Sewing Guide: Dressmaking Tips

Sewing Guide: Dressmaking Tips

Dressmaking is, for many, the pinnacle of sewing. From the time you get your first beginner sewing machine, your aspirations are to one day make beautiful dresses. Every small work you complete helps you build towards making more complex designs, such as dresses. With our dressmaking tips, you’ll feel beyond confident to start a passion project, sparing no expense on fabrics and notions.

Perhaps you’re new to dressmaking and want to avoid rookie mistakes or have more experience but want to perfect your craft. This guide full of dressmaking tips will help you take your sewing to the next level.

Prewash Fabrics To Prevent Shrinkage

Many fabrics will shrink in the wash, which poses an (easily overcome) issue to dressmakers. After creating a dress, the last thing you want is to wash it and have it shrink, lose its shape and become too small to wear. To avoid this, prewash your fabrics. This means you will be sewing with materials that have already shrunk, and you don’t have to worry about ruining your dress when you first wash it. This one small step will save you all sorts of problems, as well as a lot of upset. Spending all that time creating a dress for it to shrink is something you want to avoid.

Create A Toile To Get The Perfect Fit

One of the most valuable dressmaking tips is creating a toile. Before making any new dress design for the first time, we recommend that you make sure to practice with a toile. A toile is a mock-up made with cheaper materials. A sort of practice run, if you will, especially useful if your design is complicated. 

Creating the dress from more affordable materials and without the embellishments will allow you to make any needed changes to fit and size. You can then copy this onto your designs. This way, you get a better fit the first time when using more expensive premium fabrics and notions.

Use A Good Sewing Machine

You do not need the most expensive sewing machine model on the market, but having a good sewing machine is fundamental to dressmaking. It would be best if you had something that could happily withstand long hours of sewing.

Our leading models of Singer sewing machines, for example, will easily accommodate long dressmaking sessions. Your work will feel much less labour-intensive if you aren’t wrestling with your machine to complete the job. If you need to make extra savings, you can always purchase a reliable, refurbished sewing machine.

Maintain Your Sewing Machine

With long hours of sewing ahead, you also want to make sure you are properly maintaining your sewing machine. Maintenance basics include covering the machine when it is not in use and using the appropriate thread and needle for the fabric you’ve chosen. Always read the manual that comes alongside your sewing machine, as this will give you more details on how to care for and get the most from your machine correctly.

Pay Attention To Zippers, Buttons And Other Notions

Your notions and trims are a big part of a design. If you take the time to create a dress and use more expensive fabrics, don’t opt for lower quality accessories, zippers, and buttons. The savings are inconsequential compared to the difference they will make to your dress. The quality of work is shown in these smaller details, and we recommend you pay attention to these to create a dress that stands out.

Hang Before Hemming

Similarly to the way you prewash fabrics so that you avoid shrinkage later, before hemming you should hang your dress to account for stretch. Once the stretch has occurred, you can get to hemming. Hanging the garment for about 12 hours should always be enough. It can be tempting to race through sewing your first dress but taking the time to hang it and having the patience to wait pays off.


Dressmaking is one of the highlights of sewing. It combines a host of skills; measuring, toile making and sewing in all manner of notions. As with all sewing, you get better with practice and learning from your errors as you go, but with the dressmaking tips in this guide, you can skip some of the mistakes and get it right from the start. Use this guide to jump ahead on the learning curve and upgrade your dressmaking, whether you are a newbie or you’re boasting some experience under your belt.


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