Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

Garment construction

Duanita | Posted in Teach Yourself To Sew on


Does anyone know what fabric provides a good fit and is easy for a beginner to make a dress? And what stitch should I use?


  1. HelgaPataki | | #1

    cotton, or follow your pattern recommendations.

    100'% cotton. 

    1. CHER2000 | | #6

      how to sew

      cotton  batiste is easiest to sew , however use the material suggested on the back of the envelope.  A common stitch length is a setting at 10 to 12.

      1. HelgaPataki | | #7

        cotton batiste and long stitch

        yes, this is my favourite combo and for summer I like to line the dress with cotton batiste as well.  I like to use a long stitch because the garment flows better.  for patterns, If I select a simple cut I omit the facings and line the entire dress. 

      2. HelgaPataki | | #8

        cotton batiste and long stitch

        yes, this is my favourite combo and for summer I like to line the dress with cotton batiste as well.  I like to use a long stitch because the garment flows better.  for patterns, If I select a simple cut I omit the facings and line the entire dress.  I made a dress out of cotton lawn, and lined it with batiste. 

    2. Teaf5 | | #11

      I agree

      Cottons are great for summer dresses!  Beginners also need to know they must pre-wash the fabric before sewing, though, as cottons tend to shrink a lot (and more in length than in width).  Launder the un-cut fabric the same way you intend to launder the dress, and dry it the same way, too.

      Pre-washing also lets you know what the real qualities of the fabric are; it may be much softer than its new form, more sheer, more crinkly.  It's important to know exactly what you're working with before you make a single cut.

      When buying fabric for a dress, find a mirror in the fabric store and hold the bolt at your shoulders and unroll a couple of yards.  This will help you see whether the color and print are good for your coloring, size, and shape; you'll also be able to see if the pattern is printed correctly or it there are any strange visual effects at a distance, such a giant rose centered over your tummy or a diagonal line in a distracting place.

       I once bought a small green/red print that looked like brown from a distance, and several times, I've been attracted to a print that looks awful against my skin or is too overwhelming in all the yardage of a dress.  Be careful but have fun, too!

  2. Pattiann42 | | #2

    Choosing Fabric

    The best resource will be the information on the back of the pattern envelope.

    If the recommendation is knit only, then that is the only fabric that will work.  The envelope will have a printed gage for stretch testing the fabric before purchase so you are sure it is the right one for the pattern.

    Other fabrics will not require the stretch test.

    Fabric type, composition, width and recommend care will be printed on a label found on the center support for the fabric (tube or folded cardboard.  If the fabric is hanging, there will be an information tag.

    Pay special attention to the care information as some fabrics can shrink or distort if not properly cared for.

  3. stillsuesew | | #3

    You are asking some really basic questions.  You would use a simple straight stitch on virtually any fabric.  Don't use too tiny a stitch as it will be very difficult to rip out should you need to do that (and believe me, you will at times.)  You might benefit from having a good sewing book by your side.

    1. HelgaPataki | | #4

      your final goal

      how expensive do you want your dress to look depends on the quallity of your supplies and what sue said. If you use 100% cotton thread to sew your 100% cotton fabric it would look fabulous.  cotton also great with wool.  use linen thread for linen and silk for silk, or use poly for silk. 

  4. User avater
    realsis | | #5

    Good fit fabric and great pattern for dresses for a beginner

    HI, I also am a beginner. Ive made several wonderful dresses! The easieast pattern for a sundress by far is NEW  LOOK 6352. This sundress is extremely simple to construct and a fun cute project! If your looking for a bit fancier project use Simplicity 2638. This pattern requires gathering and zipper, depending on your skill level this is also a wonderful beginnners sundress project. Ive made both in the last week and i consider myself a novice sewer. I do have zipper dart and gathering knowledge. If your a brand new sewer I suggest  using the NEW LOOK pattern 6352 as it does not require any zipperts or pletes or gathering. I just use a straight stich on both of these projects. You can alter the patterns to make the dresses shorter if you like by simple cutting off of the bottom of the pattern. I did this and it turned out lovely. I like to use a soft cotton for ,my dresses because I live in a very HOT climate and like to have breathable fabrics. on the pattern 2638  I choose not to line the dress because my fabric was heavy enough and the linning makes the dress a bit warmer in the hot summer months. The dress still turned out wonderful! I also changed up the back a bit on pattern 2638  by making the zipper go to the entire top to the skirt and did not use the button at the top as the pattern calls for. So you see you can change up the patterns a bit to suit your style . Another wonderful beginners sundress pattern is MCalls 5652. that is a fun little project but does require a zipper.Another wonderful beginners project I have made that does not require a zipper is KWIK SEW 3871. this is a perfect beginners project. This comes in sizes xs to xl so every body  type can enjoy this dress. You can make it in long or short view.It is fast and easy. I have been sewing a lot of dresses for this comming summer. Im learning things as I go. Take a look at these patterns ive suggested to you and I  think you will agree that they are easy and fun to make. I hope I have helped you and answered your questions. Happy sewing!!!

  5. Pattiann42 | | #9

    Stitch Selection & Garment Fit

    The manual for your sewing machine should have a chart for selecting the correct needle type as well as stitch length according to your fabric selection.

    A very good reference to have in your sewing library is Sandra Betzina's Fabric Savvy.  This book features many fabric types, suggestions for use as well and thread and needle selection.

    You can get a bit of a preview of the book here - http://www.amazon.com/Fabric-Savvy-Essential-Guide-Every/dp/1561582670

    Fit will depend on how accurate you measure the body and then use those measurements for pattern size selection - never go by your  RTW (ready to wear/store bought) size.

    1. HelgaPataki | | #10

      buying fabric online

      denver fabrics has an option at the very end of your check out.  If you buy fabric, you are given an option for them to select the corresponding thread and zipper and stuff.  Its really convenient.  When my package arrived, I felt they were worth it.

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All