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

In this article, you will learn how easy it is to fit Vogue 9237. You will learn which body measurements you need to choose your starting pattern size; how to sew a test garment; and what you should look for when assessing the fit of this pattern. So if you’re ready…

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

Step 2: Fitting Our Sewing Pattern to Our Body.

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


Choosing Your First Sewing Pattern

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!

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

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 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…

IMG trimming seam allowances on curves.

  1. Layout pattern pieces on muslin fabric.
  2. Pin pattern pieces.
  3. Cut out pattern pieces.
  4. Transfer pattern markings.
  5. Staystitched the neckline and the armhole edges. directly on the SEAM line.
  6. Trim the seam allowances (SAs) close to the line of staystitching. See the image above.
  7. Sew the shoulder seams.
  8. Sew the sides seams (SS) now, because this is a loose-fitting silhouette that requires minimum fitting.
  9. Try on the trial garment and the assessed fit.

And I’m so glad I did, because I learned three things about Vogue 9237 as it relates to my body:

  • my shoulder slope is a perfect match to Vogue 9237;
  • my neckline at center front (CF) needed to be lowered 3/8 inch; and
  • my armholes (at the SS) also needed to be lowered 6/8 inch — almost a full inch!

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!


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!

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!