Lessons From That Orange Dress

Hey there, I’m back!

I was busy with what I thought was a quick project over the weekend and it turned out to be soooo tedious and complicated that I wasn’t able to post it sooner. But finally, I’m done and I can’t wait to share with you my first REAL DRESS! Okay, I say REAL because the very first one I made was so easy: no sleeves, no zippers, no buttons, no collar, so it didn’t count. But I’ll talk about that in another post.

Anyway, I bought my first (I love firsts!) dress pattern over at BurdaStyle. It’s a simple cap sleeve shift dress (though I omitted the sleeves) for the novice sewer like me. I picked up this nice oh-so-orange cotton linen fabric from the store. Just 1 yard of fabric was all I needed for my size. Wrong.

Lesson #1: Always buy a little bit more than what you need.Orange is not my favorite, mind you, but I don’t own anything in this color so I chose it just for fun. Besides, the weather has been overcast and rather dreary lately and this color just seems to make me happier these days. I printed the downloadable pattern, cut the fabric, then I was all set. This was going to be easy.

First thing to do was to install an invisible zipper to join the 2 back pieces. I had earlier bought an invisible zipper attachment for this job. Oh boy. I was so nervous to do this, I think it took me a whole hour!I had to make sure it was aligned and straight and that the zipper was facing the right way. It was so tricky, I had to keep looking back in this how to sew an invisible zipper tutorial which saved my day.

Lesson #2: Equip yourself with the How To’s before you start.

So finally, my first zipper! I was so excited I had to wake my hubby in the middle of the night to show him.See? Nice and straight.Success! Now it’s time to stitch the lining to the main fabric, starting with the shoulders and armholes. Piece of cake.By the time I was done, my eyes hurt of too much orange! So I decided to go out and buy a neutral color fabric of the same kind and mix it up to ease the eye sore. I got just half a yard of this nice camel shade to contrast the orange.

Lesson #3: Visualize and plan your project ahead.

I love pockets on dresses, so I decided to add them (included in the pattern) using the camel color fabric. Then I realized I was out of fabric!

Lesson #4: Repeat Lesson #1.

Good thing I always save my scraps and was able to put together enough to make the pocket shapes (but I’m not showing you, okay). It seemed like it took me the whole day to get to this point, believe me. Here’s the result:Ok, fine. You should see the other side. It can pass for a quilt… haha! But it’s not that bad, right? By this time, the sun had set and risen on me 2 times and I was totally exhausted. Whoever said this pattern was for a novice was so wrong. Or maybe I’m just so clueless about making a dress. It’s not that simple. I had to make so many decisions along the way because the instructions didn’t tell me much what to do. I even had to take out an old shift dress and see how it was done. But I was so determined to do this, and really make it nice. Okay, okay, I admit a lot of the complication was my own doing, but never mind. Haha!

Lesson #5: Do not believe it when they say it’s for a novice IF you’re a novice.

Time for the facings… the what? And the fusible! I had never heard of these words until now. I had to do my research on what these were and how to apply them. Good thing a friend of mine gave me this book just a few days ago and it gave me the answers I needed.After gaining some knowledge on the matter, I decided to use my camel color fabric for the facings for added contrast, and added complication to my already complicated life.

Lesson #6: Repeat Lesson #2 or have a how-to book on-hand.

When I tried on the dress, it seemed like I had on a sack! I had to take in a little bit here and there by way of darts on the front neck and back. Man, what have I done?? I wanted to cry to my best friend, the seam ripper. I then realized that the pattern (I chose the smallest) was too big for me in the first place! Then it’s 2AM again….

Lesson #7: Measure yourself against the pattern. (hello!)

Then just when I thought I was finally done…Can someone just shoot me? Seam ripper, save me please! But really, that bit wasn’t too hard. I redid the edge of the facing and folded in what was sticking out and sealed the deal.

I am learning so much! And this project has just made me love sewing even more. I can’t wait to do the next. But for now, this one is DONE and I am happy with it. Whew!

Lesson #8: Never give up. Complete your project!

Get out of the way, Bruce!

Lesson #9: Enjoy!

Lesson #10: Never buy orange. Ever.

Hmmm…. one of these days, I’m gonna paint that old door red. Just you wait.

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10 thoughts on “Lessons From That Orange Dress

  1. Pingback: Easy Green Garden Shorts |

  2. Pingback: My Fabric Labels! |

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