A Newbie Sewist and A Muslin Version of The Cambie Or: Bungling Along A Steep Learning Curve

One glance is probably enough for anyone looking at this to see my first problem:


I started sewing the bodice.  First step:  darts.  I finished one and couldn’t figure out what went wrong.  The bodice was barely big enough to cover anything! Newbie problem:  the directions don’t explain about cutting patterns out correctly.  I traced the dart shapings on all my pieces, not realizing that the triangles on the pattern pieces are guides that show the shape of the darts.  I then cut them out, resulting in darts MUCH bigger than what’s intended.  I am so glad I traced the pattern instead of cutting it!  Argh!!

On my second muslin version (and I’m so glad I read about the purpose of a muslin on someone’s blog before I even purchased this pattern), I griped at my marking pencil (it seems like a good idea, but it’s too big for my pencil sharpener and thus, I had trouble sharpening it to a nice point with my exacto knife) that didn’t mark the most precise line along the darts.  Next, I sewed a back bodice piece to the front bodice upside-down.  At this point, I gave up for the night (this was yesterday) with a sewing-induced headache.

Today, I had to Google how to do a gather properly because my sewing book doesn’t actually contain instructions on how to actually do a gather.  I successfully followed a video tutorial I found on Youtube.  My second Google assist was how to do an understitch and I then understitched the pockets’ seam allowances.  I’ve ended my sewing day without completing said pockets.  The next step in the Camie’s instructions are to finish the pocket seams.  I’ve never finished an edge before.  I referred to my sewing machine’s instruction manual on how to proceed:


Because I don’t have a serger, my options appear to be: a zig-zag stitch, a blind stitch, or a multi-stitch zig-zag. I’ve never done any of these, and figuring out which of these options best suits my beautiful used bed sheet muslin is beyond me today!

Q: Am I having fun yet?

A:  I haven’t cried over my sewing machine.  Yet.  Does that count as a legit answer?

I believe it might be time for a glass of wine now.


3 thoughts on “A Newbie Sewist and A Muslin Version of The Cambie Or: Bungling Along A Steep Learning Curve

  1. Don’t get discouraged – you’re doing a great job! It’s always a learning curve but once you make a mistake, you usually won’t make it again (although I’ve been know to get my back bodice pieces mixed up and backwards on more than one occasion…)

  2. Good that you are making a muslin first! In a muslin you don’t need to do all the finishing steps (like finishing the seams) unless you intend to actually wear the garment. It’s usually made to check fit. Later on, for the real dress I would probably use the basic zig zag stitch to finish the seam. Use a fairly wide stitch and align your fabric edge with the center of the foot (where the needle sits when you are doing a straight stitch). Simply start sewing, the left swing of the needle hits the fabric, the right swing of the needle will be outside of the needle. This way the fabric edge becomes encased in the stitch and won’t unravel.

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