Sewing Your Own Clothing

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Sewing Your Own Clothing

Recently, my husband and I went on an Alaskan Cruise, and you can’t go on a cruise without cocktail attire. Over the last 10 years on these trips, I have made a cocktail dress for the special occasion! I hope you enjoy this post with tips and tricks for sewing your own clothing!

Recently, my husband and I went on an Alaskan Cruise, and you can’t go on a cruise without cocktail attire. Over the last 10 years on these trips, I have made a cocktail dress for the special occasion.  It’s a rare occasion for me not to make my own evening wear.    Each year it gets easier and easier, and the best part is that I get to be creative.  My favorite thing to do is go to Joann Fabrics and see what I can come up with.   This dress in particular was made with two layers of fabric.  The bottom layer was a shiny red, stretch gymnastic-type fabric, and the top layer was a black stretch fabric with a cut-out diamond pattern that had a sheer netting in each diamond.  

I overlaid the black fabric on top of the red.

This gave the dress a subtle red shimmer when it hit the light.

Here is a photo of the red, stretch fabric on the body form.  Lots and lots of pins.  It’s really easy.   Stretch, tug, pull, and get out those wrinkles in the fabric.

For the zipper, I pinned it down the back–this is probably a shortcut way of doing things, but thats okay because I had to leave on my trip the next day. It’s okay to take shortcuts–things usually work out in the end.

For the back of the dress, I added an extra fabric insert to give it a ruffled fish-tail look, and then I finished off the fish-tail and neckline with black rhinestones.  

I adhered the rhinestones with a basic fabric glue.  This project took me a couple of days to complete, but that is because I had to do a little extra pinning to my self without any help….walk to the mirror, pin, then take off the dress, and back to the sewing machine. Back and forth, back and forth!

If you would like to make your own clothing, your best bet is to have a dress form to pin the fabric to.  I have whipped out a cocktail dress in less than four hours by using a body form.  That’s less time that it takes me to load all my  kids in the car, and shop for a new dress at the mall. For years I have used a duct tape body form that I made myself.  It’s cheap, and it works!

Me wrapped in 3 rolls of white duct tape

I covered myself in a trash bag (undergarments underneath), and then my husband wrapped me up in duct tape.   We then cut the duct tape off of my body (while avoiding cutting the undergarments), and stuffed the duct tape shell with left-over Christmas wrapping paper.

I sealed the back of the form with duct tape, and taped a piece of cardboard on the underside.   My husband built a stand out of a metal rod, and left over wood from the garage.  Its been a great form. Although, sadly,  I just recently retired it–I am no longer using this body form.  My body has changed shape after my third child (and I had to do quite a bit of pinning on this dress), and so I recently invested in a professional dress form–my only hope is that it will be as wonderful as the duct tape form I have used all these years.  I have used the duct tape form for nearly 5 years now.  It has served me well!

This dress was very easy to make.   I pinned the fabric to the body form.  Then I like to trace down the sides of the dress with a marker, remove the fabric from the form, and then cut along the sides while leaving extra room along the edges for seams.  Remember, I double layered the fabric.  So I used the first layer for a pattern, and then cut the second layer to the same size.   Finally, I added the zipper and the rhinestones.   I turned out fabulous!

Making clothing is tons of fun.  Here are some of my other projects I have made over the years…

Double Layer Cocktail, white lace and sequins overlay turquoise fabric
Saloon Dress made of out Curtains
Maternity cocktail dress
Maleficent Costume for my daughter
Mad hatter Costume for my husband
winter cocktail dress, sweater material with clear squid and gold and cream houndstooth pattern fabric


This last photo is for a witch costume I made for myself, I’m talking about for myself, not my husband…. ha ha!

I hope you enjoyed this post!

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