Five basic steps for sewing a dress

How to Sew a Dress Together -- powered by

This video goes through the basic steps of putting a dress together.

To save your download limit, here's a quick summary:

Step 1. Close darts for a tight fit
Step 2. Sew buttonholes
Step 3. Join back and front pieces
Step 4. Add sleeves
Step 5. Hem edges


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How to tailor a shirt (Refashion a men's shirt to fit a woman)

Topman shirt

Men's clothes are usually bigger than women's.

So any reconstruction that involves converting a man's top to fit a woman would need to be made smaller.

Specifically, narrower in three areas:
  • shoulders
  • sleeves
  • trunk (the upper body)

The only exception is the boob area. Most men don't have boobs, so they're usually made with straight squares of materials which skim over their chest, without calling attention to anything in the bust area. Men's shirts are shapeless in the front. Women's shirts, on the other hand, tend to have a dart or pleat under the bust to create that curve. Anyway, we'll need darts here to accommodate for those curves if you are sewing for a female silhouette.  

It will be easier to put in darts before you narrow the trunk.

Here's how to reconstruct that man's shirt to fit a woman!

1) Narrow the shoulder-to-shoulder width
2) Put darts under the bust so that shirt will curve over boobs
3) Narrow the sleeves and trunk of the shirt

Please read all instructions first :)

So far;

Sorry for the wait between posts- my mother's computer is broken so she's borrowed my computer in the meantime to finish an article.

Anyhow I've been working on a how-to for reconstructing shirts. Specifically, re-making men's shirts to fit a woman's figure. It will be posted in the next week or so.

Also coming up will be my Tiger's Tail maxi dress and deconstruction of an inspiration piece- a cardigan by Mancandy.

Lastly I bought a French curve today! Mostly I'm hoping that it will improve my rather basic pattern-making skills to something a bit more complex. I used to use a plate and a ruler to draw curves but yep, a French curve will at least make all the lengths match and measuring curves faster!

I guess I want to become able to tailor clothing well and understand how clothes are made- how they fit the body and flatter one's figure. But also I want to record and communicate what I've learnt in a way that's easy to understand when myself and others look at it afterwards.

If you have any advice, opinions or just want to say hi, please comment!

"Six months to Ninety" - Darts are essential in patternmaking!

Six Months to Ninety - A Dress Pattern Book by Joyce G. Morgan, Whitcombe and Tombs Limited, Christchurch, 1964

I found this in a second-hand bookstore in Auckland,  New Zealand. I am learning so much on how to make dress patterns from this book! 
It explains how and why patterns are shaped- to fit flat paper to the various contours of the body. 

The "Brush off those frills" dress uses an elastic waist for an hourglass silhouette. But after reading this book, I've learnt that properly tailored dresses need darts, usually under the boobs, in the back, and on the waist and butt. 

Here is a quick summary to its introduction on darts:
(Darts are small triangles cut on a side of a pattern. After the fabric is cut according to the pattern, the dart is sewn closed to create a curve in the fabric. This curve allows for the material to follow curves in the body, e.g. waists, boobs and butts. So darts allow for a dress pattern to perfectly fit to the shape of the human body.)

  • For a pattern to fit the body properly it must have darts.
  • Wide darts for large curves and smaller darts for where curves are less prominent.
  • The only necessary curve that must be marked out by a dart is the underarm. 
  • All other curves can be fitted with either tucks or gathers.

"Brush off those frills"

Hi there,

I'm Joyce and I'm a beginner sewer.

Here's what I hope to accomplish with this blog:
  • show what I make and my notes on those creations
  • learn quality sewing techniques
  • criticise and improve my designs and sewing
  • encourage myself creatively
  • post tutorials
  • and hopefully provide some inspiration and tips
Thanks for visiting,
and please, please, please comment!