I promised you some walkthroughs, right? I had to review a sewing book for a magazine I’m writing for. I tried the pattern of a dress without sleeves. Since it is measured to my body exactly, it would not help to upload a pdf. So get a pattern (there are lots of free patterns) and I will tell you how to sew those together. I used a pattern with several parts; front, front side, back, back side. Also, I chose a different printed cloth for the front. You can decide if you want to have the zipper in front or in back.

Here is what you’ll need.

  • a pattern
  • glue
  • a sewing machine
  • thread
  • a pair of scissors
  • some kind of cloth (2m at least, depending on your size)
  • tailor’s chalk or white kajal
  • pins
  • a zipper ~40cm
  • optional: a flat iron

You may want to try on what you so far made during the process (pins), so that you won’t make the dress to small or too big.

Print the pdf out on several sheets, tape or glue them together in the designated order, then cut along the lines (leaving no space).
Then pin the pattern onto the cloth so that it will not move. Draw along the sides with tailor’s chalk (I used a chalk pencil; you can get those at any good tailor shop.)

Cut out the cloth along the lines, leaving at least 1cm space (you’ll need that for mending later).

You can also draw and cut out two side pieces seperately. If you did it my way, you save one time of cutting. But you also have to transfer the pattern one more time, this time on the other side. So in the end you need to have two side pieces, one reversed, looking like this:

First pin, then sew the pieces together on the left side, using a straight stitch ———— . Follow the chalk markings. Note that it is important to sew on the left side (the side where your cloth looks more crappy) so the good side is turned outwards in the end and you won’t see the threading.

Leave ca. 20 cm in open the back or the front, this is were the zipper will be. If you want to, you can also mend the seams; it increases durability. For that, use a a zigzag-stitch /\/\/\/\ on the 1-2cm fringe you left before. Cut the rest off.

It helps a great deal to have a flat iron ready. You can smooth anything before and after you sew it together, avoiding creases which will screw up your seams.

I used a different printed cloth for the front piece. My zipper went in at the back, so I transfered the pattern one time, flipped it over symmetrically, transfered it again. You can do that with the back piece as well, if your zipper goes in the front.

Same procedure, sew together on left side.

Again: Left side!

Don’t sew everything together at once, leave one side open for one last try-out. If you can, get someone to help you. You can’t see if something fits if you don’t stand up straight. If it does not fit, you can still make adjustments at this stage. I also recommend waiting with mending the seams until everything is how you want it, it saves you a lot of trouble unraveling seams.

That slit you left open at back or in front needs to get a zipper now. Some machines have a special zipper stitch, where the needle is on the right side; I’d advise you to use that.

Now your dress is almost done! Sew together the side, and hem everything that still sticks out (skirt line, sleeves). For that, fold over once and use straight stitch all around. Adjust if necessary.

Et voilá, your dress is done.

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