I think that we all have excuses for why we don't sew for ourselves.... we are too busy, we like sewing for kiddos, there aren't any good womens patterns...... and the kicker, nothing fits me right. We are already seeing that there are quite a few AMAZING women's pattern available, and more coming out every day. And yes, we are all busy, but sewing for yourself doesn't have to be complicated or time consuming (as we saw with the Quick Dress and many other patterns in this series).
So we get to the crux - 'nothing fits ME right'. Raise your hand if you have ever made something and looked in the mirror and wanted to cry - MY hand is straight up in the air, is yours??? But what we want you to remember is to not give up. The key in women's sewing is learning your own body and the modifications that you need to get a perfect fit every time. It takes some time, it takes some fabric, and it takes the strength to not give up(and maybe the help of a friend who reminds you how gorgeous you are!) - but I promise it is worth it!!! Here's JaNette to tell you about her very first steps on her self care sewing journey.
So, I'm on a mission. A mission to push myself this year in many areas of my life. One in particular, sewing for myself. I have never, ever, ever made myself something. Sure, I have clothed most of my friend's children and my own. But never myself. This was definitely an EYE OPENER. I realized that even though I make my living sewing children's clothes, I don't know the first thing about sewing for myself. Not only that, I didn't know what I didn't know until I had gotten started. Despite my insecurities and lack of experience, I decided to dive right in and I chose The Carolina Mae to be my trusty guide through my first ever self care sewing project. I chose this pattern because I had previously made the girl's version of this dress, the Gabriella Fae. I knew I would need some extra handholding this time and that sewing Carolina Mae meant Carla would be holding my hand all the way.
I measured myself (a million times...it is so hard to try to measure yourself, so take a tip from me, have a friend help). Since I have a small frame, but a bigger bust, I knew getting the right fit for me would be a big challenge and I was afraid to fail, but the pattern includes lots of help getting a good fit, a complete measurement chart and adjustments for cup size. I printed the sizes off and made a muslin of the bodice which appeared to fit. I jumped in and sewed the dress with sleeves and viola! IT DIDN'T FIT! Too big and too little all at once. The waistband completely disappeared under some "parts" and the shoulders fell down with the weight of the sleeves attached. The skirt was enormous and not flattering. Mr. Merri kept his mouth shut (what a wonderful husband he is) but he did raise an eyebrow. Right there, I learned one of the hard lessons about sewing for myself. When the pattern suggests you make a muslin, it really means a FULL muslin, including the zipper, the full skirt and the sleeves. It's not like a kid's garment where you can whip up a bodice muslin and then know it's OK to fly. Lesson learned.
After my first attempt failed, I was feeling a little disheartened, but I strengthened my resolve and decided I WOULD CONQUER THIS DRESS. So, I measured again thinking maybe I did it wrong the first dozen times. I printed off the next size up and started becoming friends with my seam ripper. I had a small amount of fabric left over, so I recut the bodice. I did think I would be able to use the sleeves on the previous bodice, but I quickly realized I didn't have time to pull those off. SO. MUCH. SEAM. RIPPING. So, I didn't add the sleeves but the bodice is cut on the line for sleeves; if the straps look wider than others, that's the reason. I also doubled the width of the waistband since the first one was lost on my body. Even though I was struggling though through the process, I was determined to have a wearable dress.
Then I went to Becca and said "HELP". She pinned and pinned and pinned some more. I went home and seam ripped some more. I sewed that darn zipper so many times to get it just perfect that I dreamt about it that night. The extra width I had added on the waistband ended up being cut back down considerably and was just a smidge wider than the pattern suggested. I now have a wearable dress just for me! That's right, I DID IT! I didn't do it alone though; I had the help of an awesome pattern, a great sewing friend, and my supportive husband.
So it's not perfect by any means, but it's a start to my own Self Care Sewing, and I love it. Next time, I'll know better what my body needs, and there will be a NEXT TIME!!!