In this tutorial, we will be walking through how to sew a dress using the Sicily Pattern from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop. I love how dresses make me feel, especially ones that look good for my body type. After having a few babies, the way clothes fit me has changed a lot. One great aspect of sewing is that we can custom-make our garments to fit our body types. This versatile pattern can be made with or without nursing access, making it suitable for all types of sewers. The Sicily boasts a flattering silhouette that is perfect for any occasion. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced sewer, this tutorial will guide you through every step to create a beautiful and functional simple dress that you can wear with pride. So let's get started with sewing a dress!
What are the Basic Steps to Sewing a Dress?
Sewing a dress may seem like a daunting task, but with the right guidance, it can be a rewarding and enjoyable project. The basic steps to sewing a dress involve selecting a pattern, choosing fabric, taking accurate measurements, cutting the fabric pieces, pinning and sewing them together, and finishing off with hemming and adding any desired embellishments.
It is important to follow the instructions provided in the pattern carefully and take your time throughout the process to ensure that each step is executed accurately. With practice and patience, you'll be able to create beautiful dresses that fit perfectly and showcase your personal style. So grab your sewing machine and let your creativity soar as you embark on this exciting journey of dressmaking!
Choosing a Dress Pattern or Tutorial
Choosing a dress pattern can be an exciting and creative process. Whether you're an experienced seamstress or a beginner, finding the perfect pattern can help bring your fashion vision to life. When choosing a pattern, consider factors such as your skill level, body shape, and personal style. Look for patterns that offer clear instructions and include multiple size options to ensure a proper fit. Additionally, consider the fabric requirements and the level of difficulty before making your final decision. With so many options available, take your time to browse through different patterns and find one that sparks joy and inspires your creativity. We have tons of patterns here at Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop including Dress Patterns for Women and Dress Patterns for Girls.
What Fabric is Best for a Dress?
When it comes to choosing the best fabric for a dress, there are several factors to consider. One of the most popular options we sell is cotton lycra, known for its breathability and comfort. Another great option is double-brushed poly, which is extremely soft. It's brushed on both sides of the fabric and is extremely comfortable to wear. If you're looking for fabric for warmer weather then you might try french terry. French Terry has a smooth surface on the right side of fabric and loops on the wrong side. It's a little thicker and great for warmer clothing. You can also use woven fabric for many dresses - but we're focusing on knit today for this blog post. Ultimately, the best fabric depends on your personal preferences, the occasion, and the desired look and feel you want to achieve.
Taking Accurate Body Measurements
Taking accurate body measurements is crucial when it comes to creating a perfectly fitting dress. Don't assume that you are the size you think - you may be a smaller size or larger size depending on the sewing pattern. Measure first according to the pattern's sizing chart! To begin, start by measuring the bust, waist, and hips. Use a flexible measuring tape and make sure it is parallel to the ground for accurate results. For the bust measurement, wrap the tape around the fullest part of your chest, ensuring that it is snug but not too tight. Next, measure your natural waist, which is typically the narrowest part of your torso. Finally, measure your hips at their widest point. It's important to stand in a relaxed posture and avoid pulling the tape too tightly or leaving any slack. By taking precise body measurements, you can ensure that your dress will fit you like a glove and flatter your unique figure.
Learn How to Sew a Dress with the Sicily Swing Pattern
Sicily Swing Pattern
The Sicily Swing from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop is a favorite simple dress pattern to sew up. It offers a variety of different options to choose from. It really is an all-around dress pattern for any time of the year; whether you want short, elbow, 3/4 or long sleeves, hood, cowl or neckband, nursing access, or a tunic instead of a dress, this pattern has you covered! It even has optional pockets if you’re into those.
It’s more fitted at the top but then flows out from there which I love for my current postpartum body type so as not to accentuate certain areas. I love the nursing option specifically because it still looks fashionable without looking like it’s a nursing dress. It also offers maximum nursing coverage as well. This would look great on anyone and today I will be making my Sicily with the nursing option for this post. It also has very simple pattern instructions.
Peek-a-Boo also has the matching Sophie Swing Dress and Tunic for girls so make sure to take a look at it too.
Supplies to Make the Dress:
I will be using the neckband and the nursing option during this article. Follow along for the normal construction of this as well. Skip ahead to step 4 of this post if not including the nursing overlay.
Side note: I typically add length to my dresses as a personal preference. The pattern chart gives finished measurements if you need to know this to make adjustments. I added about three extra inches to mine as I prefer them to cover my knees.
Cutting Your Pieces
Ok! I’ve got all my pattern pieces cut out and ready for sewing. Once you have yours, we can go ahead and get started with this easy dress!
Step 1: Nursing option
Skip to step 4 in this article for normal assembly 🙂
You’ll need to cut your FOE piece to the size suggested on the pattern chart for your size. Once that is done, we will sew the right sides of the short ends together to form a loop.
Turn the loop right side out and we will fold our loop of elastic over onto the dress and clip or pin into place, so the raw edges are encased in a complete circle.
Sew along the fabric edge using a zig-zag stitch, gently stretching the elastic as you sew, and being careful to catch the elastic and the fabric as you go so there are no gaps. Sewing slowly is good versus having to unpick it after and redo it again!
Step 2: Nursing Band
Grab the nursing band piece and press flat with the wrong sides together. We will attach this to the nursing overlay in the next step.
Grab the nursing overlay on your own dress and pin/clip the pressed band piece to the front of the overlay with right sides & raw edges together.
Sew the band to the overlay piece using a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Edges are sewn together. (Underside shown here)
Next, we will flip our band piece down and press flat for topstitching.
Topstitch the seam allowance to the front of the bodice.
Topstitching is complete!
Step 3: Attaching the overlay
Lay the nursing panel on top of the front piece where the nursing access opening is.
Clip/pin the pieces together around the sides, shoulders and neckline.
Baste both pieces together along the edges that you clipped/pinned together.
Basting is complete!
Step 4: Sewing the shoulders together
Grab your front and back pieces. Clip/pin the shoulders together with the front and back pieces right sides together. Sew the shoulders using a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Step 5: Sleeves
Take your sleeves and place them right sides together along the shoulder seams. Gently stretch the sleeve to fit and clip/pin it together. Do this for both sleeve pieces.
Sew the sleeves using a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Step 6: Body assembly
With the right sides together, pin/clip the it together from the end of the sleeves down to the bottom of the dress.
I chose a 3/4″ sleeve length for mine.
Sew together in one continuous seam for both sides of the dress.
Step 7: Hemming
Fold the bottom of the sleeves up towards the wrong side 3/4″. Press and clip/pin in place.
Do the same for the bottom edge of the dress. Fold up 3/4″, press and clip/pin into place. If you’d like to try it on first to see where you want the hemline to fall, now would be a good time to do so.
After you’ve decided on your hemline length, go ahead and hem the sleeves and the bottom of your dress.
Human flaw tip/admission: (Please ignore the fact that I have 2 needles and only one thread…. sometimes you just have to go with it after you’ve begun)!
Step 8: Neckband
Sew the short ends of the neckband piece with right sides together.
Fold the neckband piece in half with wrong sides together.
With right sides together, clip/pin the neckband to the dress, lining up the raw edges.
Sew the neckband on using a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Flip the neckband up and press the neckband flat.
Topstitch the neckband seam allowance to the dress.
We’re finished! Try it on and you’re ready to wear your new, sewn by you dress!
Trying on for Fit Adjustments
Trying on a dress for fit adjustments is an mportant step in ensuring that the garment fits perfectly and flatters the wearer's body. When trying on a dress, it is crucial to pay attention to how it sits on the shoulders, whether the waistline hits at the right spot, and if the length is appropriate. If any adjustments are needed, such as taking in or letting out seams or shortening or lengthening hems, it is best to do it now. By taking the time to try on a dress and make necessary fit adjustments, one can truly elevate their style and feel confident in their appearance.
Adding any Embellishments or Finishing Touches When Sewing Dresses
Adding embellishments, finishing touches, or advanced sewing features is an essential step in sewing dresses. These little details can take a dress from ordinary to extraordinary, adding a touch of elegance or whimsy. Whether it's delicate lace trim, intricate beadwork, or ornate embroidery, these embellishments can elevate the overall design and make the dress truly unique. Once you get going, you'll also feel more comfortable adding things like a zipper, darts, an invisible zipper, and more to your dresses.
Additionally, finishing touches like hemming, pressing, and topstitching ensure that the garment looks polished and professional. These small yet significant details demonstrate the skill and artistry of the sewist and contribute to the overall beauty and quality of the finished dress. So next time you're sewing a dress, don't forget to add those special touches that will make it truly stand out!
How do I sew different types of seams and hems for a dress?
To sew different types of seams and hems for a dress, you can use various techniques such as straight seams, French seams, zigzag stitches, blind hems, or rolled hems. Each technique provides a different finish and look to your dress, so choose based on your desired outcome and fabric type.
Other Dress Patterns from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop
Apart from the Sicily and Sophie we went through above, Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop offers a wide range of dress patterns that are perfect for any occasion. From casual everyday dresses to elegant formal gowns, there is something for everyone. The patterns are designed with attention to detail and fit, ensuring that the finished garment will look and feel amazing. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced seamstress, Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop has the perfect dress pattern for you. So why wait? A few more popular ones include the Willow Sundress, the Women's Garden Party, and the Everyday Girl Pattern. Start sewing your own stylish dresses today!
Thank you for joining us to learn how to sew a dress today. This was such a beautiful fall morning to wear my dress for the first time! I love how it drapes and flows. I have the cowl neck version on my sewing table in a cotton lycra waiting for me to sew it up. I hope you love your new dress and decide to try out the other options this pattern has to offer! Thank you for following along with this how-to sew-a-dress tutorial and until next time, hopefully, we’ll sew together again soon!