For a first garment, she picked a tricky one and a tricky fabric, but it turned out wonderfully. I wish you could've all seen the smile on her face when it was done... pure joy.
We started at 10:30 am and finished at 5:30 pm, with her doing nearly all the sewing. She cut the entire pattern and I helped layout the pattern, she did all the cutting and I did most of the gathering and the hem, but she did most of the work. The fabric is one from my stash that I got on clearance a couple years ago. It was a little bit see-through, so we used some white poly/silky to back it, and some black poly/silky for the sash. All from my stash, all from Joann's (purchased at different times). She can keep shopping in "Aunt Kristine's Basement", it will help clear out some of the "what was I thinking" fabrics! This particular print I decided to gift to her since it seemed more age appropriate for her...
We made one change to the pattern, and created ties for the back. We cut them 7 1/2" x 30", folded them in half lengthwise, and turned them right side out, and pressed them. Stitched them in the side seams when we put the front and back together. Otherwise, the sash would've only been on the front, and we both agreed that the black needed to go all the way around. Oops, we made one other change because of the sheerness of the fabric and cut an extra skirt front and skirt back. For the front, I attached it to the bottom of the waistband facing and the two layers became one along the sides and at the hem. For the back, we put the two layers right sides together and stitched the top edge. When we pressed and flipped it, we created a channel for the top elastic band, and another channel for the mid-back, and eliminated the need for bias tape.
(The black band is really sewn on straight, I swear!)
The sizing was good, she fit a 12 according to the envelope and there was only slight gaping in the back elastic, but the shoulder straps took care of that issue. No zippers, no closures, just 2 strips of elastic in the back. The gathering was a bit much for a beginner, so I showed her how to do it, and she did some, but I did most to speed things up.
It's a great dress for lots of different occasions, and she can easily shorten it into a shirt when it gets too short. By the time we were wrapping it up, the sides were fraying terribly, so I ran it through my serger for those two seams. She was amazed at what the serger does, and I can't blame her, it's pretty darn cool!
By the afternoon, she was very comfortable on the machine alone, so I was just helping her with the directions and the tougher details. Her sewing confidence really grew today, and I wish I could be a fly on the wall at the party when she gets to hear the famous reaction, "You MADE that????" I don't know about you, but that phrase is music to my ears!