Dress Patterns for Beginners: EASY to SEW

easy to sew McCalls 6117This is the first is a short series on sewing patterns that are EASY to sew or EASY for new sewists (beginners). Because these styles tend to be shift dresses (loose with bust darts) or "A" line in shape, they are perfect for summer. This is the season to best sew for warm weather, the timing is right to make one of these styles.

What I look for when choosing an easy pattern are several elements that need to come together:

1) seam lines: few seam lines to sew - just the side seams please!

2) pattern pieces: two main pattern pieces - front and back

3) darts: few darts - bust darts are fine

4) zipper: nope!

5) sleeves: nada!

6) neckline: simple and round, I think facing is easier than bias edge, but that's me

7) hemline: machine sewn? yes please

8) fabric: smooth, medium weight cottons: these are easiest to sew - quilter's cottons, cotton gingham checks, cotton shirting plaids and stripes.

Here's a few patterns that would be EASY for a newbie, or FAST for those with experience.

Top View, McCalls 6117: The pattern above is probably the most complicated with the neckline "V" slash in front. It also has a center back seamline which will aid in getting a smoother back fit. But overall, it's a simple style.

easy to sew dress
McCall's 9172: View D is sleeveless, optional dart or no dart, ‘relaxed fit’, neckline facing, pull over, large size range

Easy Palmer Pletch McCalls 6355
McCall's 6355: basic shift pattern by Palmer/Pletch, neck binding, optional fitting darts. This pattern has options for creating a good fit.

easy to sew McCalls 6102
McCalls 6102: View D, shift style, 2 bust darts, pull over, large size range, neckline facing

easy to sew McCalls 6465
McCall's 6465: view E, slip over, sleeveless bias tape arm holes, loose A line shape

Why Butterick and McCall's? I like their website format. At each pattern page, there is a clear, large view of the garment on a figure. Below this are line drawings (production flats) of the garment showing each seam line clearly. Fabric and notions are easy to read, and the yardage is there also.

If you scroll down further, you will find the GARMENT MEASUREMENTS. This information can be compared with a similar garment you own and fit, so you know what the results will be. Use this to select hem width, hip and bustline ease (looseness). It is a great way to determine your pattern size, if you feel the size measurements may not be exactly your fit.

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