Our dressmaking expert shares her tips for stay stitching and instructions on how to sew a dress together in these easy-to-follow videos


Learning how to make a dress is simple with Thelma’s expert knowledge. Follow the videos step-by-step to find out how to stay stitch and sew the dress sections together to construct the garment.

Stay stitch the dress edges to construct your dress

How to stay stitch

Stay stitching the neck edges of your fabric sections will reinforce the seams and prevent stretching as you construct your dress. To stay stitch, use your sewing machine to straight stitch just inside the seam line on both neck edges of the front and back sections of the fabric and lining.

How to sew a dress together

1. Taking your fabric front and front side sections, pin along the side edges matching the notches. I recommend pinning perpendicular to the fabric edge as they’re easy to remove when machine sewing. If you’d prefer to tack, use a contrasting thread and then remove the pins before sewing.

How to sew a dress together with pinned seams

2. When matching curved edges to straight edges, clip into the seam allowance up to the stay stitching to help spread the fabric. Now the straight edge should stretch to match the curved edge on the other section.

3. Using the measurements on the sewing machine needle plate as a guide, stitch the seams with a 1.5cm seam allowance.

4. Once you’ve stitched the seam, sew a couple of reverse stitches to secure the thread ends.

5. Now stitch the back sections in exactly the same way. Finish the raw edges of the fabric by zigzag stitching on your machine to prevent the fabric from fraying.

How to sew a dress using a sewing machine

6. Press the seams on both sides before pressing the seam open to embed the stitches into the fabric. This process is called melding and will create a lovely crisp seam on the right side of the fabric.

Once you’ve learnt how to sew a dress together, it’s time to insert an invisible zip into the back seam.