Are 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.