Before I met Sew Basic dress patterns, I had an old pattern that I used back when I was in my twenties. As any Mommy knows, going through pregnancies & nursing can change your body a lot. I would just guess around on my pattern, adding or cutting off here and there, or exchanging my regular bodice for a nursing pattern when I needed it. I had to play around with it until I got it perfected. But then if you loose weight after baby, or perhaps can’t loose that weight, your previous dresses may or may not fit. I did a lot of changing around and adjusting with many dresses I sewed! Seams didn’t always match up either. Also, with my old pattern I would use the bodice piece for the cape- I had to remember to fold in the side, & not cut as wide, but then cut wider at the top, making my own guesstimated slant cut. (Actually not as complicated as it sounds) But its another thing I love about the Sew Basic patterns- they have a separate cape pattern included!
Around 2 years ago I finally tried out the Sew Basic Cape dress patterns for myself and absolutely love them! Yay what preciseness and yay what beautiful seams!! I’ve used the little girl dress patterns quite awhile for Josie. It’s super easy to just order the next size whenever she needs it! Or for myself, I have lost over 30 pounds in the last year, and it was so easy to simply order a smaller pattern!
Sew Basic dress patterns were designed by a Mennonite lady, Michelle Oberholtzer. She has an Estsy shop where she sells a wide variety of sizes. From little girls dresses all the way up to women’s size 48. They are just as the name suggests- basic and simple. I love the design and easy to understand pattern! These patterns are also available at many Mennonite or Amish fabric stores. Mt. Hope Fabrics & Gift Shoppe in Mt. Hope Ohio carries these patterns as well as a beautiful selection of fabrics. They have prompt shipping services too! You can look them up online or call them at 330-674-5292.
I haven’t used these yet but Michelle has added a nursing bodice to her line of patterns. What a brilliant idea! Now when you need to have nursing access you can simply use the nursing bodice in your size!
The dress patterns come printed on large paper, which you will then need to cut out yourself. It comes with a sheet of step by step instructions on how to sew the dress as well as a sheet of pattern adjustment how to’s if needed. She thought of everything. And these are beautiful patterns!
The patterns all come with a variety of options. You can do a fitted or gathered sleeve. You can do a fitted, gathered or elastic waist. There’s different skirt patterns clearly marked with the style.
To figure out your dress size, you simply measure your bust and that number will give you the size of dress. If your between two sizes, you choose the one you think would fit you best. Example, when I first started with these patterns I ordered size 42 even though I measured a little smaller. (I hate tight dresses and would rather err on the side of having it a bit loose than too snug.) It fit well for me, although I made some minor adjustments to my liking- I felt the sleeve hole was a little snug, so I cut the pattern a tad deeper. The bodice tends to be more short waisted, but that’s not a problem because I just cut the bodice pattern a little longer. If your really short waisted, there’s the option of folding up the bodice to make it shorter.
The neck line in these patterns tend to be a bit large, so you may want to keep that in mind. Just don’t cut quite as deep and don’t sew the neck line as deep either. Snipping the inside of the neck almost to the seam line really helps the neck to lay neatly.
When I first started with this pattern, I had used the fitted skirt pattern which only has darts in it. It fit nice but later I decided it was not ample enough. So now I use the gathered skirt, cutting it just a tick smaller and then I have plenty of extra to put in two good sized pleats- approximately 2″ each. I really like my dresses this way. It provides fullness without the bulkiness of a bunch of gathers. I feel it’s important to have enough fullness in the skirt for modesty and only a dart or very small pleat will not give you that fullness.
I don’t care for puffy, gathered sleeves, so I use the fitted pattern. Although its fitted, there’s enough extra that it doesn’t fit tightly over my arms. That’s something I would caution against; don’t have your fitted sleeve so tight that it fits snugly over your arms. It can easily happen. Tight sleeves aren’t modest just as tight skirts aren’t either.
These adult dress patterns have a lot of darts. I don’t like the time it takes to sew them in, but it truly is worth it! (And it really don’t take long to sew them in, it’s just that I’m always in a hurry and I don’t like the extra step.) The darts in the bodice makes for a neat fit. And I especially think the darts in the back cape, helps so the cape doesn’t awkwardly stand away from the bodice. I don’t utilize the darts in the front cape but instead, I cut it wider to allow for pulling in gathers. Without an elastic waist, I feel gathers really help with adding fullness in the cape, so that it doesn’t outline what shouldn’t be seen.
These dress patterns are great for anyone but especially for someone learning to sew because they’re so simple. If you’re looking for a quality pattern for yourself or daughters, I would urge you to try one of these! I love to sew and what’s more rewarding than turning out a neatly sewed dress? It always makes me feel accomplished!
I like to organize my patterns in plastic sleeves in this large folder. Using masking tape & a sharpie makes it easy to see what style pattern I’m looking for.