Dress Sewing Journey Part 1

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared my sewing journey in real time, so while I’m working on some projects behind the scenes that I can’t show you, I’ll share my process in learning to attempt to sew a dress. I’ve always wanted to learn to sew clothing, and now that I have my own fabric, I’m even more inspired to make something to wear from it!

Terrace Dress by Liesl & C0

My first real attempt will be to try the Terrace dress from Liesl and Co. It looks like an easy enough pattern and I’ve met Liesl several times and think she’s an amazing clothing designer. My goal is to sewing clothing made from my fabrics that I can wear at quilt market and other industry events, so I’m ready to dive right in.

I also picked up the Palmer/Pletsch Complete Guide to Fitting which is full of great info on how to alter patterns to fit. The basic premise is that you “tissue fit” the pattern, meaning making alterations in the pattern itself before you begin sewing.

Guide to Fitting

I know that this will be a huge learning curve for me, and I plan to make several practice versions of the dress, a so-called “wearable muslin” until I get it right. For my first attempt, I’m going to use Crossmarks in pink from my Modern Marks line. I figure that if it doesn’t turn out well, I can always throw the fabric back in my stash, right??

Modern Marks Crossmarks Pink

So far I’ve printed out the basic pattern onto paper and taped it together and chosen a size that mostly corresponds to my measurements. I could just dive in and cut out the fabric, but the Fit guide recommends tracing it onto soft tissue paper to adjust. So that will be the next step. I’ll keep you posted in real time and let you know how it goes!

Terrace dress pattern pieces

12 thoughts on “Dress Sewing Journey Part 1

  1. Joanne P. Lattrell says:

    Find a used copy of the Vogue Sewing Book for sewing techniques.
    Fitting the pattern can be challenging, have a friend help you to custom fit your pattern.

    I started sewing clothing patterns at 10, and quilts in my thirties. Sixty years laters I still find joy in creating.
    Have fun!

  2. Hedy says:

    I made my first garment when I was 11 years old. My neighbor lady from Tennessee made all her girls dresses and helped me make a skirt out of pillowcase fabric. I suggest you lay your pattern next to a dress you own now. Your cotton will not stretch at all like many if the polyester blends on the market. Good luck with sewing.

  3. Cynthia Marquez says:

    I grew up wanting to sew clothes sooo badly and my mother made me wait until I was 12 to use her sewing machine. I graduated to quilting much later in life. So funny to watch the reverse. You got this!

  4. Joey says:

    Most of the quilter’s I have know that are my age (65+) began with sewing and ventured from there into quilting. I sewed from the 60s thru thru the mid 70s until my great Aunt introduced me to quilting. Since I live in a senior only complex, many people assume since I have a sewing machine that I can fix their clothes. I sadly tell them I only quilt. Enjoy your learning experience. I think the pattern will look very nice on you.

  5. Carolyn Bolt says:

    Good luck! I originally started my sewing journey by learning how to sew clothing. Then my sister introduced me to quilting and a whole new obsession, er, passion was born. 😁

    Previous commenters suggests washing the fabric, sewing a test in muslin, watching seam allowances, etc & I’m nodding emphatically in agreement. You may also want to get a ham for ironing curved seams (if you don’t have one already) – very helpful!

  6. Jann Newman says:

    It’s a pretty roomy dress design, so your first try should be just fine. Don’t forget to wash your fabric first.

  7. Marlyn Anderson says:

    Just remember to use a larger seam allowance (1/2″ – 5/8″). Getting the pattern to fit by adjusting the tissue is a major goal. I highly think you should make a muslin first, (it doesn’t have to be muslin, just a fabric that’s similar in weight to the fabric you’ll be using for the final garment), to make sure your pattern fits you the way you want it. I’ve sewn clothes for myself for more years than I’ve been making quilts. Good Luck!

  8. Jennifer Eggers Rapacki says:

    Instead of tracing on tissue paper, get some Pellon 830 easy pattern cloth (avail at JoAnn’s). The pattern cloth is lightweight, can be sewn for fitting and is inexpensive as well. Let me know if you have other questions as I sewed garment long before I focused on quilting.

  9. QuiltShopGal says:

    Really nice dress design. I think it would look great in your fabrics and I’m already looking forward to seeing how it turns out. I had not seen the Terrace Dress pattern before, but it certainly has caught my attention. Thanks for sharing and inspiring.

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