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How to put a garment together


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This is a really interesting leaflet I found via the always lovely Millie Motts. It shows the beginner a step by step method for basting a garment and fitting it before sewing. You can click the images for a larger version.

Did any of you learn to sew this way? It recommends basting the whole garment together, fitting, then sewing.

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

Comments 9


I’d love to hear your opinion on this method! I’m brand new at sewing, and completed my first dress (Vogue 8443) in a very disorganized way – basting some, pinning some, ripping lots – I don’t know what I’m doing and would love to know whether I should adopt this method! I think a method will help to organize the madness…
Ps. I really like my new dress – it’s a little tight across the underbust (just a little!) but other than that, it fits well.


I don’t sew like this, but it seems logical and would likely help with a more perfect fit. You could apply the theory to any garment – dress, blouse, skirt, pants. And it would save you having to make a test garment or muslin first, which I only do if the fabric is really expensive or I’m concerned about fit.


What a fun post! I usually follow pattern directions pretty closely, which has really taught me quite a bit. I’ll have to give this a try, though…


My method is generally: sewing, ripping open seams, re-sewing, …. repeat steps as often as necessary.

But maybe I should try the basting method some day :)

Sarah Lemmon

I went to the Sewing Expo and a few women were talking about this. It seems like it would be difficult to get a clean line on some of the seams because they are already partially joined. Have you done this?


No, I haven’t made anything this way, but I think the idea is that you rip out some of the basting where seams cross. I think the biggest obstacle would be that this seems really time consuming!

And of course, I think it would also be limited in terms of fitting. If you needed to make any serious pattern adjustments, you wouldn’t really be able to do that without recutting it, which is where a muslin is helpful.


This is especially helpful if you don’t have a dress form. I do something like this, but I think my method is the “cheat” and is probably not nearly as accurate. I compare my measurements to the pattern since I have had so much trouble in the past going by the measurements on the envelope. Weird. If it is a simpler garment that I can pattern fit, I do that. Say, on a princess-seamed trenchcoat with lots of pieces, I cut the fabric and pin it securely at the seamlines and try it on inside-out. Adjustments are hard anywhere near the back unless you’re a contortionist, but it’s better than sewin’ it up and hating it. I just ripped one like that. If only I took my own advice every time!


I learned to sew like this. It was the way my grandmother would sew a garment, and, while she never taught me to sew, I did observe, and it stuck with me. I find it easier to quickly baste by hand with a long running stitch, fitting the piece while wearing it (re-baste), and then sewing it together. I don’t enjoy as much sewing with all the pins on the fabric.


just found this neat tips-!

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