progress in sewing land


This dress represents many leaps forward in my student's sewing ability. This dress, like all of the others made during our lessons was designed by my student. The bodice is made out of a cotton jersey. Because it was so thin, she used two layers in the bodice. I was afraid that one layer of jersey wouldn't be strong enough to support the skirt. She wanted a modified racer back . We measured my student and used those measurements to draft the bodice directly onto the jersey with a piece of sidewalk chalk. My student suggested that we keep her measurements so we could keep using them over and over. Since my student is 12 and is rapidly growing, I didn't think that it made that much sense to keep the measurements long term.

My student has purchased a knit bundle from http://www.fabricmartfabrics.com/ and fell in love with the poly jersey knit which makes up the skirt of the dress. My student sewed a tube out of a selvedge to selvedge strip of the poly jersey. My student wanted the gathers placed in a particular way. We first pinned the skirt to the bodice but found the results unflattering. We made a second attempt and then I basted the skirt to the bodice while my student was wearing the dress. She quipped " Oh, I'm your dressmaking dummy."

After basting the skirt and bodice together, my student sewed the two together on the machine. That was all done last week. This week my student covered the raw edge of the skirt/bodice join with a strip of the bodice material and edged the neck and arm holes. It's so nice to see her ease at the machine and how the quality of her sewing has so improved over time.

I think that the natural inclination of sewing teachers is to not allow students to progress until they get the basics just right. I have allowed my student to attempt any project that interests her. She has been ready both to be imperfect while she improves her skills. It is so nice to see how tasks that were really difficult several weeks ago, now are fairly easy for her. The quality of her workmanship continues to improve.

My student is hemming the dress on her own. I made a tutorial for her in fabric showing the stages of making a hem. She is already planning her next dress.

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