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.


Well it’s been a short minute since my last Blog Post. Happy New Year and I hope you are all as enthusiastic about sewing in 2021 as I am. I finally have my sewjo back and can’t wait to release a few more Marsha Style PDF Patterns in 2021

The first pattern that I will be releasing this year is the Shameka PDF Pattern and the purpose of this post is to see if any of you would be interested in reviewing this pattern prior to it’s release. I am aiming to release the pattern on Sunday 28th Feb 2021.

I’ve been working one on one with a wonderful sewist as an initial test of this pattern to reduce the amount of work the review group will have to do. I am very mindful of your time, fabric and printing cost when I am not in a position to pay my pattern testers. It is something I am working towards and hopefully can increase the number of paid testers with each pattern I release.

In the meantime, my aim is to offer my review group with a fun, engaging and rewarding review of the Shameka PDF Pattern. Pattern reviewers will receive a final copy of the Shameka PDF Pattern along with a copy of a previous pattern or my next pattern if you own all the previous patterns.

So, the Shameka PDF Pattern has 5 views in total. Pls see the images below of the different views.

View A
View B
View C
View E

Here are the trade sketches of all of the views along with the Marsha Style Body Measurements chart to check what size you would be. Pls take note of your sizes / sizes before entering the application if you don’t want to refer back to the post.

Applications are open and will close Wednesday 27th January at 8pm AEST. Successful applicants will be notified via email on Thursday evening AEST. As much as I would love to have you all I can’t. There will be more opportunities in the coming months and I will share the opportunity around. Forever grateful for your love and support of my little pattern label.

Leila Dress Hack

My Leila Dress hack

Just after the Leila Dress was released earlier this year I stumbled across the below image and instantly saved it on my Pinterest board for a sweet little summer hack of the Leila Dress. The weather is warming up in the Southern Hemisphere and my summer sewing plans are starting to come to fruition.

The inspiration for the Leila Dress hack

Ok, so here’s how I converted the Leila bodice, first tier pattern pieces into a front and back bodice with a side dart. Followed by transforming your sleeve pattern into a little flutter sleeve. And finishing off with detailed instructions on how to sew this hack.


First things first, draw a long straight line which will act as the grainline for the front bodice. Tape or pin the front 1st tier to a piece of paper lining the CF fold to the grainline just drawn. Mark the seam allowance at the top edge of this pattern piece and the lower edge of the front bodice.

Front pattern piece creation

To keep the integrity of the grainline for the front bodice mark a second line 5cm in from the first grainline drawn. This will enable you to line up the front bodice grainline to the drawn grainline. Tape or pin the front bodice to the page lining up the seam allowance of the front 1st tier and front bodice at the neck edge as well as the grainline drawn to maintain the integrity of the pattern piece. Trace around the pieces drawing a straight line from the under arm point to the bottom of the first tier side seam. It is the green line in the image below. Also draw a line to mark where the old seam line would have been.

Traced front pattern piece with dart marked on.

To work out the position of your dart, measure in 11cm from the side seam along the old panel line. This is for a size 6. Add an additional 6mm for each size bigger than this an minus 6mm for each size smaller than this. Measure down 3cm from this point which will become your bust dart point. Measure down the side seam 3.5cm below the old panel line marking this point. Measure 4cm down from this and make another point. These will form your dart arms. I also lowered my underarm point by 1cm. To correct your side seam line and determine your dart arms fold the dart up and draw a new straight line from the underarm point to the bottom of the bodice. Use your tracing wheel to roll over the folded dart. The new side seam can be seen as the blue line.

Dart folded and pinned to draw new side seam. Use your tracing wheel to determine the shape of the dart fold.

In the image above you can see I have folded the dart up so the dart itself sits down. It is very important to trace your dart like this as this is how your finished dart will be sewn and ironed. If you fold the dart down and the dart itself is facing up, the side seam will not be correct. If you would like to raise the neckline now is the time to make this adjustment. The shaping of the neck line could be rounded or a higher V. Cut out the pattern piece, mark your pattern pieces with the cutting instruction and cut on fold grainline.

Finished front bodice pattern piece

Next, pin the back bodice pattern and back 1st tier to a piece of paper lining up the fold line to a grainline drawn. Make sure you overlap the seam allowance of the two pattern pieces. The side seam of the back pattern must match the front pattern. To do this reduce the side seam length by 1cm at the under arm point. Reduce the side seam length by 4cm at the bottom edge which is equal to the dart amount from the front. I also reduced the CB length by 1cm at the bottom but next time I will reduce by 2cm in total at the bottom. The bottom of the back bodice will have a slight curve to it as per the image below.

Back bodice adjustments.

Time to create your sleeve pattern. Pin your sleeve to the pattern piece to a fresh piece of paper.

Sleeve pattern pinned to a page

Trace around the pattern and mark all of the notches and grainline. Mark a point 13cm down from the shoulder point and curve a line back to the front and back armhole just below the notches. Refer to the image below.

Sleeve drawn with new line

Cut out the sleeve pattern piece along the new hem line. Mark the 1cm SA around the sleeve head. Draw lines 2cm apart starting from the middle of the sleeve out to the edge.

Cut the seam allowance from the pattern and then cut through the lines from the hem to the sleeve head leaving a little bit not cut at the top edge to act as the swinging point.

Seam allowance cut from pattern piece

Tape your sleeve pattern piece to a new page leaving a 1.5cm gap between each cut piece. Then add the 1cm SA back to the sleeve head. Your sleeve pattern is now complete. Make sure you note which is the front and back sleeve. The front sleeve has 1 notch and the back sleeve has 2.

Final sleeve pattern


  1. Cut out all of your pattern pieces which include the front and back bodice pieces that you just created, the sleeve, the front and back 2nd tier and 3rd tier. Also cut out the front and back neck facing pieces.
  2. Sew the darts into the front bodice and iron them down.
Darts sewn in the front bodice

3. Sew the front and back bodice pieces together at the side seams.

Sew front & back together at side seams.

4. Overlock side seams together and shoulder seams individually.

5. Sew shoulder seams together and press them flat.

Sew shoulder seams together and press open

6. Sew neck facing pieces together at the shoulders and press open.

Neck facing pieces sewn together

7. Overlock around the outside edge of the neck facing.

8. Sew the neck facing to the neck edge with right sides together using a 6mm SA. Press the seam out towards the facing.

Neck facing attached to neck edge and pressed towards facing

9. Press facing to the wrong side right along the seam line.

Facing pressed to wrong side

10. Stitch the facing down to the main garment. I increased my stitch length to 3.5mm for this step. Keep your foot running an even distance from the neck edge so the stitch line on the outside of the garment is an even distance from the edge all the way around. Add your woven label at this point if you have one.

Facing stitched down

11. Next prepare your gathered skirt panels. Change your stitch length to 5mm and sew 2 gather stitch lines along the top edge of the 3rd tier pattern pieces. The first stitch line is 5mm from the top edge and the 2nd is 6mm from the first stitch line.

12. Evenly pull the gather stitch so that the 3rd tier fits to the 2nd tier. Change your stitch length back to 2.5mm and sew your 3rd tier to the 2nd tier. Overlock the seams. Keep the front and back pieces separate at this point.

3rd tier gathered to the 2nd tier

13. Join the front and back skirt tiers together at the side seam. Overlock side seams together.

Skirt side seams sewn together

14. Sew an 8mm double turn hem to finish the lower edge of the skirt.

Skirt finished with double turn hem

15. Sew 2 rows of gather stitch to the top of the skirt. I sew 2 rows to the front and 2 rows to the back and pull them up separately so there is less chance of the gather stitches breaking.

16. Sew skirt to the bodice and overlock seam to finish.

Main dress finished!


17. Sew a 6mm double turn hem to the sleeve edge.

Finished sleeve hem

18. Attached the sleeve to the dress ensuring you have the front sleeve to the front of the dress.

Sleeve sewn into dress

19. Fold overlocked edge to the inside of the underarm and stitch down. Stitch 2cm past where the sleeve is attached. Do not stitch all the way around the sleeve.

Finished sleeve

20. Give your dress and final press and it’s ready to wear!

The finished dress!
The finished dress on ✌🏼

The Leila PDF pattern is available through my PDF pattern shop.