My best indie pattern makes for 2021

Music: She’s Crafty by Beastie Boys

We put a lot of time, effort and money into creating our home made wardrobes and in 2021 I really wanted to focus on making items of clothing that could be worn over and over again.

Below is an overview of my most worn and sewn Indie PDF Patterns for 2021.

Pomona Pant with Tie Back Top

First up is the Pomona Pant by Anna Allen Clothing. This elasticated pant and short pattern is the boom. It’s an easy sew that would be suitable for beginners. It is a wardrobe staple and can be easily updated to a paper bag waist or draw cord waist. Next time I sew this pattern I will be sizing up 1 to 2 sizes but keeping the cut elastic to my size. This pattern is amazing in linen!

Pomona Pant with TPC25 Top

One of my favorite tops for 2021 is the Tie Back Top by @thats.sew.sandy. This top is not going to be for everyone as it can’t be worn with a bra. It’s a go to piece for me on weekends in spring and summer. @thats.sew.sandy has created a tutorial that can be found in her highlights. I did have to fiddle with the elastic length around the body to get in comfortable. My version is made in a linen viscose gingham that I purchased whilst in Barcelona a few years ago. Every time I wear this top I always get compliments or people asking were I got it from. It is appropriately tagged with a KATM “you can’t buy this” tag.

Tie Back Top + Pomona Pant
Tie Back Top + Lander Shorts
The stunning back of the Tie Back Top
Tie Back Top + MN Dawn Jean. I wear this top ALL the time!

Disclosure…. I did release 3 sewing patterns in 2021 so quite a few of my makes revolve around theses patterns.

The Shameka as a Top & Skirt

Next up is the Shameka PDF Pattern hacked into a skirt and top. As a skirt and top there are so many opportunities for use. I can wear these as a set or individual pieces paired with other items in my wardrobe. The Shameka Top is a summer go to top for me. It’s easy to wear with a little design twist to elevate the everyday top.

The Shameka Top

This next dress is new to my wardrobe, only a little over 1 month old but has been worn numerous times already. It’s a super fun hack of the Cortney PDF and Leila PDF Patterns. You can read all out how to create this hack here.

Cortney X Leila babydoll dress

And then there’s the Grace Dress created in collaboration with @abby_sews. The Grace PDF comes with 2 views. My personal favorite is view B as pictured below with the waist ties. This dress has seen multiple outings from work to shopping adventures to lunches with the girls and dates with my man. The Grace PDF Pattern has surpassed even my expectations with its endless opportunities to hack and mix with other patterns to create new styles such as my recent Cortney X Grace maxi dress. PS there is a 20% discount coupon CORTXGRACE valid on both the Cortney and Grace PDF Patterns until midnight Tuesday 18th Jan 2022.

View B of the Grace Dress

The Tatjana Trouser by Just Patterns is another stand out make and PDF Pattern for me in 2021. I’m not really a slacks girl but love this style modified into a tailored jean. I have written a detailed blog post on this make which you can read here. You can also see how I do a little tuck and roll to change a wide leg pant into a fitted ankle pant.

Turning a wide leg pant into a narrow leg

And finally my favorite pattern for 2021. Maybe it’s because it consumed the later half of 2021 for me. It is the Cortney Top. I love the drama of the sleeve. I love that is can be worn with an open V neck or a more conservative round high neckline. I wear this gingham version all the time with jeans and shorts. The Cortney PDF Pattern has also formed the bases of my favorite 2 dress makes for 2021, my Cortney X Leila babydoll dress and my Cortney X Grace maxi dress.

Cortney Top + RTW Shorts
Cortney Top + RTW Jeans
Cortney X Grace Maxi Dress

So that’s my round up of my most worn and made PDF Patterns for 2021.

Cortney X Grace Dress by Marsha Style

The beautiful Solstice Print by Storrs London

Well hello 2022!

First things first… Sewing this Storrs of London cotton lawn gifted from Maaidesign was an absolute dream. And sorry to say but the Solstice print that I used for my dress has since sold out! The hand feel is creamy and velvety, the print is bold and beautiful and for all of my Aussie sewist you can now purchase a select few Storrs of London fabrications through Maaidesign in Australia.

I don’t know about you, but when I have a beautiful fabric to sew the pressure to sew something amazing is real. I want to make sure every detail of the design and make is perfect.

On my previous blog post you can see how I have combined the Cortney PDF Pattern with the Leila PDF pattern to create a fun babydoll dress with so many gathers and so much fullness. This make sparked an idea to calm down the gathers and fullness to create a maxi dress.

My Cortney X Leila hack with all it’s volume.

The Grace PDF Pattern also by myself in collaboration with talented Abby was the perfect companion to the Cortney PDF to achieve this look.

As a starting block for the bodice I used the bodice pattern pieces that I’d created for my Cortney X Leila hack. Please see that blog post for the details. I then placed the Grace bodice pieces over the top to work out the width that I needed to fit with the Grace View B skirt pattern pieces.

The Grace bodice compared to the Cortney bodice

I ended up reducing my bodice pieces by 2.5cm (1”) through the shoulder to the waist as folded in below. When cutting out I created a straight line from the neck point to the shoulder point.

Finished bodice pieces

I opted to use my short Cortney sleeve again as it is seasonally appropriate for my coastal location. The idea of a long sleeve Cortney X Grace hack is very appealing that I will probably make in Winter. I also omitted the collar and created a bind tie exactly the same as the Cortney X Leila hack.

The neck tie gives me the option to wear this style as a V neck or more conservative round neck. I will probably add a little hook and eye to close the front V slightly more when I’m feeling something in between.

For the skirt I used the Grace View B pattern pieces without any changes. I opted for an elasticated waist instead of the ties given the neck tie. It may have been tie overload with both. And the elastic waist is not firm. It’s a loose fit to pull the waist in but not hugging.

If you are thinking of creating this hack for yourself you can use the code CORTXGRACE to receive a 20% discount off both patterns from now until 12pm midnight on the 18th Jan 2022 Australian EST. Offer only available on the Marsha Style website.

CORTNEY X LEILA HACK BY MARSHA STYLE

It feels like a lifetime since I have written a blog post and I must say I’m excited to be back! I have been doing a ton of thinking around Marsha Style Patterns and how interchangeable they are to create new and fun designs. There is something very satisfying about mixing up patterns to create a unique design. This dress was inspired by a ready to wear design from Aussie fashion label Laboheme Lifestyle.

My inspiration….

I selected a beautiful Cornflower Blue Broderie Anglaise from A+R Fabrics for this make. If blue is not your colour, Trin also has a white Broderie Anglaise that would be stunning for this make. Trin also has perfectly colour matched cotton voile lining. I purchased 3mts of the main fabrication and 2mts of lining. I did have a little bit left over but not enough to buy less fabric.

Cornflower Blue Broderie Anglaise in all it’s glory!

The bodice and sleeve of the dress is based on my Cortney PDF Pattern. I sized down one full size to a size 4 bodice and sleeve for this hack. The bodice length and skirt tiers where inspired by a previous hack I had made using my Leila Dress x Leila Slip PDF Pattern. You could also use the Grace PDF Pattern to help determine the proportions and tier pattern pieces.

To create the bodice pattern pieces I shortened the Cortney Front and Back pattern pieces so that the side seam was 14cm. To work out how long I wanted the bodice piece to be, I put on a previous hack I had made of the Leila Dress x Leila Slip. You could use any babydoll dress in your wardrobe to figure out the best length for your bodice. Or simply measure from your high point shoulder to a position you would be comfortable with on your body. If you are using a see through fabric like mine cut out the front and back pattern pieces in the main and lining fabrication. On my design, I removed the front placket and created a front opening that was 15cm long which is finished using the bodice lining.

The shortened front & back pattern pieces.

I used the Cortney pleated sleeve pattern and shortened it so that the undersleeve length on the pattern was 21cm. This style would also look super cute with the original longer sleeve of the Cortney Dress but it’s Summer here now in Australia so I was all for the short puffy sleeve.

The short puffy sleeve!

Now for the gathered tier pattern pieces… I used the 3rd Tier pattern piece from the Leila PDF Pattern as a guide. The top tier is the exact height of this pattern piece (25.5cm) but cut the full width of the fabric. You will need to cut 2 of these. The 2nd tier is 6cm longer than the 1st (31.5cm) and cut the full width of the fabric. You will need to cut 3 of these. If you need lining, it was cut 50cm long and the full width of the lining fabric. You will need to cut 2 of these.

All that gathered volume in the skirt.

The final pattern piece to cut is the neck bind / tie. To work out the length of the tie I measured the collar from the Cortney pattern and added on 25cm for the tie. This piece must be cut on the bias, will be 3.5cm wide and you will need 2.

The neck finish and tie.

Now time to sew…..

  • Sew the front and back main pieces together at the shoulders and side seams. Press open.
  • Sew the front and back lining pieces together at the shoulders and side seams. Press open.
  • Create the front opening by placing the front main and front lining pieces right side together. Stitch from the neck edge down and around the front opening and back up to the neck edge. Snip into the lower corners so they turn out nicely. Press.
  • Stay stitch the main and lining neck edge together. Gather neck edge between the notches to fit the neck bind. Make sure you note on the neck bind where the collar would have ended and gather the neck edge to fit this.
  • To sew on the neck bind, firstly stitch the right side of the bind to the wrong side of the neck edge using an 8mm seam allowance. Fold and iron the bind over to the right side before stitching it down using a little edge stitch.
  • Continue stitching to finish of the neck ties. Simply fold the ends of the bind in to finish them off.
The bodice….

Prepare your sleeves…

  • Fold and stay stitch the pleats into the sleeve head as per the pattern instructions.
  • Sew the undersleeve seam of the sleeve. I did this using a french seam as I could not find a good overlocking thread match and wanted the finish of this dress to be beautiful.
  • Create the channel at the sleeve hem for the elastic ensuring you leave a gap to insert the elastic.
  • Cut 2 pieces of elastic a good length to fit on your arm where you would like the sleeve to sit.
  • Insert the elastic into the sleeve hem, stitch the ends of the elastic together being careful not to twist and close off the gap in the sleeve hem.

Insert your sleeve…

My sleeve is not lined but has been bagged out using the bodice main and bodice lining. Again as I didn’t want to have any visible overlocking on this garment. You can insert your sleeve with the lining and bodice pieces together and overlock to finish. If you are going to bag out the sleeve please see below.

  • With right sides together, sew the sleeve to the main bodice.
  • Next attached the lining. This is tricky and you have to do one side at a time from the underarm up to the shoulder and then pull if back through before doing the second side. I always pin a small section on how I want it to look finished, so the right side of the lining to the wrong side of the sleeve.
  • Snip into the underarm circle as the sleeve seam will have to sit into the bodice if it is lined.
The finished sleeve.

The skirt…

Again, I have done my skirt using all french seams so there is no visible overlocking. You can make your life so much easier using a normal seaming method.

  • Sew the top tier skirt panels together at the side seam.
  • Add 2 rows of gather stitch to the top edge of the first tier (I did this in 2 sections). Pull gathers to fit the outer main bodice. Pin and stitch in place.
  • Sew the 2nd tier skirt panels together. There will be 3 seams in total.
  • Add 2 rows of gather stitch to the top edge of the 2nd tier (I did this in 3 sections). Divide the top tier into 3 with CB being one of the points. Line up the seams of the 3rd tier with these points and pull gathers to fit the 1st tier. Pin and stitch in place.
  • Sew the side seam of the skirt lining together.
  • Add 2 rows of gather stitch to the top edge of the skirt lining (I did this in 2 sections). Pull gathers to fit the lining bodice. Pin and stitch in place.
  • Pull out all gather stitching.

The finishing touches…

  • Sew an 8mm double turn hem on the skirt lining.
  • Sew an 8mm double turn hem on the main skirt.
  • Join the bodice lining to the main bodice at the side seams by tacking the waist seam together on the inside. This will hold everything in place.

The finished inside of the garment.

I really love how this hack has come together. Some thoughts for next time… Maybe I will size down 2 full sizes on the bodice and sleeve to pull the waist in a little bit more but also making sure it will still go on over my head. Other than that I am so happy with my new dress. I love that I can tie the neck tie for a more modest look or leave it open for a casual summer look.

The End!

To celebrate the mixing of Marsha Style Patterns you can create your own pattern bundles. Buy 2 Marsha Style Patterns and get a 3rd pattern for free using 3FOR2. Promotion is available until the end of December 2021 and only available on the Marsha Style Website and not on Etsy or through 3rd party suppliers.

@BESPOKE.BLANCHE SIA X LEILA HACK

I am so excited to welcome Becky from @bespoke.blanche as a guest blogger to share her stunning Sia x Leila hack. Photo credits for images on Becky go to @nicoleashley. Credits for images on dress form go to Becky.

To create my Sia x Leila hack I used the Sia LINED Bodice and UNLINED Skirt along with the Leila Sleeve pattern.

MATERIALS (in addition to what is already required in the pattern)

  • For a size 6, I used a full 10 meters of fabric.  This will vary based on how full you want the gathered skirt to be, and how long you want the ruffle tier train to be
  • 4 cm wide elastic, about 6 cm length (if you want to replace the zipper)

CONSTRUCTING YOUR DRESS BODICE – INSTRUCTIONS FOR A LINED BODICE

Follow instructions as per the pattern for steps 1-12!  Easy! 🙂

TIE SLEEVE VERSION A & C

Follow instructions as per the pattern for steps 13-15!

STEP 16: Instead of finishing the sleeve hem, here is where you will need the LEILA pattern.  Take Pattern piece 10 (SLEEVE FRILL) in the same size as the SIA dress you are working with and cut out 1 pair on the fold.  For a basic bell shape, consistent in diameter all the way around, cut out exactly as per the pattern piece.  In my hack, I opted for a more dramatic of a bell, so I extended the pattern piece as follows. This will create a bell shape with a longer edge on the back.

Updated Sleeve Pattern

Change your stitch length to 5 and stitch 2 rows of gather stitch at the top of the sleeve frill. Change your stitch length back to its normal setting. On my machine it is 2.3. Pull gathers evenly to the bottom of the sleeve. With right sides together, pin and stitch in place using a 1cm (3/8”) SA. Overlock or finish seam using your desired method. Press seam up toward the sleeve.

STEP 17:  With right sides together sew the under sleeve seam together using a 1cm (3/8”) SA. Overlock or finish seam with your desired method and press to the back.

STEP 18: Finish the sleeve hem with an 8mm double turn finish. Tip: To sew your double turn hem press your first turn at 8mm and then fold your second turn while sewing at the machine.

CONSTRUCTING YOUR DRESS SKIRT – INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE UNLINED DRESS

Since we are doing a gathered skirt, you will not need to make the darts.  Therefore, smooth over the indents/extrudes as you cut your fabric so you have a consistent line along the top of the skirt.  You can also cut the back skirt on the fold (instead of a pair) to reduce the number of seams. 

Gathered skirts require additional fabric.  How much is dependent on how full you want your skirt to be.  My version was extremely full, so in addition to the front skirt pair (which stay as is because of the pockets), and the back cut on fold, I cut an additional 3 back pieces on the fold. 

IMPORTANT!  Before you gather the skirt, take note of the total width of your skirt. You will need to DOUBLE this width for the ruffle tier.

Follow instructions as per the pattern for steps 1-2 (for pockets)

Skip Step 3 (no darts necessary)

Follow instructions as per the pattern for steps 4-5 (front skirt placket)

Follow instructions as per the pattern for step 6 (sew side seam edges together). 

Skip Step 7 (no side seam split in this version)

Before you attach the skirt to the bodice we will gather the skirt.  Remember to take note of the total width of your skirt.  In the next step, we will cut the ruffle tier and will need to DOUBLE the width of the skirt. 

To gather the skirt, divide your skirt into quarters.  Turn your stitch length to 5 and sew two rows of gather stitching around each quarter of the skirt.  Pull gathers evenly and follow the instructions to attach the skirt to the LINED bodice (This is Step 8). Pull out gather stitching if they are visible. 

Hem the skirt using a double turn 6mm (1/4”) hem. TIP: Press and pin in place before sewing.

RUFFLE TIER

For the width, you will need to DOUBLE the width of your skirt.  (I cut 2 front skirts, and 4 back skirts on the fold) so I cut the equivalent of 4 front skirts (or 2 on the fold to reduce seams), and 8 back skirts on the fold for the ruffle tier. 

For the length, this will depend how long you want it to be (and how much fabric you have left). The ruffle tiers equivalent to the front skirt (2 on the fold) I cut at around 40cm.  This was the perfect length to hit right at the floor.  The longest tier was about 65cm so I cut 4 of the ruffle tiers at that length and the last 4 somewhere in between 40 and 65. 

Now it is time to sew them all together, except the two ends that will match with the front false placket.  Individually overlock or finish the side seam edges of the ruffle tier using your desired method. Finish the front false placket on the ruffle tier by turning and pressing the CF edge 1cm (3/8”) to the wrong side. Then 2cm (3/4”) again to the wrong side of the garment. Pin in place, change your stitch length to 3mm and then sew down 2mm from edge of fold.

Once it is all sewn together, fold your tier in half, and then half again, and then half again.  Take a ruler and make a line from the shortest ruffle to the longest ruffle and cut the ends to make the train gradual. 

Before you gather, hem the skirt on the top AND the bottom by using a double turn 6mm (1/4”) hem. TIP: Press and pin in place before sewing.

To gather the ruffle, divide into quarters.  Turn your stitch length to 5 and sew two rows of gather stitching around each quarter of the skirt.  Pull gathers evenly on the ruffle tier to match the width of the skirt.

Place the ruffle tier on the skirt, with the wrong side of the ruffle tier touching the right side of the skirt. Align the gathering stitches of the ruffle tier with the hem stitches on the skirt. You want the ruffle tier to overlap the skirt by 6mm (1/4”). Use a lot of pins to ensure the ruffle tier is evenly distributed on the dress. Sew to attach, using the gathering stitches as a guide, with a 1.3 cm (1/2”) seam allowance. Remove the basting stitches.

CONSTRUCTION FOR GARMENT FINISHES – INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE LINED DRESS

I opted for a back neck-tie instead of a zipper.  To accomplish this, I cut two strips of fabric about 4 cm wide by 35 cm long for the ties.  To make a simple thin tie, fold it in half lengthwise wrong sides together and press to create a crease. Unfold, and then fold in one of the short sides about 5mm to create a finished edge and then press the two sides to meet in the middle crease.  Fold again and sew as close to edge as you can.  Repeat for the other tie. 

Place the raw end of the tie on the top of the bodice, right sides together and sew close to the edge.  Repeat on the other side.

Where the back bodice meets the skirt, you may need to insert a length of elastic (I used about 6cm) to allow the dress to be pulled over your head/shoulders. You can create a casing from scrap material or use a piece of elastic that is designed to be exposed. I created a casing, attached it to the skirt/back bodice, slipped the elastic in and closed the casing.

Once the elastic is in, turn in the back raw edges 8mm all the way down to create a clean finish and topstitch.

Give your dress a press and your SIA hack is now complete!

To celebrate the cross use of Marsha Style Patterns you can create you own pattern bundles. Buy 2 PDF patterns and get a 3rd one for free using the code 3FOR2 at checkout.

The Cortney Dress Review by @ohsewfearless

When Taree, the brains behind Marsha Style, said that she had another dress pattern in the making I instantly volunteered myself to join the testing group. Not only did the dress itself look fab, but I have really come to love the laid back style of the Marsha Style dresses and I know they fit my curves well.

I was also instantly hooked on the idea of turning my make into a cool 70’s style with a bit of a hippy feel. And those sleeves…. enough said!

Although I was a part of the testing team, I am under no obligation to write this post, or say nice things. I honestly think all the things that are written below. Enough of the disclaimers! Let’s talk about this dress!

The Cortney pattern has 3 different views out of the ‘packet’. 2 dress versions, with a sleeve variation and a top that could be sew with either sleeve.

The dress style is an easy, relaxed shift shape, with a mandarin collar and buttons to the front. It cinches with a self tie belt.

The sleeves are in my opinion the best bit about this pattern. These sleeves are BIG! The first sleeve has a beautiful pleated puff and a sleeve pillow to puff up even more. The second sleeve has all the volume but no gathers at the sleeve head.

There will be no mystery in working out which sleeve I went for!

The Cortney Dress Pattern

This is graded as an intermediate pattern and I would agree it’s not for a beginner. The front placket construction and mandarin collar were new elements for me, and although I sailed through them with the great step by step instructions, I wouldn’t have wanted to sew this as one of my first projects.

Another great element about this dress is that I feel it is hugely hackable. I have already thought about making the top but with a full front of buttons, or my best idea yet (IMO) which I am yet to sew is a tiered version of this dress mashing up the Marsha Style Leila dress.

Pattern & Instructions

I used my pattern on my projector, and even though Marsha Style’s patterns don’t come with a projector view, I had no trouble with the projector view using the A0 Version.

Although, saying I had no trouble is a bit of a fib as I almost gave Taree a headache with sizing. When I made my muslin, I set up my projector, calibrated and got ready to cut. Just before I did, I stepped away from the table for 5 minutes, in which time my boys thought it would be funny to play a joke on mummy and changed my settings. My muslin was too small and odd fitting so  my first round of feedback was a puzzling array of fit issues.

Luckily, I noticed quickly enough, and eventually saw the funny side.

When it comes to the other Marsha Style dresses I have made, and I generally cut a 16. The dress I made is a 14 which shows that there is a good amount of ease in it. I think a 16 would have swamped me.

Another thing to note, is that due to the relaxed shape of the dress, I didn’t need to FBA. I am a G Cup bra size and this is plenty roomy.

Last thing on sizing.. This is a short dress. The pattern is drafted for a height of 5’7″. I am 5’5″ and you can see its still short. The length is one thing I would recommend be checked before you cut fabric 🙂

My Fabric

Ok, so I know this is a pattern review, but I love this fabric so much, I just wanted to call it out.

I’m a bit of a sucker for a retro print floral and this one had my name all over it. Yellow is my favourite colour, but one that generally doesn’t look good on me, but with a high mix of white tones, I think I can just about pull this off.

And even if I don’t, I love it anyway and couldn’t imagine my poufy hippy dress any other way.

The fabric is a linen – cotton mix, bought from Spotlight Stores in NZ. The buttons I used are vintage glass buttons in a creamy colour just to complete the vibe

My Summer Dress of dreams

IT’S LOVE!

I really enjoyed sewing up the Cortney Dress. I like patterns that challenge me and help me to learn new things and this pattern had a few new things for me.

I had not sewn a placket like this one before, and for that reason I am glad I tested it out when I made my muslin. If I’d have just gone straight into the dress I would have mashed it up, so I am grateful I gave myself a practise round.

The collar was very straightforward to sew, as were the pleated sleeves with their sleeve pillows (although I did have a little chuckle about their name)

Overall I am so chuffed with my dress. I love the shape and the length, which feels just right for my frame.

I am going to be getting a lot of wear out of this one!

Marsha Style!

Looking for more on the Cortney Dress?

– Cortney Dress on Instagram

Buy the Cortney Dress

To celebrate the launch of the Cortney Top & Dress PDF pattern you can use the coupon code CORTNEY20 to get 20% of the Cortney Top & Dress PDF until midnight Sunday 7th November 2021 Australian EST. Coupon can only be used on the Marsha Style website & Etsy Store and not through 3rd party websites.

MEET THE CORTNEY TOP & DRESS PDF PATTERN

I first started working on the Cortney Top & Dress PDF pattern late 2020. So this pattern has been in the works for a while. I am so excited to finally have it out into the big wide world! P.S. There is a little gift for my blog readers at the end of the post to celebrate the launch of this pattern.

Cortney in her Cortney Top

The Cortney Top and Dress has all that puff sleeve goodness that we are loving right now. This pattern is named after the gorgeous Cortney aka @s.is.for.sew. She is a sewer that I have always admired in the online sewing community. This is my way of saying a huge thank you to her for catapulting the reach of my brand during the launch of the Sia Dress. And her ongoing support since the launch of my first pattern. I am very grateful!

Lots of puffed sleeve goodness

The pattern comes with two sleeve options, one that has pleats at the sleeve head and the 2nd with no pleats or gathers at the sleeve head. The sleeve is designed to be off shoulder and may require an adjustment if you prefer your sleeve to sit on the shoulder. The sleeve opening is voluminous and finished with an elastic casing. The neck finish features a mandarin collar and a wide, long front placket that can be worn button closed or open to create a deep V.

Cortney Top with Slv A & unbuttoned placket

Both the top and dress are oversized and voluminous. It is recommended to check the finished measurement chart when deciding on what size to make incase you prefer a neater fit. The top can be worn out or tucked in. The dress can be cinched in at the waist with a waist tie if desired. And of course there are pockets.

See how it sits slightly off shoulder

The pattern has been drafted for a height of 170cm ( 5’7”). The top and dress can be shortened or lengthened at the hem according to your height. Given it’s easy fit this style can be comfortably worn by bust size A through to G.

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

• front placket construction
• under stitching
• pleating
• double turn hem
• buttonhole

I have personally sewn about 9 alliterations of this design in fabrics including linen, cotton, viscose and cotton/linen blend. This top and dress is suitable for mid weight, woven fabrics like linen, cotton, tencil, viscose, rayon or poplin. Or you can create a softer shell using lightweight versions of the above.

This version is made using a cotton ikat

Below is the Marsha Style size chart with all sizes included in this pattern. This pattern also comes in the layers format so you can print only the sizes you need.

The fabric yield can be reduced if you cut the sleeve pattern on the cross grain for size 8 and above. The sleeve pattern is BIG!

There are many pattern hack options to be explored for this pattern. You could lengthen the dress and add side seam slips to create a midi dress. You could shorten the top and add a gathered tier to create a baby doll dress. Or you could shorten the top and add several tier to create a voluminous midi or maxi dress. The first hack I will be making is using the bodice and sleeve of the Cortney Pattern and adding several tiers to create a boho style dress.

We love pockets!

To celebrate the launch of the Cortney Top & Dress PDF pattern you can use the coupon code CORTNEY20 to get 20% of the Cortney Top & Dress PDF until midnight Sunday 7th November 2021 Australian EST. Coupon can only be used on my website & Etsy Store and not through 3rd party websites.

MY ANNUAL B’DAY SALE

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.

Sewing

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

GRACE DRESS VARIATIONS

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.

Fabric

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.

Notions

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

Sizing

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