Archives for basic sewing lesson category

I ran across this very cool video at one of my favorite sites, Threadbanger. If you’ve never been to thier site, check it out. They have all kinds of how to videos. The video below has a section about how to read a pattern. They interveiw BurdaStyle, which is another one of my favorite sites. At BurdaStyle you can download free patterns and print them out on your own printer so you can sew dresses and more anytime you want. Enjoy the video and remember where you heard about these cool sites.

If you have trouble viewing this video, you can find it at

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I was talking with my best friend of many, many years the other day. We were discussing how to sew dresses and she was telling me how cold she gets at night and how she needed a new flannel women’s nightgown. She was having trouble finding one in the stores she liked and thought she might sew one. But since she hadn’t sewn in years, she asked me to give her a little refresher course. So, I thought I’d post a quick basic sewing lesson here.

Measurements and Pattern Sizes

For sewing women’s dressing gowns, you probably do not have to worry too much about the fit, except in the shoulder and sleeve area. If you normally do not have a problem with the fit there, I would recommend just getting the size pattern that closest meets your bust measurement. Measure yourself accurately but keep in mind that not all patterns measurements are fitted for the same body shape. If your measurements are in between two pattern sizes, always get the bigger size. Most patterns today are multiple sizes in one pattern, which makes adjusting to your size much easier.

Choosing the Fabric

On the back of the pattern it will give you fabric suggestions that will work best with that pattern style. It is important to use the appropriate type of fabric so that it hangs and stays put in the right places. For women’s nightgowns, you want a soft fabric that will hang loosely. If you used a stiff or hard fabric like linen or denim for this project, you probably would not be very comfortable.

When considering the type of fabric you are using for any project, you need to be aware of what will happen to it once the project is finished and the item is cleaned. Be aware of fabrics that will shrink when washed and do yourself a favor and wash it before cutting. This, of course, does not apply to dry clean only fabrics. Some fabrics shrink more than others and in different ways. Which is why pre-washing the fabric, when necessary, will help your projects continue to fit properly even after they are cleaned.

Cutting the Pieces Out

Fabric is made up of fibers woven lengthwise (from cut end to cut end) and crosswise (from selvage to selvage). The bias is at a 45 degree angle across the grain and has the most stretch in any fabric. When laying out your pattern pieces, make sure you line them up according to the directions in the pattern. In most cases you will use the lengthwise grain of the fabric. When lining up the lengthwise grain, use the arrows on the pattern. Measure from the tip of one end of the arrow to the selvage or the fold and make sure that the measurement is the same when you measure from the opposite end of the arrow. The grain that your pattern is cut will determine how your finished item will hang on you. For instance, a bias cut skirt will hang much different than a straight cut skirt will.

Sewing it together

Once you have your pieces cut out, pay attention to the markings on each pattern piece. Patterns are basically like puzzle pieces and need to matched together properly in order to fit well. In some cases some pieces will need to be gathered or eased in place and notches and dots need to be matched up to ensure the right pieces are put in the right places. The other information on the pattern pieces that is important is the seam and hem size. Getting the right size seams and the pieces put together properly will mean your flannel women’s nightgown will fit and hangs properly

There you go, a quick easy basic sewing lesson for those who haven’t picked up a needle and thread lately. Enjoy.

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About Author

I've been sewing since I was a child (a long, long time ago) and recently my daughter showed an interest in making something special. Bringing out the sewing machine always makes me wonder why I ever put it away. I really enjoy sewing and creating things to wear and look forward to sharing all the tips and tricks I use to help make things fit and flatter me when I sew dresses and anything else.