Welcome to the multi-media extravaganza that is the doodle dress sew along!
Okay, I am kidding. There will be some pics and video but I guess we won’t call it an extravaganza exactly. If you are just joining me, this is the start of a series in which I will be sewing a dress for my daughter using Butterick Pattern 3350. I’ll be doing view G and I’ll be doing it without the trim but feel free to choose whichever you would like if you are sewing along!
My daughter has this dress that was handed down to her and she has worn it into the ground. It now has a rip at the seam where the skirt meets the bodice and it’s getting to the point where it is going to be too small for her. It is a very simple style – no frills – and that’s the way she likes it, so I am choosing to do this pattern which, without the trims and tie ribbons, is basically this same dress style. Here is the old dress:
This is our preparation post. Preparation is VERY important in this type of project. Many of my small projects are more about the creativity and inspiration. The “what would happen if I did this?” mentality. Not this one. This is about following instructions, practicing the actual skill of sewing, and hopefully having a dress that my daughter will want to wear when all is said and done.
If this is your first dress from a pattern, do not be intimidated by the volume of information in front of you on the pattern package and the pattern itself. It looks like a lot but here is the secret:
Everything you need to know about the dress you are going to sew is there for you AND everything you DON’T need to know about the dress someone else is going to sew is ALSO there for you.
Once you choose the view you’ll be sewing (see step one below) you can narrow down a good deal of the information in that package to just the things you need. For instance, I am doing view G and I only needed to use four of the pattern pieces provided. Once you get those cut and the rest out of the way, the project doesn’t look nearly as daunting!
So let’s prepare, shall we? Make sure you have all your basic sewing supplies such as:
- Fabric scissors and rotary cutter
- Sewing machine, needle, thread,
- Iron and Ironing board (or some ironing surface)
- Whatever notions your view calls for (you can check out the video to find out how to figure that out below if you’re not sure about that).
- Cutting mat
- Measuring tape
- Your fabric (again, check out the video if you are not sure how much or what kind of fabric to use).
Now onto our action items for the week:
- Choose the view you would like to sew. “View” means basically the version. You have eight to choose from on the front of the package. It has been suggested to me that if you are new to this, you may want to stick with one of the views that does not use the sweetheart neckline.
- Choose the appropriate size. Measure your little one and use the sizing chart in the instructions. My daughter is four years old and for both this pattern and the last one I did for her (you can read about that HERE) she measures about a size 2! My sister-in-law wisely suggested that I use the size 4 measurements and that worked well, so that is what I will do this time. I want it to be a little loose and provide some room for her to grow into it.
- Pick your fabric. I am using left-over fabric from another project. When I purchased the fabric for that project, my daughter loved it, and asked for a dress from it, so I bought a lot more than I needed knowing (or hoping) I would eventually get around to doing another dress for her. The amount of fabric you need will be listed on the package according to the size you have chosen. You can’t go wrong with a basic lightweight cotton fabric for this project. The package will tell you what types of fabrics are best. If you go to a fabric store or even a Walmart, there will be plenty of options for you to choose from.
- Wash, dry, and iron your fabric. DO NOT skip these steps.
- Cut out your pattern pieces according to your chosen size. Newbie tip: Do not use your fabric scissors to cut out the paper pattern pieces! Just don’t. You cut along the solid lines for all sizes and then you will get to a part where there are different sized dotted lines labeled by size. Cut along the dotted lines that correspond to the size you chose. If you’re new to this, just take your time and make sure you understand the instructions before you cut. See the below video and pictures for some newbie pointers.
Fair warning: If you are experienced with sewing patterns – you DO NOT need to watch the video. It’s just goes through the very basics of where to find certain information on the pattern and how to get started and if you already have sewn with a pattern in your life, you probably don’t need it. It is specifically for those people who are in the shoes I was in a few months back and need some help getting off the ground and starting the project.
Okay, this is where the fun begins. Get your pattern pieces cut and I’ll meet you back here next week to start assembling! I can hardly wait, can you?!
Ready to move on? Head on over to POST 2 to start cutting fabric and sewing the bodice!
Are you experienced with using sewing patterns? What advice do you have for the newbies out there reading this? Are you a newbie or someone who would like to learn? What looks like the most challenging task to you?