Read through these steps first, then analyze them in relation to the garment you want to sew. Eliminate those that don’t apply, but stay with the general flow of steps.
1. Attach any interfacing. Whether for a blouse, dress, coat, shirt or waistband of pants or skirt, do this first.
2. Darts, tucks, pleats. Do these next.
3. Sew style lines. Does your pattern have style lines like princess lines or yokes? Anything that is not a shoulder or side seam should be sewn now.
4. Pockets. Apply them to the major piece taking care that they are balanced from one side to the other.
5. Insert the zipper. If possible insert the zipper while the major piece is still flat, but if it is a dress with a waist seam and the zipper extends into the skirt, it will be applied later.
6. Shoulder seams generally come next.
7. Sew a ‘shirt-style’ sleeve. The lower, flatter sleeve cap lends itself to sewing into the front and back armscye at this time.
8. For shirts, sew side seams from hem up through underarm to sleeve hem edge. For pants, sew inseams and side seams. For a dress, if the design has an attached skirt, sew the skirt and bodice side seams separately, but don’t attach the skirt to the bodice yet.
9. For pants, sew crotch seams.
10. Sew waistband or facings for pants/skirts. Finish elastic waists at this time.
11. Sew collar. Prepare collar. Make sure facings have been prepped. Attach collar.
12. Prepare sleeve. Prepare any detailing like plackets, gathers, etc. before stitching the underarm seam. Apply cuff if applicable.
13. Set in sleeve.
14. Neckline/armhole facings. Sew the neckline or armhole facings if there is no collar.
15. Dress waist seam. For 2-piece dresses, sew bodice to skirt at waistline.
16. Apply zipper. For dresses with waistline seams, add the zipper now.
17. Finish hem.
18. Closures. Buttons, buttonholes, hooks and eyes, frog closures, snaps should be sewn at this time.
19. Belts, bows or additional trimmings may happen at this time.
The more you sew, the more your confidence grows.
(Adapted from Industry Guide to Sewing Order by Connie Crawford)