Hand-Sewn Dress

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAbout two weeks ago, a cape dress pattern arrive from Gehman’s Country Fabrics. I’ve mentioned them before: I ordered a cape dress through them. Well, I liked it so much I decided to get the pattern for the dress.

The pattern is quite good: it’s simple (only six pieces), in proper paper rather than tissue paper like commercial patterns, with clear instructions on a separate sheet. It’s very easy to work with, although I was a little disappointed with the length of the skirt – a little shorter than the dress I had bought. I’ve since adapted the pattern slightly – I cut the bodice about an inch longer at the bottom to fall at a more comfortable waistline, and I cut the skirt a couple of inches longer, too.

So, naturally, after receiving the pattern, I set about sewing dresses. I had a bit of a backlog of fabric that I’d bought for dresses but not sewn into anything: two pieces that I bought in America ($1.50 per yard! Can you believe it?) and two pieces I’d purchased in Australia. I cut out the patterns for three of them and sewed them at the same time. I don’t have pictures at the moment; I’ll try to get some soon. One is of a mostly pinkish floral, and I did that one with long sleeves: gathered with elastic at the wrist. One is of a cream-based floral with dusty blue and greens in it: that one has three-quarter length sleeves, pleated into lace. The third is a black background, with bright blue, green, and yellow floral. That has sleeves gathered in pleats just above the elbow, with a ruffle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe fourth lot of material, I thought was too bright for an entire dress. I’d seen pictures of vest dresses with contrasting vests, and I thought it looked nice, so last week, there was a sale on at the local fabric shop, and I picked up some plain-coloured fabric for quite cheap. I used the cape dress pattern, but ignored the cape bits and adapted the bodice pattern to get the vest. And I was just starting to sew, when… the sewing machine decided to stop working.

I honestly do not know what is wrong. It won’t sew for me. It will sew for my mother and sister. Go figure.

Either way, I decided to hand-sew the dress. Now, on the other dresses, I’ve hand sewn around the pockets, the edges of the cape, and the hem. That in itself is a lot of sewing. But an entire dress? I’ve never hand-sewn an entire adult-sized dress before (I guess I still haven’t, since the bodice collar was machine-sewn on this one).

It took a lot longer to make than dresses normally do. I mean, I can usually turn one of these things out in a matter of two or three hours on the machine. This one took more like two or three days.

Oh, well. It’s also a lot neater than machine-sewing. I’ve used a lot of invisible stitching, so you can’t see lines of thread around all the hems and the collar of the vest, like you usually would.

So, all in all, a productive venture. I might hand-sew more in the future; it’s soothing, and a lot, lot neater.


2 thoughts on “Hand-Sewn Dress

  1. Hannah says:

    It’s so wonderful to see women abroad adopting the plain modest dress. I’m in the US. As you know, there a lots of plainly dressed Christians here. I wanted to recommend to you two shops that I really like. These ladies make extremely well-made clothing and headcoverings: http://www.gracefulthreads.com/ and http://christiancoverings.com/. They also sell some Amish-made fabrics that don’t wrinkle and require no ironing!

  2. Rachel says:

    Hi, and thanks for visiting my blog!
    Dressing plainly is almost unheard-of in Australia, but dressing modestly isn’t quite as unusual – Australia’s (to my knowledge) only modest dress online shop is based only 45 minutes down the road from me – http://www.modestclothes.makingmelodymusic.com.au/.
    I’m still, wherever possible, looking for alternatives within in Australia. Paying for shipping out from America (US or Canada) is just so expensive, it doesn’t seem worth it for anything other than a particularly large purchase.
    I’ve bought a substantial amount of material from Gehman’s once since I did this post – I can only recommend their service and the quality of their material! My excitement and wonder of the price of that material I bought in America, mentioned in the 3rd paragraph, was misplaced – it fell apart after the first wash! I have some dresses made from material from Gehman’s a little over two years ago which are still going strong – getting a little thinner, but only compared to newer dresses – you can barely tell, and I’ve worn them probably two days out of every week for the last two years.
    I know I’m quite lucky to be able to sew, so making my own clothes and headcoverings is basically the first option for me – I prefer that than asking someone else to! Every time I do, it always seems as though there’s something fitting not-quite-right. But I know there are lots of ladies out there who can’t sew, or can’t sew well, so buying from online shops is the main option. Perhaps that’s why there are fewer modest dressers in Australia! They get turned away from it because they can’t sew and shipping is so expensive!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s