This Amy Butler pattern is so nice because it includes instructions for a simple sew and go, and instructions for a more professional finish. I'm going to "professional route" because I have a whole month. Some of the steps make no sense to me and I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that at the end the dress still looks normal. Some of the steps have changed MY LIFE!!!
Here's a great example. The first instruction given in the pattern was to serge or zig zag stitch the edges. Since I don't have a serger I usually poo poo all steps--and altogether sewing projects--that call for one. Big mistake. Duh! Any sewing machine can act line a serger to create perfectly anti-ravelly edges. I'm so freakin' proud to know this.
To do it, just set your sewing machine dial to "Big Fat Zig Zag". Then you'll feed the fabric through so that the edge of the fabric isn't caught by the needle. Here's a sometimes blurry visual:
I also learned about understitching, which helps keep the lining in place so it doesn't creep on over to the "right" side of the garment like the lining in so many of my previous sewing projects tended to do. Why am I learning this all now? All on this one simple dress? I swear Amy Butler is a goddess, or I'm just finally paying attention.
In high contrast to the advanced sewing techniques shared above, I also wanted to share some probably very obvious things this very novice sewer has also learned. Here's a list of list of Obvious Must-Haves:
1) A fan. Don't sew in the heat or it's easy to go from nice dress girl to hot mess in about half a pattern instruction.
2) Handy Scissors. I may tie some around my neck. Seriously. Imagine, if you will, pinning the lining to the actual dress with both my hands, my right leg stretched with my big toe keeping tabs on a fugitive piece of pattern pattern (thanks to the above fan, still worth it) and then needing to snip some random part of the seam allowance. This only allows for my left foot to reach for the scissors still on the other half of the room. Ain't gonna happen. Keep your scissors handy.
3) Pin cushion wristlet. Imagine the above scenario but now with a mouth full of shiny new straight pins. Get it?
4) Speaking of...you'll need Straight Pins. Seems so obvious, but those of us who are more, um, frugal, may try to get by with leftover safety pins. Don't do it. I tried. Don't believe me....? From an old blog post:
So I'm going to try to follow these tips and stay totally super stylish...Twelve dresses? Who cares. Scissors necklace and pin cushion bracelet!? Say WHAT?!!!