Learning to Sew: Washi Dress Lesson 1

I am teaching someone how to sew! I love, love, love sewing and I am loving that I have the opportunity to teach someone to sew. Jenny (my victim/subject) has done some sewing in the past, but mainly of the bag and home decor variety. She mentioned that she wanted to learn to make clothing so I am giving her some lessons.

I decided that the best way to teach her to sew was to work on a garment together, rather than a series of exercises that she has to put together herself at a later date in order to make something wearable. And to be honest, where would you stop…there are so many different techniques to learn and you just couldn’t cover all the bases in a few lessons and send someone on their way. I’ve been sewing for a very long time and I’m learning new things all the time.

Anyway, we spent some time going through projects and eventually settled on the Washi Dress (I promise, it was her choice, not mine!). The Washi Dress seems like a great project to work on together as she will learn all of the following great techniques:

cutting and marking up fabric pieces
making darts
making pleats
basting
seam creation (we’ll do standard and french)
shirring
attaching a facing
top stitching
making bias binding (maybe, depends on the time we have available)
attaching a capped sleeve
using binding to finish an armhole
hemming

image from made by Rae

Lesson one covered cutting on the straight grain vs cutting on the bias, cutting out pattern pieces and understanding pattern markings. We also sewed two different types of darts and looked at gathering stitches

We are practicing on calico samples and then sewing the actual dress. This may seem a little cautious, but I believe that repetition is key when you are learning (hence the homework – sorry Jenny!), and there is nothing worse than ruining a garment or having to unpick loads of stitches because you’re not confident in what you are doing. That’s called learning the hard way, and I want to be a lovely teacher, not a mean one!

I am making a Washi Dress of my own as we go along so that techniques can be illustrated, before attempted. Don’t you find it so much easier to learn if you can see and feel an actual example of what you are trying to do?

Here’s the fabric I am using for my Washi

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I can’t wait for lesson two tonight……

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