Sewing for others

Today I’m writing about sewing for other people – I don’t mean in a professional capacity; I mean sewing for friends and family.

I have previously made a couple of Thread Theory Fairfield Shirts for Simon and have reviewed the pattern here.

I took it as a good sign that as soon as I made one, he asked for another and there is a black linen version that I need to make instead of looking at the fabric in my stash!

While I doubt very much that I would enjoy making clothes for other people all the time (this is *my* hobby after all and most of the satisfaction comes from making clothes that fit *me* perfectly), I can see myself making a few more pieces for people in the future knowing that they are for people who value not only the time and effort that is involved but also the fit of handmade clothing. Simon isn’t exactly fussy about clothing but he had to admit that there’s a difference between buying a shirt and having one made for him.

Recently, I agreed to make a dress for a friend (full disclosure, she bribed me). I’m not going to lie; knowing the work it can be to get the fit right for myself, I was worried. When you’re making a dress for yourself you have the advantage of your own body being available at every turn. In fact, I’ve been known to go through an entire sewing session in my lingerie knowing I’ll have the garment in progress on and off a hundred times. You don’t have this advantage when you are sewing for other people. So, how did I do it?

First things first, I met up with Kara and took her measurements. She picked her pattern – the Deer and Doe Reglisse dress, without buttons or the tie – and came home and worked off the chart to pick a size, grade and add to seam allowances where applicable when tracing off the pattern pieces. From there I made a toile, using my dressmaking form as a reference. Granted, the form isn’t perfect but it’s a pretty good starting point to get a feel for how the pattern will hang on the body. I used some cotton lawn from a previous project because the fabric Kara had chosen was a cotton lawn from Jenny Stitches. I only made the bodice because the skirt has no fitting issues in this pattern.

From the toile, we realised the sizing was pretty good – even the bust which was my one concern as the pattern is graded for a C cup. The only change that needed made was the bust dart which was ridiculously high so I had to mark the bust apex and change the dart position on the pattern piece. It’s probably one of the simplest modifications but it makes such a difference to the final look of the garment. A quick measurement of the elastic for waist comfort and I was good to go.

As I was sewing the bodice I made sure to stitch in one of the Stitch Witch labels from Sew Anonymous as Kara had previously admired them. There really is something about a label that elevates the finished product in my mind. I wouldn’t consider skipping a label.

I love the finished dress and I think Kara looks beautiful in it. It’s definitely one of those makes that are perfect for summer, especially made from cotton lawn. I’d absolutely make other garments for her in the future.

The next garments I’ll be making for others will be two dresses for two gorgeous little girls…

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