Choosing Your First Sewing Pattern

In this article, you will learn the anatomy of the perfect beginner dress sewing pattern and why Vogue 9237 is it!

I know you are aching to get started already and sew a garment you can proudly flaunt!

But I want you s-l-o-w down, pause, and learn what you need to consider when choosing your FIRST dress project to ensure your best chance of success!

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

How to Choose Your First Pattern

For your first pattern, choose something that you are looking forward to sewing and flaunting.

And if you want to read a true story with a lesson of what not to do with your first pattern, click HERE.

The moral of that story was this…

So if you want to keep your sanity during your first project, choose a pattern with…

  • five or fewer pattern pieces;
  • a relaxed or loose fit that does not require excessive custom fitting, such as a dress with no waist seam;
  • no sleeves;
  • no zipper; and
  • no lining!

For our first project on this site, we will be using the endlessly versatile (you’ll see)…

Vogue 9237

Even those who have no interest in sewing and/or consider themselves fashion-challenged, have probably heard of Vogue.

The name Vogue is synonymous with sophisticated, high fashion. And one trip through the Vogue sewing pattern look book (catalog) reveals why!

While Vogue patterns tend to be the most complex of the Big Four pattern companies, they do have a Very Easy Vogue line.

And this pattern is one that I find adorable.

I have a confession to make: I am a total court jester for a ruffle or a flounce!

Please, ignore that fugly illustration — the one in blue! I made a sample garment in even uglier muslin fabric and it was cute!

Vogue 9237 - Sway Dress - Pattern Pieces

I actually did a twirl with a sideway head dip and a juicy grin. So I can’t even begin to imagine how I will act when I actually make this dress in some dreamy fabric!

Here are some practical reasons this is a great beginner pattern…

  • It is easy to fit because it is loose-fitting. And, no, it will not be frumpy if you choose the right fabric, something with drape.
  • It has just five pieces: dress front, dress back, ruffle, sleeve, pocket. That’s it!
  • No shaped facings! It uses pre-made bias tape.
  • It requires no zipper. I do so love a slit opening!
  • It requires a reasonable amount of yardage commitment.
  • The instructions are ONE page. ONE page!

It does have a super cute gathered detail at the back. But fear not! Gathering is not hard and it adds just a tiny bit of spice to a first project.

However, if you want to skip the gathered detail, for now, you can extend the back pattern piece (#1) to the same length as the front pattern piece (#4)!

RELATED: Click HERE to learn how to gather the easy way!

Best Fabrics for Beginners

The short story is this:

Avoid anything that is too slippery, too sheer, too maddening!

Various Types of Cotton - Stitching in Colour

You want fabrics that are stable so that they stay put on your cutting surface, are easy to cut accurately, and a joy to guide through your sewing machine.

This would be so cute in a cool cotton or cotton/blend seersucker; in a lightweight linen in a stunning colour; in a lovely, elegant mid-weight crepe (easier to sew than I thought).

RELATED: Click HERE to learn how to choose the best fabric for any project!

The End

Well, you now know what to look for in a sewing pattern for your first dress project. And you know how to avoid any pitfalls when making that choice.

I would hate for you to lose your confidence before you’ve had enough successes to ensure that you fall in love with the art of sewing!

So wisely choose your first sewing pattern and a lovely length of easy to sew fabric and let’s get ready to sew a dress or two!

And remember…

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

RELATED: Click HERE if you’re ready to unleash your dressmaking superpowers and learn how to sew a simple dress! Warning: This is a MEGA 5-part series!

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