Sew Your Own Clothes: Use Sewing Patterns Like a Pro | Robyn Burgess | Skillshare

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Sew Your Own Clothes: Use Sewing Patterns Like a Pro

teacher avatar Robyn Burgess, Sewist & Designer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (1h 5m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Getting Started

    • 3. Choosing a Pattern

    • 4. Measuring Your Pattern Size

    • 5. Choosing Your Fabric & Notions

    • 6. Preparing Your Pattern & Fabric

    • 7. Sewing Stay Stitches & Darts

    • 8. Finishing Seams & Adding Gathers

    • 9. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Unfold, cut, and stitch your way to being an expert at using paper sewing patterns and get one step closer to the wardrobe of your dreams!

At 6’2’’, Robyn Burgess struggled to find clothes that fit both her inseam and her bold style. Tired of never feeling comfortable in the clothes she owned and constantly contributing to the fast fashion industry, Robyn decided to start making her own clothes. What began as a side project has turned into an entire custom-made wardrobe and a sewing blog beloved by a community of other curious, fashion-forward creatives.

Now, with years of stylish pieces under her belt, she’s ready to teach you how to fill your closet with your own handmade clothes. From mastering different sewing techniques like darts and stay stitches to choosing your size to match your body, you’ll learn exactly how to use paper patterns to transform your fabric into clothing that’s tailor fit to you.

In this easy-to-follow class, Robyn reveals step-by-step how to use a paper pattern to guarantee a beautifully made final garment.

Working alongside Robyn you'll:

  • Discover how to choose the best pattern for you
  • Select the right fabric for your project
  • Collect the extra notions you’ll need to sew your piece
  • Prepare your paper pattern in a way that sets you up for future success
  • Try your hand at the most important sewing skills you’ll need when sewing garments

Plus, get access to Robyn’s favorite free sewing patterns online so you can get sewing on the best pattern for you!

Whether you’re looking to customize the paper patterns you already have or just learn the fundamentals of working with paper patterns, Robyn will walk you through every step of the pattern sewing process with your ideal wardrobe in mind.

In this class, Robyn uses a classic sewing machine equipped with sewing thread and a bobbin and three yards of cotton fabric. Depending on the pattern you choose, you might need more or less fabric, interfacing, or notions like zippers and buttons. To continue your sewing journey, explore Robyn's Learning Path Sew Custom Clothing from Scratch.

Meet Your Teacher

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Robyn Burgess

Sewist & Designer


My name is Robyn Andrea Burgess. I’m 6’2″ and I’ve been this gloriously tall since I was 13. I’ve always loved making every hallway and sidewalk my runway, but finding fashions that fit all of my proportions is a struggle. I started my fashion design and sewing journey in 2015 to build a wardrobe of quality garments that fit my inseam and my bold style. I hope Styles InSeams will inspire you to create outfits that show the world how fabulous you are!


Follow me on Instagram for daily sewing inspiration.

See all of my me-made looks on the blog and shop my sewing pattern designs to make your own.

See full profile

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1. Introduction: What's so exciting about patterns is that they open up the world of garment creation to you with easy to follow guides. If you know your way around a sewing machine, you're able to dive straight into making clothes that looks like the picture. I loved that. [MUSIC] Hi, my name is Robyn Andrea Burgess, I am a sewist and founder of Styles InSeams, a fit-obsessed sewing blog and indie pattern business. I started sewing six years ago after decades of struggling to find clothes that fit my 6'2'' body, my budget, and my bold, cheerful style. I taught myself how to design and sew a handmade wardrobe. Now, I'm proud to say that I have not bought clothes since 2018. Everything I wear, I create from my imagination and my sewing machine. If I can learn this craft, so can you. In this class, we're going to level up your skills by starting to create a beautiful dress using a sewing pattern. I'll teach you how to find the right pattern for you. Choose fabric, prepare the pattern, and then use it as a guide to sew your garment. You should take this class if you're comfortable with basic stitches on your sewing machine and ready to jump into dressmaking. Sewing patterns will unlock a lifetime of sewing stylish garments. You can follow along with the pattern I'm using or you can use what you learn here for any pattern on the market. Either way, I can't wait to see what you create. Let's get started. [MUSIC] 2. Getting Started: [MUSIC] Welcome. I'm so happy you're here. Today we're going to be learning all about sewing patterns. Patterns are a fantastic place to start at the beginning of your sewing journey. Honestly, there are so many out there from vintage and indie designs to free patterns you can download as PDFs that you can sew with patterns for the rest of your life and never get bored. But while the world of patterns can be incredibly exciting and inspiring to explore, it can also be a little overwhelming. I wasted so much money on patterns I've never sown to this day because I didn't understand the sizes are different than ready-to-wear. The first pattern I ever tried to sell had 13 pieces, which is way too many for a beginner. I even ended up choosing the wrong fabric for the design. I hope this class will demystify some things, help you focus your selection and give you a better understanding of how to use a pattern properly to create a high-quality finished piece. In this class, we're going to be making a dress using this lovely pattern that I got for free from Peppermint magazine. Follow along with this design with the link in the project resources, or you can pick a different one that you like. There's so many options and you can really get creative with the designs depending on your skill level. But before we open this up, we're going to talk about how to choose your pattern. Our first lesson will be looking at the pattern marketplace so that you can understand what's out there. What else are we going to need? First, there's some printable worksheets to help you take your measurements. Of course, you'll need a measuring tape for that as well. Then some paper scissors for help cutting out your pattern, a ruler, and pencil. For the fabric, we'll need some marketing tools, pattern weights, pins, and fabric scissors. Of course you'll need your fabric and you'll need your sewing machine with your thread and an appropriate needle. Also, you'll need an iron, an ironing mat, and just all the essentials you need for sewing every time. Now you're ready. You can follow along with the pattern I'm using or follow me to the next lesson where I'll help you choose the perfect pattern for you. Let's get started. [MUSIC] 3. Choosing a Pattern: [MUSIC] Welcome. This is the start of the paper patterns class, and I'm so excited that you're here. We're going to start by talking about the pattern marketplace and helping you to choose your pattern. What exactly is a paper pattern? Before we dive deep in, I'm going to give you a little bit of context. Imagine you want to sew garment, you need to know how do you go from a plain sheet of paper to something that's going to fit on your body. You need to go from something that is two-dimensional to something that is three-dimensional. Paper patterns are that pathway in. They're going to help you find all of the places where you need to adjust your fabric to bring it into your body. What is the sewing pattern marketplace? What's out there? Before the modern clothing age, pretty much everyone sew their own clothes. Most women would have been exposed to handicraft and learning how to sell from grade school in taking home at classes. Our parents generation, our grandparents generation, very much had to do this in school, especially for every woman. It was very gendered back then. Back then, a lot of sewing pattern companies were first established, including McCall's and Butterick and some of the big four, the names that we all recognize today. Some started as magazines where you would take and trace out that guide at this couture, French Parisian runway design and be able to make it at home. Then they started to develop more and more mimicking the fashion that was on the runway. Over the last, say, 50 years or so, especially, the big four companies have been really dominant in the pattern marketplace. They make a really large variety. You have everything from vintage style patterns that go back to all patterns that were made. This is an example from 1952. You have collections that they come out with like learn to sew patterns where they're intentionally making very easy patterns for introductory to sewing. You have small designers like Qualia Ali, who worked and licensed with the pattern companies in order to come up with different designs. Then you have different patterns where you'll see the exact same block or basic idea but shown in a lot of different variations. You can add your own little flair and create a skirt and buy one pattern and maybe have these six different skirt options. There's more licensing by some of the big name fashion designers. This is Donna Karen. But so many of the major fashion designers that ruled New York Fashion Week and ruled the runways, they were making patterns. You can actually take those garments from the runway and bring them home. Over the last 10, 20 years or so, there's been a lot of new indie pattern designers, Some some have even created paper patterns like this one from closet core patterns. But many of the indie pattern designers of today are doing so in a format that's all digital. This example that we're using in this class is from Peppermint magazine and it's by Elbe Textiles. I was able to go to the website, download the pattern, printed out, taped it together, and have it ready in an instant to start sewing. There are several websites online where you can find some really good free patterns. I'll link to a few in the resources. But there's also a ton of indie pattern designers who are doing this as their business, as their livelihood. They're helping to create a really wide variety of patterns that fit different bodies and different size ranges and different aesthetics. I encourage you to look at what's out there. Go on Instagram and look at hashtag memademay where a lot of sewists show off what they've made. You'll start finding that there's hashtags for all of these different exciting ideas. You can see all the different ways where an individual has added their own creative expression to a given pattern. There's also lots of Facebook groups where there's lots of encouragement and patterns sharing like the Fold Line. From current to vintage, there's so many out there to explore so many different designs. With so many options, where do you even start when you're choosing? I think the first place to start is with understanding the difficulty level of the pattern. For example, this is one of the first patterns I ever bought. I love the design, but it is an advanced pattern, which means that it's going to take some years of sewing experience before I can really feel comfortable making it. First things first is to check the difficulty level. It'll either say something like advanced or a lot of the indie pattern companies will show it like the number of x out of y. This difficulty level is three out of five. As a beginner sewist, you want to try to go for one that says very easy or easy on the pattern, or it might be around one out of five, because that's going to be something you can accomplish without being overwhelmed. From McCalls, there's a pattern line called learn to sew, and they talk you through on the envelopes, some of the new skills that you'll learn as you make this dress. This actually is the pattern that I used to make the very first dress I ever created. Often when you see a paper pattern marketed, you see it on a model or you see it rendered in a fabric. But that doesn't tell you everything that you need to know about the design. What's really helpful is flipping the pattern over or looking elsewhere on the website to find the line drawings. Because the line drawings are going to tell you a lot more about the structure of the garment. Because ultimately that's what the pattern does. It defines the shape. Everything else is your choice. Looking at the line drawings for this pattern, I can see the detail and the differences between the different variations. I can see the color, I can see the tie, I can see the slit in the sleeve. It's just helpful to have these as a blank slate when you're thinking about what you want to create and you don't have the bias of someone else's fabric choices when you're actually thinking about what type of fabric I can use for this design. The next thing you want to do when choosing a sewing pattern is to read the pattern envelope. That can either be with a physical pattern like one you buy at a retail store or one that you buy online. You want to understand what the needs are of this pattern. First up, it'll explain what it is. In this example it's a loose fitting jacket with length and sleeve variations. Just get a basic understanding of what the pattern is. Next, look at the suggested fabrics. Think about, do I already have something in my fabric stash that I can use to make this? Or is this fabric well aligned with the type of garment I want to create? For example, if I was going to make this dress that I'm wearing, I know that I need a knit fabric. If I have a nice cotton fabric in front of me that doesn't have any stretch to it and isn't a knit, it's not going to work. Sometimes you'll find similar designs that are made for knits and made from woven. Keep that in mind. The next thing that you're going to want to look at on the pattern envelope is the amount of fabric that it requires. This particular pattern only requires somewhere between one and three quarters of a yard to about three yards. That matters a lot for price point. If I find this beautiful flowy dress but it requires six plus yards of fabric, it's going to cost me significantly more to make that dress. If you're just getting started and you don't want to plunge a lot of money into something you're not super confident with, I would suggest put that on the back burner and make a few things to build your confidence before you jump into something as voluminous as that. Last thing to look on the pattern envelope is the notions. Most garments that you create are going to need more than just the fabric. They're going to need zippers, they're going to need interfacing. They might need buttons or ties or bias binding. Those are just a couple of examples, but definitely take a good strong read of the notions because once you actually go to buy your fabric and buy your materials for the project, you'll need to make sure to pick up those notions as well. The last and one of the most important things to consider before buying a pattern is the size. Meet me in the next lesson. See you there. [MUSIC] 4. Measuring Your Pattern Size: [MUSIC] The last time one of the most important things to consider before buying a pattern is the size. Now I want you to know that the sizes of most sewing patterns are not the same size as your dress size. They're going to be different. What you're going to need to do is measure yourself to figure out how you align with the pattern. The pattern will often show you a few key measurements that you're going to need to take on your body in order to know if you should buy this size range for the pattern or another size range for the pattern. It's usually Mrs. and women's or straight or curvy. It doesn't really matter but the point is, you want to measure yourself and make sure that as you're purchasing the pattern, you're getting the version that's going to fit your body measurements. Don't base it on any vanity size or any dress sizes. Let's take our measurements and get started. Most patterns have a couple of really important measurements that you're going to need to take around the circumference of your body. On the worksheet in the project resources, I have these up top is the circumference measurement. Print that out if you'd like to follow along and have this as a guide, let's talk about a couple of prep steps. What are you making? If you're making a strapless dress and you're going to need to wear a strapless bra, you need to be wearing that. If you're going to be wearing shapewear because that's how you feel confident put that on. Make sure that you're getting your body into the shape that your flesh is going to look when you're wearing the actual garment so that you're measuring yourself with the right proportions for how you're going to fit that finished garment. First thing we're going to do is do the circumference measurements that are super important. We're going to start at the top and go down from there. The first thing is the high bust. With the high bust, you want to measure just below your underarms. Take your measuring tape and wrap it around your body while you're standing in front of a mirror, feet flat on the ground with good posture and bring it around your body just below your underarms with the measuring tape parallel to the floor, so nice and level. The measurement for high bust is really important because that actually is what determines the size of the bust that you choose in most patterns, most patents are designed for a block. It's a woman that's somewhere between five, four and maybe five-seven on the tall end and almost always a B cup. This isn't a real person. This is this normalized industry standard of a woman's body. You need the high bust measurement so that you can understand how your cup size is different from that cup size of that standard block that they've created. The next measurement that you're going to take is your bust measurement, same as before standing in front of the mirror, bring the measuring tape around the fullest part of your bust. Measure with the measuring tape parallel to the floor. Nice and level. Check in the mirror and spin around to make sure it's level all around and measure at the fullest part of your bust. For both of those measurements, you want to write those down on the worksheet that we're provided or on your pattern or note somewhere so that you have those good at hand. Next, your waist measurement. You want to take your waist measurement at your natural waist. That's generally the smallest part of your waist. But another way to find that is to put your finger on your side and bend over. The place where you bend over is your natural waistline. Just as before, wrap the measuring tape around your waist with it parallel to the floor, nice and level all around and take your waist measurement. Lastly, we're going to take our full hip measurement. The full hip is the fullest part of your hip. Wherever your widest part is, not everyone has super wide hips. Some people are more straight up and down, but have a booty in the back. Make sure you're finding where your fullest part is and take that measurement. There's a lot more measurements to take that are on the worksheet, but we're going to leave those aside for this class and come back to those for our tailoring class. Follow along for that tailoring class for more on taking your measurements. Now that we have our measurements written down, we have our upper bust, our bust. our waist and our hip. We can compare those to the pattern envelope. In my case, it's printed out in the instructions. What I just want to do is go and circle the size that best matches the size that I am at that point. In my example, there's about a two-inch difference between the different sizes. With my measurement being in the middle I'm somewhere in between, so I'll just mark down a little I'm in-between there. For my bust measurement, I have a detail which means I have a four-inch difference between my bust and my high bust. I know that if I sew this exactly, I would have to come all the way up to between an E and an F size here. As this pattern describes, the bust measurement or the cup size is really based on the number of inches difference between the high bust and the bust. For example a B cup has a two-inch difference and you can see that pretty clearly. There's a two-inch difference between 37 inch high bust here and the 39 inch full bust here. If your pattern has a high bust measurement and you have anything other than it'd be cup I recommend using your high bust measurement to choose your pattern size and not your bust measurement to choose your pattern size because you're going to have to make an edit. Next, let's look at our waist. My waist falls in about pretty close to the size here. I'm just going to underline that. Then my hip falls in between this size range. I'm somewhere between a D and E and an F in this pattern. But what I know about this pattern is that it's really loose. Sometimes I'll be able to have access to finish garment measurements and see just how big it's going to be. I'm just going to start with the smallest size. If I choose a high bust measurement, if I choose the D size, would I have enough space for my bust even without measurements? Yes, I would because there's a good amount of fitting and design is here or extra space in the garment so that I would be okay if I sew to size D. With waist also, it's a pretty big billowing dress, so I would be okay if I chose the size D. Hip also 60 inches, plenty of room. But you also want to keep the character of the garment a little bit. Because I can see here that there's a four-inch difference between the bust measurement of the garment and the bust measurement of the finished garment, I know that there's four inches of ease. I'm going to choose a size that's going to be best at maintaining those style lines. This pattern again, is very helpful. It tells me when choosing a size focus on the high bust and bust measurement as this is where the garment is sitting closest to the body. In every example of choosing your size, you want to take a step back and say, okay wait, but what I'm I trying to accomplish with this garment? If I'm making a skirt and it fits in the hips, but then it flares out at the bottom I want to use my hip measurement to choose my size. If I'm making a dress and it is fitted up top but then loose below, like in this example, I'm going to choose that up top measurement to fit it and then just let it be loose below. Now I'm pretty confident with the size that I'm going to make of this pattern and if I were purchasing this pattern online, I would know that I need to buy the size range that includes the size E for myself. Now it's your turn. Find a pattern that you're interested in. Measure yourself, and then choose the size that you're going to want to sell when you start making up your pattern. Meet me in the next lesson, we're going to talk about fabric notions and everything you need to sew up your garment [MUSIC] 5. Choosing Your Fabric & Notions: [MUSIC] Welcome back. In this lesson, we're going to explore expressing your creativity with fabric and notions. Before we dig into exactly what fabric and notions we need to use, I want you to think a little bit about what you're trying to create. Everything that you make can express your personal style. Think about what colors or prints or patterns look really good on your body. Think about where you're going to be wanting to wear this garment. If you just want to make the pattern but don't really have a starting point, I recommend searching on Instagram or Facebook for the hashtag of the pattern. Many modern designs now have a hashtag with the pattern number or the pattern name, where you can see a ton of inspiration of how others have made that garment and helped to decide what choices you want to do. Gather up all your ideas, maybe create a little mood board, and let's dig into the fabric and notions for creating your project. Fabric is like a playground for your creativity, but there's a couple of rules when it comes to making your garment. First, what you should do, is take a look at your pattern envelope and reread what it suggests for you. In the example of this pattern, it suggests chino, denim, linen, twill, with a lining in cotton blends. That means it wants me to choose a fabric that is a woven and it's a little bit heavier, it's a bottom weight. That's exactly what I would expect by looking at the pattern envelope. You don't have to be familiar with all the different names of the fabrics. But what you can do is enter any of those into a fabric website like or Mood Fabrics, or even just Google it, and read about the descriptions of the fabric that it gives you on the envelope so that you can have a better understanding of what to buy. If you're buying your fabric online, that's a really great starting point. If you're buying them in the store, ask someone to help you find a fabric that's a good match. When you're going to actually choose your fabric, you can make some decisions about how you want that finished piece to look. One question is, how much drape does it have? I have a couple of examples of fabric samples here that would all potentially be appropriate for the dress I'm making. This first one has a bit more drape. It's flowy, it's like a rayon, and it's going to have some movement when I actually wear it. Drape is basically how much it'll blow in the wind, how flow it will be, and how it'll hang on the body. This is a nice cotton. It's a designer print, but it's a bit stiffer, not totally stiff, but it doesn't have as much drape as this. It's a bit heavier. Then I have this cotton. It's probably the stiffest of the three, but it's not super heavy. Any of these three would be a good match for this dress. They're just going to give me slightly different qualities. While this one will be super fluid, this one might hold its shape a little bit. For this design, this one that's super drapey might hang straight down. While this stiff of fabric might have more than a line shape, because it's going to hold those gathers and be a little bit stiffer. All of those are okay. If you want a stiff dress, if you want it to have some shape and take up space, choose a fabric that's a little stiffer. If you want to just be breezy and carefree and maybe wrinkle-free as well, choose one with a little bit more drape. Let's look at the suggested fabrics for this particular dress. This pattern suggests light to medium weight woven fabrics with good drape. Soft cotton, washed linen, cheese cloth, double gauze, silicon wall, silk crepe de chine, or rayon viscose. Some fabrics are a lot more difficult to sow than other fabrics. If you are a beginner soist, I do not recommend you start out with something that's sheer. I also don't highly recommend starting out with anything that's slippery in your hands. Shiny fabrics like satin that are going to be slippery, are going to wiggle around on your sewing machine. They're going to wiggle around as cut them, and they're going to be a lot more difficult to sow. Another thing is, will this fabric whole depressed well? Meaning, if I put a hot iron on it, is it going to keep that line? Or am I just going to be going for days and days and it just unravels? A way to check that in a fabric store is to take the fabric in your hand and run it through your fingers and try to create a tight crease. Then open it up and see if you can see or feel that crease left in the fabric. Keep that in mind. I want you to succeed. I want you to make something wearable. I want you to make something that you're proud of. Now that you've chosen what fabric you want to use, how much do you need? Most patterns will give you a good idea of how much you're going to need to buy. Often they do so on the pattern envelope before you even purchase the pattern. For the dress that I'm making, I can see that it tells me how much fabric to buy based on the fabric width. Either a 120 centimeter width, which is about 45 inches, or a 150 centimeter width, which is about 60 inches. Those are the two standard widths of fabric that you're going to purchase. It gives me the amount of yardage I need for either of those. Anywhere from 2.4 yards of the wider fabric up to two-and-a-half yards of the wider fabric, or around 2.8 yards of a more narrow fabric. In this example, it does not recommend I use a more narrow fabric for larger sizes because you're just not going to have enough width to get the pattern on the fabric without having to add a seam line in order to make that happen. If you're buying paper patterns, the fabric requirements are also on the back of the pattern. They'll show it to you in 45 and 60 inches widths, and they'll give it to you by the different sizes. Again, go back and refer to your size before you purchase fabric. A good rule of thumb is to get at least around three yards of fabric because that's a about as much as you'll need for most designs. I want you to also consider when you're buying fabric, if you're going to be having to make any adjustments. I'm six foot two. So when I'm buying fabric, I know that I always seem to get a little bit of extra, so I'll have the extra inches in all the different places where I wear my height. What you really should do after you've purchased your pattern is open up the pattern and look at the cutting layout and see how the pattern pieces are aligned up. On this page, this outer box here represents the fabric from salvage to salvage. You can see all of the pattern pieces lined up on the fabric as if you're relaying them out. I can see here that they're lined up along the length of the fabric, and any inches that I add in length will increase the amount of fabric that I need. But there's a lot of extra space here as well in the pattern layout. A savvy soloist or someone who likes to save a little bit of money, can certainly pattern-tetris this a little bit and get more usage out of this fabric by moving pattern pieces around. The next material that you're going to need to consider is your notions. Notions are all the little bits and bobs that go into making your garment. Oftentimes those aren't even thought about; they're buttons, they're zippers or interfacings. Have a read at your pattern and figure out exactly what you need for what you're making. In this example, we don't need any notions aside from bias binding. It's going to be possible to actually make your own bias binding for this stress, so you don't need to buy that. You just need the fabric and you need some coordinating thread. Other patterns might need other notions like elastic or a zipper or definitely interfacing. Interfacing is really important for garments. Definitely pay attention to the type of interfacing that it suggests on the pattern, and choose one that's appropriate for the type of fabric that you're sowing with. We won't be needing this for this pattern, but keep it in mind every time you are going to go to sale. The advice that you'll always hear from experienced soists, is to choose the most expensive fabric that you can find for your project. But as you're just starting out, I want you to build up your skills on fabric that is easy to work with, and it's going to give you a sense of accomplishment as you build up to those fancy fabrics. So maybe in the next lesson as we talk about preparing the patterns. See you there. [MUSIC] 6. Preparing Your Pattern & Fabric: [MUSIC] Let's jump in and start cutting out our pattern. First things first, we're going to want to cut out our physical paper pattern. For that you're going to need a set of scissors, or if you have a cutting mat and a rotary cutter, you might have a special blade that you just use for cutting paper patterns. When you have PDF patterns, you can either have them print at home, which will come out tiled and individual pages like I have here, with a lot of different pages that you need to tape together. Or you can send your paper pattern to accompany that does PDF plotting or some other large-scale printing so that you can get them back in a role that you can cut out more similar to store-bought patterns. You can also buy patterns that come in the pattern envelopes in a physical format. These are really cool. They come printed on tissue paper. So for these, what you'll want to do is just open up all the folds of the tissue paper and then cut along these blue lines. When you're buying sewing patterns like this, I like to try to preserve as much as possible so that if I change sizes or if I want to make someone for a friend or family member one day, I don't have to go back and try to buy the pattern again. What I usually like to do is print out the largest size available. Another thing that you could do is take tracing paper and put it over any of your pattern pieces, then trace out the exact size that you want. It may be possible for the pattern that you're creating that share between multiple sizes and you need to do a technique called grading. Grading is when you go from one size in one area to another size in another area. For example, I could go for one size at my bust, another size at my waist, and a third size at my hip. That would be grading. I'm not going to get into detail about grading in this class, but please watch my tailoring for fit class to learn a lot more about how to grade paper patterns to get your exact fit. Another thing that I like to do if I'm printing out a paper pattern is take a colored pencil or a highlighter or something and actually highlight over the size that I am going to be cutting. That helps to reduce confusion when I'm taking my scissors to the paper because there's a lot of lines here that look exactly the same, so I highlight it to make it a lot easier for myself. Once you have your paper pattern cut out, check and see if there's any wrinkles or folds that you might need to get rid of. You can take a very low iron with no steam or no moisture, like the lowest possible setting to the paper, it will help to flatten any of those wrinkles before you're ready to cut out your fabric. It may seem like a bit of a nuisance to do all of that prep work before you start sewing, but trust me, it's going to be worth it in the end result. Creating these good behaviors for yourself, we'll make sure that you're always creating garments that are wardrobe staples for you. Go ahead and cut out your pattern if you haven't already and now we're ready to start cutting out our fabric. Now that we're ready to cut, I want you to refer to the cutting layout in your pattern. Most patterns will include a marker that shows the way that the pattern is designed to go on to the amount of fabric they recommend. Again, you don't have to use their exact example, but it does give you a good starting point. For example, in this pattern, you see these salvage ends, which are the ends of the fabric on either side. Then you see how it's laid out from top to bottom. This is certainly laid out as if it doesn't matter if the top and back are upside down. But remember if you're using a printed pattern, it's really important to have something that's supposed to be facing up, facing up. Another thing that's slightly different about this pattern, all of these pieces are cut on the fold. The way that this pattern is designed, you're only seeing one-half of the front bodice. You're going to want to cut back on the fold so that you get both halves. What we're going to do is fold our fabric and then place this pattern on it so that it gives us the two halves of the front that you have of the back and the two halves of each of the skirt tiers. Another thing to observe is of the pocket. Whenever you're creating something and you're not cutting on the fold and it's meant to be symmetrical, remember that you need a right piece and a left piece. A right piece and a left piece of a symmetrical object are basically opposites, so you're going to want to cut one facing up and one facing down on the fabric. Sometimes you'll get flustered if you aren't cutting them on a fold of fabric and you'll make two left pieces. Just be aware of that as you're cutting that if I've cut one face up, I'm going to have to flip it over and cut one face down. Just because we're cutting on the fold doesn't mean that we have to fold our fabric exactly in half. You can fold the fabric in any way that gets you the appropriate width of your fabric. In this example of the picture, it's clear that they folded it in different places in order to get the widths of the fabric and leave as much usable fabric left as possible. For this dress, we're going to want that to create our bias binding. For most patterns, if you get clever about the way that you put the pattern onto the fabric, you can actually save a lot of fabric that you can then use for other projects like creating a matching accessory or even a totally different wardrobe piece. I have pattern Tetris so well in the past that I've made a jumpsuit and then a skirt and a top with a leftover fabric. Think about how much fabric you can save and use for your other projects. Now let's cut out our fabric. You want it to be as flat as possible and you do want to open up your fabric as much as possible so you can lay out the pieces. One important thing about cutting on the fold is thinking about the salvage edges. Again, the salvages are going to be the finished edge of your fabric. Usually, it's a little bit white, it sometimes has dots going through it. If you have dots and you have a solid fabric, the fabric that feels rough to the touch is the front of your fabric, is the face of your fabric. If you have a printed fabric like I have, it's pretty obvious, switch is the right side of the fabric. You really can choose if you want to cut out your fabric with right sides together or right sides facing out. I sometimes like the face going in because then it's easy to mark my notches. But when I have a printed fabric, not always great because I want to be able to see how I'm placing my pattern onto the fabric. I did find the green line up my fabric by zipping in one spot and then ripping across. But remember the grain line is going to run parallel to the salvage. That's also how you want to place any of your folds. I'm just going to take my front pattern piece and my back pattern piece and place it along the fold. This is the top of my fabric. The flowers are telling me this is right-side-up. As I place my pattern, I see that I have a little bit of extra width with my size, so I could, if I wanted to save some more fabric, pull this in and fold it at a more narrow spot. As you place your pattern on your fabric, you have a few options for how you keep this in place as you cut. I like to use pattern weights most of the time. I just pick these up from Home Depot for a quarter each. If you have a super slippery fabric, please use a ton of pins. If you have really stable fabric and you're not doing a lot of angles, just use pattern weights. I'm going to use scissors to cut this. But again, you can also use a cutting mat and rotary cutter if that's more preferential to you. Time to cut. [NOISE] You want to take long rod cuts. But as you're in these tight places, it may be hard, so just try to keep it as accurate to the pattern as possible. I also try not to cut through any lengths where possible because again, preserving fabric. Great. Now we have our first pattern piece cut. You want to go ahead and do that with the rest of your pattern pieces until you have it all cut-out. The next most important thing to do is to mark all of your notches and dots. Those are really important because they help you line up your pattern pieces when you go to sew it together. I usually click my notches with a pair of scissors because I'm just clicking into the seam allowance. But when it comes to dots, there's a few different tools that you can potentially use. My favorite is a erasable pen. This pen will disappear when heat is applied to it. It's really good on a number of different fabrics to be able to mark those dots anywhere on the garment. This however doesn't show up well on all fabrics. If I'm working with a really dark fabric or really busy pattern, sometimes it's difficult to spot this. What you can use instead is a marking pencil or different types of chalk. I like this chalk writer for drawing lines, but this little chalk tool is also good for marking on your fabric. The first thing I want to do is mark the ends of the dart legs here. I've already done this one and I'm going to mark this one as well and just do a little clip into the fabric. Not pass my seam allowance. Because I haven't folded over, it should go on both the front and back pieces in the right spots. Next because I want to sew my darts on the wrong side of my fabric, I'm going to open up my fabric so that I can mark my dots and not just on the wrong side as well. What I'm going to do is just place my pattern down on the wrong side of my fabric. I like to use a ruler to help me out here. I just like to put the ruler against the dot that I'm trying to mark and the dot here is the size that I've chosen and then I'm going to fold my paper up. Then I'm going to take my favorite pen and just mark a dot right there. Now you can see a nice prominent dot there. I'm going to need these on both sides of my bodice. I'm going to flip this over to the wrong side. Because I can't see super well through the paper, what I sometimes like to do is just mark the dot on the paper on the wrong side so it's easy to spot. Then I'm going to do the same thing on the other side of my garment. There we go. Now it's marked on both sides and we can put our pattern aside for a moment. What we're marking here are the bust starts and bust starts effectively our triangles of fabric where we're wedging out excess fabric to help us create shape. This is the thing that's going to take this from being a flat two-dimensional object to something that actually comes around our body. I have to take out the extra that's here so that it will create the contour. What I'm going to do is just lay this flat and come to one side and find my dart legs again and find my dark point. Then I'm going to use my ruler to line up that dart point and the end of the notch that I've created. I'm going to talk in that line. I'm going to do the same thing on the other side of the dart. Find the end and draw the line. Do the same thing on the other side as well. This particular pattern only has bust starts here, but your pattern might also have darts coming down from the waistline to bring in the shape in a different way. Or you can have darts pretty much anywhere on your pattern in order to create the contour around your body. Now I'm going to cut the rest of my pieces. I'm going to add all of my markings, all of my notches, and I'm going to get my fabric and pattern ready to start sewing. Meet me in the next lesson where we talk about sewing construction. [MUSIC] 7. Sewing Stay Stitches & Darts: [MUSIC] In this lesson, we're going to bring all of the pieces together, stitching the darts, creating the seams at the shoulders and at the sides, creating the gathers for the tiers of the skirt and making the body of our dress come to life. The first thing that we're going to stitch for this garment are the stay stitches. Now stays stitches are rows of stitching within the seam allowance that keep your garment from stretching out a shape. Because if you don't do this first in your garment construction, what could happen is any of these round points could take some tension. We're going to stitch along the neck line and along the arm holes in both the front and back pieces to make sure we don't have any stretching and we keep the nice scoop neck line that the pattern intense. Let's move over to our sewing machine. You'll remember from my fundamentals of sewing class that the first thing that I want to do is test my stitches and make sure that my machine is set up properly. I've chosen a coordinating thread, I've threaded the machine and I have a good threaten the bobbin and I just want to make sure my settings are all good before I started working on my garment. I'm just going to take an off cut of a fabric from my pattern to test my stitches. [NOISE] All looks good, time to start sewing. Now for a stay stitch, you have to be very careful not to pull your fabric when you're putting it through the sewing machine. The other thing that you want to keep in mind, stay stitches always happen within the seam allowance. In this pattern it recommends stay stitching at 0.4 centimeters, so that's pretty close to the edge. One more thing to consider when you're stays switching the direction that you stitch matters. For this pattern, I'm going to stitch from the shoulder seams down to the arm holes and then when I get to the neck line of my garment, I'm actually going to stitch down into the center from either side, instead of sewing around in a circle. It's a little bit particular, but that's the right way to do it so that you're not stretching your fabric out of shape. Stay stitching, you should use a normal stitch length, so I'm using a 2.5 and you should definitely backstitch at the start and stop. [NOISE] That's one side. I'm going to do the neck line and then we'll move on. [NOISE] I've just brought it to the middle and I'm going to do the other side from the other shoulder down into the middle again to keep it from stretching out a shape. So the reason why I'm flipping this around is so that I can stitch it into the middle. When you're sewing, of course, you always keep your seam allowance over to your right. In order to get both sides going into the middle, I had to flip the fabric over. It shouldn't matter. I'm stay stitching within the seam allowance. These are stitches that you won't see on your finished garment. Now you can see my Rosa stay stitching at the arm hole and at the neck line. Continue doing that with your other arm hole and then also your back piece as well. Now that we have our pieces all stay stitch, I'm going to work on the next step, which is sewing our darts. You'll remember that we described before. The darts are what takes up the fabric so that we can contour around our body. We've already drawn them on with a dart point and legs, and we used our chalk and then I just went over it with a marker such you can see the full leg of our dart. I'm just going to grab some pins and start working on creating the dart. I love this little pin cushion because it keeps my pins close at hand and I can take them out and in it with ease. Bring our piece around and fold our fabric with right sides together. What I want to do is match up the notches of the dart in the back and then get the end of the dart, which is the point with a dart in the front. I like to have the dart uptake facing outward and I like having the angle of the triangle facing to my right because that's how I'm going to be able to put it on this sewing machine. I sometimes look my finger so I can get a little bit of traction as I hold the fabric. Now that I've gotten the dark folded together properly, I'm going to pin it up so I can take it to my sewing machine. As I pin, I just want to match up those lines so I can see that the pin is going through the line on one side and through the line on the backside as well and then just close it up. I like to do my first pin and then I like to do a pin a little bit past my dart so that I can get the whole line straight and then come back and fill in the middle. You don't want any bunching as you do this start so try to finger press it a little bit and just take out the ease if you have to. Now the dart are all pinned, and I'm going to pin out the other one and then take it to my sewing machine. Sewing darts, there's a couple of things you need to remember. Don't backstitch. Second, use a short stitch. You want a stitch that's nice and tiny and it's going to keep it nice and tight. Third, you want it to be round a little bit. Fourth, we're going to come off of the end, pass the end of the dart a little bit. Fifth, we're going to tie it off. Let's watch that whole process. I'm a little bit weird. I don't know if anyone else does this, but I change my stitch length and gets smaller and smaller as I reach the end of my dart. That's to make the stitches even more secure and invisible. I'm going to start at a 2.0 and then I'm just going to go down to a shorter stitch as I go down the dark line. As I stitch, I'm going along the line that I've drawn in. That's why I always like to draw my lines in. Remember that darts are helping to shape a contour of your body. A contour is rounded. There aren't any straight lines on your body. You'll have the most success with your darts if you try to get a little bit rounded as you go towards the edge. Ever so slightly you can rotate your fabric out towards the end. [NOISE] Before we get down to the end, I'm now at a one-point for our stitch length and I can see the end of my dart, so I just want to take note of that before I go forward. As we're curving in a little bit, we want to go pass this dart that we've drawn in that's just here, just a little bit and we want to ride the very edge by a couple of extra stitches just so that we have a nice, really tight point at the end. [NOISE] What you're going to want to do is lift up your needle and pull out your fabric, but don't cut it close to the end. You need to give yourself a couple of extra inches because we're going to tie a knot here. You may find that your thread has twisted itself a little bit. I like to look my finger to get a little bit of grip and just untwist it, or you can take a pin and just sneak in there and separate the two sides. We're just going to tie two knots. Now we can take it and snip it off pretty close to the end. That's our first dart. Now that we've sawn our darts, it's time to press them into the shape that we want. Get a hot iron, and if you have one, get a Taylor's ham. If you don't have one of these, I recommend getting a towel, or a washcloth that you can turn into the shape of your chest. Because ultimately what we're doing when we're stitching darts is turning this flat piece of fabric, into a nice curved shape that's going to fit around our body. What you want to do is you want to take your Taylor's ham, or ball up some towel and place it under your fabric onto the right side of the fabric with the wrong side facing up. You just want to position it so that that dart is pointing to the bust in a way that's about the shape of your chest. Then we're going to take our iron and we're going to press it down. We're going to have the dart going downward. Use steam if you have a cotton, or fabric with steam. If you're using a gentle fabric remember to use a pressing cloth, or something to protect your fabric from the iron. Once we've done it on the long side of the fabric, flip it over and do the same thing on the right side of the fabric. You might have to flip your ham around so that you get the right contour for your body. Work on the other side. Try to mimic the shape of your chest. You'll know it when it lays flat a little bit against the ham. Now our darts are pressed and you can start to see it take shape. If you put this down on a flat surface, it's not going to stay completely flat anymore. The next step in our project is sewing our front and back pieces together. Let's put our right sides together. Let's connect them up with the shoulders and connect down at the side seams, bring them close to each other. We're going to put pins at the shoulders and at the side seams. These should match up pretty well, but on your pattern you might have some notches that you can use for aligning the pieces. Definitely match up any notches that you have there. We're all pinned up, it's time to sew. Before we sew, it's important to remember how big the seam allowance is supposed to be for our pattern. If you choose a different amount of seam allowance, it will change the shape of your garment. You can make it smaller, or you can make it bigger. You might want that if you're trying to make your clothes fit a little bit tighter, or you need to let it out a little bit for extra room. But we're going to go ahead and sew with a one centimeter seam allowance, which is what's recommended by this pattern. [NOISE] I like to do both shoulder seams and then both sides seams. If you are making this for the first time and you weren't sure how well it was going to fit in your body, you could either have made a muslin for it, or sometimes I like to just bast the side seams and try it on and see how it fits and then adjust as needed. But this is a pretty loose fitting garments, so I'm pretty confident that it's going to fit loose and nice regardless of how I search it right here. A muslin is a practice garment that you make in a non finished garment fabrics so that you can check the sizing of your pattern. As the fabric is moving through your machine don't push it and definitely don't pull it, just let it move through as naturally as possible. [NOISE] We're all done with those seams, so let's clip our threads and move on to the next step. [MUSIC] 8. Finishing Seams & Adding Gathers: [MUSIC] The next thing that we want to do is finish our seams. This fabric phrase quite a bit. So we want to make sure that our finished garment isn't going to shred apart or open up at the seams. We do that by doing some finishing stitches. There's a few different things that you can do for finishing. You can use pinking shears, to just clip along the outside edge. If you have an overlocker machine, I do recommend that. You can just search or overlock along the edges of the seams with that machine and it will close up those edges nicely with thread. What we're going to do is use a zigzag stitch or an over locking stitch on our machine to finish these edges nicely and keep it from frang. So the first thing that I'm going to do is change the stitch on my machine. I want to use a zigzag stitch. I'm going to use Number 4. Before you start stitching, you might need to change your presser foot in order to do a zigzag stitch. This presser foot is just right for a zigzag on my machine. I wanted to make sure I show you the zigzag stitch as a seam finished because if you have even the most basic machine, it usually has this function. I'm just going to line this up with the edge of the fabric and what you might want to do is take a scrap of fabric and test your stitches, but I think this is okay for now. I'm just going to do the zigzag so that it goes off the edge of my fabric a little bit. [NOISE]. So you can see the edges are now zigzag. That's going to keep it from fraying [NOISE]. Now our seams are all finished, so now I'm going to grab my iron and I'm going to press all my seams to the back. I was pressing on the wrong side first and then flip it to the other side and press it on the right side. Remember that pressing your seams, it's what helps your garments look more professional. A lot of times if you see some tacky looking handmade garment, it's because they didn't press their seams and create really crisp lines. So we finished the seams of our bodies, but we haven't yet done the bias binding. I'm going to put this aside and we're going to come back to that a little bit later. For now we're going to work on the gathers of the skirt. So I'm going to skip a couple of steps and just show you the most crucial elements. I want you to go ahead and do your pockets just like the instruction say if you're following along with my pattern, what we're going to do next is Stitch side seams together so that we can create the gathers and join it to our bodice. Per usual, I'm going to put right sides together. Just adding a couple of pins. As you get more and more comfortable selling, you'll start putting your pins further and further apart. It also depends on your type of fabric, but this cotton barely needs pins [NOISE]. So we did skip a couple of steps with the pockets, but we got our skirt seams stitched together on the sides and finished and pressed, and we're ready to sew our gathers. So what is a gather? And gather is a bit of fabric that's pulled in to fit to a smaller piece of fabric that it's connected to. So what I'm going to do is so to rows of basing all along either side of this fabric and then be able to pull those strings to make it a bit smaller to fit into the bodice. Before I do that, I want to make sure that I have the center marked in both my skirt pieces and my bodice pieces. So if you haven't done that already, go ahead and mark the centers. The easiest way to find the center is to just fold it in half and then you can either use a pen or you can take a little snip into the seam allowance. Don't go too deep. I'm going to do the same in each the front and the back. Remember that the front and the back may not be the exact same width so do it for them separately. So I'm just going to line up the side seams and find the center. I'm going to make a little snip. Back on our skirt piece we're ready to bring into the sewing machine. I want you to set your machine to a basting stitch. So that's going be a straight stitch with the longest possible setting. I don't like to go through the side seams on my gathers, so I'm going to have a gather in both the front part and the back part. What I want to do is place the fabric under the presser foot so that I'm into the seam allowance. I want to make sure both rows of these gathering stitches are in my seam allowance. In this pattern, the seam allowance is a little bit small, it's just one centimeter, so I think it's okay if you lose about a quarter inch of length to make sure that you're sewing this nice and straight. Then once you add it to your bodice, you'll be able to hide those gathering stitches. So I'm just going to position this a little bit away from the edge, maybe a quarter of an inch away from the edge. Again, I'm using my longest stitches. Remember for basting, don't backstitch at the beginning or at the end. When you get to the end lift up your presser foot and pull it long and give yourself some pretty long thread tails. Now we're going to a second line of basting stitches just a little ways away from that first-line. So position it so it's about an eighth of an inch or so away from that first-line stitching and remember, don't back stitch at the beginning or the end. You're going to want to do that with both the front and the back, so am going to do that one more time [NOISE]. So now we have two rows of stitches on both the front and the back. What I'm going to do is take my bodice and put it inside here so that right sides are matching and what I want to do is line up the center of notch with the center notch on the bottom and the side seams with the side seams and put a pin in it and all four spots, remember they're not going to be the same size, that's exactly why we're gathering it. We got our pins in and you can see that the skirt is quite a bit bigger than the bodice. So we're going to pull our gathering stitches to make it the same size. So I'm going to start pulling from the right side to bring it down towards that center. So what I want to do is find one set of these threads that are on the end. So I'm just going to use this to help me separate this out. I want to get the stitches on the top line and the bottom line, but I only want to get the ones that are coming out of the front, leave the ones in the back alone. What I'm going to start to do is just pull these threads and you'll notice that it's making the fabric come wrinkle on itself or gather up on itself as you pull it, push those down and try to distribute that volume. We're going to keep doing that until this piece of the skirt becomes the same size as the bodice. Remember, keep distributing these because if they get stuck in one place, you won't be able to gather them very well. You want to get them nice and even across back to where that pin is. Once you get them about the right size, you want to adjust them and make sure that they're evenly spread. Once I get it to a good place, I'm going to take a few more pins and just pin it down. Then I'm going to do the same thing on the other side over here, pulling the threads from the other end. So that is about the right size and now I need to make sure that I'm distributing these evenly so I got the size a thing that you can try to do is wrap it around this needle so it doesn't move anymore and then just pull these across. Let's pin it up. Once you've done the front, go ahead and do the back as well and then we're going to move over to our sewing machine. I'm just going to skip right to the sewing machine so I can show you how to stitch this thing together. We were just using basting stitches so now remember to move our stitch length back to our normal stitch length, which is 2.5. We're going to attach the skirt to the bodice right here along this seam. So make sure that you only got one side under here but the two pieces adjusts to the correct amount of seam allowance put your needle in. We're going to stitch down through these gathers from one side seam to the other side seam, the front, and then around the other side. Remember to backstitch this time as we're using shorter stitches that we want to stay [NOISE]. You should take your pins out as you go[NOISE]. Let's turn that to the right side so we can see how that looks. There it's all gathered up. So what you would do next is treat this like any other seam, you're going to want to press them in one direction. You're going to want to finish that seam with a zigzag or an over locker or something and then it's going to be ready to go on to the next step. For this particular pattern, you'd use the bias tape that the pattern asked you to create so finish the neckline and the arm holes with a nice clean finish. You'd also add another tier to the bottom of this stress with gathers and then hemet at the bottom to finish the lower edge. This particular lesson took you through the most popular skills that you need when sewing garments. There's so much more to learn so if anything wasn't covered in this class in terms of what you need to do to sew your garments I really encourage you to look them up. There's plenty of YouTube videos out there, including some I've made myself, and plenty of links in the resources to get you started with a number of additional skills to level up your sewing ability. Here's the power of patterns. You can go from raw fabric to a nearly finished garment in very little time and with confidence that it's going to fit you. [MUSIC] 9. Final Thoughts: We've made it to the end. I'm so glad you've taken this class and shared with me one of my favorite parts of my sewing journey. Sewing with paper patterns. In this class, we've done the ins and outs of paper patterns. From the pattern marketplace over the decades and currently, how to choose the right pattern for your size and it's used to write fabric for your pattern and all of the notions. We've gone through, cutting out your pattern and preparing it to get you to success. We've also talked about a lot of the key elements of sewing construction to make you successful in sewing your garmin. That is a ton, so well done for making it to the end of this class. I hope you're well on your way to a finished garment. Remember I'm sharing a ton of helpful tools in the class resources and also I'm clarifying many of these steps in my other classes. Hop around on Skillshare and take all of my classes to continue your sewing journey. I really hope that you do tackle a pattern and create something wonderful and make sure that you share it with me. Add it to the class project gallery, or tag me on Instagram so I can see exactly what you've created. I can't wait to see what you'll make. Good luck with the rest of the reselling journey.