How to Sew a Nightgown

bolts of fabric image by Scott Williams from <a href=''></a>

Browsing through the patterns at a fabric store will provide you with a wealth of ideas for long, modest nightgowns or the shorter and sexier varieties. While a pattern is helpful to those familiar with basic garment construction and sewing techniques, novices may find the instructions confusing or difficult to follow. Before you invest money in a basic nightgown pattern, try making your own using your body measurements.

Measure from the top of your shoulder to the desired hemline of your nightgown. Add 2 inches to this measurement to accommodate for seam allowances. If this measurement is 35 inches, your final measurement is 37 inches.

Measure around the widest part of your body. Add 3 inches to this measurement and then divide it in half. For example, if the original measurement is 43 inches, your final measurement is 23 inches.

Fold a large piece of fabric in half and pin the layers together. Don't worry about putting the wrong-sides or the right-sides of the fabric together, you simply need a double thickness of fabric.

Draw a rectangle using your measurements from Step 1 and Step 2 on the fabric with a fabric pencil or chalk. In our example, the rectangle would measure 37 inches by 23 inches.

Cut the rectangle out of the folded fabric with scissors and remove all pins. You now have two fabric rectangles of the same exact size.

Layer the fabric rectangles with the right-sides of the fabric together. Line up all of the edges and make sure that they are even. Pin the fabric rectangles together to prevent them from slipping apart.

Arrange the rectangle so that one of the sides using the measurement from Step 2 is at the top. This side will form the top of your nightgown.

Measure from the small of your neck to the lowest point of your desired neckline on your body. Add 1/2 inch to this measurement. For instance, if the original measurement is 6 inches then the final measurement is 6 1/2 inches

Mark a small dot at the top edge of your nightgown with a fabric pencil approximately 2 inches inside each corner. Determine the center of the top edge and measure straight down from the center point using the final measurement from Step 8. Make a dot on the fabric at this point.

Connect the dots to form the V-neck of your nightgown and cut along these lines through both layers of fabric. If you would prefer a scoop neck, connect the dots with a curved line rather than a straight line.

Sew both sides of the nightgown together beginning approximately 9 inches below the top edge of the fabric. This will create armholes in your nightgown. Use a sewing machine set to a straight stitch and a 1/2-inch seam allowance.

Sew the top of the nightgown together at the two uncut edges at edge side of the neckline. Do not sew the neckline together or you will not be able to wear your nightgown.

Turn the nightgown right-side out.

Unfold a piece of double fold bias tape and fold it shut around the openings of the armholes and along the front and back neckline. Pin the bias tape in place.

Sew the bias tape to the nightgown as close to the open side of the bias tape as possible. If you sew near the folded edge of the bias tape, it will not lie flat when you wear the nightgown.

Fold the hem of the nightgown under 1/2 inch and iron the fold to set a crease. Fold the hem under a second time to completely encase the raw edge of the fabric and sew the hem in place.