Dressmaking Patterns From Start To Finish

Dressmaking patterns for women are easy to make with these step-by-step instructions. All you need are a few sewing tools and this article.

When you are starting to learn dressmaking, you will need to find the simplest pattern you can find. McCall's and Simplicity have several beginner patterns. After you become a novice sewer, you can then purchase the more detailed patterns. Patterns come in a variety of sizes and styles, so you will be sure to find one that has the right fit for your shape and style of clothing.

Now turn over the pattern envelope you just purchased and read the back of it. You will see that it calls for different widths of fabric. There are fabrics that can be purchased in 45 inch widths, 54 and 60. The most popular and easy to find width is 45 inches.

Check for your size, and then see how much material you will need. Purchase this amount of material. You can always purchase a few extra inches, but never purchase less than the required amount. To do so can cause your dress not to fit.

Then by reading the envelope, it will tell you what notions you need. Notions are considered thread, zipper, buttons, etc. So notions are actually accessories for making your garment. Notions always needed for a woman's dress are a zipper, thread, buttons, eyehooks, hemming tape, stick pins, tracing paper that comes in colors for marking darts, tracing wheel, chalk and sometimes interfacing and lining if the dress is very sheer or very flimsy. The pattern will tell you if it recommends lining and interfacing.

Cut out a piece of pattern and look at it. You will find that a pattern has a solid line running along the outside of the dress and a broken line.

The solid line is the line that you will use to cut the fabric after you have placed the pattern on the material. The broken line is the line where you will sew your pattern. Going past this broken line will cause your dress to not fit properly and may cause it to be un-even. Always cut on the solid line.



Patterns are printed on tissue paper. Be careful when opening up the pattern envelope you don't tear the tissue paper. If this happens, just use tape and repair it.

There are arrows on the pattern which represent the way the material is going to run before you cut it. Usually this arrow runs up and down the dress pattern lengthwise.

Take out the instructions from the envelope and look and see where it gives directions for your dress size on how to lay the material out. You want to make sure that your material always runs in the directions of the arrows on the pattern. If they are crooked in any way, your weave in your material will be crooked also. Make sure that all pieces are cut according to directions and that all tissue pieces, when placed on the material, are running according to the pattern instructions. If you accidentally place a pattern on the material going the wrong way, with some material, you can wind up with a shine or shading that will look different from the rest of the cut pattern pieces when the garment is finished.

Now that you have laid out all the pattern pieces, pin them to the material. After pinning, take pinking shears, which are scissors with big teeth, and cut the pattern along the solid black line all around the pieces until they are cut out. Pinking shears keep the material edges from fraying when cut.

Now take the tracing wheel and colored tracing paper, folding the paper so that both colored siides are facing the material and place the paper between the two pieces of dress where the darts are. These should be under the unprinted sides of the pattern and material, not on top of the pattern. Now, take your tracing wheel and run it along the printed darts on the pattern piece. When you are finished, you should have colored lines on your fabric that have marked where the darts will be on your dress.

Now find where the zipper will go and mark the zipper line the same way. When done, find any other important items you need to mark, such as where the buttons will be, if any.

Follow all the directions carefully and you will see the dress come alive before your eyes.

When completed, the last step will be the hem. Take your hemming tape and sew it on the wrong side of the dress, all around the bottom and then slip stitch your hem up and press.

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