The next thing I am mastering is PATTERNMAKING!! I have made two dresses for my nieces - one for each of them and it was a beeyotch.
A wise girlfriend of mine (who happens to be a pro sewer) suggested that I buy a top from the store, turn it inside out and trace around it to make a pattern. Then I can just return the top. She gave me some crazy-fangled way to turn the body into the sleeves to make a precise pattern, but of course being an amateur I didn't pull it off properly AT ALL. First of all, I bought a size 10-12 top. Don't ask me why. Lately, my brain doesn't function all that great. Hah!
Then from the pattern that I cut, the top that I made could fit me! Horrified. I also had thought to make the skirt portion extra long because that's how the babe likes her dresses. Well, duh, an 8 year old is not going to want an extra long skirt! So, needless to say, the first dress turned out ridiculous. So, being the brilliant person that I am I thought, well I will just turn this dress inside out and sew in a 1/2 inch from both sides and the sleeves. And bring the skirt up. That sort of worked but the dress still didn't look so great. After I made the 6 year old's dress (of which I could make a pattern from one of D's tops deconstructed), I felt bad that the 8 yr old's was so shabby looking. So, I took the whole thing apart and remade the bodice and sleeve with a new pattern. I ended up just cutting up the top that I had bought. Now I'm not returning it...oh well. But since the top was for a 10 year old, I tried to make adjustments by looking at this post and it was terribly confusing so I just eyeballed it. The above is what I got. It looks okay, but if you look closely, you can see that the sleeves are a bit too slim I think. We shall see when the girls get it...if it actually fits. I might have to make a whole other new dress if this one doesn't fit and just mail it out later. BUT, the 6 year old's dress truly turned out pretty perfectly. Maybe it could've used a collar though.
Meanwhile, I love the above mentioned post. I am determined to learn how to make patterns and use all those cool tools that Sense & Sensibility had on her site. New Year's Resolutions...