Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A first project - Sewing a dress with my niece.

My one and only niece came to stay with me in the school holidays. Since I've been sewing so much of late, I suggested I teach her to sew. She wears a lot of knit T-shirt dresses, and since I've been meaning to sew the Rivage Raglan from Blank Slate Patterns, I suggested it to her. The pattern is classed as an intermediate, but it is a straight forward sew with very little in the way of fiddly-bits. Most of all it was a style that she liked, and with Grandma to stay as well, someone with many years sewing experience, albeit not a lot lately (she's taken to knitting and crocheting) we took the plunge.

First up was a trip to the fabric stores in town. It took a lot of umming and ahhing to find the right combination. Blue and white stripes for the bodice and a bright orange for the sleeves. When Sprog and Widget went to bed that night we started tracing the patter while the fabric was being washed. Once the pattern was ready I introduced Niece to the sewing machine. Starting with threading the machine and inserting the bobbin. She sewed one piece of fabric first, then followed patterns on a scrap, before starting to put two pieces together.

Most of our sewing was done while little boys were sleeping either in Widget's nap times, or after both boys were asleep in the evening. The second night we cut the fabric. Niece did half or more of every piece of the dress. I would show her what to do with the piece from one side and she would do the second. 


Grandma's experience came in handy when we were fitting the bodice. To get the right fit we angled  in a little from the midpoint of each of the shoulder seams narrowing them so they would be about 2cm narrower at the neckline. Both Niece and I prefer a smaller neckline. 

Niece finished the dress just in time to wear it home. The sleeves were left unhemmed, out of choice, and the dress length was turned over and hand basted to allow plenty of additional length should she have a growth spurt. 

Niece and Grandma will be continuing the sewing in their home town. Yay! A convert!