Tag Archives: beginning sewing

First Dress: The Good and The Bad

When I posted my completed dress I didn’t want to take away from my feeling of accomplishment by pointing out the flaws.  Now I want to review the problems I had, as well as the parts of the dress which were more successful.

Let’s start with the good:  the dress is not pulling over the bust due to the adjusted fit of the princess seam bodice , the interior is nice due to a full lining, the ease of stepping into the dress because of the long back zipper, the zipper works and is nearly invisible, the seams are well matched, and I finished.

The bad: the hang of the skirt; in the front it tends to form a fold right in the center like I’m wearing culottes.  It also forms an unflattering bulge that sticks out at the center when viewed from the side.


I’m holding out the skirt in the photos partially to try to camouflage this.  Sneaky me!


I think I may have caused this by cutting the skirt with a dip in the center instead of straight across.

On the back of the dress, I shortened the bodice but not enough and the seam line is dipping at the center.


But the part that looks the worst to me is the hang of the backside below the zipper where the fabric forms two indented triangles. I would have corrected it but I don’t know what I did wrong or how to fix it.  It really bothers me!  I’ve heard of a bubble at the end of an invisible zipper but what is this?  What can I do differently to get a smooth finish?  It makes me want to avoid another back zipped dress.

Taking a Look at New Look 6020

One of my sewing goals this year is to make my first dress.  New Look 6020 appeals to me with its princess seams, and flared skirt.

New Look 6020

I bought 3 yards of this cotton fabric two years ago without a pattern in mind.  I now know the fabric is called quilting cotton.    At the time I didn’t know the difference between apparel fabric and cotton used for quilting, but since then I’ve read some lively discussions about the suitability of using quilting cotton  for clothes.  I’ll see what I think when I wear it!  The pattern has a lot of seams, but the floral print should look just fine being broken up. Besides the princess seams, side seams and waist seam,  the skirt has 3 panels on each side.

One thing that surprised me about this pattern is the placement of the zipper.  It looks like a lapped zipper in the side starting a few inches below the underarm.  I’ve never worn a garment with a side zip, and  I intend on changing it to an invisible back zip.  I did a search on changing  a side zipper to a back zipper and found this interesting post by Vicki Kate Makes : Side or Back Zippers – Which Do You Prefer?  I don’t like  the idea of a  zipper that doesn’t completely separate.  I’m raising the neckline and bringing in the wide shoulders and I don’t want to struggle to put it on over my head.  So I’ll have to change the facings, and cut the back in 2 pieces with a seam allowance added.


The pattern has a seam allowance of 3/8 for the princess seams.  The two methods I’ve used to finish side seams are clean finish (turn and sew), and mock french seams but that might not lie flat with a princess seam. I’m wondering if I should line the bodice to keep the messy (slit and notched) unfinished seam from showing and to protect it from wear and tear.


When you first look at the pieces of a princess seam, it looks like two puzzle pieces that don’t fit together!  I’m reading how to sew these odd curved seams, and I’m sure I have some fitting challenges ahead of me as well.   My “muslin” will be made from a worn sheet.

What do you look for when you first take a pattern out of the envelope?  Any suggestions or tips for me?