Take your favorite dress and Make a Another on your Own!!
I must first of all say that this project is the easiest to do with a dress that is made of non stretchy fabric. Cotton is the best for a first start. Then you may do it again to experiment with different types of fabric. Also, the point is to make something different, change the color of the dress, the thickness of the material, the little details to make it something new, but that will fit you as well as the one you already own.
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Secondly, after washing my fabric (to take out the thrift smell, and make sure that it will not shrink after I'm done making my dress) I laid it out on my floor (I don't have a big working table!) and laid down my dress.
For the purpose of my dress, I decided to make my pattern into 6 pieces:
1- Front Skirt
2- Back Skirt
3- Front of Bust
4- Right side of bust
5- Left side of bust
Some pieces are harder to draw due to curves (depends if you are curvy or not...and what dress you are making)
My suggestion is that when in doubt, draw your line a bit wider, it's always easier to cut off fabric then to add some!
By This point you should have a piece of fabric that looks like a chalkboard pattern, take out your scissors and cut! (I strongly recommend that the first time you try this out you don't use an expensive fabric, or at least make a muslin before if you plan to)
Take the pieces and put everything together with pins and put the dress on (or on your dress form if you are lucky enough to have one). By this point, you should see if you'll need to add some darts. If you do, take the dress off and take the time to mesure and pin them correctly so that they are symetric. For example, I had to add two long darts to the back in order to make the dress fit better.
At this point, you can start sewing. I decided to start at the top. Shoulders, followed by the bust pieces. I only did the side under one arm pit, since my zipper would go on the other side. I then pinned the zipper to the other side to see if the dress would close properly. Ideally, when you sew a zipper on, having a "foot for zippers" on your sewing machine is the best to do a very close sewing line.