I started learning how to sew last year by taking some classes at Jo-Ann. During class I made a few practice items (pajama pants, shirt, apron) and I have been practicing more at home making zippered bags and small alterations to my clothes. Sometimes these alterations improve my clothes and other times I end up with a pile of scrap fabric. I had success with an easy project, a kimono from a tutorial on Babble and even received some compliments when I wore it to work.
Since the kimono turned out so well, I decided I was ready to take on a more difficult project and sew a dress for my cousin-in-law’s wedding. The difficulty level of this dress may have been slightly more than I was ready for… My husband was a groomsman and would be wearing a tux which meant I needed a formal dress. The idea of fancy (hard to sew) fabric in front and knit for the back appealed to me because the fit would be more forgiving of my sewing skills.
I used Simplicity 1314. The dress pattern has separate panels for the front, sides, and back. This worked even better than my original idea since I could use knit fabric on the sides as well. I chose view C, because this is Florida and I certainly won’t be needing sleeves in the “fall” weather here. It was in the high 80s the day of the wedding.
To avoid ruining my nice fabric, I did sew a muslin first. The fit was pretty close despite my uneven seams and using a fabric with no stretch. I spent a few evenings working on the real dress and only ran into one issue. The seam across the back didn’t line up and I didn’t notice until after I had installed the zipper. I tried to rework the back pieces, but eventually decided to start over and cut new pattern pieces for the back. I made sure to line up the seam before installing the zipper and was much happier with the result.