How to Sew a Simple Dress
Using a sewing pattern can seem daunting for a beginner, but it’s easy to get to grips with! Here, sewing expert Miss Libby Rose talks us through step-by-step how to use a simple pattern bought at Hobbycraft to create a dress.
2m Cotton / Cotton Blend Fabric (available in store)
1. Open pattern envelope, unwrap tissue pattern and cut around pieces: Front A & Back A to your size. Set aside the rest of the pattern.
2. Trace around the top of the pattern onto the a4 pieces of paper to create some facings.
3. As shown in picture trace down 4cm under the arm hole and draw a straight line across on both front and back (if you like you can curve it up as I have done or leave it in a straight line, both work it’s just the curved version is more professional and allows more ‘ease’)
4. Cut these out so you have 2 x pattern pieces and label front facing and back facing.
5. Lay the fabric on the fold and place 2 x main pattern pieces:
6. Front to be placed on fold of fabric and lay front facing the same way. Pin and cut.
7. Back to be placed on selvage side of fabric and lay the back facing the same way. Pin and cut.
8. Open and lay the interfacing out as you have done with the fabric using the facings only and cut the facings again out of the interfacing only (you do not need to cut the main dress out of interfacing.)
9. Iron the shiny side of the interfacing on to the wrong side of the fabric facings.
10. Put facings to one side.
11. Get your tailors chalk and a ruler ready. Lay the (now cut out) front of the dress with pattern still attached and mark the darts in as shown on the pattern.
12. These darts are at the bust line and look like 2 x triangular shapes from the side of the pattern. Chalk mark these using the ruler and guide on the pattern.
13. Fold the triangular shapes (darts) in half length ways and pin in place perpendicular to your chalk line (this chalk line will be your sewing line.)
14. Lay the darts in line so you are sewing along the chalk line. Start at the raw edge of the fabric (with a reverse stitch as always) and sew inwards to the point of the triangle, and keep sewing over the edge of the fabric, do not reverse here!! Instead of doing a reverse stitch simply pull your fabric out of the machine leaving a log tail of thread and tie that excess thread into a knot.
15. Overlock or zig-zag stitch the whole way around all of the raw edges of everything as close to the edge of the fabric as you can.
16. Pin and sew using regular straight stitch the shoulder seams up with a 1.5cm seam allowance. Sew up the shoulders of the main large pieces and the small facing pieces separately.
17. Lay out the large main dress on your table with right sides facing you. Now place the facings on top matching up the shoulder seams and the side seams to each other, pin to match these all up.
18. Sew around the neck and arm holes so these are now all joined. using a small pair of scissors make notches or small cuts all around the curved edges, just touching but being very careful not to go over the stitch line.
19. Now you can slide your hand into one of the shoulders and pull the whole dress out to the right side. Roll out of the seams and press nice and flat.
20. Pin and sew up the side seams. Pin so that the seams adjoining the facings to the main dress are matching. Then sew with a 1.5cm seam allowance starting at the edge of the facing and all the way down the side seam. Repeat on other side.
21. Measure your zip and go to the centre back (this is the only part still open) create a seam from the bottom (hem) upwards leaving a gap the length of the zip (the extra flap of the zip at the top will sew into your facing) & then insert the zip
22. Try it on! If you are happy with the length as it is, then you can simply (take it off first) and using your iron and ruler fold up the hem 1cm and then another 1cm for a lovely neat little hem.
23. If you are not happy with the hem, then adjust (cut) accordingly and press and sew as above.