Do seamstresses dream of electric sewing machines? September Dress #1

I’ve caught a bug and I don’t want to shake it. The more I sew, the more I want to sew, and the better I get. I’ve started carrying around a little booklet with me of sketches for dresses that I want to create. A week ago, I bought some stretch cotton in navy and in teal as well as a cotton-poly blend in magenta.

Here is what I am thinking of creating with the magenta material.

I have a million plans and I can’t create fast enough. I dream of sewing.

I’ve decided to start designing my own creations. To be honest, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I used to sketch when I was younger and some of those sketches ended up being sewn by my mother. They never quite worked out like I envisioned, though. When I’ve designed pieces in the past 7 years since learning how to sew, they’ve turned out how I’ve wanted.

This is what I created for Halloween 2008 shortly before meeting my wonderful and fabulous boyfriend (did I mention he is amazing?) for the first time in person on Halloween weekend that year in Toronto. This is a picture right after I did my first burlesque group routine in St. John’s, Newfoundland. I’m all rosy cheeked from the performance high.

Little Red Riding the Wolf is what I called this first costume. I did not sew the corset or the black top underneath the corset, but the little hood, the ears, the claw gloves, the skirt, and little grey fleece shorts with a wolf tail (not shown) were all sewn by me. It was actually the very first thing I sewed. I didn’t use a pattern. I designed it myself using some clothes as templates for the fit, such as using existing gloves to get the right fit for the claw gloves.

This is a picture from Halloween 2012. It’s Harley Quinn of DC Comics. I love her character. I realize I also have a thing for red/black.
The Harley Quinn costume is a concept borrowed from various versions of her costumes. It’s a little bit Arkham City and little bit original Harley. I designed it for function and for warmth, because I am always cold at Halloween and bemoan my choices to wear short skirts. There are three pieces to the costume: top, hoodie, and pants. I used existing clothes as templates for most, but added elements, like the hood, the pockets, and the harlequins, as well as figuring out the red/black combo throughout the piece.
I feel different when I create a piece of clothing without a pattern versus creating it with a pattern. I guess because when I get a concept in my mind, I know far better than the pattern how that concept would fit on my body. I like patterns and learning how to alter them to fit my bust was a lot of fun for the wearable muslin I made this past weekend (still to be blogged about), but they aren’t made for my body and the design doesn’t have me in mind. Instead, it has a generic body that is an imagined concept. I know very few people who can create a garment from a pattern and have it fit perfectly without alteration. Just like something off the rack doesn’t always fit like a glove. When I create a piece of clothing without a pattern, I know I am creating for my body.
Both of those costumes I felt amazing in and I wanted to wear everyday of my life. Just like this dress:
I created this on September 8th using an existing piece of clothing. I only used it for the bodice size/shape. The material is a lightweight jersey in hunter green and a medium-weight jersey in black.  I added length to the sleeves and made sure they were fitted. I added the black panel and the circle skirt. I used the overlock stretch stitch for my machine and it worked perfectly. It took me two hours in total to make this and I love it. The only thing that I will change for the next time is to add another panel on the inside in the center with the black material to give that area a little more structure to hold in my gut (love my gut, but jersey stretches out as the day goes on). I basically want to make 20 more of these dresses in every possible colour. I didn’t make a pattern for it. I’ll continue using the dress itself as the template to cut another. Saves paper!
This project was ridiculously satisfying to complete. Not only was it incredibly easy and quick, but it looks great on me and feels like wearing pajamas. It is also my first fall dress and the first dress of September! I am a little bit of an overachiever and, when I make a goal to sew one dress per month, I tend to try to exceed that goal.
The next dress I work on is my Star Trek print dress. I will post about the wearable muslin I finished up this past weekend.


2 thoughts on “Do seamstresses dream of electric sewing machines? September Dress #1

  1. That sketch will definitely become a dress! 😀 I will probably start it in November, though. Fall is a busy, busy time.

    I love your skater dress with the circle skirt. I really like how you pieced together the fabric. It's really awesome!

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