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Today we start the French Navy Morningside Dress and Shirt Sew Along!

I am beyond excited and can not wait to get sewing with you. Remember I’m here to be your virtual sewing buddy so send me any questions you have along the way. I’m allllways happy to chat sewing!

Today I’m walking through printing and cutting out your pattern. And there’s an announcement at the bottom of the post – don’t miss it!!

The Pattern

If you don’t have your pattern yet, pop over to this post to get your 25% discount code!

Pattern designer, Sarah of French Navy, describes this shirt and dress as the ultimate in boy-meets-girl cool.

You have two different sleeve options (flounce or cuff) for the shirt and dress, both have a beautiful slightly dropped shoulder and concealed placket. The silhouette is boxy which means it’s forgiving in terms of fit- bonus!

I’m torn between the beautiful flounced sleeve or the curved hem as my favourite feature.

Depending on the fabric you choose ths dress and shirt can be a wardrobe staple or a real statement maker. I can’t wait to see what you make!

If you haven’t already seen them, the below posts can help you plan what kind of Morningside’s to sew:

Printing that Pattern

Before you print your pattern you need to decide which version you are going to make!

There are four to choose from depending on if you want to make a cuffed sleeve or a flounce and a dress or shirt.

Next you will need to decide on your printing method.

Copy shop or Online printer

You can take your PDF files to a copy shop for printing. This is so good as it alleviates the need for taping smaller sheets together but it takes time and can be expensive depending on your local options or shipping costs if you go with an online print store.

One difference between a local printer and online firms is that you may not get the scale check that several of the sewing pattern printers offer. Sometimes the copy shop staff won’t know how to deal with the pattern file and end up fitting the patterns to the page, throwing off the scale and therefore the fit of the pattern.

If you go this route, be sure to include instructions NOT to fit the pattern to page but to print it at it’s actual size. And always check the measurements of the test square before paying for your pattern!

You may also want to request your pattern be printed on lighter weight paper rather than standard weight. Paper weight is measured in grams per square metre (GSM). The higher the GSM, the thicker the paper. Tissue paper is usually between 10 – 35 GSM and standard printer paper is 70-100GSM. Most sewing pattern printers offer a weight between the two, so it has better stability than tissue paper, but is more translucent than standard paper which helps with pattern placement on your fabric.

Hint: some printers will reduce the cost per pattern if you print multiple patterns at once.

Below are some online printing providers. I haven’t used them but have heard good things!


PDF Plotting

Net Printer

Print at Home

I usually print at home. I put on a great podcast or turn on Netflix, pour a glass of wine or a strong cup of coffee and settle in with my tape!

The Morningside pattern has embedded layers which means that you are able to print your selected size(s) only. This saves ink, and also makes tracing or cutting out your pattern much easier.

To print your selected size(s), open the pattern in Adobe Reader (you can download it for free) and click on the layers icon on the top left hand panel (highlighted in blue below). Next click on the eye symbol to hide the sizes you don’t want. Make sure you leave the ‘INFORMATION’ tab visible though!

Paper saving

If you want to save even more paper and ink have a look at the pattern printing layout on page 7 of the instructions. Check if there are some pieces that you won’t have to print (e.g. pages 3, 8, 13 and 18 if you’re making size XXS or XS).

If you are only making one style, you will be able to avoid printing around half of the pages. Print only the required pattern pieces by referring to the page numbers for the dress or the shirt pattern pieces in the layout on page 7.

Next, check the scale on your printer. Check that your printer is set to print at 100%, ‘no scaling’  or ‘actual size’. Also select the ‘auto portrait/landscape’ option.

Print the first page of the pattern and check that the calibration square measures 5cm (2 inches). If it doesn’t you may need to adjust your printer settings.


The instructions say to cut the borders off one long edge and one short edge, but I find it faster to fold along the bottom and right sides of each sheet and then tape them together using the edge markers as a guide.

If you want to avoid the folding step and streamline even further, you can use an iPad screen or some other backlit device to create some translucency. Lay your two sheets on top of the device and align the markers this way before taping!

Some pages won’t need to be taped either! If you pattern pieces don’t extend onto that edge of the page then just leave it untaped.

Grading sizes

There are a couple of steps before you print and cut the pattern pieces out if you want to grade between sizes.

For example, to grade between size L at the wasit and XL at the hips, leave both sizes visible when you select the layers you want to print. You can see a straight size L at the bottom of the pic below. Both the L and XL have been left in the pattern pieces in the top.

Find the notches marked on the side of the pattern piece and use your ruler to draw a new line from the size L notch at the waist to the  size XL notch at the hip. True the edges, which just means: make sure the line transitions smoothly into the pattern. Repeat the process for all relevant pattern pieces and then you can cut out as usual!


The long and short of things

Before cutting into your fabric, if you’d like to lengthen or shorten your dress or shirt, cut your front and back pattern pieces at the ‘Lengthen Shorten’ line.

Overlap or separate your pattern pieces according to how much you want to shorten or lengthen your garment.

Add in a piece of paper to fill the gap if you are lengthening. True the edges to make sure they are smooth and then tape it all back together. Simple!

Cut it out!

Do your best to cut accurately. If the cutting is off here and there, it can add up and affect the final fit of your garment.

Suggested cutting layouts begin on page 10 of the instructions. But I prefer to use the pattern piece inventory at the beginning of this post to make sure I have all the pieces I need and then I play with them on my fabric to see how they best fit.

I shared my tips for how to do this in my last post. I can almost always squeeze my pattern pieces into less fabric than recommended. Basically, I cut one pattern piece at a time, starting with those cut on the fold and look critically at the pattern placement as I go to get the most out of my fabric.

Be aware of the grainline as you cut – if a pattern piece is off grain it can really affect your fit. That said, with a stable woven, where there isn’t much difference between weave going either way, I happily cut my pieces out on the cross grain.

An extra tip for the Morningside dress is to cut your pocket bags out of a different fabric – such a great scrap buster!

Pattern Tetris

It’s always worth playing a bit of Pattern Tetris even if you’ve got plenty of fabric – you might be able to get another project out of what remains!

Below are some ways I made the most of my fabric for the Morningside shirt. My fabric was 109cm wide and I ended up using 145cm in length – much less than the 208cm length for a 115cm wide fabric in the listed requirments!

I folded the selvage only in a far as required to fit the back pattern piece.

Use fancy pattern weights if you ahve them so that your pieces don’t shift around as you cut. Or just grab whatever is at hand, not too large and has some weight – i.e. my kids money boxes!

One the back piece was cut out I lay the front on the same fold but realised there was a simdge of room at the edge so I refolded the fabric so that it just fit. This might seem like a waste of time, but it can affect your ability to fit in the smaller pieces on the remaining fabric.

Next I opended up the fabric and worked out how I thought the remaining pieces would best fit. What looks like gaps in the photo below is to allow for multiple cuts of the same pattern piece. As I went along I ended up flipping piece 8 around to fit better.

If your print is directional or you want to pattern match, you will need to be a little more careful about where you place your pattern pieces on your print (using a bti more fabric as a result).

In the end only this little pile of scraps was left!

Mark it up

Once your pieces are cut out, add all the markings and notches via your preferred method. I use a combination of tailor’s tacks, chalk, fabric pens and cutting the notches depending on what is closest at hand!

Chalk, pen and cutting the notches is pretty self explanatory. My only note of caution is to keep the scissor snips at the notches short, around 5mm so as not to go beyond the seam allowance!

I usually use scissor to snip the edges. I also love using a standard FriXion pen which are erasable with water or heat (so don’t iron over the markings unless you want them to disappear!). You can see both tiny scissor snips and pens marks on the pocket bag pieces below.

My pink chalk mark below isn’t very visible on this fabric and I find that chalk can sometimes get rubbed off as I handle my fabric during the sewing process.

tailors tacks

I do like to use tailors tacks. They take a fraction longer but they come in handy if you want to mark the same spot on two pattern pieces at once and have it show on both sides of your fabric. It also doesn’t rub off or fade, so if accuracy is what you are after tailor’s tacks may be the way to go.

Lay your pattern piece over the fabric and make sure it is properly aligned. Hand sew a loop through the three layers at the point you want to mark.

Push your threaded needle through the pattern paper and the two layers of fabric, bring it back up again and repeat to form the loop.

Leave long tails of thread on both ends.


You can then gently tear away the pattern piece.

Pull the two layers of fabric apart so you can snip the threads in between. Both layers will now be marked with thread in the correct spot!

And that’s it for day 1!! Congratulations!

In the next step we will begin sewing the placket!! I’ll be going live on Instagram shortly so please join me and bring any questions you have! Otherwise, send me a message or leave a comment below.

Happy printing and cutting!


OH  WAIT! There’s more..

As an extra special bonus, not only will you have a brand new dress or shirt at the end of the  week – I’m also hosting a giveaway!!

French Navy Pattern designer, Sarah, has generously contriubted two PDF patterns of choice that will go to two separate winners at the end of the sew along!

To enter all you have to do is:
1. Follow me @indybindyfabrics 
2. Follow Sarah @frenchnavynow_
3. Comment on my Instagram post today announcing the giveaway and let us know you’re taking part in the sew along
4. Tag both of us in the caption of a post of your Morningside dress or shirt pants (complete or in process!) The more posts you tag us in the more entries you get!
5. Be sure to include the hashtags #sewitwithindybindy and either #morningsidedress or#morningsideshirt so we can keep track of all the entries and see your gorgeous makes!!

Let’s get started!!


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