A Leila Dress Hack by @sew.lala

Some sewing patterns just make your head spin because of all the potential options. Taree is a master in creating sewing patterns that inspire you to play with them because they are so well designed and offer so many ways to modify them. After trying a few options of the Sia Dress I had an idea about some modifications on the Leila Dress. It has a beautiful light and breezy design that I definitely wanted to keep. Lately I have been inspired by French Couture and have seen a dress that somehow reminded me of the Leila Dress even thou it had quite a different look. I did however see that the Leila Dress pattern could be a good starting point. To create an even more versatile look I added a drawstring casing to the waist. To sew this hack you`ll need a lightweight floating fabric such as a georgette, crepe, silk or satin. Thicker fabrics can create trouble with sewing all the layers in the waist area.

Close up of the elastic waist

Creating a tighter bodice with ruffles

The first step was to remove the gathering in the bust area and instead adding a shoulder panel with a ruffle.

Steps 1-4

Step 1:  The front bodice as well as the back bodice are created by overlapping the pattern pieces 1 & 3 for the front body and 2 & 4 for the back body by 2cm to remove the seam allowance from the pattern.

Step 2:  Create the new top shoulder panel by cutting off approximately 10cm down from the shoulder line.  The ruffle will be insert here later.

Step 3:  Copy the new pattern piece using tracing paper.  Pull the shoulder section 2cm apart to add in seam allowance. Make sure to have the pieces aligned properly. If you desire to raise the neckline in the bust area do it now. I raised mine by 7cm.

Step 4: Trace your usual size at pattern piece 1, continuing under the arm with a straight line down to the bottom of the added pattern piece 3. Repeat this step for the back bodice pattern piece 2 & 4. If you are busty, you might like to add an extra 1cm to the side seams.

Additional shoulder ruffle pattern and new front neck facing.

Step 5: The ruffles pattern piece is a rectangle measuring 3.5cm high with a width that is double the width of the panel line. This will be cut and sewn on the fold.

Step 6: If you raised the neckline, remember to create a new facing for the front. Trace the curve of your neckline and shoulder and add a second line 2.5cm out from this. This will be cut on fold at the center front.

Step 7: If you would like to add the drawstring casing to have a more fitted look cut one rectangle measuring 7cm by doubled the width of the front and back bodice together (-4 cm because of seam allowance). This will be folded in half-length wise to be sewn on. Add 1cm to each side so you can fold over the edges at the centre front.

Step 8: Finally, donโ€™t forget to check the flow through of all new pattern pieces so you get a smooth sewing line.

Check the flow through of all your pattern pieces.

Creating the skirt pattern

Step 1:  Decide on the length of your skirt. Measure straight down from your waist to the desired length.  Make a note and add 1.2cm seam allowance for rolled hem.  Draw a straight line down a page this length.

Step 2:  Lay pattern piece 5 at the top of this line and pattern piece 6 at the bottom of this line.  This will determine the hem opening. Draw a diagonal line from the top of pattern piece 5 to the new hem.

Modified skirt pattern piece.

Modifying the sleeve

The Leila sleeve pattern already offers a perfect slightly gathered shoulder section, so all we need to do is add a bit of width and lengthen it slightly.

Step 1:  Adding length: measure your arm from shoulder to wrist and add an additional 10 cm for ballooning.  Add less if you donโ€™t like it so puffy. If you like the sleeve to be slightly shorter than your wrist, take this in consideration when determining your sleeve length.  You will also need and extra 3.5cm for the hem and elastic casing.

Step 2:  To add width, draw a straight line from the underarm point to the new sleeve hem. Then add 5cm to each side at the hem and redraw the new underarm seam from the underarm point to the revised sleeve hem.

The new sleeve pattern

Further additional pieces

Ruffle for waist: 10cm x width of pattern piece 5 + 20cm cut on fold

Drawstring: 2cm x width of drawstring casing + 60 cm

Sewing the hack

Step 1: Fold shoulder ruffle right sides together and sew closed the short ends. Turn right side out and gather to the width of the upper front bodice piece. Pin to upper front bodice piece and baste 6mm from the edge.

Step 2: With right sides together, sandwich ruffle between upper and lower front bodice pieces. Baste 6mm down from the edge and then sew with using a 1cm (3/8โ€) seam allowance (SA). Finish off with zigzag or serger.

Step 3: Press seam allowance upwards and topstitch if desired.

Sewing the shoulder ruffle

Step 4: Close shoulder and side seams and sew neck binding facing as described in the Leila dress instructions. Press all seams.

Step 5:  Press the drawstring casing on fold. Finish off drawstring casing ends by overlocking and turning under 1cm.

Step 6: Baste drawstring casing with the fold facing upwards to the inside of the bodice. The opening should be at the center front. Topstitch drawstring casing to the bodice 2mm down from the folded edge of the casing.

Step 7: Create the drawstring by folding in half rights sides together. Stitch around leaving one short end open to pull the drawcord right side out. Finish off open end.

Drawstring, drawstring casing & waist ruffle.

Step 8: Gather the waist ruffle on fold and pin evenly to the bodice, folded side pointing upwards. Baste to bodice 6mm up from edge.

Step 9: Prepare the skirt: Sew skirt side seams together, overlocking to finish them off. Hem skirt with 6mm rolled hem. You can leave this part to the end if you need to check the length.

Step 10: Prepare the sleeves: Sew sleeves together at the underseam. Finish with overlocker and press.

Step 11: Hem the sleeves by folding under 5mm and then 3cm. Sew sleeve hem leaving a gap to insert the elastic.

Step 12: Sew again around the sleeve 1.5cm from the bottom edge. No need to leave an opening this time. This will form the sleeve hem frill.

Step 13: Cut elastic a little longer than the circumference of you wrist. Insert elastic, join ends and close opening in sleeve hem.

Hemming the sleeve and creating the elastic casing.

Step 14: Insert sleeves as described in Leila Dress instructions.

Step 15: Gather skirt to width of bodice and baste together. Sew, overlock, press seam allowance upwards and topstitch with a narrow edge stitch.

Step 16: Insert drawstring and enjoy your dress.

Your finished dress!

Click here to purchase the Leila PDF Pattern.

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