Ali Wilkinson

Earning my Merit Badge


Sew Mama Sew is running a series of blog posts aimed at teaching sewing techniques. The idea is to teach a friend the techniques, though I have found it really interesting myself despite being a sort-of experienced sewist! There are Merit Badges to be earned each week as a different technique is showcased and this week it is Garment Sewing and I earned my badge!

In fact, I ticked off quite a few things – a finish for the Finish Along, and sewing with voile, French seams and making clothes which all featured on my Quilty Bucket List. I am feeling quietly satisfied with my achievement.

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I made my Amy Butler sun halter dress. I used both an Amy Butler pattern and Amy Butler voile. The voile is like butter, it’s so soft and delicious, lovely to work with and has such a wonderful hand. I lined the front (as per pattern instructions) using a lightweight satin in a nude tone, and I made a double of the necktie to use as a belt.

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The style is very simple, which made for a very easy first garment project. I did not make a muslin, which seems to be the hot tip when making clothing, as I thought the lack of tailoring would make this quite failsafe. However, I did end up altering it quite a lot mid way through assembly despite using the absolute measurements recommended for my own measurements. I took it in 1″ each side at the point where the halter front meets the back, and between 2-4″ the rest of the way down the length at each side. That was a lot of extra fabric removed and it could be simply that I don’t like such fullness without tailoring to add the flattering factor. I also raised the hem about 2″ to accommodate my short legs!

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The pattern does not give instructions for French seams so I found a tutorial online and my conclusion is that they are deceptively simple and give a really neat finish. It just took a bit of thinking about as to where to place the lining (for the initial seam – in a layer where back of dress has right die down, laid on top is the lining right side also down, and finally front of dress with right side up; for the second seam – right sides of front and lining together).

I can see this dress being quite handy this summer and especially on our beach holiday. I also think I will make another dress, a modification of the dress but as a top with a halter back, and a further modification as a top with the same front and back. I have some more Amy Butler and some Anna Maria Horner voile, and I think it will be quite good in Liberty lawn too.

It feels good to have accomplished making a dress, and one that I like. Now I think I might be on a roll making more than just this dress!

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