Make Your Own Little Black Dress with Confidence

Understand patterns, sizing, fitting tips, cutting out, interfacing, plus darts, lining, zips, buttonholes and finishing hems in ‘Make Your Own Little Black Dress with Confidence’ with Wendy Gardiner.
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Host Name(s): Wendy Gardiner
Level: All Levels
Programme: On Demand
Duration: 3.5 hours

In this Masterclass Series you will learn how to sew your own dress with confidence with the help of expert tips from Wendy Gardiner. You will learn to understand patterns, sizing, fitting tips, cutting out, interfacing, plus darts, lining, zips, buttonholes and finishing hems.

The series is suitable for all abilities and is split up into 10 bitesize sessions, meaning you can navigate and watch specific sections again at ease.

Series Key Learnings:

  • Understanding Paper Patterns
  • Size Wise
  • Fitting Tips
  • Cutting out with Confidence
  • Interfacing & Stay Stitching
  • Dare to Dart
  • Add a lining
  • Inserting an Invisible Stitch
  • Buttonholes
  • Hemming Ways
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Session Overview
Session 1: Understanding Paper Patterns
Session 1: Understanding Paper Patterns

Learn to ‘read’ a pattern – you’ll be amazed by the amount of information and help this little pack of paper provides!

Materials & Preparation:

  • Choose any pattern for your choice of LBD – suggestions include: McCall 7085, McCall 7719, Butterick 4343, Vogue Pattern 1422.
Session 2: Size Wise
Session 2: Size Wise

Getting garments to fit is often a problem experienced by dressmakers, often because pattern sizing is different from high street sizing. Wendy will take you through how to determine your pattern size for dresses and skirts or trousers.

Materials & Preparation:

  • Tape Measure, note pad and pen and pattern envelope for chosen dress.
Session 3: Fitting Tips
Session 3: Fitting Tips

Many women find darts are not in the right place or that a garment ends up too big across the chest and shoulders. Wendy will cover Bust point adjustments and Full Bust Adjustment so that you can make a garment that fits you.

Materials & Preparation:

  • Ruler, Sellotape, biro, spare paper pattern tissue. Dressmaking pins.
Session 4: Cutting out with Confidence
Session 4: Cutting out with Confidence

You’ve bought fabulous fabric and now you need to cut it! Do so with confidence as Wendy shows how to follow pattern layouts, what the pattern markings mean and then how to transfer markings to fabric for ease with construction.

Materials & Preparation:

  • Chosen pattern, fabric, lining (if applicable), interfacing and notions as listed on the pattern.
  • Good quality dressmaking shears, pins, tape measure, fabric marking pens (chalk pencil or Heat-away pen).
  • Needle and thread (for tailor’s tacks).
Session 5: Interfacing & Stay Stitching
Session 5: Interfacing & Stay Stitching

Interfacing is needed to add support or strengthen areas where there will be buttons, for facings etc. Stay stitching helps prevent unwanted stretch at necklines and more. Wendy will provide interfacing tips to ensure your interfacing is properly attached and how and why stay stitching is important.

Materials & Preparation:

  • Fusible interfacing as required on pattern, press cloth, steam iron and board.
  • Sewing machine threaded with thread matching fabric.
  • Sewing supplies (scissors, pins etc).
Session 6: Dare to Dart
Session 6: Dare to Dart

Darts are used to shape a garment, fitting it in all the right places. Dresses often have bust darts and double-ended darts in the bodice. Avoid poking points or ugly bumps by learning how to dart perfectly!

Materials & Preparation:

  • Pattern pieces cut out and marks for darts transferred (lesson 4).
  • Sewing machine with thread matching fabric.
  • Small scissors.
Session 7: Add a Lining
Add a Lining

A lining is essential for a well fitted shift dress, so join Wendy for this session on how to attach the lining to a sleeveless dress in a super easy way and then under stitch it in place so it doesn’t creep out!

Materials & Preparation:

  • Make sure that you have sewn darts in your main fabric and lining pieces and sewn shoulder seams only in each.
  • Sewing machine set up.
Session 8: Inserting an Invisible Stitch
Session 8: Inserting an Invisible Stitch

Learn to attach an invisible zip with confidence. This is the best type of zip insertion as there is no stitching on the right side of the garment, all you see is the little zip pull! This step-by-step guide will convince you that this really is the best type of zip, and it can be added to any garment!

Materials & Preparation:

  • Invisible (concealed) zip foot.
  • Invisible zip to the length required (if pattern calls for a regular zip, buy an invisible zip that’s 2.5cm (1”) longer).
  • Strips of fusible interfacing.
  • Sewing machine set up.
Session 9: Buttonholes
Session 9: Buttonholes

Using today’s modern machines, buttonholes are a breeze, when you know how! Wendy will take you through the steps to use your buttonhole foot with confidence and make perfect buttonholes again and again.

Materials & Preparation:

  • Buttons of choice (up to 2.5cm (1”) in diameter).
  • Fabric sample
  • Interfacing approx. 15cm (6”) square.
Session 10: Hemming Ways
Session 10: Hemming Ways

A look at four different hem choices so you can make the hem to suit your chosen dress style. We will look at curved hems, machine blind hem, rolled hem and a hem finished with bias binding.

Materials & Preparation:

  • 4 remnants of fabric approx. 21cm long x 10m wide.
  • For the rolled hem, use a lightweight fabric.
  • For the curved hem, cut a curve into one piece.
  • Strip of interfacing 2cm wide x 21cm long (for blind hem).
  • Pack of narrow bias binding.
  • Rolled Hem Foot, Blind Hem Foot.
Materials & Preparation

You can watch sessions 1 and 2 before deciding on which pattern you want. Once that is chosen, gather together the components needed for each session.

Materials You Will Need

Please note these materials are not included with purchase of this class, the following materials will need to be bought separately.
  • Pattern.
  • Fabric.
  • Lining and Interfacing.
  • Haberdashery.
  • Sewing machine.
  • Sewing kit.
  • Iron.
  • Press cloth.
  • Good quality dressmaking shears.
Meet the Master: Wendy Gardiner

Wendy Gardiner is a writer, teacher and author, has been editor of several leading sewing magazines as well as having written 21 books including The Great British Sewing Bee from Stitch to Style, Fun with Fat Quarters, The Very Useful Guide to Using Your Sewing Machine most recently Take Two Fat Quarters Home and Take Two Fat Quarters Gifts. Wendy has also presented many DVDs on sewing and made several YouTube videos for leading haberdashery and pattern companies. She runs regular residential Creative Sewing Weekends, teaches a weekly class and writes articles for various magazines and her own website. Wendy organises the extensive workshop programmes for the Festival of Quilts and the Knitting & Stitching shows. She is also the Brand Ambassador for The Design Group UK, distributors of Butterick, McCall, Simplicity, New Look, Burda and Vogue Patterns. Wendy has a strong reputation and indeed fan base because of her enthusiastic and friendly approach to sharing her passion for dressmaking and machine sewing.

Find out more about Wendy Gardiner:

Facebook: Wendy Gardiner
Twitter: @WendyGSews
Instagram: @WendyGardinerSews



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