I learned several things about sewing as I was making this dress. As we go along with the pictures, I'll tell you what I learned.
Yeah, I know this isn't the prettiest fabric in the world, but it was cheap, and I didn't want to practice on something expensive. I figured if this one went well, I could move on to more expensive fabric. For this project, I needed a pillowcase, ribbon, and elastic. First lesson I learned: bring your project sheet with you, so you get the correct sizes and lengths!
I cut the closed end of the pillowcase off and cut out the sleeves. Second lesson learned: fold the fabric in half so that the sides match! You can see that one sleeve is a little deeper than the other. At least my cuts are neat.
To make the seams neater, I pressed 3/4 of an inch down on the top. Third lesson I learned: the iron is your friend in sewing. Your very, very bestest friend if you want it to look neat and semi-professional.
This is where lesson #1 (bring your project sheet with you) came into play. I bought 3/4-inch elastic for the neck, but need 1/2-inch. I had to cut the elastic, and it was very difficult. However, I also learned lesson #4--how to gather material. Let me tell you--this was fun. IT was like putting a puzzle together, and I love puzzles! All I had to do was fasten a large safety pin to one end push it through to the other. It gathers itself! I stitched both ends to keep the elastic secure.
Working on the sleeves was difficult. It's not very easy to iron or stitch on a curve. Straight lines are much friendlier.
More repercussions from lesson #1: my ribbon was too short and the sleeves ended up being too tight on Cathryn. Luckily, ribbon is cheap and it's no problem to just buy more.
This isn't a good picture of the whole dress. It's a lot cuter in person, and Cathryn was thrilled with it. I was surprised at how much more difficult it was to make a dress than making a purse, even a simple dress like this one. I realized, as I was making it, that it would have been simpler to buy actual fabric yardage, cut two pieces (the front and the back) and work on the sleeves before simply sewing the side seams up. Oh well, it was a valuable learning experience. And with sewing, you definitely have to learn by doing.