In this block post we will explore hacking the Cortney PDF Dress Pattern into a wrap dress. The billowy sleeves of the Cortney PDF Pattern are perfect for a stylized wrap dress. You can find a full video tutorial for this hack on my Instagram Stories highlight.

The Cortney Wrap Dress

The idea for this hack came from a ready to wear wrap dress in my wardrobe. I used this dress as a tool to figure out how to adjust the Cortney PDF Pattern. You can see this process in detail on my Instagram Stories highlight. I was gifted this luscious HOY cotton lawn from Storrs London to create this piece.

Creating the pattern pieces!

The first step is to remove the gathers from the front neckline of the Cortney PDF Pattern. To do this:

  • Trace your front bodice piece to a clean piece of paper and mark on the seam allowance all the way around the neck, shoulder, armhole and side seam.
  • Use the gather notches on the front neckline as a guide and draw on additional notches 3cm down from the notch closest to the shoulder and 3cm in from the notch closest to the front neck. It is important to draw this and below adjustment notches on the seam allowance line and not on the pattern edge to achieve an accurate adjustment.
  • Add a notch along the armhole 10cm down from the shoulder and draw a dart from this point to the notches on the neckline closest to the shoulder.
  • Add a notch along the side seam 26.5cm down from the under arm point and draw a dart from this point to the notches on the neckline closest to the center front.
  • Cut out the pattern piece.
  • Cut along 1 side of the both dart arms stopping at the seam allowance line. Snip back from the outside edge to the seam allowance line to create a little pivot point.
  • Close dart in the neckline by joining the cut edge to the uncut dart line. Tape or glue to create your new front pattern piece.
  • Glue new front pattern to a clean sheet of paper.
  • Fold in half along the center front line and trace to create a full front instead of a half front.
  • Mark a point along center front 25.5cm down from the center front neck. This will be the crossover point at center front.
  • Draw on your front neckline with a slight curve from the shoulder point to center front crossover point. Then draw a straight line from this point to the hem about 5cm in from the side seam.
  • Mark a point 8cm up from the hem along the front crossover and shape point back to the dress hem line. I didn’t do mine far enough up from the hem first time around and adjusted this point on the pattern before making my final version. You can see my comments regarding this on my Cortney Wrap Dress Story highlight on Instagram.
  • Add 8mm seam allowance to the front neckline before cutting out.
  • Your front pattern piece is now complete.
  • To create the neckband measure the front neck from neck point to hem. Mine was 95.5cm.
  • Grab your collar pattern piece and measure from the center back neck to the shoulder notch on your size. Mine back neck was 13cm.
  • Add this measurement to the front neck measurement and create a rectangle pattern piece that long by 10cm wide. Mine was 109.5cm (95.5cm + 13cm + 1cm SA) long by 10cm wide. This will create a neckband that is a little over 4cm wide finished. You will cut 2 of this pattern piece. Mark a shoulder notch on this pattern piece around from the CB neck. This is shown in detail on my Instagram Stories highlight for the Cortney Wrap Dress.
  • I am finishing my sleeves with a tie bind. To do this cut 2 strips of bind that are 4cm wide by 75cm long (I cut mine at 50cm long and they are to short)
Sleeves are finished with a little tie.

Cut out all of your pattern pieces which include the below:

  • 1 pair Front Bodice (newly created pattern piece).
  • Cut 1 on the fold Back Bodice (the original Cortney PDF Dress pattern piece).
  • Cut 1 pair sleeve (the original Corntney PDF Dress sleeve with or without sleeve head pleats).
  • Cut 2 pair neckband (newly created pattern piece). 1 pair will be used as the neckband and 1 pair as the waist tie.
  • Cut 2 sleeve bind ties (newly created pattern piece).

I toiled my wrap dress before cutting in my final fabrication just to make sure everything fit and worked as I had envisaged.

My toile!

Time to sew!


  • Pin pleats in the sleeve head following the arrows on the pattern piece. Baste pleats in place.
  • Join 1 neckband pattern pieces together along 1 short edge. Fold long edge on both side in 1cm and press.
  • Create arm tie bind by folding in edges 6mm, press and then press in half.

Next up….

  • Overlock the undersleeve seams individually. Sew the undersleeve seam together leaving opening 7cm up from the hem. Press seam open.
  • Stitch around opening in sleeve to hold the seam allowance in place.
Sew sleeve underseam together leaving an opening at the hem.
  • Overlock front and back shoulder seams individually before sewing front and back bodice pieces together at the shoulders. Press seams open.
  • Add 2 rows of gather stitch to the back neck between the notches.
  • Pin the wrong side of the bodice to the right side of the neckband and pull gathers in so that the back neck fits into the neckband between the notches you made on the neckband. Pin in and stitch in place.
  • Press seam towards the neckband.
  • Fold neckband back down to the right side of the garment.
  • Pin and edge stitch the neckband in place.
  • Add 2 rows of gather stitch to the sleeve hem.
  • Measure the circumference of your wrist to work out how long to gather up your sleeve hem. I folded my sleeve hem bind pieces in half and made a notch at the half way point and then 10cm each side of the half way point.
  • Pin the wrong side of your sleeve hem to the right side of the sleeve bind lining up the notches on the sleeve bind with the slit in the sleeve. Pull gathers so the sleeve hem fits the bind.
  • Pin and stitch in place.
  • Press seam towards bind.
  • Fold bind to right side of the sleeve. Pin and edge stitch in place on the right side of the sleeve folding raw edges under at the end of ties to finish sleeve ties off.
  • With right sides together sew sleeve into the bodice matching all notches.
  • Overlock seams closed and press seams towards the sleeve.
  • Finish dress hem using an 8mm double turn hem.
  • Create waist tie by sewing other 2 neckband pieces together at the short edges. Fold in half right sides together and stitch short edges into the center leaving a 4cm hole to pull the tie right side out.
  • Stitch close the hole in the waist tie.

Press you garment one final time and you are DONE!

I hope you have enjoyed this Cortney Wrap dress hack. As mentioned there is a video tutorial saved on my Instagram Story highlights called Cortney Wrap Dress that shows the above steps in greater detail. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions at all. I am always happy to help.

I’m also loving the Cortney Wrap Dress styled as a short duster.

The Cortney Wrap Dress as a duster.

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