Learn to Sew Your Clothes: Fit and Sew Bodices

Make a beautifully-fitted Hinterland Dress

In our Fit and Sew Bodices course, we’ll teach you how to fit a bodice to your body, enabling you to finally have clothes that fit you well. 

Fitting can be intimidating, but we take the overwhelm out of learning these essential skills, all while sewing up a wardrobe staple, the Hinterland Dress.

Once you’ve learned how to get a good fit, the second half of the course is a detailed Hinterland Dress sew-along.

We’ll walk you through every step, teaching you professional techniques peppered with tons of sewing tips, all with a healthy dose of encouragement and wit.

Meg wears a black, sleeveless dress over a colorful handknit sweater. She is sitting next to her sewing machine and holding scissors in her hand.

In this thorough, warm, and supportive online course – designed to feel like a multi-week in-person class – you will make a beautifully-fitted, custom-made, comfy and versatile dress from the comfort of your own home.

Watch (and re-watch) any time – your course access never expires.

In class, you’ll be using the Hinterland Dress PDF pattern, which comes in sizes 0-34 and is included in your enrollment.  With this adaptable pattern, you’ll be able to make an incredible variety of dresses or tops, custom-fit for your body.

Learn to sew and fit a bodice with the Hinterland Dress

The Hinterland Dress provides an ideal opportunity to delve into how to fit a bodice, due to its easy-wearing silhouette.

Featuring 3 sleeve options, partial or full button down plackets (as well as a no-placket option), customizable length, and inseam pockets, this is a wardrobe staple that spans the seasons.

Fitting skills learned:

  • Getting into a healthy mindset
  • Choosing your size
  • Tools and supplies for pattern fitting
  • Making a muslin
  • “Reading” your muslin to diagnose fit issues
  • Making pattern adjustments, including:
    • How to raise or lower a dart
    • How to do a full bust adjustment (FBA)
    • How to do a small bust adjustment (SBA)
    • Shoulder, back and bicep adjustments
    • Troubleshooting typical fitting issues
Hinterland Dress sewing pattern croquis drawing

After the fitting section, this course includes a detailed Hinterland sew-along.

You’ll sew 2 versions of the Hinterland: a sleeveless full placket dress and a second with 3/4-sleeves and a half-button placket.

Sewing skills learned:

  • How to choose fabric and notions
  • How to sew beautiful bust darts
  • All about bias and bias facings
  • How to sew gathers
  • How to construct a placket
  • How to set in sleeves
  • How to sew a French seam
  • How to sew plackets and buttonholes
  • How to construct an in-seam pocket
  • Hems and hand-stitched finishes

This course is part of our Learn to Sew Your Clothes learning path, a series designed to accompany you as you level up your sewing skills.

Hear what our Learn to Sew students are saying:

Learning how to sew my own clothes has been a longtime goal of mine, but to be honest, I was a bit intimidated by it, and had no idea how to start. Fortunately, Sew Liberated's Learn to Sew course came along, and it was the perfect push I needed to finally make that goal happen.

I'm enrolled for the entire sequence of courses, and I appreciate how the very first course included information on how to choose fabric and use a sewing machine--it truly was beginner-friendly, and didn't assume any knowledge I had going in. I really appreciate the self-paced video format that included Sophia, also a beginner sewist, learning right along with us.

Since starting the course, I have now sewn two sets of Nocturne pajamas, as well as a Gypsum skirt (which I'm literally wearing right now as I type this), and I'm really proud of how far I've come! I'm also so proud of my classmates, whom I've been meeting via Sew Liberated's (non-social-media) groups pages, and it's been so nice to connect with other people who are also experiencing the learning process and sharing their own perspectives and questions.

On a broader level, I've become a lot more knowledgeable about fashion and clothing production, how to fit my body, and how to incorporate sewing into my self-care practice. Signing up for Learn to Sew has definitely been one of the best choices I've ever made.

Thu Ngo

I just took the Beyond Sewing Basics course, which I loved! Shaerie is one of the best teachers I have ever seen and one of the reasons I signed up for the course.

Karen

I looove your learning how to sew course! When watching the video, I feel like I'm in a room with a couple of friends who are teaching me to sew. When I'm sewing I am just blissed out and so happy to be doing something I've always wanted to do. I am sooo grateful for this opportunity and community and thoughtful teaching. You're not just designing good patterns, you're making sewists!

Kristin Koons

Thanks for all your hard work, loving this platform hidden away from all the ads and gimmicks of social media. I typically tend to be a mostly silent observer on social media and often forget to engage or share, but your platform really makes me want to join in.

Emmiline L.

Shaerie is one of the best teachers I have come across, and I have taken A LOT OF CLASSES!

Karen

I can't even tell you how much I have enjoyed your courses! My sister and I did the Studio Tunic together and now we are waiting impatiently for the Hinterland. Thank you so much for all your inspiration!

Lisa Hamilton

I love that the instructions are so clear and detailed and that they are presented in a relaxed and engaging way. Add in the fact that you can ask questions and get feedback from the community and members of the Sew Liberated team and you have the perfect sewing course!

Carolyn

I am in the position of having sewed for years, but not really feeling confident at all. Every time I successfully execute a project I'm not quite sure how I got away with it, and I put off the next one as long as possible because I'm so unsure of if I can pull it off again!. I wasn't sure what to expect from the Learn To Sew Your Clothes Course, but already after the first modules I have gotten information that is invaluable. Simple things that as a self-taught sewer no one ever told me, things that are making it clear to me why I have not been able to sew with confidence. I look forward to going deeper into the course, and with the knowledge I have gained so far to finally being able to work WITH my sewing machine instead of AGAINST it! The method of instruction - following the trajectory of an instructor teaching an actual student - makes it very easy to follow and understand. And having the community of other people in the class is an added bonus - a place to ask questions and get support. I could not be happier with my experience so far!

Ann

I have tried to learn pattern drafting from books, and have taken pattern drafting courses at community college, but not until Sew Liberated courses have I felt confident that I'm learning the concepts. Honestly, these are absolutely the best courses anywhere! Great designers, great teachers, and great website. You all rock!

Laura

For rookies like me, the companion course to the Studio Tunic pattern is essential. The [course's] lighting and camera work are exceptional. The cast is superior: Shaerie is articulate and concise. Sophia is focused and calm. Together they're a congenial team. I learned so much from this excellent video course.

Jo

The course is absolutely incredible, and a true labor of love. It SHOWS! My husband is in cinematography, and I was so excited to show him the production value alone - you are doing an amazing job. It's like a masterclass - seriously! I know how much work, coordination, hours and hours of filming and edits, care and attention go into each and every fiber of this course (I work for a company that does online courses.) Please know how magical you have made this for us all.

Melanie T.

I want to express how much I am enjoying the Learn to Sew courses. Shaerie is such a clear and fun instructor who answers even the most basic of questions. I learned something new in all the Learn to Sew courses. I also love Judith's super positive support in the chats in the course community.

Stephanie E

This is a wonderful platform and the community is simply amazing! I am so grateful to be a part of it! I really love the way the lessons have been set up and I'm really loving that I can easily go back to a section and re-watch it just in case I missed something.

Melissa

Who is it for?

This course is perfect for the confident beginner or intermediate sewist who might be intimidated by the idea of fitting, who is looking to deepen and expand their technical sewing skills, or who wants a detailed Hinterland Dress sew-along.

If you already have a handle on how to fit a bodice, you might be interested in our Creative Hinterland course instead, which teaches patternmaking skills by working through 12 hacks of the Hinterland Dress.

Cover of the Hinterland Dress Fitting Guide

Our illustrated guide walks you through diagnosing and making pattern changes for 26 common fit adjustments, so all your Hinterlands will fit perfectly.

What’s more – our guide will provide you with the knowledge to fit ANY darted woven bodice!

This Guide is from the first module of our Creative Hinterland pattern making course, giving you a taste of what that class has to offer.

Looking for more help? Our Learn to Fit and Sew Bodices class provides detailed fitting instruction, as well as a complete Hinterland sew-along.

Shaerie is smiling wide, looking straight ahead. She is wearing brown glasses, a hand dyed handkerchief, and a blue top.

Your instructor,

Shaerie Mead

Teaching people how to sew their own clothes is Shaerie Mead’s jam, and she’s been doing it for decades.

In addition to being a patternmaker and designer of her clothing line, Iona, she owned the much-loved Sew LA, a workshop space where she taught hundreds and hundreds of folks how to sew.

Shaerie’s clear, detailed, and approachable teaching style will put you at ease and deliver so many “ah-ha!” moments. She really gets how beginners learn, and she’s got your back.

“Shaerie is one of the best teachers I have come across, and I have taken A LOT OF CLASSES!” – Karen

Your other instructor,

Meg McElwee

There’s little Meg loves more than bringing mindfulness and a little bit of humor to the practice of sewing.

She brings her background as a progressive educator to the design and back end of the Learn to Sew Your Clothes series, and can’t wait to pop in to the lessons here and there to inject her expertise in sewing and creative styling.

Learn more about Meg, the founder of Sew Liberated.

Sophia is wearing a yellow sweatshirt and looking off to the left with a big smile.

Your fellow student,

Sophia Kiser

You won’t be alone on your journey! You’ll learn by watching upbeat and intrepid Sophia learn to sew.

She’ll ask all the important beginner questions that are on your mind. Thanks to Sophia’s candid learning curve, you’ll realize that everyone makes little mistakes, and it’s ok! Mistakes are simply the way we hone new skills.

You’ll be delighted to observe Sophia blossom as a sewist as the lessons progress, right alongside you.

“I’ve spent hours and hours with Shaerie and Sophia (I have taken every single class!) Sophia has grace, enthusiasm and a wonderful sense of humor.” – Lisa

learn to sew with friends

Join over 1500 students who have experienced the warmth and connection of Sew Liberated’s online course communities.

Your course includes membership in our online support group, hosted on our own website. No Facebook necessary!

Get fitting feedback and suggestions as you integrate this important skill. And, most importantly, find new friends who totally get your passion!

Meg and Ashley are wearing deep teal Lichen dusters and are giving each other a hug while they smile at the camera.

FAQs

Will my course materials expire? Do I get lifetime access?

Yes, with your purchase you get lifetime access to the course videos, other materials, and membership in the private Learn to Sew support group. You also get lifetime access to the downloadable PDF Hinterland Dress sewing pattern.

What level of sewist should take this course?

This course, Learn to Sew Your Clothes: Fit and Sew Bodices, is designed for beginner to intermediate sewists. The videos take you through every step of fitting and sewing the Hinterland Dress, and our course community provides support and feedback as you go.

I’m not sure which Hinterland Dress course to take – this one or The Creative Hinterland. Which one is best for me?

We wrote a blog post to help you decide!

In general, this course, Fit and Sew Bodices: The Hinterland Dress, is aimed toward beginners and intermediate sewists.

The Creative Hinterland: Patternmaking for Mindful Sewists is made for confident intermediate to advanced sewists.

I haven’t taken the previous courses in the Learn to Sew Your Clothes series. Can I take this one? 

Yes! This course is accessible to confident beginners and intermediate sewists. If you have previously worked with sewing patterns to make several garments, you should be just fine. In particular, if you want to learn more about fitting, this is a great course for you.

If you are brand new to using a sewing machine we recommend you start with Intro to Sewing or Sewing Basics 1. It could also be helpful to take Sewing Basics 2 and Beyond Sewing Basics to learn intermediate sewing and finished techniques. (We have a whole page with details about our carefully-designed Learn to Sew Your Clothes course series.)

But if you want to jump into fitting – or just want a detailed Hinterland Dress sew-along – this is the course for you.

What if I already own the Hinterland pattern? 

For those who already own a digital or printed version of the pattern, you can purchase the course here at a $16 discount! You will still receive a pattern sheet in the mail, see below.

When can I start, and how much does it cost? 

You can start right away! The cost is $129, which includes the Hinterland Dress PDF sewing pattern and printed pattern pieces shipped to you (there may be an extra shipping fee for those outside the US). This price is similar to what you might pay for a comparable in-person class. (If you already have the Hinterland Dress pattern, use this link to purchase the course, without the pattern included, for a $16 discount.)

How do I get my pattern sheets?

When you sign up for Fit and Sew Bodices: The Hinterland Dress, your printed pattern sheets are included in your course purchase. We will mail your pattern sheets to your door, and you will be able to access your PDF pattern (which includes your instructions) from your My Account page on Sew Liberated’s website. Downloads do not expire.

How do I know if the patterns will fit me? 

We pride ourselves on having an inclusive size range. All of the patterns on the Learn to Sew Your Clothes learning path fit bust measurements up to 58.5” (147 cm), waist measurements up to 52.5” (133 cm) and hip measurements up to 61” (155 cm). We draft for a dressmaker’s C-cup (that’s a 3″ difference between your high bust measurement and your full bust measurement) and a height of 5’5″ (165 cm). HOWEVER, in this course you will learn to fit your pattern to your body – no matter your bust size!

Can I make any view of the Hinterland?

Yes, instructions for all sleeve and placket views are included in the course, including the placket-free view.

I am nervous about fitting and bust adjustments, will I be able to figure it out?

It is normal to be nervous, but Shaerie goes over several common adjustments, and we have fitting guide booklet as a further resource. You will be amazed at how empowering doing a bust or shoulder adjustment feels and how much of a difference it makes in the wearability of your clothes. You can even apply these adjustments to other patterns. 

What other sewing skills will I learn in Fit and Sew Bodices?

In addition to learning to fit a woven bodice, Shaerie guides you through sewing a placket, setting in sleeves, applying bias facings, making button holes, sewing gathers, and hemming by machine and by hand. 

Have other questions?