Circle Skirt + Shift Dress
Updated: Jun 7
After completed the intro to sewing course, I moved on to taking classes which allowed me to make my own clothes (woohoo!), starting with this Dressmaking Weekend at Sew Over It, where I learnt how to make a skirt and a dress.
On the first day, we made a full circle skirt, based on a sewing pattern from Sew Over It. A sewing pattern is just like what it sounds like – patterns on a sheet of paper for that one uses as a guide for sewing (a garment usually comprises of a few pieces of fabric sewn together, and these patterns are precisely the “templates” for each of the fabric peieces). We start by identifying our own sizes, and cutting the pattern pieces out of the huge sheet based on our own size (a range of sizes are printed on each pattern sheet).
Took a while and I finally decided on a retro print
As seen in the photo above, there are step-by-step instructions provided for the construction of the skirt – mostly for our reference when we want to make it at home, because a teacher guided us through every step.
The circle skirt was relatively easy and quick to make. The main new thing I encountered in the class (that I hadn’t already come across in the intro to sewing class) was the use of interfacing for the waistband. Interfacing is a piece of material used on the inside of a part of a garment to give it more shape / make it more rigid.
After a full day of work, this was the end product:
Retro-looking full skirt – not quite sure how to match it with tops from my wardobe but we’ll deal with that separately
On the second day, we made a simple shift dress. As always, I had difficulty selecting a fabric (my boyfriend was on standby via Whatsapp to help overcome this).
Finally decided on a dark fabric that also has some sort of a retro print
This dress pattern had a few variations – one with a ruffle collar, and another with long sleeves. I wanted one with long sleeves, but that would take more time than what we would be able to cover in a single day with the class, so I settled for a simple sleeveless design.
The day started out with us taking our measurements and identifying what size we needed to use. As I had a larger size for my lower half of my body (my hips take the hit for my love of desserts and fried stuff), I had to “adjust” the pattern by drawing lines to connect the lines from the top half of the pattern (smaller size) to the lines at the bottom half of the pattern (larger size) before cutting. Pattern and fabric cutting are the most laborious part of the sewing process, but if done well. really saves one lots of time during the actual sewing!
Most of the dress was straightforward, but the hems on the sleeves were quite tricky to do due to math / science. Imagine trying to fold an outer circle into an inner circle – the circumference of the outer circle will usually be larger, right? Unfortunately, this wasn’t really the case in the sleeves we cut out, so we really had to stretch the fabric, and that was quite a huge challenge (if you look closely when you see my dress in person, some parts of the hem are “wavy”).
Nevertheless, the output still looks decent from a distance:
As this was a basic shift dress, there wasn’t much of a shape (we did not insert zips etc. so there was no space for one to put the dress on if it was fitted). I used some extra bias tape from my picnic bag as a belt to cinch the waist a little. Not so comfortable during mealtimes :p
Details of the workshop
Duration: Classes were 7 hours each day, including a 1 hour lunch break Price: GBP195 (~SGD350)
Level of “fun”: 4/5
The process of making something you can wear was immensely exciting – especially when you get to “try” the pieces on when they were near complete to check the fit. Sewing garments make you more aware of how clothes are put together, and that was a whole lot of fun.
Level of difficulty: 3/5
The circle skirt was relatively easy for me (even though some people in class took quite a bit longer to complete it than I did) – would have given it a 2 on its own. I found the shift dress to be more challenging (due to the hemming of the sleeves as described), but still managed to complete the dress during the workshop – would have given it 3.5 on its own.