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Dressmaking. HEEEELLLPPPP!

(49 Posts)
SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 29-Apr-13 19:33:17

Right. Ive made costumes and things in the past, from scratch, just improvising and pinning stuff on the kids. Since watching the Sewing Bee, Ive bought a pattern, and am going to run up ha ha a dress for DD14. Got the pattern, got the fabric, this is where it gets confusing! grin
I have measured DD. Her teeny bust is 31 inches. Her waist is 27 inches, her hips are 34 inches. Which, according to the chart on the pattern makes her a size 8 bust, size 14 waist and size 10 hips! confused I measured her bust and hips at the widest bits and her waist at the smallest point.
So. If I make her a size 8 dress, which has a fairly empire line waist and flared skirt, is it going to fit?? And if not, what do I do?
It is this pattern.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 29-Apr-13 19:35:33

FWIW, my lovely DD is in no way deformed. To look at she is dead slim, fairly straight up and down with a few curves developing. She is really paranoid now! confused sad

EffieTheDuck Mon 29-Apr-13 19:39:41

That is a lovely dress and looks fairly forgiving size wise.
could you cut the top to the 10 size, the skirt one size up and it does not have a waist so you could make extra darts in the bustline?

<waits for the sewing experts to finish their tea>grin

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 29-Apr-13 19:42:30

Well I could, but she really is somewhere between a 6 and an eight in her top, and would never wear a size 10.

orangeandemons Mon 29-Apr-13 19:45:57

But if it's empire line it doesn't really matter what the waist measurement is. It's the under bust measurement that would count.

EffieTheDuck Mon 29-Apr-13 19:46:22

The dress does not have a waist so i'm wondering if you could cut out 8 on the top then the 10 for the skirt and adjust the hell out of it once it is on

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 29-Apr-13 19:51:30

Ah fuckit! I am just going to make the 8! She is 5' weighs 7 stone and is like a streak of wind! She has never worm a size 10 anything!That pattern has pleats at the top of the skirt and plenty of spare material! Then Im going to stick to seperates! grin

DameFanny Mon 29-Apr-13 19:51:39

Lay out the pattern pieces and see how you can fit her measurements going line to line with the tape measure, and including your seam allowances.

Also google Gertie's New Blog For Better Sewing - lots of pattern sizing goodness there.

How about making one from calico to see what it is like and if you need to make alterations before you use the pretty material?

Soupa Mon 29-Apr-13 20:04:39

The 8 will be fine (big...possibly). The 10 I reckon would be huuuuuuge.

I would if you can, make it up in calico (if using expensive fabric) like practicallyperfectnot said and cut it to fit her chest size, tapering to a size 10. Let us know how you get on.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 29-Apr-13 21:14:40

CRIKEY! Would an old cut up duvet cover do? confused

yes, it just helps get a better fit - we will put you forward for the next series of the sewing bee!

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 29-Apr-13 21:22:34

Lol! I think I have a Star Wars one going spare somewhere! It would be SOOO much easier without a pattern!

DalaHorse Mon 29-Apr-13 21:28:08

This is very easy. It is only fitted around the shoulders/bust. The waist and hips are free-fitting. Therefore you only need to fit it around the bust. Only if she had a size 14 bottom would you be more careful incase the dress is slightly more fitted than it appears, but she has a size 10 bottom for a free-fitting pattern - there's no problem cutting it all in size 8 :-)

However. If she is very narrow/young, shoulders-wise you may find that the neckline is too wide on this dress, and it drops off her shoulders. I would therefore make up just the top section in some basic cotton fabric to check the fit. If the shoulders are indeed set too far apart, you can take it in. The front bust panel piece of fabric is likely to be cut on the folded fabric. Overhang the pattern on the fold by perhaps 1/2 inch, so the width of the panel is reduced width-wise overall by 1" when the cut fabric piece is unfolded.

For the back panel, that sort of pattern is likely to have a centre back zip. Overhang the pattern on the fabric by 1/2 inch each piece again, so again, the overall width of the two back panel pieces is reduced by 1" overall.

But first thing to do is make a mock-up (known as a "toile") to check fit initially. Good luck! It's a lovely dress!

GettingObsessive Mon 29-Apr-13 21:39:27

FWIW I find that sewing patterns are often huuuuuge and I often have to adjust down, even if I ignore the supposed measurements and just cut for my usual size.

orangeandemons Mon 29-Apr-13 21:50:36

I'm not sure it is free fitting. It has pleats which can gape if they don't lay flat.

TwoJackRussellsandababy Mon 29-Apr-13 22:26:41

Love the pattern, I have something similar in my stash to makesmile

I just wanted to sound a note of caution, sewing patterns don't really correlate to sizes in shops. The shops use vanity sizing, so I might fit into a fourteen (on a good day/in a generous shop) but I am a 20/22 on top when using a vogue pattern - bit depressing it must be said confused

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 29-Apr-13 22:33:34

The measurements I took from her match the ones on the packet. I really think the size 8 will be fine! I will make the mock up first, so that I can work out any adjustments. The bust is elasticated so I can take it in a little more if need be. I think the skirt will lie flat. She is built pretty much straight up and down!

DalaHorse Mon 29-Apr-13 22:37:31

orangesandlemons you would have to have a pretty big bottom to stretch out the fabric in the seat area to the extent that the tucks are pulled out instead of being allowed to hang. I do know what you mean though, but that pattern is very a-line and OP's DD is 5' tall and has a size 10 bottom, she sounds so petite, I really wouldn't bother cutting it out as a 10 when the dress is not fitted to the hips. On this occasion smile

DalaHorse Mon 29-Apr-13 22:38:12

sorry orangesandemons

DalaHorse Mon 29-Apr-13 22:38:35

I am pernickety for getting user names right! smile

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 29-Apr-13 22:40:08

If this works, I have designs on an adjustable form! I'd love to make her lots of clothes. She's got a lovely figure!

purplewithred Mon 29-Apr-13 22:44:35

if this is your first time with a dressmaking pattern definitely practice on that Star Wars duvet. Patterns can be very strangely sized and also take a bit of working out and practice.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 29-Apr-13 22:55:41

Yes! It looks really technical! confused The star Wars duvet will definitely be recycled!
I have a lovely shiny sewing machine to play with too. Mum has leant me hers. It does everything. I've always made everythingup to now on my great grandmothers treadle machine. It only goes forwards!! Mum's even does button holes and overlocking! <<happy>>

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 30-Apr-13 16:53:11

Jesus Mary and Joesph! I've got as far as cuttin out the pattern! confused grin

DameFanny Tue 30-Apr-13 20:09:53

Don't worry - cutting out is often the longest part - seams come together in a trice and then it's just the slog of hemming...

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 30-Apr-13 20:33:58

Oh. Do I have to do that by hand? My machine has a setting for that! sad

MrsHoarder Tue 30-Apr-13 20:40:22

Do nothing by hand that your machine can do. Hens can look very slightly better if done carefully by hand but only if you have a spare year.

And I always make a duvet dress first: memorably my mock-up wedding dress was covered in rainbows and fairies. Sadly the real one was write.

MrsHoarder Tue 30-Apr-13 20:41:25

And I've found sewing pattern sizes generally come up small. Most disconcerting to be 2 sizes bigger...

GettingObsessive Tue 30-Apr-13 21:25:54

Glad I'm not the only one that HATES hemming. Many a make has hung unfinished for years weeks because I got bored at the hemming stage.

My DM made her own wedding dress (also empire line smile) and she said she rushed the hem and always regretted it.

StackOverflow Tue 30-Apr-13 21:39:31

This book really helped me when I was a beginner:


You can use different pattern sizes for different body parts - taper up/down between the size lines on your pattern as required.

Finally: yes, do make up a toile (mock up). Get your DD to try it on and make adjustments with lots of pins and plenty of marker. I like to take mine apart afterwards and use the altered pieces as my pattern instead of the paper - works especially well on those of us who are not entirely symmetrical.

Good luck! Dressmaking is an awesome hobby.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 30-Apr-13 23:13:51

Ok. I'm all cut out. I have all the wee marker stitches in place. Tomorrow I am going to set the machine up.
Can I just say, that fusible interface is the most horrible thing I have ever had to cut! I've been through every pair of scissors I own! confused

DalaHorse Wed 01-May-13 00:06:15

Saggy - fusible interfacing is not tough stuff usually confused Even medium-heavy weight interfacing is relatively fine, it shouldn't be hard work or ruin your scissors!

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 01-May-13 00:09:23

It's horrid! I must admit that none of my scissors are very good, but it was horrible. Just wouldn't cut at all! confused

Startail Wed 01-May-13 00:26:42

using duvets to make mock ups is a brilliant idea.

I made the top of my graduation ball dress out of cheap black satin and used it with a short skirt for less posh things. I couldn't afford two lots of rough silk.

The silk frayed and went everywhere, I'm certain there were still bits of purple when we moved out

DameFanny Wed 01-May-13 11:02:38

Get some proper shears - makes all the difference to the straightness of your cutting, which itself makes all the difference to how easily things come together - lesson learnt the hard way grin

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 01-May-13 21:01:52

Lol! Im going to try this project before I start buying loads off stuff! It might still go tits up! grin

I see you have cut out, but I was going to recommend two things.

1) measure high bust and see if there is much of a difference. The reviews say it is very loose fitting so I would use the smallest size in this case.

2) you can include 1" seam allowances for your mock up so you have plenty of wiggle room for fitting. Don't forget to lengthen your stitch length for your 'muslin' to make it easy to alter.

Oh and don't forget to preshrink your interfacing (as well as your fashion fabric) for the real dress.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 02-May-13 10:49:00

You have really lost me now! confused pre shrink?

PurpleFrog Thu 02-May-13 12:24:02

You should prewash your fabric before cutting out, especially if it is cotton.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 02-May-13 12:35:13

Oh bollocks! Why doesnt it say that on the pattern anywhere?! sad

PurpleFrog Thu 02-May-13 12:52:41

Have you cut the proper fabric? I thought you were practising with a duvet cover first. confused

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 02-May-13 13:11:58

I was. But the woman in the haberdashers said to cut the pattern out in thicker fabricy pattern paper and pin it onto her. I did and it looked ok, so I cut the proper fabric! [insert numpty emoticon] sad
Oh we'll! It looks like I have reached the point of no return...

PurpleFrog Thu 02-May-13 13:22:33

It might be fine. Fingers crossed. Just wash it at a low temperature when it needs it and don't tumble dry!

Is it pure cotton?

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 02-May-13 13:46:42

I think so! Oh well, if it shrinks it shrinks! I'll just give it to someone smaller! grin

DameFanny Thu 02-May-13 16:01:11

Saggy - you need some edumacation my love. If you're not ready to buy actual books (and something like the vogue encyclopaedia would be an excellent start) then at least have a wander around some sewing blogs.

Can't link from here, but zilredloh's a good one, Gertie that I mentioned above, Tilly from the sewing bee is at Tilly and the Buttons, and from any of those you'll find links to others.

They're all good for documenting how they approached a project from start to finish, so though not all of it will make sense at first a lot of it will sink in. So you'll start to do things like pin at right angles to the seam for machine sewing instead of along the seam, and get in the habit of having the iron ready before you plug in the sewing machine.

Plus it's an excellent way of losing an hour or so in awe at what others manage to achieve...

Handwashing and drip drying minimise shrinkage if you have the energy to do it once the dress is made.

DalaHorse Thu 02-May-13 17:24:52

Please don't worry, saggy. Cotton only shrinks by around 5% so discernible difference anyway. Is it actually cotton you've bought? If it's a man-made fabric if any kind it won't shrink :-)

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