Seams a small victory

A guest post from CJ:

Seams a small victory.

This week Lucy stained a cute little shirt beyond redemption. Since I couldn’t donate it, I thought “Hey! Why not cut it up and see what I can make out of it?”

I blame my mother-in-law for this kind of crazy thinking… she helped us get a sewing machine last month and that has inspired all sorts of insane behavior, including a recent 3-hour shopping trip to JoAnn’s on a Sunday afternoon.

So, I played around with the shirt for a little while and decided it had the makings for a cute Barbie dress. (Those of you more experienced with sewing can begin cackling now.)

The first decision I made was to not take this whole thing too seriously. (Those of you more familiar with my perfectionist streak can start guffawing now.) My personal goal has been to do something sewing-related each week – even if it’s small – to slowly build up my sewing skills. So I decided up front that this was really just a ‘practice’ project and that it was ‘ok’ if it turned out crappy. I just wanted to try my hand at sewing some straight seams before I attempted a project that I actually cared about.

Since I wasn’t going to be ‘perfect,’ I decided to skip the step of using a pattern. I laid a Barbie doll on the shirt and generously cut out some fabric around her. Then I pinned it together around her body (soooo sorry that I didn’t think to take photos at this stage – it looked like the dress was held together with a bunch of jeweled hair daggers). I used a fabric marker to mark where I thought the seams should be, estimated a seam allowance, and then cut it out.

Then I started sewing. Again… not going for perfection (or even really anything lasting), so I didn’t try to tie off knots or do any pressing of seams or anything like that. I just wanted to fit in a little time on the sewing machine while the girls were actually playing quietly.

The end result? Not too horrible:


The front neckline isn’t sewn at all – I tried to do the neckline on the back of the dress on the machine and it turned out uneven and unravel-y, so I decided to go with a sort of 80’s torn shirt look with the front neckline. And the seams at the shoulder are hand sewn. I, ah, underestimated the seam allowance there, and could barely get the two pieces to meet in order to sew them together. So the flared, pointy look to the shoulders (also a la 1980s) was inspired from necessity.

Oh… and I also learned to double-check which way is facing up when I pin fabric together. Yup – I accidentally sewed the wrong side facing out on the front of the dress. (Whoops.)

But WAIT!!! The point of this was practicing SEAMS… the side seams… Let’s see those…


For my first try with a) a stretchy fabric, and b) stripes, this is not too bad, eh?

So maybe this sewing thing is NOT completely crazy. We’ll see how the next project goes – if all goes well, I’ll be making some pillows for our sofa.

Of course, if all does NOT go well, I suppose they could also be used for a padded room as well. Heh. Heh. Heh.


2 thoughts on “Seams a small victory

  1. Hi CJ,
    Not everyone can put stripes together correctly. Not too shabby!! Keep it up.

    Mom Gilbert

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