If you're learning how to sew, don't make your first big project a baptismal gown for your daughter, made from the material of your wedding gown.
I heard about this tradition while I was engaged and specifically looked for a wedding dress that would be perfect for me AND the daughter I hoped to have one day. I found a 2-piece ballgown. I saved the heavily beaded top in case Emily wants to wear it one day with a skirt we could have made.
I've attempted smaller projects in the past: pillows that no one would ever see, a Bam-Bam halloween costume that required almost no sewing, a Christmas stocking, etc... But I figured, how hard could it be to sew a dress? The pattern clearly read, "6 Easy patterns in one".
Guess what I found out? There is a BIG difference between "6 Easy patterns" and "Easy to Sew". I learned this after I had already cut out the fabric pieces from my satin ballgown.
There are so many mistakes in the dress that I made for Emily's baptism. (Yup, baptism- not a dedication ceremony. I'm a crazy Methodist that believes in baptizing at any age, with any amount of water, but that's another blog.)
Anyway, one sleeve is tighter than the other. I had safety pins helping the fit once I put it on her. I was cutting stray threads right up until the moment we walked to the front of the sanctuary. And I was 70% done with the dress before it came to my attention that my machine was actually broken. The timing or something was off, which is why it kept jamming. I finished it with my sister's machine.
I cannot even begin to tell you how many hours over the course of the summer that I spent on this dress. I had no idea how to piece things together, sew a zipper, add hooks/eyes, gather fabric, etc... I learned a lot. But the most important thing I learned had nothing to do with my sewing technique. I learned that I love to sew!
I firmly believe that you can learn how to do almost anything. (Except math.) It just takes some initiative and time. Over the same summer, I decided to learn some basic embroidery techniques. So I went to the library, got a few books, and after a trip to Michael's, I was set. My first and only project to date: Bloomers for Emily to wear under her baptismal dress. If I messed up, who was going to notice?
I found this "E" through a google search for "E" clipart. Then I copied it to Microsoft Word, enlarged it, and traced it onto the fabric. Then I used 2 different stitches to embroider while I watched tv after the kids were in bed. I am very happy with the end result:
Yes, I know that her baptism was not about what she was wearing, anymore than my marriage was about my wedding dress. Mistakes and all, I'm still glad I made it for her. Now even if she decides on a different wedding dress when she gets married, it won't break my heart because she's already worn it. :)