27 May 2014

A couple of weeks ago I shared some material that I intended to make into a dress for my daughter.  I had already tried to make one dress which sadly ended rather badly with a half finished item that doesn't fit and is beyond my sewing skills to rescue.  I am hoping my mum can help when she visits later this week.  I didn't want to try another bought pattern but I had read about using an existing garment to create a 'pattern' of your own in this lovely book, so I thought I would give that a go.

The first step is to draw around the item, this dress is a simple sleeveless tunic style dress with a zip up the back, onto the pattern paper.  I am sure you can buy expensive paper which is designed for that job, I used greaseproof/baking paper from my kitchen drawer!

You will need to examine the garment carefully to work out how many pieces it has.  This dress has three a front piece and two back pieces.  The back pieces are identical so I only needed one pattern piece, I also decided to draw the front piece in half and fold the material in half to cut it.

Lay the garment, it's a good idea to iron it first, on the paper and carefully draw round it with a dark pencil.  The neckline on this garment was lower at the front than the back.

To get the shape for the front piece you can either draw it freehand or, as I did, use a small piece of paper inserted into the dress to get the shape, which I then transferred to the pattern piece.

Once you have drawn round the garment remove it from the paper you now need to add your seam allowances.  I added 1.5cm.  I used a ruler to mark in dashes and then joined them together.

The original garment is all once piece on the front and back but I wanted to divide them in two.  I worked out where I wanted the seam to run across the front and back and drew that onto the pattern and then added a seam allowance for each piece.

I could have cut these out as separate pieces but I decided to just fold the pattern pieces on the lines to cut the material.  I made this dress fully lined.

I had no pattern to follow when it came to sewing it up.  I managed to work out how to sew in an invisible zip and sleeves without hand sewing and will share how I did this another week otherwise this post will get a bit long and I need to go and make some food for my daughter's birthday party this afternoon.  I will leave you with pictures of the finished article, my daughter loves it and has worn it for the last two days!

Joining in with Nicole........head on over to see what others have been making.


  1. Great idea. The other thing I do, when something I really love has worn out, is unpick it and use the original bits as the pattern. Then spend several days wondering how it all should fit together again..

  2. That turned out amazing!! well done!

  3. Love the dress and the colour combo, know wonder she has worn it loads! Invisible zips are great, i have added them to two skirts, one dress and a top with left over material from a skirt that literally did not have much wiggle room!!! The side invisible zip saved the day :-)

  4. Aww I love that fabric and the dress looks amazing. I really need to learn to sow. I have a machine but I am not really sure how to thread it, but I should really drag it out, give it a dust off and learn :) Thank you for inspiring me :)

  5. Beautiful! I'm constantly amazed at how many items you create and how wonderful that you made your own pattern. You made it look easy enough to try! Thank you...

  6. That is an absolutely gorgeous dress! You are very talented :)

  7. Wow! I love this idea... And your own pattern looks a lot less scary than a bought one.
    The dress is very pretty, glad she likes it!
    Sarah :)

  8. It's fabulous, such a pretty dress and beautiful fabric, no wonder your daughter loves it.

  9. Awesome! I don't know if I am confident enough to draw out my own pattern pieces, but maybe eventually I could get on that bandwagon! The extent of my pattern making is tracing pants for the kids :-)

  10. An inspiring tutorial that yielded adorable results! I'm so glad your daughter loves to, too:)

  11. How pretty is that! Well done you :)

  12. Lovely - I'm sure your daughter adores it - I love the fabric.


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