Ta-Da! Another FIRST dressmaking project complete!
Following on from last week’s dressmaking, AJ’s nightie is now finished. Being 10, she did more of the sewing than her younger sister. I made a mistake with the sleeves, so I had to take over at that point, but apart from them and the neatening, she pretty much did everything else.
It was an interesting experience to see the process through her fresh eyes. A good thing to be asked to explain why. I also realise that I can still hear my needlework teacher’s voice. Reminding me. (I can hear my driving teacher’s voice sometimes too, but only when I’m driving!)
So this is my chicken-wrangling, hoodie-wearing, harp-playing, bookworm, mountaineering daughter, and now she loves dressmaking too. She is very pleased with her first dressmaking success! (And in case I forget in the future, she does regularly borrow this number of books from the library, and read them all. At break-neck speed.)
She has already mastered the sewing machine and iron. This sewing exercise introduced her to pattern preparation and cutting out. I asked her to list the different techniques she had learnt. She said that I could share them here:
Before you cut:
1. It takes longer to copy and prepare the paper pattern than she thought, but she can see that it’s necessary if she wants to re-use the pattern. Remember to iron the paper pattern as well as the fabric before pinning.
2. Take note of the grain line on the paper pattern. Make sure it lines up with the grain of the fabric, by using a tape measure to line it up with either a selvedge, or another grain line that’s been lined up with the selvedge.
3. Take note of all the markings on the pattern, such as “cut on fold” and cut interfacing (she “oohed” at the iron-on interfacing.)
4. She liked doing the tailor tacks for transferring “lining-up” marks from the pattern to the fabric.
5. When you pin, pin outwards to stop the fabric puckering into the middle, and pin at right-angles to the edge of the fabric.
6. When cutting out, don’t move the fabric and pattern on the table. Move yourself around the table instead, so you can comfortably use the scissors.
7. When cutting, rest the lower blade of the scissors on the table. When you cut the fabric, it should make a deep grinding sound! Gives a better cut than trying to do it mid-air.
8. Where possible, use the whole length of the scissor blade to cut out your pieces, not lots of short cuts, which makes for a jaggered edge. Conversely, line the tip of scissors up with corners, so you don’t risk overcutting, when you cut into them.
9. What is a selvedge. When to cut off and when to keep.
10. The triangular notches are cut outwards, otherwise the cut point could end up too near the stitches. You don’t have to cut the two peaks out for a double notch.
This is not a finite list. So much more I could add. When I think about it I could fill several posts on just this subject, but these are AJ’s learning points.
AJ is keen to do more dressmaking. The next pattern and fabric have already been picked out. There was a small bundle of trimming left over, but I have my eye on those for yet another project. Not the dinosaur fabric! That’s for my youngest, whose not quite old enough to reach the sewing machine pedal yet!
Details: pattern McCalls M6227
Fabric: brushed cotton
Just a side note: one of the reasons that I like to make clothes for the children is, that sometimes it is quicker to sew than search the shops for something suitable for my children to wear. Especially where my girls are concerned. There is an interesting discussion going on over at Se7en (here). Obviously a world-wide problem judging by the comments.