Free shift dress pattern: tips for getting started

Have you added the Sew Crafty shift dress pattern (free with issue 13) to your to-sew list? Read on for our top tips on getting started, including taking accurate measurements and cutting out your pattern.

Measuring up
Good sewing starts with accurate measuring – as the saying goes, measure twice, cut once! So it’s important that you take your measurements and compare them to the sewing pattern’s size chart to find the best size for you before you cut out your pattern and fabric. It’s also a good idea to read the sewing pattern instructions thoroughly before you begin.

Most sewing patterns require three measurements – bust, waist and hips. Grab your tape measure and a notebook to jot your measurements down in, stand in front of a mirror so you can be sure you’re measuring yourself in the right places, and measure the following:

  • To take your bust measurement, place the tape measure around your back and across the fullest part of the bust. The tape measure should be snug, but not pulled tight.
  • To take your waist measurement, first bend from side to side to see where your body bends – this is where you need to measure. Wrap the tape measure around your waist, again ensuring it is not too tight, but not too loose either.
  • To take your hip measurement, find and measure around the widest part of your hips.

Now you’ve measured yourself accurately (and written your measurements down and put them in a safe place for next time), take a look at the pattern’s sizing chart and find the size that will be the best fit for you. sewing projects shot in the studio

Finding your size on the pattern
Although sewing patterns can differ from brand to brand, they usually follow the same principles and use the same pattern markings.

Some patterns use different line styles to differentiate between the sizes, while others may require you to count the lines to find your size, which is what you’ll need to do for the Sew Crafty shift dress pattern free with issue 13. Start at the inner line – this is the XS – and count outwards to find the line for your size. For pieces cut on the fold, the fold line will be the same for all sizes.

Once you’ve found your size lines, it can be helpful to mark them with a highlighter on each pattern piece before you start cutting out – we’ve highlighted the M size.sewing projects shot in the studio

Cutting out your pattern
Now you’ve taken your measurements and highlighted your size, it’s time to cut out your pattern! Cut carefully along the lines you marked with the highlighter. You may choose to cut the notches at this point, or you may prefer to do this when you cut your fabric pieces out.

You’ll notice that there are two pattern pieces for the Sew Crafty shift dress front, and two for the shift dress back. Join and tape the two dress front pattern pieces together at the dotted line to create the full dress front pattern piece, and do the same for the dress back pieces. Congratulations, you are now ready to cut out your fabric!  sewing projects shot in the studioShare your finished makes and fabric finds with us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram using #simplysewingmag. We’re on Pinterest too – come see!

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