The first lesson is patience. Read the pattern carefully, prewash fabric well, layout fabric and pin carefully then test stitches. I'm usually one for jumping in with making and hoping for the best, however I'm learning that unpicking seams is not fun so if you are more careful, you actually save both time and heartache.
The second lesson has been understanding what fabric goes with what pattern. I usually just find a pattern I like and a fabric I like and go for it. However I've been much more careful with reading the pattern's recommended fabrics and selecting one from my stash to suit. Case in point: drapey fabric needs drapey pattern. Structured dress needs structured fabric.
The third lesson has been to test sew. I had a tough dress to make and so did a mock-up before trying it out in my more expensive fabric. The results are worth it, I have a very nice dress at the end of it with perfect seams and correctly draped and tucked. This is especially important if I'm sewing something where the instructions are not in a language I can read. Case in point: dress from Japanese book Drape Drape.
The test dress from Drape Drape in cheap yellow jersey. I modified the pattern to line the back of the dress too as this fabric was a little too light.
Even though it was a test, it turned out quite wearable (despite all the mistakes I made!)
This is the final version in grey jersey. I love how it turned out though the draping does make it a heavy dress to wear. This one has no mistakes thanks to my test piece.
I made another simple gathered skirt. This one is made out of quilting weight cotton so has a nice stiffness that I think works with this type of pattern. The fabric has an old fashioned circus print with animals and trapeze artists. It is good to cheer up a day. I love the green background too.
book which I followed carefully and made my own pattern from. The fabric is really lovely, 100% silk velvet and feels amazing. I had just enough for the skirt, the fabric is actually an upholstery sample and so was only about 42 inches wide and 46 inches long, I really had to squeeze the skirt out of the fabric! I finished the skirt with some vintage cotton bias tape at the waist, a zip and a hook and eye for the side fastening. I was careful to double stitch the seams as the fabric falls apart easily and shed black fluff all over the floor and myself while sewing!
Unfortunately I lost weight again after I sewed this skirt so its now too big for me!
This top was a test run for a dress (see below). I used it to test out the sizing for the darts and how the sleeves fit me. So for this I just used some yellow muslin that I had dyed in black tea and bias tape I had left over from my white dress.
I then experimented with cotton synthetic fabric paint to make a dye by dipping the shirt in it. It turned out quite nice, but I'm yet to see if the colour stuck to the fabric. At them moment it turns my hands a little blue which is not ideal!
This is the first dress I made using the pattern. I used a really lovely light cotton print for this one. I kept the hems all simple, just double turned. And I added pockets of course!