Saturday, August 14, 2010

First Mod Dress- Simplicity 9236

The dress featured in this blog was made from the above pattern. I did shorten the length.


I sewed my first item about a month ago. I picked this 1970 mod dress pattern, because it was a "how to sew" pattern. Somehow this sounded less intimidating. It wasn't.

Each step was pain-staking. It took me about an hour to get up the courage to cut the pattern once I'd laid it out on the fabric. What if I cut it wrong? Then there would be no going back--what if I had to go back to the fabric store again? That was scary enough the first time!

Yes, even the planning stages were tense. I needlessly mulled over my fabric choice, terrified that I'd somehow pick the "wrong" one, resulting in a completely unwearable dress. I paced around the fabric store, while my husband kept wondering if he should go wait in the car. It felt like hours to him, but it felt like days to me. Finally, I "settled" on a fabric. I was so apprehensive at the time-- I don't even recall the type of fabric I picked. I only know that it wasn't a knit. I only know that, because it raveled and raveled and raveled...

As I followed the pattern I would encounter word after word that I did not know. Sure, I'd read several books, but who could absorb all that? I could only cram so much new terminology into my brain without melting into a pile of "I-give-up."
WTF is stay-stitching? Huh? Hadn't seen that one. Looked it up. Okay, this isn't so bad...

And then the zipper. So scary but surprisingly not so hard. I let out a sigh of relief. My confidence was up. My confidence was premature.
Every time I got a little confident, there it would be. It would stare me in the face. It was confusion. It was re-reading that pattern over and over again, trying to make sense of the sparse directions. It was ripping out stitches. It was not once, not twice, but three times a seam ripping.

Why did I try to learn this? I couldn't do it... I just didn't have the "natural" talent. But wait-- clearly no one could learn this without a teacher? It wasn't MY fault! Rip--Rip--Rip!

And then there was the dreaded facings. I didn't know their purpose, let alone know how to install them. And what did they mean to sew the right side to the right side and then turn the facing inside and what the heck was slip-stitching and...??????

I have no idea how I continued... I was ready to melt into a pool of pity, while my husband retreated to the other room, playing Sid Meier's Civilization. While he tried to rule the world, I tried to rule the dress. That terrible, monstrous, RAVELING dress!

And what would happen if I actually sewed this thing? Would it even hold together? What with all the raveling and those darts--they were already coming loose at the seams!

And at some point it must have happened. Acceptance. Tolerance. Perseverance over perfection. This dress was not going to turn out perfect. No matter how type-A I was, I could not do this perfect the first-time. And I was going bat-shit crazy in the process.

That's when the lumpy hem was okay. That's when the armhole facing that wouldn't stay inside the dress didn't seem like such a world crisis. That's when I finally completed the dress and thought: "hey, it may not be Mary Quant, but it's mine."


  1. I loooove this!

    And I'm loving your new blog. I started mine months ago, but I might have gotten a little lazy with the posting. (I'm restarting it soon, not that that matters).

    ANYWAY, these dresses are adorable! I'm really looking forward to seeing more, as one of your first subscribers :)

  2. This is such a gorgeous dress! Just found you via Sew Retro. I'm new-ish to sewing too - started over new year. Looks like you're doing very well.

  3. @Miranda: Thanks for subscribing and for the compliment! I think it's fun to not only share the results of projects but to share in trials and tribulations. So, I hope to continue to share both my successes and my many battles with the seam ripper. ; - )

    @Tilly: Thank you for the compliment. It's fun to meet other newbies and exchange battle scars.