Monday, June 6, 2016

Even more adventures in garment sewing

Thanks for all the encouraging comments last week! They were just the kick in the pants I needed! I spent the weekend, well the free time at least, working on my first Geranium dress. If you haven't heard of the Geranium dress, it's a super adorable little girls' dress or top pattern by the indomitable Rae Hoekstra (a.k.a. Made by Rae), and it's a garment pattern that I've heard from some friends was not entirely scary, so I decided to go for it, after my successful attempt at knits.

I will say this - I tend to bite off more than I can chew, so to start with, I truly considered making four of them. At once. Then the rational side of me took over and I decided to try one first, sew it all the way through, before cutting into the other pretty, pretty fabrics I gathered for my Geranium possibilities pile. I narrowed it down to a gorgeous Eastham by Denyse Schmidt print, and got to pressing and cutting.

Everything was going well with the cutting and such until I got to the actual sewing and realized that while I thought "View A" in the pattern was the cuter of the options (though both are adorable), it was also the more challenging one, for me, because it required gathering, which I am absolutely dreadful at. I always pull the threads so hard that I break them. And unsurprisingly, I did just that in this project, but kept on trucking and gathered the best I could.

Aside from the gathering, I didn't really struggle much. I fully expected to struggle. A lot. With the whole three dimensional-ness of garment sewing, I expected that I'd have a hard time understanding what to do and where, but the instructions are written quite well, very clear and concise at the same time, so it was really a breeze.

The dress still needs buttons or snaps - I haven't decided which yet, in part because I've never installed either, but also because the mom in me thinks the snaps are more practical and I don't have any so it requires a trip to Jo-Ann's - but other than that, it's totally done. All hemmed and everything. And it's super cute!

And it even fits her! Look how darned adorable she is in it!

So, I think the chances that I'll make another (or twelve!) are mighty good. This pattern was definitely a good one for a complete garment novice like myself, so if you're on the fence about trying your hand at garment sewing, go for it. It's not as scary as I thought it would be. Need some proof? I even bought a few adult garment patterns, like the Scout Tee and the Bianca top/dress. And I might actually use them! Have a fantastic week everyone :)


  1. It turned out sooooo cute!! Congrats!! I have a tip for you when you are gathering -- use two rows of very long stitches. It doesn't take that long....and if you break still have the other one.

  2. As far as snaps go, I would recommend getting a Snap Setter, rather than the crap that Dritz has. JoAnn's won't have it but your LQS might or you can order online. The SS make snaps a lot easier and a little more stupid proof. I think their website is

  3. This turned out really pretty. Great fabric choice and workmanship!

  4. Very cute dress (and your daughter looks adorable in it).

    There is an historical costuming blog I read and she had a great tip for doing gathers here (sorry for ugly link) -

  5. Bravo! Great job. Two lines spaced 1/4 " apart using a LOOOONG stitch, make for easy gathering. I like to knot off one side so that I won't break it, and gather gently across. Works every time.

  6. Terrific job. As someone who started sewing doll clothes, then garments (I even made my wedding gown), and came to quilting late, it's nice to see moms making cute clothes for their children. Another suggestion for gathering that I like to use is to wide zigzag over thick thread (or gimp), then use that thread to pull your gathers along. Once sewn in place, you can snip the zigzag and remove the gimp. Looking forward to seeing other cute dresses made by you. :)

  7. oh she's just delicious! Google "dental floss gathering method." It is one million times easier than the rows of basting stitches.

  8. This dress is definitely worth a TA DAH, Elizabeth! I agree with all the tips above--and you might try using buttonhole twist thread, adjusting your top tension, and remember that gathers are very forgiving :)

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. This is soooo cute. Your little sweetums looks adorable. I loved making dresses for my two girls back when they were teeny tiny and bigger too haha
    Now I am going to make some dresses for my first grandbaby Sarah.
    I agree with the above tips on snaps. Dritz snap things are a pain in the butt. Snap tape is the best. When they get bigger you can use just cool big snaps and incorporate a cool button!
    Also double your basting, double your gathering.... sorry I just had to say that. Did you ever discover Happy Slip?

  11. You did a great job!! And everyone has given you awesome tips so i won't repeat them. I used to make clothing a LOT. Then fell away from that and started on to quilting. Then just a couple weeks ago I decided to make a dress for my grandbaby and I really enjoyed the process again.

  12. You did a fantastic job. It looks adorable and the color looks great on her. It's funny, I started many years ago doing all garment sewing and only started quilting a few years ago because I found it intimidating!

  13. Very cute both baby and dress. If you are talking about decorative snaps I had never used them before this year either. There is a great online source called The Snap Source. I was making baby bibs. I bought their snaps, hammer, marble...everything. the instructions were great and it was so easy. I was so excited it bought a lot more colors.

    You can also use velcro.


Thank you for leaving a comment for me! I appreciate each and every one of them and try to respond when time allows. Your comments totally brighten my day :)

Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a mood teen boy and a chatty six-year-old girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
The Epic Sampler BOM Club kicks off Oct 1st
Copyright 2010 by Elizabeth Dackson. Powered by Blogger.

Search This Blog



 photo Icicle-Star_zps7f032133.gif  photo Boxed-In2_zps800ae9da.gif EasyPeasyFauxZigZag StringHeartBlock StarCrossed CrossMAze CathedralStar RainbowRing DoubleFlip PatchworkWheel FriendshipOctogon FlyingGeese HST Weathervane MarinersStar StackedScrappyBlock ScrappyAngles HolidayPresentBlock DivideandConquer CharlestonFarmhouse ModernHalves ModCircuitry ModNine Kaleido SlicedCoins Kaleido BellaCrossing SweetGirlie MiniBookshelf ClamshellLoop DoubleHourglass BaptistFan TetrisMug StringDiamond ScraptasticTote OffsetDiamonds MunchkinSoftBook PatchworkBathMat