August - October: Be inspired! Come up with a design, make a miniature 1/4" scale version to test idea, get interrupted by halloween costumes.
November: Acquire pattern & plenty of cheap fabric (less than $2.99/m), modify pattern according to design, and create mockups, test fit.
December: Test fit again, order fabric samples to decide on colour. Then wait for good sale.
February: SALE! Buy fabric, then go on vacation.
March: Sew! Sew! Sew!
April: Final fittings with shoes, followed by Hemming. Dresses are Due May 1st. No later then May 15th.
Dress #1: This dress belongs to my daughter. She had some very specific wishes, but there were several ideas that we tried out. We had thought about sleeves, and had tried several different iterations of a High Flared collar, but none of them worked out well. In the end, we went sleeveless with no collar. When designing gowns & fashion I have found www.tracingrealbodymodels.org to be an excellent resource.
I learned how to put in an invisible zipper - Finally. This took a couple of tries, but once I figured out what I was doing wrong, I don't think I'll ever use any other kind of zipper in a dress. Once you get it (and figure out which zipper foot is the the invisible zipper foot) it's wonderful to use.
I used the McCall's Pattern 6701 as the basis for my pattern. Most of the work & paper is involved in the skirt. I raised the point of flare to the high hip - low waist, to minimize the tummy, and tucked in the low back to accentuate the excellent curves. The train was determined to be a tripping hazard, so we ended up with the skirt length from view B, but the cut of view C/D.
TIP: When the fabric store doesn't cut in a straight line, you will have to find the cross grain of your fabric in order to accurately place your pieces on the grain. Make a small snip through the selvage on one side, a few inches from the top (depending on how crooked your fabric is cut). Isolate & pull out a single thread (kind of like when you gather fabric) This will result in a perfectly straight line across the width of your fabric, now you can line up everything nice and square.
In between fittings, I also made a couple of accessories to match the dress. A Travel jewelry pouch, and a small clutch purse. I tried to make my own pattern for this pouch, but the one at Sew4Home works better.