How to Sew a Simple Dress ~ Step 5 [A Series]

In this article, you will learn how to assess your garment sewing projects so that you learn what worked and didn’t work, what you like or loved and what you absolutely will not do again! Taking time to assess your projects will grow your dressmaking skills and ensure greater success with future projects. So let’s assess…

Oh. My. Gosh.

Welcome back to How to Sew a Simple Dress series! This is the final installment!

Right now as I write these words, I am wearing my very flirty V9237. I kid you not!

It is comfy and just a little twirl-worthy, especially when there’s a light breeze in the air!

And no, a woman is never too old to twirl!

To end this series, I think it is very important to pause and assess the good, the bad, the pretty, and the fugly of our first dress project

This is crucial regardless of what sewing level we’re at, but it is particularly important to beginners! Because this is how we can mindfully take what we learn from each project into the next and the next!

Unless you have money to burn and time to waste, winging it is NOT an option! Practice new skills before and take notes after each project!

So in that spirit, here’s my personal assessment of Vogue 9237

Series Contents

Let’s Assess the Dress: Vogue 9237…

Q: What was the dress silhouette?

A: This dress silhouette is commonly known as the tent dress. But my nickname for it is the Sway dress, because I would never get dressed in a tent!

Choosing Your First Sewing Pattern

Q: How did I prep the fabric?

A: I pre-washed the fabric to remove sizing chemicals and grime!

Q: What notions did I use?

A: I used thread, custom made bias tape, and a hook & eye.

Sew a Dress - Vogue 9237 - Step 1

Q: Did I need any supporting fabrics?

A: I did not need any interfacing to complete the project.

Q: What layout did I choose?

A: I used the standard lengthwise fold layout.

Q: What tools did I use?

A: I used a very sharp dressmaker’s shears to cut out my pattern pieces and a water-soluble marking pen to transfer pattern markings.

Q: What needle size and type did I use?

A: I used a universal 80/12 needle. But I think I probably could have also used a 70/10 as the fabric was quite lightweight.

Q: What presser foot did I use?

A: I used my all-purpose/zigzag presser foot.

Q: What stitch length did I use?

A: I use the standard straight stitch at 2.5mm stitch length.

Q: What closure did I use?

A: The pattern originally called for a thread loop and a button. But I had no interest in doing a thread loop and I didn’t have a button in the right size or colour. So I kept the slit at the center back (CB) and paired it with a hook & eye.

Sew a Dress - Vogue 9237 - Step 4

Q: What seam finish(es) did I use?

A: I used three: (1) clean finish; French; and 3-step zigzag.

Q: What hem finish did I use?

A: I used a simple narrow hem.

Q: What pressing tools did I use?

A: Of course, I used my ironing board, my heavy ar$e iron, and a pressing cloth.

Q: Were the pattern instructions easy to follow?

A: Yes, they were but I did deviate in a few places to make it even easier! Check out Step 4 in the series!

Q: Was this dress easy to sew?

A: It is easy to sew — and fit — if you choose your fabric wisely! Gotta love a sway dress!

Q: What I liked and disliked about V9237?

A: I really loved that it was simple to sew but had that adorable cute ruffle detail at the back for added interest.

However, I don’t care for thread loops!

Q: Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope when I was done?

A: Yes. It actually looks way better!

Q: Can I breathe, reach, sit, and walk comfortably?

A: Ahh, yes! I can do all of that — and eat and enjoy dessert too!

Q: Would I sew it again?

A: Yes, most definitely! This pattern is so incredibly adaptable! I have already made quite a list of cute variations of this pattern!

Q: Would I recommend it to others?

A: Oh, yes!

Q: What did I learn from this project?

A: Here’s what I learned from this project:

  • Do involved skills like applying facings, gathering and hemming when you are fresh and/or well-rested!
  • Mark your notches on the gathered sections with a marking pen, not snips. Because when you gather or are sewing with fray happy fabric, those snips vanish!
  • When doing a clean finish on fray happy fabric, add ¼ to the seam allowance!
  • Gather each half of the BACK (#1) and RUFFLE (#2) individually, and then join them at center back (CB) in one go. This has to be easier than trying gather double the width.
  • Check bobbin thread before you start hemming. Make sure you have enough to complete your hem without running out! SIGH!
  • If you are finishing the neckline and armhole with a facing, remove ⅜ inch from neckline and armhole seam allowance on your pattern before you cut out the pattern pieces. Why cut out a pattern piece with a 5/8 inch SA, only to have to trim it off later?!
  • Do NOT over press seersucker!
  • True confession: I do NOT like this fray happy poly-cotton seersucker! It sucks up close — too many flaws for my perfectionist personality!

That’s it. Assessment, done!

RELATED: Click HERE if you’re interested in a new way of looking at “failure!”


It’s been a long time getting here, but we’ve sewn our first dress on this site!

I am so freaking ecstatic. You have no idea!

And I want to make you a promise:

If you really want to unleash your dressmaking superpowers, never give up! And before you know it, you will be proudly wearing and flaunting dresses you’ve made with your own two hands! Imagine how accomplished and amazing you’ll feel!

There are really no words!

Okay, it is time for us to build on this project and dream, sew, and, of course, flaunt more fabulous dresses!

And 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 all the dress projects on this site!