Order of garment construction.

garment orderAre you tired of confusing pattern sewing instructions in today’s sewing world? Or do you want to design your own clothes or patterns, but aren’t sure how to actually sew them together once you’ve drafted or draped your design?

There is an established order to clothing construction. I learned it in fashion school years ago. We had to learn it so we could know in what order to put together our designs. Because of course your own designs don’t come with instructions and it really helps to know this when drafting patterns.

These steps I’m going to go over with you are also perfect for home sewers who might be confused by badly written pattern instructions, or who might want to try sewing patterns by companies like Lekala, Style Arc or Marfy, which come with very sparse directions. Or for when you lose your pattern instruction sheet!

Once you know the sewing order of garment construction, all you need is a good comprehensive garment sewing book and you are good to go. All you ever need after that is a hopefully well drafted pattern.  To learn how to actually sew each individual step, any good sewing book or reputable online source will teach you. I have a few vintage books I love to use. Don’t let dorky diagrams sway you. Those older books contain solid material.

And of course, this isn’t the only way to put together a piece of clothing as many roads can lead to the same place. But it is nice to have it for a frame of reference.

I have to credit my sewing teacher Connie Amaden Crawford from FIDM is Los Angeles. She was my instructor at the time, and taught me this material. They are supposedly industry standards. At least back in the 90’s, they were!

Now some of these steps you won’t be using, depending on what you’re making. Just skip those steps if  and when that’s the case.

Step 1- Sew all darts, tucks, and pleats.

Step 2- Sew all style lines which are any seam line besides shoulders, armholes, or side seams. Example: yokes and princess lines.

Step 3- Sew or iron interfacing onto to all pieces needing it.

Step 4- Sew pockets.

Step 5- Sew all zippers except a dress zipper.

Step 6- Sew shoulder seams.

Step 7-Sew side seams and inseams.

Step 8- Prepare collars. But don’t sew them in, yet.

Step 9- Prepare sleeves . Sew plackets, cuffs, or elastic to sleeves and sew sleeve seam. But don’t sew them in, yet.

Step 10- Attach collars.

Step 11- Sew bodice facings.

Step 12- Set in sleeves.

Step 13- Attach bodice and skirt waistline if sewing a dress.

Step 14- Attach waistband or waist facing if sewing a skirt or pants.

Step 15- Sew in dress zipper.

Step 16- Sew hems.

Step 17- Sew buttons and buttonholes.

And if you’d like to download a cheat sheet, here is copy. Or you can pin it.Garment sewing order from start to finish. Sew country chick blog.


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  1. says

    It all makes a lot of sense…now! Five years ago it would have come as a revelation to me. Really helpful, Justine. Thank you!

  2. Mie says

    Yeeeeeees!!!! Thank you for doing a post I’ve had in my head for a long time but probably would never come around to make!!

  3. Justine says

    Thank you, Justine! 🙂 I have never seen this all so nicely and concisely put into a list like this. This looks really helpful! Not only do I think you are an awesome seamstress, you’re a great teacher. Love your posts!

  4. says

    So generous to share your expertise. I wish I had gone to fashion school. How different my life would be! Not necessarily better or worse–just different!

  5. says

    This is great, thank you! Most sewing instructions say to interface before the sewing even starts, but if I’m reading your list right, you prefer otherwise? Could you elaborate on that?

  6. SF Pami says

    Thank you for this. Is m a self-taught sewist and have always followed printed pattern instructions with minimal results. This really helps!

  7. Maribel says

    Ahora entiendo cuando en los concursos de diseňo y confección,en ocasiones es imperante hacer un diseňo y terminarlo para ir a pasarela en unas dos horas, con el orden que marcan en las escuelas de diseňo, de no ser así, sería imposible acabarlo.
    Muchas gracias por tu aportación a la costura, seguiré este orden.