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Of course I sew daily, and have been for years so the things that are common to me now were at one time completely foreign to me.
I want to give a little tutorial on how to read a pattern envelope so that you can purchase fabric. As a basic pattern I have selected Simplicity 1878 it is a lovely little summer dress that is very basic and can be made in multiple styles.
On the envelope cover you see little letters inside circles an A next to the sleeveless long dress, a B next to the shorter long sleeved dress, and a C next to the short sleeved dress. These are your three selections for this pattern. On separate note you can change around the sleeves and lengths but that is for a little later we are just talking about fabric today.
Okay flip the envelope over!
Fabrics: This is a listing of the fabric types that the pattern will work the best with.
Notions: This is the list of all the little things you don't want to forget to go with your fabric. It is important that you get these things.
Body Measurements: It is important that you measure yourself properly. I have included a little chart of where the measurements are taken. For regular clothing I suggest wearing standard undergarments when getting measured so that you have a proper fit.
NOTE: Important thing to remember pattern sizing is much more detailed than the sizing you have in the store so the size you buy at Dillard's will not likely be the same as the size you sew for yourself.
Style Selection: You will notice there are different sections for each of the three styles listed on the envelope and once you know your size and you know which style you want to make, then you can follow the column of your size down to the row of your style.
NOTE: Fabric usually comes in two widths 44-45" and 58-60". You will notice that under each of the three styles you will need to purchase different fabric amounts based on the width of the fabric you are purchasing.
Interfacing: This is an important things to purchase as well. It provides structure to certain locations in a garment.
How to read the label on the fabric bolt.
When you are looking at all the pretty fabrics you may get overwhelmed and not know what you need. Look at the label! On the end of a bolt of fabric (and interfacing) it gives you all the information you will need regarding that fabric.
Fabric Content: The specifics on percentage of cotton, polyester, silk or whatever else is in the fabric. This is where you can coordinate the specifics on the suggested fabrics to use for your garment.
Care: We always need to know how to wash our fabric once we make our dress.
Width: You don't have to measure out the width, they will tell you! See how easy that was?
Price: Yeah they actually expect you to pay for the silly stuff! However if it is on sale or you have a special coupon then that number really doesn't matter!
Hopefully this will give you a little direction on how to select fabric for a sewing project. Follow the same basic instructions for any project you want to do. The envelopes will give you all the information. Keep in mind the more detailed the project the more confusing those envelopes can be, but all of that comes with time.