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This is a good beginners tutorial with easy steps that won’t confuse you. Normally, to make a dress, you can cut the fabric to your measurement from scratch. This time, we will be using pre-existing patterns. There are paper patterns already cut to specific sizes for different garments, you simply purchase one and use for your project. The beauty of using a paper pattern is that it takes the stress off measuring, adjusting and making any mistakes. Also, paper patterns are forever; once you buy a pattern for a skirt, you can use it as many times as you want.   Tools Needed Fabric Pattern or existing dress Sewing machine Needle Thread Scissors Pins Tape measure Chalk Ruler   Steps
  1. Lay your fabric flat on the table, folded, with right sides together.
  1. If you have purchased a paper pattern, place it on the fabric and pin to the fabric so that it does not slip while you are cutting.
  1. If you don’t have a paper pattern, simply take one of your dresses, fold it in half horizontally, and place on the fabric. Secure with pins.
  1. Carefully trace around the dress with chalk. When you are done, you should have an outline of your old dress, on the new fabric.
  1. Remove the dress.
  1. Carefully cut along the lines you traced onto your fabric. Remember that you will need to cut the back and front pieces, as well as the sleeves, of any. Leave some allowance of about an inch.
  1. Take your fabric to the machine and sew round the hem and seam allowance you marked.
  1. Take the fabric away from the machine, turn to the right side and check for proper fitness. If you have sewn anywhere incorrectly, simply pluck the seams out with a pin, and adjust.
And that’s it. This method is easy because you already have a pattern to copy, and this takes a load off as pre-existing patterns are easier to follow. Give it a try and see how it turns out!   About the author: Amina Salau is a writer and editor running The Illuminated Pen. You can find her online at and on Twitter (@_Aminah)

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This article was first published on 17th December 2014

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