Who hasn’t dreamt about that one dress that fits perfectly? Instead of spending hours trying to find one, why not make the dress yourself? We know that sewing your own dress seems a bit daunting, but trust us – even those who are new to the world of sewing can easily do so!
Want to learn how to make a dress and take your style to the next level? This is what we are here for! In this article, we will explain everything you need to know – from choosing a good pattern to making the final stitch. After the first one, you’ll be looking for ways to hang all your beautiful and long dresses in the closet. Without further ado, read on!
What to do before you start making your dress
How cool are sundresses? Right? Before you start making your dress, there are a few things that you have to do, such as selecting the pattern, washing the fabric, taking your measurements, etc. Let’s take a look at them.
1. Select the right pattern
A good dress starts with a good pattern. You can easily download a printable one or create it yourself. The pattern will determine the size of your dress and its parts. Make sure to choose one that will fit your figure.
The pattern pieces will include front and back neck facings, dress front, armhole facings, etc. If you have ordered the pattern, there will be a listing of the pieces, which will make it very easy for you to sew the dress perfectly.
Iron out the skirt pattern to remove any wrinkles and to ensure that the pieces will lay perfectly flat.
2. Take your measurement
If you have bought a standard pattern, there will be instructions along with it on how you can take the measurements to ensure the dress fits you. Since it will be hard to take your own measurements, you can ask someone else to do that for you.
This step is very important since once you cut the fabric, there is no going back. Take the measurements twice with the tape measure.
3. Choose the appropriate fabric
The next thing you have to do is select the right fabric for the dress you will make. You have to consider the material, colour, design, etc.
Every fabric is unique when it comes to its material properties. For instance, cotton is durable as well as easy to wash. Polyester fabric retains the colour very well. Moreover, silk is comfortable, flowy, and lightweight. Polyamide is crease-free and strong. Choose the fabric which suits your needs and requirements.
Color & Design
Select the colour which suits not only your body type and style but also the occasion you are making the DIY dress for. For instance, you can’t wear white to your friend’s wedding, right? Plus, look at the design printed or embroidered on the fabric as well before you make the final decision.
It is a good idea to buy a little more fabric than you need so that if you make a mistake, you will still have more to fix it easily!
4. Wash the fabric
Before you start to cut and sew, it is important that you remove all the stains, creases, etc. During the first wash, the fabric usually shrinks. You don’t want your dress to shrivel up and not fit you anymore after you wash it, right?
Therefore, we recommend that you always wash the fabric with water for the first time before you start sewing. Check the wash instructions for the fabric before washing it, and skip putting it into the washing machine if it’s not recommended. Also, press the fabric and remove all the wrinkles.
Step-by-step guide: How to make a dress
Are you ready to start your new DIY project? Let’s have a look at what you need to do!
Things you will need
1. Cut the fabric
The first thing you have to do is lay out the fabric on your workspace. Keep the paper pattern pieces on the fabric. Follow the pattern instructions to the tee and keep an eye on the grain line. Don’t forget the directionality.
For instance, if the fabric has a directional print, such as flowers that have stems, make sure that the flowers all face the same direction. Pin the pieces to the fabric carefully, and then cut.
Fold the fabric in half, so that you will have two identical parts – for the front and the back – immediately. If you want to make a dress with sleeves, you will have to cut those too as well and sew them on later.
Keep almost 2cm of space on each side when you are cutting the fabric so that you can hem the dress later.
2. Sew the zipper
If you want to include a zipper in your dress, you should do this now. Before you sew the front and back of the dress together. There are various ways of putting in the zipper, such as the standard centred zipper, the invisible zipper, lapped zipper, etc. – the choice is entirely yours.
3. Sew the shoulder seams
Now that you have cut the fabric, and attached the zipper, you can sew the front and back of the dress together. Most commercial sewing patterns will have seam allowances.
If you have selected a pattern with a V-neck, or if the fabric you are working with is loosely woven – linen, double gauze, etc. – you should stay-stitch the back and front necklines before sewing the seams.
4. Prepare the neckline facing
Now is the time to attach the interfacing to the back and front neckline facings. Stitch the front neck facing to the back neck facing at the shoulder seams. Usually, the front-facing is one continuous piece while the back facing is in two pieces to accommodate the zipper. Open the seams and use a serger to finish the edges. Prepare the armhole facings as well.
5. Sew the side seams
The next thing to do is to sew the side seams of your dress. Make sure that you keep an eye on the seam allowance in your dress pattern. Ensure that the front and back are placed neatly on top of each other, and then pin them.
Sew the right sides together using a zigzag stitch. Turn your dress inside out, and fold the edges. Flatten the edges with an iron to create the hems. Once you are done with the side seams, all you need to do is hem the dress and you will be done. You can hem by hand or use your sewing machine to do so.
That’s it! Your new dress is ready!
3 creative ideas for decorating your dress
Thinking that your plain dress is boring? You shouldn’t. View the plain dress as a blank canvas for your creative ideas. It is a garment that is simply waiting for you to decorate, enhance, bedazzle, and adorn it.
Work your magic and you will end up with a beautiful, eye-catching dress that will be the talk of the evening. Let’s take a look at a few ideas for decorating your dress.
1. Paint a design on your dress
Why not get your hands on a paintbrush and some high-quality fabric paint? Before you paint anything on the dress, make sure that you practice the design on a piece of paper.
Before you start, iron it to remove any wrinkles. It is better to use a stencil instead of painting freehand. Use freezer paper to make a template of your design and then use it to create the design onto your dress.
You can paint anything – from polka dots and hearts to a row of stripes and arrows, the dress is your canvas!
2. Get handy with embroidery
Embroidery designs are very appealing – from a line of yellow daisies embroidered on a white summer dress to a cluster of white stars on a navy dress, you can choose any design to embroider on your dress DIY style. You can add a row or two of running stitches in contrasting colours to add visual interest to your plain dress. Also, you can create rows of X-shapes, zigzag patterns, French dots, etc.
3. Go with semi-permanent embellishments
You can attach semi-permanent embellishments such as crystals, rhinestones, etc. to your dress. All you need are some colourful rhinestones and some fabric glue. You can add the crystals along the neckline of the dress. Plus, you can always glue small sequins onto the sleeves of the dress for an eye-catching yet simple transformation. Sew on some beautiful lace onto your dress in a unique pattern, or simply attach the lace to the hem of your dress.
Making your own perfect dress is very simple. The key to sewing your own clothes is to take it step-by-step. Follow the dressmaking instructions and by the end of it, you will be wearing your self-made dress! There are various sewing tutorials that you can take help from. From maxi dresses to any kind, dress sewing is easy if you keep an eye out for the best sewing tips. Wear your dress and let those compliments stream in! Next project: Learn how to sew a dungaree dress and a jersey knit dress.