I finished sewing up my first dress tonight! I am so very excited that this project turned out well. This is the perfect pattern for a newbie who just wants to get their feet wet with garment sewing!

I picked the pattern from the book Chic & Simple Sewing by Christine Haynes. I’ve had the book for awhile and made only one skirt in it. After a couple of bad a-line skirt experiences (completely unrelated to this book), I’ve avoided garment-making. But I’ve been taking part in a sewing chat on G+ with some of my lovely Twitter friends, and they are cheerleaders for garment sewing. So when I had a few days off this week, I decided to try again. This dress requires just yardage and elastic — so no zippers, no pleats or darts. It’s called The Indian Summer Dress:

I picked some fabric from my stash for this — I have a ton of Jennifer Paganelli yardage, which I love (and it appears in my Lobster Claw mini quilt), though I wasn’t sure how it would look in a dress. Turns out it works! Still, I was treating this as my “muslin” run, a trial to make sure the measurements fit my body correctly before making another.

I would recommend a couple adjustments: 1) It’s worth sewing down the elastic casing around the waist, though the pattern doesn’t call for it. 2) The straps are 4 inches from each side seam – I need an extra half inch to avoid cutting into my armpit. I bought an Essex linen-cotton blend today to make Indian Summer Dress #2, and I’m going to add a cotton floral print for accents the second time around on the straps & a sash.

I highly recommend this pattern and the book! I’m going to make a shift dress next from it and will report back with results.

~ Kristina