Use a lightweight cotton or linen that drapes well. These instructions apply for a dress or a top.
Photography: Kate Mathis
Martha Stewart Living, April 2013
Download and print pattern and instructions for desired style and size. Buy appropriate amount of fabric, as indicated below. For a long-sleeve dress, you’ll need 3 1/2 yards of 45-inch-wide fabric (or wider).For a short-sleeve dress, you’ll need 2 3/4 yards of 45-inch-wide fabric (or wider). For a long-sleeve shirt, you’ll need 2 3/4 yards of 45-inch-wide fabric (or wider). For a short-sleeve shirt, you’ll need 2 1/4 yards of 45-inch-wide fabric (or wider). Decide on your style and size. Cut out pattern pieces. Lay pattern pieces on fabric. For front and back body pieces, fold fabric selvedge to selvedge, then lay the center fold of front and back pattern pieces on the folded edges. Pin together and cut fabric pieces out. For the sleeves, open the fabric back up, fold it widthwise, then lay sleeve pattern piece down. Pin together and cut the fabric pieces out.
Prep neck hem: Fold over top edges of all pieces 3/8 inch and press; fold over 3/8 inch again and press. Unfold. (You'll use pressed lines as guides later.)
Take 1 sleeve and, with right sides facing, sew to front, then back, using a 3/8 inch seam allowance. Sew other sleeve to back, then front. Press seams open.
Sew along sleeve inseam, then down 1 side. Repeat on other side. Press seams open.
Fold over sleeve hem 3/8 inch and press; fold over 3/8 inch again and hem, leaving 1/2-inch opening at inseam.
Using guidelines from step 2, refold fabric to make neck tunnel. Sew, leaving 1/2-inch opening at center front (for ribbon) or center back (for elastic).
Using small safety pin, thread ribbon or elastic through neck and sleeve tunnels. Gather to desired tightness. If using elastic (as we did for sleeves), overlap ends and sew; then sew opening closed. If using ribbon (shown in collars), tie to finish.
Fold bottom hem over 3/8 inch and press; fold over 3/8 inch again and hem.