Claire’s first dress

Title says it all, even though it sounds rather like the title to a toddler’s book . . . you know “Claire’s first tooth” followed by “Claire’s first step”.  

I’ve been motivated to get sewing this year by my daughter, Lindashee.  She has decided that her free time is going to be spent in her little flat in England, making clothes. We did some on-line shopping together the other week (over skype) because Jaycotts were having a sale on patterns and I plopped the following into my cart.


Top three patterns destined for my daughter and lower three patterns for myself ^^  Mine are all in the EASY category and, you will notice, all have nice long versions (I won’t be making any of the shorter ones!).

Anyway, last week, I decided to begin with pattern 6889.

choccie dress

Not only is this an easy pattern, it also says on the instructions that it takes 2 hours sewing time.  Great!  I thought.  I can run this up in one afternoon!

I won’t tell you exactly how long it took me, because I gave up looking at the clock on around day 3  but who cares?  I have a dress!  I followed the pattern for the long brown version

dress finie 03

but I decided against adding the loop thingies which bring the shoulders in on both sides.  I prefer to keep things simple, and flat, rather than adding the loops which give a scrunched up effect above the boobs.

It fits Doris nicely (my perky 90 year old dummy) . . . and it fits me rather nicely as well.

dress finie 01

It’s your very basic “tent dress”.   No zips, no frills, just one that you slip on over your head.  Pattern called for binding to add around the neckline and armholes.  I didn’t have any shop-bought binding the right colour, so I made my own.

dress finie 02


I’m glad I did.  It took extra time, but I think it gives the dress a better finish.


So, I’ve been having a happy dance, floating around in my new summer frock (indoors, I hasten to add because it’s freezing cold outside!).  I’m not really a dress person, but I think that’s because I don’t like anything fancy . . . this one is very basic, and I love the chocolate coloured fabric I bought, especially for it.  It’s only a cheap light-weight 100% cotton (which I did think to wash before cutting in case of shrinkage).   

Now that I’ve followed the pattern once, successfully, I might make myself another in the same style, but adding pockets next time.  The main difficulty I had was in deciding what size to make.  Pattern came with US, European and French sizes . . . so I stuck to the size I was most sure about (French) and I know for future sewing (with NewLook patterns, at least) that that is the perfect size for me.


27 thoughts on “Claire’s first dress

  1. The perfect summer dress. Those little hearts on the fabric are gorgeous. I love to wear these sorts of dresses in the summer as they are so easy to slip on and float about the place in. Well done on your first dress – with hand made binding too!! I see you already have a grasp of the technical jargon – I would have left those ‘loop thingies’ out too 😉

    • lol to the technical jargon :p
      Mind you, patchwork has been a great help – would never have dared make my own binding if I hadn’t already done so with patchwork.

  2. I can personally recommend the pattern at bottom right in the photo. I’ve made two different versions of it; long with V neck and the little tie, and shorter and round necked. It’s very easy, but I made it even easier by not making it with a facing, but using a bias binding for the neckline and armholes. The long one’s lovely and cool in the summer, and the shorter one can be worn as a dress or a tunic over trousers.

    • yes Kate, I did notice the other pattern called for interfacing which is why I didn’t try that one first. Having said that, I did work with interfacing when making PJ shorties and tunic last year and I didn’t have too much difficulty (once I’d read instructions about 5 times). And yes! shorter versions would make lovely tunics.

  3. It looks fantastic Claire…and making your binding from the dress fabric was a good call , its perfect

    • thank you Isabel – yes I was rather inspired with my binding ^^ Only colours of shop-bought I had were dark brown and a sort of mustard – they would have looked very yucky.

    • thank you Blu ^^ As I wrote in the post, I’m not a “frilly” person and I do like the simple, easy line of this dress even if it is a little tent-like.

  4. That dress is really flattering for you. The cut is lovely. I’ve really started making a lot of clothes in the last 6 mths. The flounce as you walk around in your own clothes is so much fun 😀

  5. That looks brilliant! Lovely job on the binding too.
    I laugh when I see a pattern that says it takes one or two hours. It takes me that long to sort out which pattern pieces I’m using, never mind cutting out fabric and sewing it together LOL

    • it does stipulate “sewing time” ^^ I suppose if they added the “fiffing and faffing around” time, it wouldn’t inspire anyone to make a start. I lost loads of time trying to work out what size to cut, wondering if I had to add on extra or if seams were included. Pattern just said “5/8 inch seam allowance” . . . and I’m sorry, but that’s not explicit enough for me! Anyway, now I know that it’s already included (on NewLook patterns) so next time I’ll be able to go ahead and cut without wasting so much time.

      • The actual sewing is the quickest bit though. The faffing around is about 90% of it? It is for me, anyway LOL
        You do see people post that they knocked up a little top in a couple of hours sometimes, so maybe it just takes practice. I’m sure your next one will take a lot less time, as you said 🙂

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