How to Sew a Simple Dress ~ Step 2 [A Series]

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Hey, you!

Welcome back to the How to Sew a Simple Dress series!

I hope that last time, you found the information in Step 1 ~ Why Vogue Very Easy 9237 & Getting Started inspiring and not in the least overwhelming.

We’re now at Step 2 ~ Fitting Our Sewing Pattern. It’s short, because just thinking about fit may be stressing you out! But I want to encourage you to relax and breathe!

So if you’re ready, then let’s tackle every woman’s least favorite thing…

dealing with measuring tapes, body measurements, and fit.

But first, if you’re like most of us and you can’t bear the thought of actually having to deal with the space you occupy, then I have a message HERE for you!

Series Contents

NOTE: If you’re ready to begin this journey and would like to buy my recommended tools and supplies, please click HERE!

Step 2: Fitting Our Sewing Pattern to Our Body.

I chose Vogue 9237 because the loose-fitting silhouette means fewer pattern adjustments.



Step 2a: Prep and adjust our pattern.

To start, we need to take at the minimum these body measurements: high bust (1), full bust (2), waist (3), and hip (4). You can click HERE to learn how to do so accurately!

4 body measurements

After that, we’ll need to locate the following three pattern pieces: #1, #2, and #4 for View A.


Although I love, love, love pockets, we’re are going to keep it simple for our first dress.

Next, cut out our tissue pattern pieces.

And iron them with a DRY iron on WOOL setting! They must be crease-free for accurate laying out, pinning, and cutting out!

Once that’s done, it’s time to adjust the fit. You can do this on the original tissue pattern. Or you can duplicate your sewing pattern and work on the copy. I decided to do the latter.


For this loose-fitting pattern, most of us will need to make sure of just a few things:

  • that the shoulder slope is correct;
  • that the fit around the neckline and armholes is comfortable; and
  • that the overall length is to our liking. In other words, the hemline stops at a flattering point on our lower body.

Sew easy tip: For the love of well-fitting handmade clothing, invest in a fitting resource that speaks to you! Fitting is too complex a topic to cover in any meaningful way in this article.

RELATED: Click HERE to learn my favorite fitting resources and a wealth of juicy, good-to-know fitting tips!


Let’s exhale. The worse part is over!

Step 2b: Make a muslin.

Once we’ve made our adjustments, we really should make a quick muslin.

And you’ll only need the FRONT (4), the BACK (1), and the RUFFLE (2) pattern pieces to do so.


The test garment can be made from actual muslin fabric or from inexpensive fabric that has a similar drape as our dream fabric that we’ll ultimately use.

For this project, I used actual muslin fabric for my test garment.

And here’s how I sewed it for this project…

  1. Layout pattern pieces on muslin fabric.
  2. Pin pattern pieces.
  3. Cut out pattern pieces.
  4. Transfer pattern markings.
  5. Staystitch the neckline and the armhole edges directly on the SEAM line.
  6. Clip the seam allowances (SAs) right up to staystitching. See in the images below.
  7. Sew the shoulder seams.
  8. Sew the sides seams (SS) now, because this is a loose-fitting silhouette that required minimum fitting.
  9. Try on the trial garment and the assess fit.

And I’m so glad I did, because I learned three things:

  1. that my shoulder slope matches the pattern;
  2. that my neckline at center front (CF) needed to be lowered 3/8 inch; and
  1. that my armholes (at the SS) also need to be lowered 6/8 inch — almost a full inch!

In the image above, I removed the SAs prior to fitting; the notch indicates CF.

One more thing:

Treat your muslin as well as you would treat your fashion fabric. Because how well you treat your muslin contributes to your ability to  assess fit accurately!

RELATED: Click HERE to learn how to fit and assess a muslin!


I know that having to face our measurements may have been a bit painful!

But we survived. And we should be so proud of ourselves for embracing our bodies, so we can sew beautiful garments that really fit us well!

Remember to be patient and tender with yourself. And keep taking it one step at a time!

blue jar labeled patience

And before I go, I would like to suggest…

for more juicy tips on how to fit garments, check out 3 Methods of Pattern Adjustments and What You Need to Know to Fit Sewing Patterns!

Okay, that’s enough for today.

Next up: Step 3 ~ Over at the Cutting Table for Real

Until then, remember…

Life is the ultimate red carpet event. Dress for it!

RELATED: Click HERE to learn about the most lovely dress silhouettes and keep up with the all the dress projects on this site!

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