September brings with it the promise of sunshine and finer weather. So, naturally, I’m starting to think about a summer wardrobe. I do often wonder if I should start working on my summer wardrobe in winter and sew up my cold weather wardrobe in summer. Anyway, I had always meant to sew up another Fern Top from Pattern Scout Studios. I then saw a mention of a dress hack so I decided to go ahead and do this!
The original pattern is a pretty top that has a central panel with a round collar which the dolman sleeve pieces attach to. Then Pattern Scout released the square neck extension pack which was what really sold me. I really love a square neckline! So, my first version of this pattern was the square neckline version of the top.
This time I’ve sewed the square neckline again but decided to use the free tutorial for the flutter sleeves. So, most of the hard work for this hack was actually done! I just added the skirt by using two rectangular pieces and gathering the top of the skirt and attaching this to where the “skirt” of the top would’ve attached to.
I should also mention that I had fully lined my dress with muslin. I used a divinely floaty, sheer, lightweight “seaweed stripe” linen that I was lucky enough to score at the in-store sale at Megan Nielsen’s shop in June. I didn’t know at the time what I was going to make out of the fabric but it was too good to pass up and I’m only just starting to feel confident enough to invest in my fabrics. I bought two meters of this linen which was just right for this make. So, getting back to the sheerness of the fabric, it’s beautiful and light but quite see-through so for modesty’s sake and so my family don’t disown me in public, the muslin was a perfect pick to line the dress with.
This dress is so comfortable to wear. It’s not quite warm enough yet but the baby-doll style is great for those sticky and humid summer days. Hopefully this will inspire someone to give it a go! The Fern Top is great as-is but such a wonderful bonus with so many options to customise it.
We’ve just seen a close to the end of Ogden Cami Month. It’s been so inspiring to follow along the True Bias blog. This is such a well-loved pattern in the sewing community. There is a plethora of clever hacks for this pattern. From the True Bias website, the Ogden Cami is described as, “The Ogden Cami is a simple blouse that can either be worn on its own or as a layering piece under blazers and cardigans. It has a soft V neck at both center front and center back necklines, and delicate spaghetti straps. The neckline and armholes are finished with a partial lining for a beautiful, high end finish.”
I’ve loved wearing the cami as a layering piece, but I’ve also loved it as a stand-alone piece on those really hot, sticky humid days. I’ve made three of the Ogden Camis with linen which is so breathable and such a great fabric for those days. I’ve also hacked the Ogden into a summer dress using very lightweight rayon for both.
The sizing was spot on for me. There were no adjustments needed which was great! I sewed up the Size 8 and my measurements are B37:W33:H38. When deciding on sizing, I usually look at the sizing chart and in addition to that, the finished garment sizing. It’s also handy to consider the fabric you’re sewing with. I could have possibly sewn up a size if I had chosen a very stable fabric but I found that linen “grows” so you can end up with a slight increase in the “give” of the fabric. On the finished garment chart, the sizing range is from bust size 33 inch to 59.5 inch but be aware the sizing is divided to two ranges.
It’s definitely great core item for your closet and it’s a pattern that keeps on giving! After this Ogden Month, I’m even more inspired for a few more creative hacks for next year.
It’s winter in Perth but I just couldn’t wait to sew up the Frankie Tankie which is a pattern by Vanessa Hansen Studio. Vanessa worked for many years in the London fashion industry and she has posted some of the designs she has been involved in on her Instagram Page. She is extremely talented and her patterns are one of a kind.
The Frankie Tankie is so cute with the tied strap detail. I’ve made the hacked shift dress version but I can see myself making this pattern a few more times! It’s just one of those patterns that will be easy to refresh and reinvent. Vanessa has acknowledged this by giving instructions for not one but TWO dress hack versions! This is such a cool inclusion in a pattern.
The pattern is beginner friendly. She has very detailed instructions with lots of explanations. It feels like she is holding your hand through the sew with easy-to-follow tips along the way and includes a bit of humour which makes it fun to follow. It felt like she looked into my brain when one of the steps said, “… do not use your scissors to push even if it is tempting”.
My dress version was simple to do. I’ve just increased the length of the tank by 15 inches. The lengthen and shorten lines are included on the pattern pieces which makes it easy to do this. In fact, there is quite a lot of detail for different options which I enjoy. Choices are given for if you want to use a facing, a lining or to make it double sided.
Sizing was spot on. I made the UK 12 B Cup. My measurements are 37 inch bust, 33 inch waist, 38 inch hip. No modifications were needed. Size range for garment measurements are from 34 ¾ inch to 41 ¾ inch full bust, 38 ¼ inch to 45 1/8 inch waist. The pattern is drafted for three different sewing cup sizes A, B and DD.
I really can’t wait to sew this again. I used a light denim fabric with a ditzy daisy print to make this version of the Frankie Tankie dress. I’d love to make another with an even lighter drapey woven like cotton lawn, silk or rayon. The options are endless. Definitely one that I’ll enjoy wearing on a hot summer day.
Facing lockdown again, there has to be an upside and that upside is time. Time to indulge in a bit of sewing and to do something I’ve never attempted before. A mash up of two sewing patterns and to start a new hobby … blogging.
Patternscout and Marshastyle are two seriously talented independent sewing pattern makers. I’ve sewn quite a few of the Patternscout patterns, they are beautifully drafted and as a beginner, I find the instructions easy to follow and I’ve just learnt so much by sewing her patterns. The sizing is also always a great fit for me. I came across the Leila Dress by Marshastyle last year when I had just started out on my sewing journey. What’s not to love with the beautiful boho look of this dress? The statement sleeves are so unique and so was the tiered gathered skirt. The combination was just too hard to resist!
When I sewed the Leila Dress, I made a blouse hack to try out the bodice and discovered that the v- neck neckline was a bit too low for me. When I wear it, I usually have a cami top underneath so I found myself not reaching for this in summer when Perth hits 40 degrees celsius. As a result, I didn’t sew up the dress. I knew I would come back to it when my skill level improved and in fact, Marshastyle did a blogpost on how to modify the neckline to move it higher.
Fast forward to the start of 2021, I found the Hana Dress Pattern from Patternscout. This is a lovely shift dress and she has given two options for the dress. One is a simple pull over the head shift dress and the other is made with a button placket starting from the neckline all the way down to the hemline. I have reached for these over and over again. I think what I love about the Hana Dress Pattern how the bodice fits me. The neckline is especially flattering on me which gave me the inspiration to try this mash up.
When I came across this beautifully spring patterned Japanese cotton lawn, I immediately thought of the Leila Dress again. The fabric is so soft and lightweight. I haven’t had much experience sewing with cotton lawn but it would be the perfect warm weather fabric. I decided that I would use a muslin to line the dress as the fabric was quite sheer due to being so lightweight. The muslin also provided me with the chance to test the fit without cutting into that beautiful Japanese cotton lawn. The original pattern is not lined but lining a dress can be thought of as just an extension of the facing. From the Hana Dress, I used the bodice pattern pieces (front and back) measuring about 6 inches from the bottom of the sleeve hole (armscye) and cut straight across. From the Leila Dress, the tiered skirt was cut out but the sleeves were left off for the muslin.
From there, it was a simple matter of trying on the muslin for fit and then using the same pattern pieces, now including the sleeve pieces, for the shell of the dress. The lining is attached to the shell via the neckline and the arm holes (armscye) and there we have it! A mash up of the Hana and Leila Dress. If you love the Leila Dress as much I do then check it out at www.marshastyle.com and enjoy her fabulous blog.