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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.