DIY Dressmaking

DIY DressmakingHave you ever sewn your own clothes before? I’ve knitted a few things, but until I started quilting last year, I hadn’t touched a sewing machine in about a decade. Then, last week, this happened:


That’s my sister, by the way. My first thought (that I didn’t voice), was why she hadn’t asked our Mum to do it, who is a wonderful sewer, and has made many items of clothing over the years (I, on the other hand, have made none!).

The answer? She had. My mother, the veteran sewer, had ruled that there was not enough time. What had I got myself in to?

We went straight to spotlight to get supplies (I was eager to get started A.S.A.P.). We picked lightweight velveteen for the main fabric, and just a standard lining fabric for the lining. All of the fabric, plus the zip, came to around $50 – much cheaper than if you had gone out to buy a dress! The pattern itself cost about $20.

Butterick Pattern Black Dress

By some miracle, the pattern she picked out was “fast and easy”. Well, supposedly, anyway.

It took me about 3/4 of Iron Man 3 to cut out the pattern, pin it to the fabric, and cut out the pieces. Then I had to say a sad goodbye to Robert Downey Jr and head up to the room that was to become my sewing dungeon for the next three days.

Butterick Pattern Black Dress

Butterick Pattern Black Dress

I should add that the first time I looked at the pattern, I was like…

Butterick Pattern



Luckily, Mum was around to interpret, and once I could actually understand what those ridiculously complicated instructions were telling me, I was able to get underway.

Butterick Pattern Black Dress

My first zipper (I had to redo this 3 times! Once it was wonky, once I sewed the zipper shut, and the third time, I realised we’d bought the wrong length by about a foot!). By the way, can you tell that we have a cat??

Butterick Pattern Black Dress

Front and back… Looking a bit like a tent!

Butterick Pattern Black Dress

Then I had to repeat the whole process with the lining!

Butterick Pattern Black Dress

Dress and lining coming together, WITH the correct zip this time!

Butterick Pattern Black Dress

I had to try it on to get the split the right height, seeing as my model had flitted off somewhere! Not bad, huh ;) It was the first time I had been out of my pyjamas all day (shhhh!!). In fact, you can see them on the floor there…

Butterick Pattern Black Dress

The proper model, fitting in the dress somewhat better! All I had left to do at this point was finish the edges and hems.

Butterick Pattern Black Dress

Aaaand finished! I’m kind of like a Fairy God Sister! You go, Cinderella!

So, what did I learn from making my first dress? Well, first I learned how to interpret the stupid complicated pattern. Then, I learned that there is in fact a little ruler on the sewing machine, so you know exactly how much seam allowance you are leaving! Genius! I wish I had noticed that when I was quilting… Finally, don’t make a dress in one weekend, unless you enjoy being a hermit. Lucky for me, I do!

Have any of you sewn your own clothes? Leave a comment below, and include a photo if you have one!!

Tamara <3

20 thoughts on “DIY Dressmaking

  1. saref2901 says:

    I’m a knitter and crocheter but really fancy having a go at a pattern for a dress that came free with a magazine. Yours turned out so well – I should just give it a go!

    • tamyraptor says:

      You definitely should! I’m the furthest thing from an expert, but if you have any questions when you get started, I will try and help!! You know, or just ask my mum ;)

  2. readbwthewines says:

    I really miss sewing, it has been years since I sewed something lovely for myself, and now stick to taking up hems and changing buttons! You did such an amazing job on this dress. It makes me wonder how you find the time to start such awe inspiring projects! Always such an inspirational blog Tamara!

    • tamyraptor says:

      Aww thanks Kat! I’m really glad you enjoy it, I love yours too. You know, I’ve got a bunch of hems I need to fix, and buttons, but I always seem to get distracted before I get to them… Maybe you’re better off! We should catch up for some conversation français one day! :)

      • Anonymous says:

        Quelle bonne idée! Once the busiest of the year is over I will be in touch to organise some convo à la française, that would be lovely!

  3. Anonymous says:

    WOW! Do you sleep? What an amazing project and such a quick outcome! i think I made boxer shorts in sewing in year 7 but don’t remember liking them. Can’t wait to see what you do next. WOW!

    • tamyraptor says:

      Thanks :D I DO sleep, more than almost anyone I know. I find time to do crafty things by cutting out non-essentials… you know, cleaning my house, cooking, showering ;) Got to prioritise!! Thanks for stopping by <3

  4. stitchknit says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog……Drop in anytime!
    I have been sewing since I was in high school….decades & decades ago! Love the process of the design mixed with the fabric and then there is the actual technique. I could spend ALL my time in my studio!

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