Monday, December 5, 2022

"Free-hand" Sewing Series: Post #1: Designing Your Dress



In this series, I'll be jumping right into "free-hand" dressmaking with a simple dress. I plan to take you through all the steps of creating this type of dress in this series. Feel free to follow along and sew with me!

I like to sew my dresses without patterns. I either design them myself (I have liked to draw dresses for most of my life!), or I see a dress I like and copy it. Sewing without a pattern decreases the time it takes to make a dress. In turn, this decreases the chances of you becoming discouraged or losing enthusiasm for the dress project. A simple, "free-hand" dress does not have to take longer than a day to make. I have made one in less than two hours!

So, instead of spending hours at a store (or in your craft room) finding a dress pattern, grab a sheet of paper and a pencil and sit down with a cup of tea...

Things to consider when you design your garment:

-How much fabric do you have to work with? 

4 yards is the minimum amount of fabric I like to work with for a dress. If you choose to do long sleeves, you may need more yardage - I need around 3/4 yards of fabric for my long sleeves.

 -Consider the print of your fabric!

Do you want to wear huge, red roses from head to foot, or would the print of your fabric make a better skirt, paired with a solid white blouse? Does a 'cool' modern chevron design make a good regency era dress, or would it be more fitting (pardon the pun) for a modern style of gown? Let your fabric have a say in what style of dress it wants to be!

-Think outside the box, but within your limits!

If you have minimum dressmaking experience and want maximum success with your free-hand dress, keep your design within your sewing abilities. It is better to make a simple dress that turned out well, than a complex dress that you don't want to wear again because it did not work out quite right. 

What is a 'simple' dress?? For this series, I've made my design simple by eliminating zippers, buttons and fasteners. This also reduces the time it takes to make the dress. 

There is admittedly more of a chance of 'messing up' with free-hand sewing than when using a pattern. However, once you have learned the basics of this kind of dressmaking, you should have an intuitive knowledge of how a dress is created. Then, there's no telling the limits of what you can make! Every style you invent is yours to wear.

Stay tuned!

To God be the glory,

Miss Humphrey



  1. Glad to see how you begin the exciting process of making a dress!

  2. Your drawing of the dress is stunning. It is feminine and lovely. I look forward to reading more!

  3. I remember how you went into the sewing room and several hours later came out wearing a beautiful dress. I still have all those dresses you made when I was not looking, and now I get to see how you did it!!!

  4. I am so glad to see the start of this and thank you for spending time with it.

  5. I am intrigued and very much looking forward to watch you go through the steps.

  6. This is a great new blog! Thank you to your grandma for sharing it! So helpful.

  7. I’ve never sewn a dress without a pattern before and it sounds a bit daunting—but I’m inspired to try it! :)

    1. Oh, good! Feel free to comment with any more questions!


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