**Please scroll down the page for the links to the free patterns**
If you plan to launder your finished dress, just remember to preshrink your fabric first, especially if your fabric is 100% cotton or a cotton blend. To preshrink your fabric, simply wash your yardage in the same water and dryer temperature in which you plan to launder your finished dress. And if your fabric is 100% cotton, you may want to wash your fabric more than once since cotton fabric doesn't always shrink its maximum amount with its first washing.
To test for colorfastness, submerge each of your fabrics individually in the same water temperature and detergent in which you plan to wash your finished dress. If the water turns color or if any dye comes off when you press the wet fabric between layers of a white towel, then your fabric isn't colorfast. In this case, you may want to either choose different fabrics or have your finished dress dry-cleaned.
And if you're making your dress from several different fabrics (and you plan to launder your finished dress), it's a good idea to test each fabric first for colorfastness. I'm sure you would hate to spend so much time and energy making your dress, then wash it for the first time and find that one fabric has bled all over another.
And if your dress pattern calls for a lining, make sure the care requirements for you lining fabric are the same as for your fashion fabric. In other words, you wouldn't want to purchase a dry-clean-only lining if you plan to launder your finished dress.