dear friend’s wedding this month. Like lots of others who sew, I’ve lost my taste for buying clothes, and after enough time spent at the sewing machine, I’ve lost my taste for sewing frosting.

So what do you do when faced with the words “black tie requested” on a wedding invitation? Buy a formal dress that costs a lot and doesn’t really fit? Or spend hours working on a formal garment I won’t often wear?

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