A few weeks ago I was reflecting on how I have been communicating with my email subscribers and it does feel like I am only sending you an email when I have a sale or a new product launch.  This time is no different, but it is something that I am hoping to change in the new year.  Working on Marsha Style as a side hustle can sometimes be challenging from a time perspective.  Especially when I want to do more, provide you with more valuable sewing content and really knuckle down on adding value to the 4 (soon to be 5) Marsha Style PDF Patterns.  Maybe next year is the year that I find some more pockets of time to turn some of these dreams into reality.

Finding those pockets of time means a change in focus. It means putting a halt on new pattern creation and spending that time creating pattern hacks and block posts about existing patterns which is something I am really excited about. My head is full of ideas that just need those pockets of time to turn into something meaningful.

I’m looking forward to exploring and improving my video content creation and editing skills. Understanding my equipment better and learning a little more about lighting. Content creation can look easy on those Instagram squares but believe me it is a time consuming process that requires patience with technology. 

In the meantime, in this current moment, I am celebrating turning 46 years young.  You can get 30% off all Marsha Style Patterns using the code BDAYSALE until midnight 15th October 2021 – Australian EST.  The code is valid on the Marsha Style website & Etsy Store only and not through 3rd party retailors.  Thank you all for another year of supporting Marsha Style PDF Patterns.

The Sia Top Hack by @celsews

Sewing a lined garment seemed so intimidating to me before starting this project, but with clear instructions and some clever thinking it was such a fun process. Those daunting projects always turn out to be the most rewarding for me in the end, because everytime I start one I learn that I am capable of so much more than my insecurities lead me to believe. And you learn so many new techniques on the way!

Once you’ve chosen which fabric you want to use as your main fabric, you have to decide on a lining fabric. It might not be as important as the main fabric. But just because it sits on the inside and no one will see it when you’re wearing the top, doesn’t mean it can’t spark a whole lot of joy seeing it every time you take it out of your closet. I chose this light pink viscose that I had left over from another project. I thought it went really well with the lighter flowers on the main fabric and it makes me happy everytime I wear this top. (which is really often)

The Lined Sia Top

There are not many alterations in cutting your fabric. . You’ll need to cut the following pattern pieces.

  • 1 – Front Bodice cut 2 in shell fabric
  • 2 – Back Bodice cut 2 in shell fabric and 2 in lining fabric
  • 3 – Front waistband cut 1 in shell fabric and 1 lining fabric
  • 4 – Back waistband cut 2 in shell fabric, 2 in lining fabric and 2 in fusing fabric/material
  • 13 – Sleeve cut 2 in shell fabric
  • 16 – Front bodice lining cut 2 in lining fabric

For the back waistband you’ll want to cut one of the shell pieces and one of the lining pieces 2cm longer. This is where the waistband will overlap on the back to add closure. For the waistband I used the main fabric as a lining, because I didn’t want to take the risk of the lining fabric peeking underneath it while finished, and breaking up the dress illusion when combined with the skirt. I lengthened the sleeve for it to be a full sleeve all the way to my wrist. Adding the waist ties and sleeve pillow is optional! So feel free to personalize it to your style completely.


The first step is to sew and press the darts and pleats as instructed in the pattern, both on the shell and lining fabric. If you are choosing to use a gathered bustline. Add two gathering stitches to the front bodice pieces of the shell but don’t gather them yet! To make a gathering stitch, put your stitch length to the longest setting and don’t backstitch at the beginning and end.

Sew and press the shoulder and side seam of the shell front bodice pieces back bodice pieces together and press. Repeat for the lining fabric.

Grab your invisible zipper! Turn the zipper upside down to measure and mark how far you will sew down your center back seam. You’ll want to make sure you lay down your zipper so that there is 1cm of fabric left from where your zipper closes. That centimeter of fabric will be in the seam allowance of the waistband. You will sew your two shell back bodice pieces right sides together from the top till the mark and press it open. Don’t forget that the seam allowance is 1.5cm for the CB seam.

Next up is attaching the shell fabric to the lining fabric right sides together along the neckline. Because we’ve already sewn the back bodice pieces together at the top, you should be able to go all around the neckline. Snip the curves on the inside of the fabric, and understitch the seam allowance towards the lining. Isn’t understitching so satisfying and rewarding? It’s one of the reasons I love adding linings or facings to garments. And I’m always a little sad when it’s over.

We’re coming to the part some people might dread… the invisible zipper. I was definitely a little frightened before I started, but I was surprised as to how quickly it came together! So, you got this!  Start by inserting the invisible zipper to the shell fabric, like you would install it normally, getting as close to the zipper teeth as possible. Don’t forget that we’re putting it in upside down, otherwise you’ll face an unpleasant surprise later! Getting as close to the zipper teeth as possible. We’ll add the lining to the invisible zipper, like demonstrated in the instructions. If you’re struggling with this part, I would really recommend checking out Taree’s video tutorial for the lined dress.

Next we’ll be basting the shell and lining together at the armholes and waistline. If you chose to do a gathered bust adjustment, this is where we will start gathering the bust of the front bodice shell to fit the lining of the front bodice. Pull on the bobbin threads of the two basting stitches that we made in the first step until the shell front bodice matches the width of the front bodice lining. Baste together the bodice at the waistline, making sure the side seams of the shell and lining match. If you are new to lining pieces like me, don’t beat yourself up if they don’t match up perfectly! Mine didn’t and the final garment still turned out great.

It’s time to attach the waistband. Start by sewing the waistband fronts and backs together right sides together, for both the shell and facing. Add the interfaced shell waistband to the bodice first. Check to see if all the gathers/pleats at the bust sit nicely and then you can sew on the lining. The bodice will be sandwiched between shell and lining waistband. While adding the lining waistband to the bodice we will also finish up the back of the waistband where they meet. We’ve cut the back waistband pieces a little longer, so it gives us some room to do so. 

Let’s take a step back and look how beautiful your top is starting to look! And I’m pleased to tell you, the hardest part is over.

To finish sewing the waistband, fold in the fabric at the bottom of the waistband evenly by 1cm. I did this while pressing it, so it stayed nicely in place. This way I could also make sure that the shell of the waistband overlapped the lining of the waistband by just 1mm maybe, so the lining won’t peak out when we topstitch. When pressed and pinned, sew along the bottom of the waistline!

Set in the sleeve using step 18, 19 and 20 in the instruction booklet.

We are off to the finishing touches here. To the back of the waistband where the two ends meet, add your closing of choice. I added some hook and bar closures, because I had them in my stash, but I would have loved to add some fabric covered buttons for instance.

I closed up 3cm of the deep V by hand to make it a bit more modest.

Your top is done! Hooray. You can stop here and enjoy the beautiful top you’ve just created or you can create a dress illusion by making the skirt I made with it.

The Skirt

This skirt is a little time consuming but definitely not hard to make. Using the awesome Rectangle Ruffle Skirt tutorial Daisy Braid from DIY Daisy provided. I changed the dimensions a bit. For the upper tier of the skirt I cut two rectangles with a 90cm (35.5 inch) width by 60cm (23.5 inch) length. Cut one of these in half lengthwise to install the zipper. For the lower tier I cut 2 rectangles with a 140cm (55 inch) width and a 30cm (12 inch) length.

I also added a waistband to the skirt. To cut out your waistband take your waist measurement. Add 3cm (1.2 inch) and this will be the length of your waistband. I cut mine 15cm (6 inch) wide, because in the finished garment I wanted it to be 6.5cm wide. It will be folded in half and have 1cm seam allowance on either side. I used fusible interfacing on one half to make the waistband feel a little sturdier.

I made a little sketch to show the measurements I used. The notches I’ve drawn will make it easier to evenly distribute the gathers when sewing the layers together. 

Sew the side seams of the upper tear right sides together. Finish and press to the back. Overlock the back pieces separately. Set your stitch length to the longest setting and make two gathering stitches along the top of the tear. Make sure not to back stitch. Ruffle the fabric evenly to attach it on the waistband. The chalk markings we made will make it a lot easier to distribute them evenly, by matching the marks on the top tier to the marks on the waistband. Pin in place and sew the waistband right sides together with the top tier 1cm seam allowance.

Press the waistband up and then press the top of the waistband in by 1cm. Fold the waistband in half making sure that this enclosed seam will just cover the stitch we made to sew the waistband and top tier together. Press. The place where you can see the press line is where you’ll want your zipper to end. Insert the invisible zipper. Then close the waistband by stitching in the ditch from the outside of the skirt and sewing along the zipper at the back of the waistband. Finish sewing the rest of the center back seam.

Sew the two second tier pieces together at the side seam right sides together. Finish the seams and press to the back. Hem this entire tier by folding the fabric in twice and stitching it. My hem is 1cm. 

The only thing left to do is to ruffle up the second tier. In the same way we did with the first tier. By making two rows of gathering stitches, and matching the marks with the marks on the first tier. Sew together and finish them together. Press upwards and your skirt is finished! 

I love wearing this skirt and top combined, but they work so wonderfully as separates in my wardrobe as well. I’m mostly a pants kinda girl, so especially the top I love combining with different trousers for a more casual but dressy everyday look. Happy fall sewing everyone!

A little end note from Taree… Thanks Marcella for sharing your beautiful hack. Below are some other Sia Top hacks to inspire you…

By Amanda @hackknitsew
By Marcella @celsews


Creating PDF sewing patterns for sewist to sew is such a rewarding experience. Seeing all of the variations of how makers bring a pattern to life is so inspiring. Email subscribers to the Marsha Style blog and those who take the time to read my blog post can receive 20% off the Grace PDF Pattern until midnight 19th July 2021 using the coupon code GRACE20. In this blog I will share a few of the Grace Dress variations that the tester group made.

Loli – maker that uses a wheelchair.

For the first time ever I had tester, Lolie @lolieya, who is bring awareness to makers that use wheelchairs. It was so insightful to get Lolie’s feedback on the Grace Dress PDF pattern. Lolie add side seam splits to make it easier to get in and out of her chair. It has been a privilege to work with Lolie and gain insight into her needs as a maker that uses a wheelchair.

Leighanne – styled for the cooler weather

Leighanne @ohsewfearless blew me away with her winter version of the Grace Dress. When I reached out to her to test the pattern I mentioned it would not be seasonally appropriate but boy did she prove me wrong. Her winter version is made in a fine navy corduroy. Leighanne has a larger bust and increase the front bodice length by 2.5cm at the front only shaping back to the side seam to add a little more depth to the front bodice. Styled with a long sleeve, tights, boots and a jacket and you are cooler weather ready.

Antje – The Grace Top

Antje @leniundlivi converted the Grace Dress into a beautiful peplum top. Styled perfectly here with a pair of denim shorts.

Basma – the Grace Dress is size inclusive

The gorgeous Basma @basmashimmies shows us how the Grace Dress PDF pattern is perfect for curvy sewers. Basma raised the armhole by 5cm for more coverage and added 2.5cm to the front bodice to accommodate her G cup size. The Grace Dress PDF pattern is truly size inclusive. Something that is very important to Abby and I.

Cindy – currently breastfeeding her bub

Cindy @cilearnstomake was so excited when the Grace Dress was breastfeeding friendly. Abby and I were extremely happy to hear this as it was one thing Abby want to cover off with this pattern.

Mette – the Grace Skirt

And finally, for now anyway, we have Mette @sewbluedresses who converted the Grace Dress into a skirt. One thing Mette loved about the skirt was the proportions of the tiers. They are something a little different with the shorter tier sitting to the top of the skirt.

We look forward to seeing more and more Grace Dress PDF pattern variations over the coming weeks, months and years. Make sure you tag me @marshastyle when you make your Grace Dress or version of.

The grace pdf pattern has arrived

I am beyond excited to announce that the Grace Dress PDF pattern is now live. This pattern has been an absolute joy to work on in collaboration with Abby Huston – @abby_sews. I first spotted Abby’s beautiful self drafted design through Instagram earlier this year and instantly thought that members of the sewing community would love to get their hands on this lovely design. So I reached out to Abby to see if she would like to collaborate with me on bringing this pattern to life and lucky for all of us sewing enthusiast she said yes!!

View A Back

As a special treat to all my blog subscribers and those who take the time to visit my blog and read it’s content we are offering 20% of the Grace PDF pattern until midnight Australian EST 19th July 2021 by using the code GRACE20.

View B Front

Creating PDF patterns can be an extremely daunting process if you have no idea what is involved or what needs to be done. Maybe it is the trainer in me – I was a trainer at a local design school for 5 years – but I love to share my knowledge about all things sewing and pattern making. Creating a PDF pattern was something Abby had thought about doing but was not sure how to make it all happen. This collaboration was a perfect match.

View A with waist tie from View B

The Grace PDF is a vintage-inspired sundress in two versions, whose components can be mixed and matched as you please. View A, is a midi-length sundress with long and functional shoulder ties, a scooped front and back fully-lined bodice with bust darts, and a gathered skirt with side-seam pockets. The inside is cleanly finished with optional French seams, and features a deep hem.

View A Front

View B features one set of straps that attach to the front fully-lined bodice and button in back, a waist casing with ties that thread through and tie at the sides, and a midi-length tiered skirt with side seam pockets.

View B Front

This pattern has been drafted for a height of 170cm ( 5’7”). Lengthening and shortening lines have been provide to adjust according to your height.

View B with tie straps

This is an intermediate beginner pattern with the following sewing skills used.

  • optional French seams
  • understitching
  • gathering
  • double turn hem
  • buttonhole (View B only)

Variations and hacks

There are many pattern hack options to be explored for this pattern. You omit the skirt to create a cute summer top, create a skirt from the tier pattern pieces and even create a Grace set. Tiers can be shortened or lengthen, added and removed to create different length Grace dresses.


This top and dress is suitable for lightweight, woven fabrics like cotton lawn, voile, batiste, poplin, lightweight linen, or viscose. Make sure you wash your fabric prior to cutting your garment to reduce the risk of shrinkage. Fabric meterage table can be found in the images.


  • coordinating thread
  • 2 x 1.5cm (5/8”) wide buttons (view B only)
  • fusing scraps for button hole (view B only)


  • US size 2 to size 30
  • AU/UK size 6 to size 34

The Tatjana Trousers by Just Patterns.

I was gifted the Tatjana Trousers pattern by Delphine of Just Patterns just before it’s release late last year but struggled to find time to sew them up until a couple of weeks ago. To be honest I’m not really a trouser girl, or a formal / corporate dresser. My style is more casual. So the time delay was also me thinking about how I could adapt these pants to suit my style. This is something super important to me as I really only like to invest time an energy into sewing projects that I know will become staples in my wardrobe.

Tatjana Trousers style with a wrap top.

Then I spotted on @sewingtidbits that Delphine had created a pair of Tatjana Trousers from denim and the light bulb turned on. Tatjana Jeans would be right up my alley!

Delphine’s Jean trouser inspiration.

I love how sewing projects just fall together sometimes. Every year I do a little fabric haul all the way from Blackbird Fabric in Canada to Australia. In last years haul I brought a piece of natural colored bull denim that was perfect for this project.

Tatjana Trousers styled with my Aray Top

Using the body measurements chart provided with the pattern I determine I was a size 40 and did not make any adjustments to the pattern. I am often lucky with patterns that I’m not between sizes nor do I have to grade in or out for various parts of my body. In saying this grading between sizes is easy and you can draw lines between your sizes to create a pattern that is perfect for you.

Love the welt pockets!

I made the decision not to toile this pant as I wasn’t grading between sizes. If you are grading between sizes I do recommend making a toile or test garment to test the fit before cutting your final fabrication. Especially if you adore your final fabric and want the fit to be perfect.

Style with the Tyra Tee by Just Patterns.

The instructions that accompanied this pattern are fantastic. I learnt a new technique for inserting a front fly zipper and welt pocket that I have not tried before. I have tested many front fly zipper techniques and instructions and these were by far the best instructions for a home sewer that I have ever used. No gapping front fly!

Easy welt pocket construction method.

The pattern instructions also come with images to support each stage of the sewing process when things need a little further clarification. Keeping in mind this is my opinion of the instructions as an experienced sewer. I could not fault them.

The perfect trouser to go with my Shameka Top!

I approached this project as a slow sewing project. It is a technical sew and I really took my time with each stage. It was a great way to slow down my mind and refocus during a period when life was a little hectic. Sewing truly is my therapy.

Close up of all the details.

To keep in the Jean theme I used a natural topstitching thread that was 20% darker than the base color. Topstitching was applied to the front and back rise and inleg seam.

And the rolled cuff was the perfect leg finish for me.

To keep my casual theme flowing I have been wearing them with a rolled cuff. This changes the pant from a wide leg pant to more of a ballon shape leg line. See the video below on how this is done.

How to roll the cuff……

I really love how these pants have turned out. So much so I will be making a second pair using a light blue denim also from Blackbird Fabrics very soon. This style is going to be a Winter staple for me. You can use the code TAREE10 to receive a 10% discount off the Tatjana Trousers until 17 April 2021.

The End!

The Shameka top button up hack by @jacksewn_tn

When I saw Rachel’s button up hack of the Shameka Top just after the pattern launch I knew I had to reach out to see if she would write a guest blog post. And she said yes!!! So without further ado, here’s Rachel’s – aka jacksewn_tn – blog post on how to achieve this look. Rachel uses a Butterick pattern that she had in her collection to help with the collar shaping. You could replace this pattern with any pattern from your collection that has a collar.

Rachel’s first Shameka Top button up hack.

When I saw the Shameka top, I instantly fell in love with those sleeves. I love a good statement sleeve, and I love button-up shirts in general.  So naturally, I knew that I had to make this top in a button-up version.  Today I’m going to share with you how I accomplished this – let’s get started! 

Finish button up Shameka Top with a collar this time.


For this hack, I used a tried-and-true button-up pattern that I already know fits me well.  For me this pattern is Butterick 5526.  You will need the following pattern pieces:

  • placket (can be drafted easily if you don’t have a pattern piece for this)
  • collar stand
  • collar (optional– see below about re-shaping a collar piece if a different shape is desired)
  • Corresponding front and back pieces to adjust the neckline.  

What I love about the Shameka Top is that there are so many opportunities for creating a style that’s all your own!  Since I’m making view A, I used pattern pieces 1 (front bodice), 2 (back bodice), and 3 (sleeve band).  You will not need the neck binding piece from the Shameka pattern.  

Pattern pieces
Collar, stand, front & back additional patterns.


Start by cutting out your back pieces.  Now you’ve got a decision to make; whether to cut your back piece on the fold, or to cut out two separate back pieces.  Butterick 5526 has the back piece cut on a fold – meaning there would be no center back seam – but the Shameka has a center back seam.  To retain this distinctive feature, I lined up the Butterick back piece 3/8″ in from the edge of the Shameka back piece (this is to take into account the seam allowance).  You’ll then line up the shoulder seams as best you can.  Mine don’t match up perfectly, so I drew in a soft curve to connect them.  I also have a pretty long torso, so most of my shirts need to be lengthened.  You can ignore where I’ve done this, if that’s not something you need.

Combining the pattern pieces to create the new back pattern.

That’s all for the back pieces, now you can move on to the front pieces!  The Butterick 5526 pattern has an attached placket piece.  On the front pattern piece there is a line indicating where the center front is located.  Since the front Shameka piece is meant to be cut on a fold, I placed the Butterick “center front” on the edge of the Shameka piece.  The placket piece is 2 1/2″, so if you don’t have a pattern piece for a placket, you can just draw this rectangle off of the front piece.  The great thing about doing a placket already connected to the front piece is that you don’t have to worry about pattern matching.  You will have perfect matching every time. And just like you did with the back pieces, you need to line up the shoulder seams and draw a soft curve to fill in the gaps where they don’t match up perfectly.  

Combining the front pattern pieces to create the new front pattern.

OPTIONAL (NOTE: Skip this step if you don’t want a contrasting fabric for your placket!)

For my second Shameka not only did I want the placket, but I also wanted a placket in a contrasting fabric.  If you want to do this too, the first step will be to add 3/8″ seam allowance along the edge of your front pieces and blend the shoulder seams in the way described above.  Next you will need to create the placket pieces.  These are simply long rectangles.  I just took my front piece that was already cut out and traced down the front – the width is 2″ plus 3/8″ seam allowance.  I’m not sure if I did the math exactly right, but I can tell you it worked for me.  You will need two of these rectangular placket pieces.

Front placket in contrast fabric.
Finished front placket pieces.

Now the hard part is done! Pat yourself on the back because you had to take a lot of different measurements into account when cutting those pieces out.

Next you will need to cut out your remaining pieces:

  • two sleeve bands
  • two collar stand pieces
  • two collar pieces (optional)

Depending on the type of fabric you are using you may also want to cut out interfacing pieces for the plackets, collar stand(s), and the collar(s).  For the placket, I only interfaced the part of the placket that will face outward after being folded.  I cut out a strip that was 1″ wide and the length of my front edge piece.  I applied this 3/8″ in from the edge (see photo above).  Go ahead and apply all your interfacings now, so that the pieces will be ready when it’s time for them.


Now you’re ready for the fun part… head over to your machine!

Back Pieces

The first step is to sew the back pieces together and then finish the seam allowance.  I used french seams to finish all but one of my seams – I serged the sleeve bands once they were attached – and I really like how it turned out.  But “you do you” – you should use whatever your preferred method is.  If you would like to use french seams, I started by stitching the wrong sides together with 1/8″ seam allowance, ironing the seam to one side, placing the right sides together, ironing the seam flat, and then finally stitching a 1/4″ seam allowance.  This enclosed the 1/8″ seam, and I didn’t need to worry about trimming anything like you would normally do with french seams.  


Next up is sewing the plackets.  If you are doing a placket that is attached to the front piece all you need to do is fold the fabric wrong sides together. You’ll do this twice.  The first foldline is 1″ in from the front edge and then you’ll use the edge of the folded part as a 1” guide and fold it again.  Then edge stitch both sides of the placket.  

OPTIONAL (NOTE: skip this step if you don’t want a contrasting fabric for your placket)

If you’re doing a contrasting placket, you’ll first want to sew your placket to the front piece.  This is where it gets a little tricky.  You’ll want to attach the right side of the placket piece to the wrong side of the front piece and stitch this with a 3/8″ seam allowance.  You’ll then want to iron the seam toward the placket.  Fold the placket edge in 1″ towards the front piece, so that the wrong sides of the placket are touching.  Then fold the placket one more time in towards the front piece and edge stitch both sides of the placket.  

Your placket is now attached!

Side and Shoulder Seams/ Hem

Next you will need to sew the front pieces to the back pieces at the side seams and the shoulder seams.  Keep in mind the part in the instructions about where to stop for the side seam.  

At this point you can also finish your hem.  I like to go ahead and do this since the collar is a little time-consuming, and I like to feel as close to being finished as possible when I tackle that collar.  You can follow the instructions for the hem; I just did a simple 1/4″ double-turned hem.  Since I have to lengthen most of my shirts, this saves a little on fabric.    

It’s really coming together now!

Sleeve Bands

This is my favorite part about this pattern.  Just follow the instructions since these sleeves are perfect and nothing about them should be changed.

Collar/ Collar Stand

Next, attach the collar stand.

But first:  OPTIONAL (Skip this step if you just want the collar stand and you don’t want a collar attached to the stand) 

For this version of the Shameka Top, I wanted to add a collar.  I used the Butterick collar piece as a starting point, but rounded off the collar points for a softer vibe.  You can shape the collar into whatever shape you want as long as you don’t touch the edge with the double notches.

Sew your collar pieces right sides together (the Butterick pattern uses 5/8″ seam allowances, so this is something to check with the pattern you are using). Trim your seam allowances and clip your curves (as needed– if you are making a standard pointed collar, you’ll want to clip the corners).  Turn the collar right sides out and press.  Baste the bottom edges together and topstitch everything that isn’t basted.  

Start here if you just want a collar stand:

Now take one of your collar stand pieces (the interfaced one if you used interfacing) and fold up the seam allowance wrong sides touching on the flatter edge (see below).  Then place your collar stand pieces right sides together and sandwich the collar in between them, if you are attaching a collar.  Now stitch along the curved edge, as shown below. Again, you will want to trim your seam allowances and clip the curves of the collar stand.  Flip your collar stand pieces right side out and give it a good press.

You’re now ready to attach the collar stand!  First a little prep for the neckline:  staystitch and clip the curves.  This will help avoid a stretched out neckline and, depending on your fabric,  it will be easier to attach the collar stand.  

With right sides together take the collar stand that doesn’t have the seam allowance folded under and pin it to the neckline.  You’ll want to line up the edge of the placket with the edge of the collar stand.  Sew 5/8″ seam allowance and iron the seam away from the shirt body.  Again, trim seams and flip the collar stand so that the wrong sides are touching each other.  Here is where you’ll use the seam allowance that has been ironed under.  You want to line up the edge of this fold just below the line of stitching where you attached the collar stand.  Pin on the OUTSIDE of the collar stand because you’re going to “stitch in the ditch” (stitch directly in the middle of the seam).  After you have done this, edge stitch all around the collar stand.  Now give it a really good press.  

Lastly you’ll want to make your buttonholes and add buttons!

You’ve just completed this Shameka hack; a sophisticated, yet playful button-up (in my humble opinion).   Thanks for reading along and good luck with your version.  I hope you have found this tutorial useful – many thanks to Taree for asking me to contribute and being so enthusiastic about the sewing community sharing their ideas! 

Shameka top & dress review by deidre johnson.

Welcome to a guest blog review of the Shameka Top & Dress by Deidre Johnson, @sewhotmommi, I have been a massive fan of Deidre’s makes and style since finding the online maker community a few years ago. Deidre has been on the testing team for each pattern I’ve created to date. Full disclosure, this is a paid review and my way of giving a little something back to Deidre for the support of my patterns to date while I further navigate my way towards paid pattern testing.

So without further ado, here is the Shameka Top & Dress review by Deidre.

So honored to be a guest blogger and share about Taree’s latest pattern, the Shameka Top & Dress.

I had the opportunity to test both the Leila Dress and the Sia Dress and both were stellar patterns. Each was well drafted so I expected no less with this latest pattern group. Yep, a group because there are 5 options; a top, a short above-knee dress and a longer length, with a gathered waist option and pockets.

The highlight of the pattern is the unique drop-sleeve treatment. With the fullness generated at the sleeve, I wanted to highlight this feature while keeping it loose and flowy.  I chose this fantastic smokey colored tie-dyed chambray which has a nice drape for a “softer silhouette” that hangs closer to the body.

But you’re not limited to wovens with this pattern because it can be sewn with a knit too!

There are only 5 pattern pieces which means it comes together easily. I cut the pieces in one day and sewed it the next in one evening. It also means that with its simplicity, it is a great opportunity to choose a great print. I don’t wear much tie-dye, but the top lets the fabric shine.

I originally sewed the dress, pockets and all, but out of curiosity, threw it on with a pair of jeans. It was instant love. I’ve pivoted and it’s going to get a ton of wear this summer as a quick and easy style.

Thanks to Taree for inviting me to share my thoughts. She’s one of the sweetest pattern designers in the indie pattern community and exceptionally talented as well!

Vintage Style Pattern 1958

This is the first vintage pattern I have sewn and I have to say it was a wonderful experience. It has left me wanting to sew a few more vintage patterns that I have in my stash. Fashion trends and styling are like revolving doors. Making some of yesteryears patterns very relevant today.

Style Pattern 1958

This pattern only had one size being a size 10. On reading the sizing information it appeared I would need to sew a size 14. However, I have found that many commercial patterns have a ton of ease. To be 100% sure on the sizing I measured each bodice pattern piece at the under, over and mid bust to confirm if I did need to grade up two sizes or not.

Side View

After measuring the bodice pattern pieces, I figured out I only needed to add an additional 2cm in the bodice circumference and did not need to grade up the two full sizes. I did however, need to add depth to the bodice pieces given my bust size.

Front View

To do this I traced off each of the bodice pattern pieces and removed the seam allowance. I then cut each of the bodice pattern pieces through the middle and added 3.5cm length to each piece. Please see the images below. Although the back bodice piece is not shown I did the same thing to this piece as well.

New front bodice piece

To check my adjustment I sewed the bodice and top tier in a calico toile, including sewing in the zipper. On review of this toile I decided to change the front bodice darts into panels lines as the darts were quite pointy and I need to remove excess fabric from the bust point. It is much easier to achieve this curved shaping using a panel line instead of a dart.

Bodice toile.
Final front bodice pieces with panel lines.

I chose a large linen check from Potter & Co to sew the final version of this dress. I was looking out for a lovely linen gingham and in hindsight wish I had of stuck to my original plan. As much as I love this oversized check, the check looks a little weird in the top tier. The pattern pieces had a slight curve to them, curving the check on the body. This would not be as obvious on a smaller gingham fabrication. I might also be over analysing this on the garment.

The curvy check on the bodice.

When cutting out stripes and checks I always consider matching at seams. You do use more fabric doing this but for me it’s important to give the garment that beautiful finish.

Matching stripes.

I lined the front bodice and top tier with some left over white light weight linen that I had in my stash. I find lining gives a nicer finish along the top edge of the garment. I should have increased the length of the lining by another 20cm as the skirt of this dress is a little see through in the light.

Lined bodice.

The shoulder straps where converted to wide tie straps inspired by a beautiful Zimmerman Dress I saw on line.

Tie straps.

Other than lining the bodice and top tier I followed the pattern instructions. They were very easy to follow. This style is actually quite simple to sew with the gatherers and an invisible zipper being the most challenging parts of this project.

Side back.

This dress is part of my holiday wardrobe ear marked for those sunset drinks on the bow of the boat.

The End!

The swim cover up of my dreams.

Side view

The May this year I will be going on a boating adventure around the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, Australia. And being me made May I need to pack my suitcase full of home made goodies.

Unbuttoned and unbelted.

The first garment to tick off my list was a swim cover up. I spotted a white linen Sunshirt on Instagram over the holidays that ticked all the styling boxes for me. It was a button through with collar and stand, extend shirt length with a waist tie and beautiful contrast topstitching in certain areas.

All the details.

This year I am on a mission to revisit and repurpose patterns that I have purchased in the past. Especially if I have only used them once. Surely there must be more than one good make in every pattern.

Olya Shirt by Paper Theory Patterns.

The winner for this make was the Olya Pattern by Paper Theory Patterns. The first time I sewed this pattern it really challenged me. I had to stop and think. This pattern would be the perfect block for my Swim Coverup and I could revisit some of those challenging steps with confidence this time.

Side view.

The fabrication I selected was a white Lilly Linen from Potter & Co. The Lilly linen is a light weight linen with a washer finish that gives it a beautiful surface texture. It’s not so flat and crisp.

Front view

The first adjustment I made was to extend the side seams by 20cm (8”) and square them off to the CF and CB to remove any hem line shaping. Next I extended the CF placket by 15cm (6”) so it would fit the extended front body.

Front and front placket pattern pieces.
Back pattern pieces.

The major adjustment was made to the sleeve pattern. I wanted to create fullness at the sleeve hem instead of it being a standard shirt like finish. To do this I added fullness in 4 places along the sleeve hem back to nothing at the armhole seam. Please refer to the image below to see the approximate position of where the fullness was added.

Sleeve pattern piece.

In total 20cm (8”) of fullness was added to the hem. When you slash and spread a pattern it is important that you remove the seam allowance from the area that is not being increased, in this case the armhole, and add the seam allowance back on after your adjustment is made. If you slash all the way to the top of the pattern you will be increasing the sewing line of the sleeve head and it will no longer fit your armhole. This is a key point to remember when adjusting any pattern. I also added 3.5cm (1 3/8”) length to the sleeve to allow for more blousing.

Finished sleeve.

Next I created a pattern for my waist tie by cutting 2 pieces of fabric 100cm (39 3/8”) long and 14cm (5 1/2”) wide. If you have printed the Olya Dress pattern you could use the tie pattern piece from that pattern. I have only printed the shirt pattern.

The tie!

The final adjustment that I made was to reduce the size of the sleeve cuff by half. Instead of cutting 4 sleeve cuff pieces I only cut 2 and folded them in half instead of having a seam at the bottom edge.

Only cut 1 pair of the sleeve cuff.

I pretty much followed the instructions provided with the Olya Shirt except for finishing the sleeve hem.

I gathered my sleeve hem to fit the sleeve cuff instead of pleating. I finished the body hem with a wide double turn hem. The first turn was 1cm (3/8”) followed by a 2.5cm (1”) turn.

Sleeve cuff detail.

As a design feature I added beige contrast topstitching to the pockets, front and back yoke seams and waist tie.

Contrast stitching.

I am so happy with the outcome of this make. It is going to be the perfect swim cover up for our trip. It has a slight sun safe element to it with its long sleeve and collar. I can not recommend this shirt pattern enough. It is a challenge the first time you sew it but the result are so worth all the figuring out.

The end!

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, don’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 don’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 (3/8”) 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.