First big sewing project

I signed Katy up for a sewing class (two days, 2 1/2 hours each) at JoAnn’s over spring break. However, despite an open house and half-price sale on classes the education director was unable to scrounge up a second kid and had to cancel the class. We’d already bought all the stuff as I figured “how hard can it be” and this could be Katy’s spring break project. What you see is about an hour of sewing and countless hours over four days running to JoAnns for more stuff, making sense of the pattern’s instructions, picking out stictches, starting over again, figuring out how to put a zipper in.

Our biggest problem was an oversight on the pattern. It’s supposed to have a facing inside the neckline but ended up with a hemmed neckline because the cutting instructions said nothing about cutting two pieces for a facing. So that part of the instructions made no sense and we skipped it. Our neighbor, Larissa, who is a seamstress straightened me out on that. It looks OK, though.

So here’s the finished product:


The collar was a real adventure. We had a hard time with those instructions so got our neighbor Terri to come look at it. She read the instructions and said “I’d do this instead” so we did. She suggested stitching along the outside edge to help it hold its shape and suggested Katy used to the thread that matched the top. Then when she realized Katy’s machine does 100 stitches, suggested doing a decorative stitch. So Katy did all that today. Unfortunately we both forgot the collar ties in the front and all the decorative stitching ended up on the back. She can turn the collar around, though, and it looks fine. When she recovers from this she wants to make another collar.

Collar with fancy heart stitching.
Collar with fancy heart stitching.

The pattern called for using bias tape to finish the armholes. Neither of us had any idea how this was going to work out. I found a good video that showed how to do it (the printed instructions weren’t all that helpful). It worked great and the armholes look really nice.

Single-fold bias tape to finish the armholes. I had no idea how this was going to work.
Single-fold bias tape to finish the armholes. I had no idea how this was going to work.

And the zipper. It works and that’s all we’re concerned about.

Zipper. Next time she can tackle a hidden zipper. This time she did well to get it in at all.
Zipper. Next time she can tackle a hidden zipper. This time she did well to get it in at all.

Katy’s well on her way to making her own clothes. We need to find a better quality thread, this eventually started breaking on her. And she’s got to get better about reading the patterns. She isn’t too good with written instructions, anyway, she does better if she’s shown, and the instructions don’t always make sense. Once she learns some basics she ought to be able to just use the pattern and skip the directions for the most part. I’m very proud of her, though. She’s very anxious to wear this to school on Monday.

4 thoughts on “First big sewing project

  1. Katy I am so impressed over the months of getting these letters, with your maturity and your “can do” attitude. Lucky you with devoted parents too who obviously are patient and eager to give you support. At your age I wanted to do it right the FIRST time or not do it at all. I haven’t changed much over the years. Your willingness to hang in there and come up with a solution is commendable! You must be a Teacher’s dream student! Keep on keeping on! And I hope you wore it to school today! It is so cute! Would love to hear the reactions you got when you told everyone you made it yourself!

    1. She did wear it to school today. She said “everyone was like ‘whoa, you made that?'”. I wouldn’t have had the patience, either. I did a week of sewing at a summer fun program once and made a pair of shorts. In high school I took Mrs. Don’s beginning sewing class. It took me all semester to make one shirt. Actually, I may have made a pair of shorts, too. That shirt had buttons and a collar and like to killed me. Mrs. Don was a great teacher, I just didn’t have it in me. Katy inherited the family sewing gene, it skipped right past me. Everyone in my dad’s family can sew.

  2. Your Dad, last week, cut up his favorite “car” shirt. He couldn’t wear it anymore. He made a pillowcase out of it. He put in a zipper by hand. I would have just put the pillow in and sewed it closed. There will be a picture in the next newsletter. I couldn’t get him to pose with the pillow.

  3. Your Grandmother, my mother, could also sew. But she only did it when she had a special project. She did make clothes for me sometimes. She even made dancing recital costumes for Shirley.

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